13 Questions with

Brian Garcia

Jack of All Trades

You will find a common theme while reading these Mercury 13 Questions. I am a huge fan of people who love music, and the people who are in this business for the right reasons... and usually they have both qualities. I also value people that appreciate great gear and gear that has tone and musicality, since that is what I am passionate about as well.

Brian Garcia is one of the people I think of when I say: "people in the business for the right reasons". He loves music, although he has never said those words to me, it is easy to tell from the time and effort he dedicates to his work, and the results he achieves.

Garcia has worked with many recognizable producers and engineers, including: Bob Rock, Andy Wallace, Josh Abraham, Raine Maida, Tom Lord-Alge, Mike Elizondo and Mike Clink. He has worked with many artists and bands as an engineer, producer and or mixer, including one of my favorite bands: King's X — plus: Our Lady Peace, Earshot, Until June, Galactic Cowboys, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Michelle Branch, Dizmas, Chantal Kreviazuk, Diana Degarmo, The Library, Pushmonkey, The Daylights, Precious Death, Joy Drop, Flicker, Kenny Aronoff, Josh Freese and more.

If you read his resume or discography Brian is a "Jack of All Trades." He has been an A&R Representative, a Artist Manager, a Staff Engineer, a Tour Manager, a Recording Artist and Front of House Touring Engineer. Brian specializes in the genres of rock and pop and has been part of 22 million records sold, debuts at number 1 in 30 countries, a Grammy winning album and a number 1 single on iTunes as a co-writer, producer and mixer. He has taken artists from development to securing record deals & producing the albums for EMI and Sony/BMG. I really appreciate the "dishwasher that now owns the restaurant" approach to life, those are the people who really know what they are doing and serve up a great product!

– David Marquette.

Mercury Recording Equipment Company’s 13 Questions

01 When did you know Music was more than a hobby or dream job and was going to be your “career”? Was there one thing that made that happen?

Music has always been a significant part of my life. My parents were both musicians and they constantly exposed me to music. They started me on trumpet at 5, moved on to tenor sax at 11 and discovered the guitar at 14.

As far as the realization of this all becoming my career and one thing making it happen; it all started in 1987. I was set to go to college at North Texas State University. The summer between high school and college was pivotal. I met a guy who was eight years my senior who was a front of house engineer for a then unsigned local band named King's X. I went to work with him one night and watched him mix. It was truly an epiphany moment. From that point on, I knew that was what I was going to do, although I had no idea what "that" was at the time. Back then; there were only 4 or 5 legitimate audio production schools in existence in the U.S., and fortunate for me, a brand new fledgling program had just begun at Houston's Community College. I enrolled in that, learned some basics and it was off to the races from there.

02 What aspect of music are you known for (i.e. engineer, mixer, producer, musician)? and What do you do that most people do NOT know you do as well (music related or not!)?

As far as notoriety; engineering is my highest profile gig. I have been fortunate to be a part of over 20 million records sold working with such notable artists and producers as: Our Lady Peace, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Bob Rock and Andy Wallace. Producing is my passion. I was first hired by a label to produce in 1994. I also find myself working as a facilitator by bridging the gap between artist and label, securing the deal and producing the record. I have been able to take two artists from discovery, to signing with a major and producing the record; one for EMI and the other for Sony/BMG. I am looking to segue way from performing my own engineering to having an engineer work for me so I may focus solely on the songs and the crafting of them.

03 What is your musical ”guilty pleasure”?

Voice over work.

04 What do you think is the most important thing is to get a great recording? What stage of a recording is most overlooked?

It is without a doubt a great performance of a great song! Pre production is definitely the most overlooked. It is a very powerful process.

05 Who do you admire in the recording world (engineers, producers, mixers etc...) and why?

Andy Wallace for his work with Jeff Buckley and Nirvana. With Jeff, he allowed the artist to be the artist and was at the helm as the producer of great songs and performances. Regarding Nirvana, he truly was involved in something that changed the culture. It didn't hurt that his mixes were amazing as well! Jack Joseph Puig for his amazing work with Jellyfish on "Spilt Milk". That is probably my fantasy artist/record to make. Regardless of how derivative the music may seem to some, it is something that still moves me to this day.

06 What are your feelings on TAPE vs. DAW?

I love tape and assume that I will always love the sound of it. Although I must operate in reality and respond to the tolerances of my industry and the new baselines my clients and listeners have come to accept as norms and standards. Insisting on using analog as a principal or an ethic is absolutely outside of my sphere of operation. In my world, it sadly has become a luxury that I can no longer accommodate.

07 What new Artist/Group is in your “player” right now? What Artist/Group has always been in your “Top 10”?

Currently digging: Landon Pigg, The Shins, Until June, Raine Maida, Metric and My Chemical Romance. Top ten for at least the last eight years: Jellyfish's "Spilt Milk", Nirvana's "Nevermind", Jeff Buckley's "Grace", Silverchair's amazing departure (until you hear this, forget everything you had previously heard or thought of this group) "Diorama", Van Halen's "Van Halen 2", Metallica's "Metallica" and "Master of Puppets", Our Lady Peace's "Clumsyā€¯, AC/DC's "Back In Black" and ELO's "Face The Music".

08 What generation had the best music and/or recordings? and/or What generation’s music do you connect with the most?

1967-1984. I assume it has something to do with childhood nostalgia, the reckless abandon of analog flying by the seat of your pants mindsets, and the overall bar being set higher for the sheer craftsmanship and mechanics required of players.

09 You get to have one mic for vocals for the rest of your career, what is it and why?

As many would have it, a (vintage) Telefunken U-48. It has a sound that is so familiar and credible.

10 When did you first hear of Mercury Recording Equipment Co.? What was your first experience using Mercury Equipment?

It was through Vintage King Los Angeles. I checked out an EQ-P1 and was instantly converted and have become a lifelong user and fan.

11 What piece(s) of Mercury Equipment do you own or have you used? What applications / sessions have you used it (them) on?

Mercury EQ-P1s and EQ-H1s. I have used them for vocals, guitars, bass, drums, keys and percussion. I also use two Mercury EQ-P1s across my mix buss for all of my mixes.

12 Describe Mercury Recording Equipment in 5 words or less.

Amazing, reliable, consistent, flattering, skullcrushing!

13 What has been you most rewarding experience in the studio?

Being a part of some amazing moments of great music being born, performed and recorded.