Justin James

My journey as a musical arranger and producer began in the lounge room of our family home. My Mother was a contracted broadcaster for ABC radio and was a regular on the concert circuit. This inspired me to begin learning the piano and percussion.

It wasn’t long before I found an effective way of capturing my own musical performances during practice, initially using an analogue reel to reel tape machine, then morphing to a cassette recorder. Once I knew a bit more, it was time to use multi track tape, move to digital audio recorder and eventually, the various DAW’s available on computer such as Logic Pro or Pro Tools, but still with that an original blueprint for warm analogue sound.

It is really hard to encapsulate a career that spans several decades. I have done just about everything there is to do within the music industry. I have performed, recorded, consulted, managed, presented and produced media programs/content and most of all, had a great time.

For a decade, inside all the other activity, I was busy writing, recording and submitting songs to publishers. Slowly, over time, there was an accumulation of gear and a studio appeared. I began working with songwriters, instrumentalists, d-jays, rappers and just about every kind of artist. Several albums and EP’s later, the studio continues to grow thanks to the quality of work and the relaxed, professional environment we provide for clients.

Seeing an artists dreams realised is a fantastic feeling. It is such a privilege to share in their vision and work with talent in helping them establish a sound or take the next step in their careers. Sometimes, it is just that one piece of advice or one new approach that can spawn incredible growth for an artist.

My trained musical ear has been utilised in helping bands form a core sound, recording artists and entertainers, presenting award winning radio programs, researching and interviewing musical celebrities and creating commercials or shaping the sound of a commercial radio brand.

I even worked at the famous, Jingles Australia with the late Gordon Inglis. I got to do everything from making tea, to performing, arranging and directing a voice over or vocal take. Gordon had acquired the first Fairlight CMI in the state. There were nights I worked so late, it was time for breakfast and I remember the smell, sleeping on one of those fine studded leather sofas.

I have won awards for both presentation and production, but believe that awards are not as important as the client. Ultimately, it is the people that make the experience.

Some of the types of work I have done over the years includes archiving a gentleman’s amazing collection of vinyl to a digital format. Recording/tracking vocals for an album that was to be mixed and mastered elsewhere. Working on original EP’s for artists. Adding musical arrangements to already established songs. Assisting those with limited musical arranging skills or production skills in making their DAW sessions come to life. Recording the voice over for a documentary presentation. Providing backing tracks for a live performer’s stage show. Recording a singer songwriter and capturing their unique live performance. Preparing songs for weddings and special occasions. Assembling a backing tape for shopping centres. Capturing a live set for a local d-jay and running a brainstorming session for a singer to take away and write from. This is just a small portion of the work.

We use gear that is at the top of the audio tree. From Avalon to Empirical Labs to Manly. We deliver great results at the most affordable price in Perth. Put us to the test and find out for yourself.

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4 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    Hi,

    I’m looking to do music production and want to invest in new equipment. I’d like to eventually build a home studio. Was wondering if you could advise on hardware. I see you use a Mac for your tutorials and I’ve been looking at late spec iMacs and also one guy I met is now upgrading from an iMac to a Mac Pro to produce soundtracks to video etc. Would you advise to start off low spec (MacBook Pro etc) and then upgrade later? Or get the highest spec and most expensive from the start? What’s the set-up you have in your home studio shown here? Many thanks in advance. Tim (London UK)

    Reply
    • justinjames
      justinjames says:

      Hi Tim,

      Thank you for your email.

      It’s never easy to advise with any degree of accuracy on somebody else’s creative vision or workflow, but I will give it a go!

      I would recommend Apple in terms of operating system and DAW (Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton etc) stability from my experiences. However, the engineer I work with leans more toward Microsoft. I think it all depends on what is comfortable for your workflow, past and present. It may be worth making a list of the things you wish to achieve in the first few years of setting up the studio. That way, your picture will become clearer. At that point, perhaps you can decide for yourself if you want to start with an iMac and move to a Mac Pro?

      My set up is for smaller, more personalised projects, so I don’t need so much room space for additional outboard gear. My control surface is SSL Nucleus, which drives Pro Tools and Logic. I use Avalon, Focusrite and Empirical Labs outboard gear (mic pre’s, compressors, channel strips etc) and work inside my DAW sessions with Waves, iZotope, Arturia, Antares, Soundtoys, UA and Spectraonsonics audio plugs and virtual instruments.

      Acoustically, I have many microphones for different purposes, which include AKG, Shure and Rode. I have a Yamaha concert grand piano and eleven piece drum kit. Two Nord keyboards, Stage 2 and Electro 4 and most importantly, lots of drive space for acoustic recording!

      Hope this helps Tim and best of luck for your studio project!

      Warm Regards,
      Justin.

      Reply
  2. Rowley Moore
    Rowley Moore says:

    Hi

    I worked at Jingles Australia, Mt Lawley in the early 80’s and until I read your article was not aware that Gordon had died! Can you please let me know when he died and if there is anyway I can contact Trevor Hilton, Engineer who worked with me and Gordon? Thank you

    Reply
    • justinjames
      justinjames says:

      Hi Rowley,

      Hope my response email found you ok?

      I chose to keep it private due to the sensitive nature and subject matter.

      Did you end up finding Trevor? He was a lovely, colourful and creative guy. Hope he is still doing music!

      Best Wishes,
      Justin.

      Reply

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