By Alicia in Musicians on Feb 23, 2010
Taking the laid back approach to making beautiful music
Todd Beauchamp is a musician/producer who started his own studio, Vienna Circle Studios located in Los Angeles, CA. He has worked with musicians such as Tyler Hilton, Tony Lucca, Dave Yaden and John Corbett and also writes for TV and Film. Todd released a solo CD, Ghosts of Hollywood in 2007 and still dabbles with his own sound from time to time.
If you are a musician looking for a place to record check out Vienna Circle Studios.
With all the career options for one to choose from, why did you pick such a hard industry like music?
I do what I love, and hope it pays the rent. I try to keep it simple that way. Sometimes, I have to do other stuff to pay the rent, and then I return to doing the stuff I love as quickly as possible.
Before you went into music production you were in various bands as well as a solo artist. When did you first realize your musical talents?
A big part of playing music is not being afraid to look like an idiot in front of large groups people. I’ve excelled at that since the day I was born.
I’ve been playing in bands since middle school. I started on drums, moved to guitar, and eventually lead singer. I’ve played in at least 30 bands over the years in a host of different roles. I suppose that’s never ended. I’m actually making my world debut as the piano player at the Mint next month.
You released a solo album in 2007 but we haven’t seen another album since. Are you still working on your own music or only focusing on others?
At this point, I’m putting my energy into writing and recording with other bands. I don’t have any solid plans to make another record, but you never know. The world is funny that way. I’m toying with the idea of doing a record where I cover one song by every artist I’ve recorded… but that’s just an idea right now.
Why did you decide to go into music production and have you ever regretted your decision?
Everyone has their favorite thing about music. Some people love touring. Some people love writing. Some people love non-stop partying. While I do enjoy all of those things, being in the studio was always my favorite part.
I always pestered the producers we worked with for information. "Why that mic?" "How does this work?" "What’s a compressor do?"
About three years ago, it dawned on me that I could do my favorite part all the time. Looking back on it, it feels like it took me a long time to realize something so obvious, but I’m glad it took as long as it did, because I love my job.
And no, I’ve never regretted that decision. Besides getting married, it’s the smartest call I ever made.
What do you feel is the most important aspect of being a music producer that people may not know?
Oh, I don’t know. It’s my favorite job I’ve ever hand ‘cause it’s never the same day twice, and it’s completely creative and technical at the same time. Being a music producer uses every cell in my brain. On top of that, it’s a complete honor. I’m a huge fan of the artists I work with. They take their music very seriously, and I am very touched they let me play in their sandbox.
I get to be in someone’s band while they’re in my place. I help them define their sound. I help them make an artistic statement.
And then that statement gets sent out into the world, and I get to do it again with someone else. It’s a pretty great gig.
Where did the idea come from to form Vienna Circle Studios?
It just sort of grew out of needing a space to record my own music. I’ve always had a studio of some kind in my place. When I decided to follow production full-time, I just expanded what I already had. Plus, the commute rules.
Why did you decide to open your own studio in lieu of going to work for a major studio?
Do you know one that’s hiring?
Your approach to business is much different than other major recording studios in that you choose to take a much more laid back and personal approach to your company. Why have you decide that this is the best business plan for Vienna Circle Studios?
I very consciously built a studio that I would have killed to record in when I was an artist. The rest just flows from there. Also, I’m a pretty laid back and personal guy. I wouldn’t know the first thing about starting a corporate behemoth.
Being a music producer means that sometimes you may be working within a genre of music that you don't particularly love. How are you able to ensure quality is maintained?
This is a funny one. One of the many perks of this job is that, as the producer, you have a profound impact on what the final product sounds like. On the rare occasion that I’m working on a project that isn’t my cup of tea, I invariably end up highlighting the parts I really do like. Plus, it’s just FUN to work outside your field.
For instance, I did some music for a Hannah Montana promo. They needed background music in a little video that taught kids her dance moves. That project was SO much fun to do.
When listening to a song right off the mixing board the sound quality is much higher than when it finally makes it into the market due to compression of files. Do you feel that the effort to fit as many songs as possible on an iPod/CD has led to too much of a compromise in sound quality?
Well, I carry around my entire music library in my damn phone, so I guess I’m fine with it.
Technology constantly changes the way we listen to and interact with music, and it will continue to do so. Fighting that tide is impossible. I say ride the wave.
You have created quite an extensive client list over the years. Do you have a favorite project that you have worked on?
It’s impossible to narrow it to one.
Right now, I’ve got music from Tyler Hilton, Curtis Peoples, Tony Lucca, Dave Yaden, JT Spangler, Andrea Marchant and Micah Levenson in my car. I produced those tracks, and I’m still a fan. That must mean something.
What are some of the most common mistakes that you have seen people make during their music careers?
Even though this is a very competitive business, I see people being their own worst enemies more often than not. Myself included. Everyone has their own unique ways of shooting themselves in the foot.
What advice would you have for someone who wishes to pursue a career in music production?
If that’s your dream, I say go for it. If you think it’s a great way to make money, I recommend any other job in the world.
The music business has changed and it is never going back. I see that as a positive. I never could have started Vienna Circle Studios 15 years ago. As record budgets shrink, big studios with large overheads close. Small, personal project studios move in to pick up that work. I started my business with 1/100th of the startup costs of one of those big places, and I get most of the sounds.
Great artists will always record music. My plan is to give them a place to do it. Hopefully the rest will work itself out.