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Boston Area’s Best Music Producers

June 27, 2013 6:00 AM

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(Photo from Zeuss/Facebook)

(Photo from Zeuss/Facebook)

There has been an increased level of recognition and accolades offered to the talented people who work behind the scenes in music production who are making sure their artists are offering the best possible product to their listeners. The music production industry has also gained exponential leaps and bounds since the days of 70’s arena rock or 80’s hair bands, utilizing state-of-the-art technology as well as tried and trusted techniques to assist singers and musicians in achieving their dreams of otherworldly recorded sounds. Here is just a few of the home-bred talent here in the Boston area.
(Photo from Zeuss/Facebook)

(Photo from Zeuss/Facebook)

Zeuss
Planet Z Recording Studio
Hadley, MA
www.facebook.com/zeussproducer

The thick earth tones of the Hadley-based producer Zeuss and his Planet Z Recording Studio have graced the records of some of hard rock and heavy metal’s heaviest commercial talent. Born Chris Harris, the name of Zeuss has served as a selling and marketing point for such high-profile artists as All That Remains, Shadows Fall and Hatebreed, with studio work at Planet Z virtually guaranteeing a beefy and heavy production for even the most demanding of artists. Zeuss remains in demand for a reason: his work speaks for itself.

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(Photo from Kurt Ballou/Facebook)

(Photo from Kurt Ballou/Facebook)

Kurt Ballou
GodCity Recording Studio
Salem, MA
www.facebook.com/Kurt-Ballou

Kurt Ballou’s GodCity Studios has been going strong since the late ’90s, when Ballou – guitarist for the influential Boston-based hardcore band Converge – built the studio with a severance package awarded to him upon cancellation of a biomedical project. The chance has served Ballou well over the years, with GodCity having built a firm and formidable reputation as one of THE places to go for bands seeking out a high-energy wall of sound with the added benefit of being EXTRA LOUD. Indeed, a GodCity production can be as beneficial to indie rock and noise-core bands as it can to Swedish death metal and punk bands looking for that extra layer of dirt, with Ballou being a smart and capable man behind the scenes who truly understands how to approach each project with a unique ear.

Adam Dutkiewicz/Zing Recording Studios (Photo from Zing)

Adam Dutkiewicz/Zing Recording Studios (Photo from Zing)

Adam Dutkiewicz
Zing Recording Studio
104A Mainline Drive
Westfield, MA 01085
(413) 563-8823
www.zingrecording.com

As a founding member and guitarist of what is arguably the state’s largest, most high-profile metal export in recent years, Killswitch Engage’s six-string hero Adam Dutkiewicz has also famously lent his talents behind the mixing and recording desks, acting as producer for his own band as well as plenty of local and international artists. The main strength of Dutkiewicz’s productions is the incomparable brightness and clarity the guitarist brings to the table. Dutkiewicz knows what a good, solid tone needs to sound like, and balances meaty crunch with a smoothness which has yet to be bested by any of his local contemporaries. Need further convincing? Just ask bands as varied as Underoath, Parkway Drive, Norma Jean or Every Time I Die: they will all tell you that Adam Dutkiewicz is one of the absolute best in the business.

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(Photo from Ken Susi/Facebook)

(Photo from Ken Susi/Facebook)

Ken Susi
Winthrop, MA
http://www.facebook.com/kensusi

Although the pedigree of producer Ken Susi has not yet scaled the heights achieved by some of his local contemporaries listed here, the recorded works of Susi thus far have spoken quite loudly to the fact that this guitarist for metalcore titans Unearth does indeed possess the chops to stand up right next to the big boys. Working primarily from a home studio, Susi has often taken on the task of engineering or co-engineering the records of his own band, while also taking the reigns for such heavy-hitting acts as The Contortionist, Seemless and Beyond the Embrace. The Winthrop-based engineer and producer can thank a beefed-up guitar sound and pounding percussive capturing skills for his career thus far, while continued success seems virtually guaranteed so long as Susi can continue to grow and learn behind the desk.

(Photo from Trevor Vaughan)

(Photo from Trevor Vaughan)

Trevor Vaughan
The Colosseum
New Bedford, MA
www.trevorvaughan.tumblr.com

Although New Bedford isn’t exactly within the Boston area’s backyard, the work of Trevor Vaughan is slowly but surely beginning to draw musicians and artists across the state, seeking a fellow musician’s point of view when it comes to ensuring the best possible sound, one which retains the music’s honesty and integrity. In this regard, Vaughan has done wonders for his own band The Rival Mob, whose recent LP “Mob Justice” has taken the hardcore punk world by storm with an energetic and aggressive sound, one which benefits greatly from Vaughan’s stellar engineering and production style. This notion of “energy” can be applied liberally to his production work for local artists Divorcees, Figures and Nick LeBlanc, while Vaughan’s integrity, diversity and genuine love of music ensures that his name will be one to watch in the immediate future.

George Pacheco has been writing professionally about arts and entertainment for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George currently resides in a humble New England home with his wife, cat and massive music and film collection. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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