Who Is Matthew Parisi?
When I was 14 years old, I decided I was going to be a rock star. That was it. One day I just woke up and it was decided. If only it were THAT simple! People laughed at me.
Why? Because I wasn’t a very good singer and I had never been that interested in music, but after getting swept up into the nu metal phase I suddenly switched into an obsessive teen learning everything I could about playing the guitar.
I was borderline insane. Music was my new obsession.
I practised every day for about 4 to 5 hours and very quickly became known as the ‘guitar guy’ at my school.
I was known as ‘guitar guy’ in my school naturally because I wouldn’t shut up about music! Until one day, that reputation paid off.
I naively thought that I had it all figured out (yes, at 14). When one day someone approached me and flipped my entire world upside down. I was invited to a local studio to perform on a track as a session musician.
As I walked into the studio I became aware that I was ‘home.’ The rack gear lined the walls, the console had lightbulbs that were out, and the room had an overall musty smell. The desk was stained and the computer was old and even missing the cover.
Beneath the surface of this dingy, otherwise unappealing studio environment was the thing that held my attention for the rest of my life. I was in LOVE.
My life’s mission changed. My obsession changed. My purpose was clear.
I wanted to make records. Not just any records, I wanted to make GREAT records.
Between school, guitar practise and skateboarding, I spent every spare hour in that studio as a teaboy, then to assistant engineer and eventually running the studio as Head Producer at the age of 18.
This obsession with learning how to create great records eventually landed me the job as the head engineer with the UK's most successful songwriter and producer, Mike Stock. I wanted to learn from the best.
I had suddenly gone from working with local bands to working with Grammy Award-winning engineers, Platinum selling producers and artists and working in multi-million-pound studios. It was a baptism of fire and half the time was spent with my heart in my mouth trying to get my chops to be as good as the musicians and engineers that I was working with.
After 4 years of this, the day came to step out into the world as a Producer. I had learnt just about as much as I could and was nervously confident that I could now produce records to the same level as the people I had got to work with.
I was approached by a record label to Produce an album for the Artist Hayley McKay. This was a huge project and one that we spent 9 months creating. I worked myself to death on this record and eventually the artist was happy, management was happy, and the label were happy. But now it was time for the big test.
We stepped into Abbey Road Studios to get the album mastered by Mastering Legend Geoff Pesche. This guy has mastered some of the greatest records in the world and now he was mastering mine. Again, that feeling of having my heart in my mouth, nervous sweats and adrenaline pumping throughout my body came up. What if he said it was bad. What if he said this in front of the label and the artist. That would be my career over.
He loaded up the album and began to play the first track. I’m trying to play it cool but I’m so obviously nervous. The agonising 3 minutes of playthrough seems to take hours and my mind is going foggy with anxiety. I was waiting for the backlash, I was waiting for the anger from management and I was already planning out my next career change.
“This is great, I don’t need to do anything here. I’m just going to apply some light compression and get it to level.”
What??? No EQ changes, no fixing, no low-end problems, nothing???
This must have been a fluke I thought, but no. Track after track of the album played and each track Geoff gave it the all clear, added a little compression and brought it up to level. In fact, he mastered the album so fast that we spent most of the day chatting, sharing industry stories and being nerdy about some of the equipment.
At the end of the day Geoff put his arm around me and said “well done, keep going at this, this is what you are meant to be doing.”
I had done it, I had Produced a record where I had played most of the instruments, I had done most of the recording, mixed it all myself and had even written a couple of the songs and it had met the standard of one of the greatest record makers in the world.
Since then I’ve had the opportunity to fly out a few times to LA to write with artists out there, I’ve produced loads of records for artists and bands that are receiving thousands of streams, getting radio play through BBC introducing and was even recently told that I had been nominated for the Music Producers Guild Breakthrough Producer of the Year award.
I am obsessed with trying to make great records and this is what I work tirelessly to do whether it’s the records I’m credited on with Kylie Minogue, Chris Martin and Shayne Ward or it’s the first single for a local up and coming band.
I understand the frustrations of trying to get good records when the budgets are low and you’re having to hire cheap studios with engineers who haven’t really learnt how to produce. I’m constantly talking to artists and bands who can’t get their records played because they’re not a good enough quality. You invest time and money into these places and give them everything you can afford but all they’re interested in is filling up studio time. I get it, they have overheads to pay so that’s what they have to focus on.
This is why I teamed up with a few studios to be able to offer tracking days that cost less than booking directly with the studio. This is why from time to time I offer mixing at a rate you would expect to pay someone who’s just fresh from audio college and barely knows how to put a record together. All I want to do is make great records with as many people as possible.
So, if you also want to make a great record, I want to work with you. Let’s make something amazing and give your music every fighting chance of getting radio play, spotify streams and more importantly becoming someone’s favourite song. Send me a message and let’s talk about your record.