Where is Chalk Creek Sound (CCS) located?
In Coalville, Utah, located in beautiful Summit County. If you'd like to set up an appointment for a consultation, please contact me, and I will send you an address and directions to the studio.
What kind of operation is CCS?
CCS specializes in recording individual artists and small ensembles. As implied on the "About" page, CCS is not a full service studio that can handle any imaginable recording scenario. The CCS studio is located in the basement of my home in a single large room that can handle about four musicians comfortably. Ensembles larger than that can be recorded on location at another venue, or I can engineer your session in a large studio for hire.
Also, in case you missed it on the "About" page, I am currently running CCS part-time, and can't devote my full time and attention to your musical ambitions for the time being. I can still help you, but at a slower pace. If that is a problem, I can refer you to a full-service studio that will do a great job for your music.
What are CCS' terms/rates?
How much does it cost to record a song at CCS? A full album?
This is the kind of question that gets an answer that starts with "If you have to ask..." I'll finish the thought by saying "... you may not be prepared to record." But I'll humor the question anyway for the sake of managing expectations:
Of course, the correct answer is "it depends." It's not really possible to tag a specific number to any project cost until it's finished. But if I were to liken it to the cost of physical objects - for a typical pop song, we're talking big screen TV money. For a similarly-produced album, we're getting more into used car money.
Granted, this is for a no-compromise, full production. If you're just looking for a quick demo, of course that will cost quite a bit less, and can probably be done for "eating out at a nice restaurant money."
Producing great music is not a cheap experience, and takes a significant amount of time and energy for both artist and engineer; but in the final analysis, the results are worth the investment a hundred times over. Nobody can put a price on great music that adds to the legacy of humanity and brings joy to others. And that's my ultimate goal here. I'm not in it to get rich.
What gear do you have?
*sigh* This question...
Suffice it to say, I run a pretty lean, no-frills operation that, while not an insubstantial investment to me, has been put together after a great deal of trial and error, and yields me the best results for what I do while working within my current financial framework.
AND I'll be forthright - I simply can't afford luxury gear, and I don't feel like I have to when its value is so dubious and endlessly debatable. On that point... feel free to read my soapbox on the subject here. (Spoiler alert - I list my gear somewhere on this page.)
In short - the real value of paying an engineer to record in his/her studio is the engineer - not the gear they have. Their familiarity with their equipment and their space counts for a lot! (To say nothing of their skill, experience, and knowledge.)
Finally - if you really believe that an engineer/studio is made or broken by an expensive gear collection, then I'll be glad to refer you and your hard-earned money to a like-minded studio that is able and willing to accommodate your fantasy.
Do you do mastering?
Yes! But it is highly recommended that mastering be done by a third party in the event of my doing recording and/or mixing. There is no substitute for a fresh set of ears to examine and finalize your recording(s).
On the subject of mastering, I don't compete in the now-defunct "loudness wars." (I meter at K-14 or K-12 [depending on the genre] levels on the K-System scale proposed by mastering engineer Bob Katz, and target between -16 and -14 LUFS [integrated], and a loudness range of 6 to 10 LRA.)
In plain English, that means that masters done by CCS will have the sort of dynamic impact that has been woefully absent in popular music for the past two decades... even if that means your song/album sounds relatively quieter* than others. It's OK! #turnitup
*Keep in mind that it's not unusual for a person's streaming client/smart speaker/TV/whatever to have some form of loudness normalization enabled by default. This means that any song that is mastered at really hot level will actually sound quieter than other songs that meet the appropriate loudness target. So there's also a practical reason to not slam the oxygen out of your music!
What's with the cactus and the flamingo?
On a trip to St George, I was browsing through the local Cracker Barrel inventory, and found these neon pedestals shaped like... a cactus and a flamingo. I just had to have 'em for my studio. I find them so whimsical that I decided to design my logo around them. Yeah yeah, I'm some distance away from Vegas and the Mojave Desert, which is what I think these shapes evoke for most people, but... whatever. Neon rocks.
Who is Nathanael Davenport?
Music and Engineering Philosophy:
I'm "old school," but only in the sense that I believe that a great recording is impossible without great music and an equally great arrangement.
In the early days of music production, before multitrack recording even existed, mixing occurred in 3D space, and the musical arrangement would often-times have to be modified to accommodate the acoustic realities of the space where the music was being recorded. Something about that resonates with me deeply - specifically that the most important part of the music production process is what happens before any sound waves hit the diaphragms of the studio mics - the music itself.
I am a big believer in taking whatever time is needed in pre-production to get the music right. Sometimes I have encountered musicians who, in my judgment, were not ready to record; and I have postponed, and sometimes even cancelled, recording sessions when necessary.
There is a prevailing mentality in modern music production, that deficiencies in the music - whether in the arrangement or the performance - will be "fixed in the mix."
I reject that kind of artificiality. I believe that music is most likely to stand the test of time when the humanity of the artist isn't suppressed... but embraced.
Subsequently, I prefer to record music that is easily portable to a live performance, i.e. that doesn't require 120 tracks, that doesn't require hours and hours of editing, doesn't require extensive use of pitch correction or effects, or even overdubbing for that matter. Those are my ideals; and though it's usually not possible in most situations to have my cake and eat it too, those ideals inform my artistic choices in a production role.
With the traditional business model of live performances selling records now flipped on its head - recordings now sell tickets to live performances, with most consumers hearing the music before they go to the shows - portability between the studio and a live show is more important than ever. (And let’s face it... most people would rather see a full live performance than a glorified karaoke concert with a click track.)
Five Favorite Songs:
I'll preface this by saying that this list is not comprehensive and subject to change, so here is the list, in no particular order:
That being said, there's a couple of pieces in the classical genre that really get me every time:
For a more comprehensive list of favorite tracks, see this playlist on Apple Music.
When not taking care of my kids, producing music, or taking care of my yard and home, I like to write (obviously - this whole website is a poster child for TL;DR), ride scooters, make pizza (which I am always happy to make for clients), and also serve on the Coalville City planning commission. I also dream of being a surfer... which is a lot more fun than actually trying to become one. (Subsequently, I am really into surf rock - among other things).