Remote Recording Sessions


I record at my own purpose built studio which has been designed purely for tracking drums. I have top of the range gear from drums, cymbals, mics, pre amps and AD/DA converters. I specialise in mainly Pop/Rock/Hip Hop/Metal along with plenty of TV and film music and other unusual sonic projects – my gear is optimised to produce these sounds, from super clean hi fidelity for Pop through to crunchy esoteric sounds using vintage mics and pre amps. Current clients include songwriters, producers, TV, film and other media – for example:

  • Cliff Jones [former Gay Dad front man, turned EMI songwriter and producer]
  • Richard J. Parfitt [Duffy, 60ft Dolls]
  • Hazel Mills [Adding Machine, Roxy Music/Andy Mackay]
  • TJ Allen [Adding Machine, Bat For Lashes]
  • Mark Clayden [Pitchshifter]
  • Colin Edwin [Porcupine Tree]
  • Andreas Bonizzi [Soundwall Project]
  • Massimo Fiocco [One Minute Silence]
  • Gavin Griffiths [TV and Film - Universal Production Music UK]
  • Rhythm Magazine [Future Publishing]
  • Film Composer Benson Taylor [Dukes Of Hazzard, Brooklyn Rules, Super Bowl XLIII, Ricky Gervais Show, Hollyoaks amongst others]
  • Alex Pearson [here's a link to the film made at Pinewood's underwater unit - track is about halfway through]
  • BBC Canada [When Police Become Prey - Dir: Candice Mclean]
  • Scar Tissue written and directed by Scott Michell , OST on Universal Music (released late 2012) by Mark Ayres [BBC Radiophonic Workshop]
  • Marco Migliari [Halo 4/Stereophonics/Real World]

and many more. Most of my work is word of mouth and reputation so this page is usually for clients who have been directed here. Work on your tracks can be done in several ways but the usual follows this process, once a fee has been agreed:

  1. You suggest reference tracks for both sound and approach to the track. Whilst I have a regular set up tuned, mic’d and ready to go, I’m all about getting the right sound so mic choices, drums, tuning, cymbal selection etc are critical to getting it right.
  2. Send me some guide track stems or a full mix – I work in Pro Tools 10 so a complete session file can be sent (via digital download or on DVD) or just WAV stems. We can agree which stems to send for me to get a mix to work with. Ideally I’d like to get what’s going on the master if that’s possible as some of the things I come up with might be in reference to those parts. It’s not always possible…!
  3. Once I’ve come up with a few ideas I’ll send over some MP3 mixes for you to listen to. These might be bang on and I’ll send you the session file/tracks. If not, you can suggest some tweaks to these ideas or comp them together to allow me to get an idea of what you’re thinking. After this, I’l go back and re-record it. again, I’ll do a few passes. Same process – I’ll send you the MP3 mixes and hopefully we’re done. At this point we’re usually at a finished product and I will send you the session file/tracks. I can mix the drums and send you a stereo file if that’s what you would prefer. Any issues after this are done on a client by client basis.
  • I have been using the music optimised Gobbler program for file sharing – it’s extremely quick and easy to use for remote sessions: USE THIS LINK to download for use

I’m willing to work with singer/songwriters who are on a budget and otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to have live drums but label work and the producers I work with regularly have to take priority. I enjoy recording and working with people, so don’t discount the possibility of cost – drop me a line, we may be able to do something. If I like the project then we can come to an arrangement.

 

 

Studio Gear (my drum gear is on another page on this website):

  • Soundtracs 16-8-2 Vintage console

Microphones:

  • 1x Calrec CM10 SDC
  • 3x AKG D190
  • 1x AKG C451E
  • 1x AKG D112
  • 2x Beyer Dynamic M160 Ribbons
  • 4x Beyer Dynamic TGD 57c SDC
  • 2x Beyer Dynamic M950 SDC
  • 1x Beyer Dynamic TGX50
  • 1x Beyer Dynamic M201
  • 2x Rode NT1 LDC
  • 2x Shure SM57 (one with the Tape Op Mod)
  • 1x Telefunken D11b
  • 2x ECM8000

A host of quirky stuff, mics (old Philips and Grundig stuff) and speakers that sound killer on the right tune!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre Amps:

  • 4 Channels of Focusrite 428
  • 4 Channels of Universal Audio 4710d
  • 4 Channels of vintage Shure 67 2E (modded)
  • 4 Channels of TLA 5001 (modded)
  • 8 Channels of Focusrite Octo Pre

Other:

  • DBX 266XL
  • LittleOne 16 Summing Mixer
  • Aphex Aural Exciter
  • Sony TC-500A Tape Machine
  • Mac Pro
  • Pro Tools 10
  • Motu 828 mk2

Playing/Recording Examples (Sound Cloud links):
Trip hop style tracks written and recorded by me:
Unit 4
Factory
Herta
Cabstand

Metal tracks (Cars On Fire Album Sampler) – not recorded at my studio but my drum performances

Here’s some quote from some of my bass player friends I love working with:

‘James is a funky, heavy drummer that has more than likely given me irreparable tinnitus but can make my trousers flap in such a joyful manner I don’t care! When we both started working together, James handed me the baton of sorting out “the engine room” side of things because he respected what I had done in the past with Robert [Plant]. This was a very nice compliment for me because he didn’t really need me barking at him to be honest, he had it nailed from the beginning! Of late, he’s got even better as a player, understanding the lighter touch that’s needed on the kit (even if it is a heavy song… take note kids!) to bring out a bigger, broader tone out of your drums. I love him to bits.’ Billy Fuller (Robert Plant/Massive Attack/>Beak/Malakai)

“James is not only a fabulous drummer and all round accomplished musician, but also a top fella too….” Damon Minchella (Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, The Who)

“I’ve worked with James a bunch of times in the last few years and he brings a great sense of time, groove and an innate musicality to projects.
He’s also a top guy, a pleasure to hang with and adds a great vibe to projects and work situations.”  Dave Marks (Wishbone Ash/Gareth Gates/Thriller Live)

james@jameshester.co.uk

[Click on small images to enlarge]