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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Jae Deal

Jae Deal

Composer, Arranger, Producer
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Jae Deal

Award winning LA composer, arranger and music producer Jae Deal earned a degree in Mathematics and maintains a keen interest in the connection between the art and science that makes music possible.

Janet Jackson, Elton john, Anya V, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, CL
Jae uses these Astons:
Origin
Spirit
Starlight
Community

“I’m pretty much a late bloomer musically when it comes to making traction in the music industry. I tried to get into the arts school but they didn’t see enough talent in me ... so I went to an engineering school. From there I was on a path of engineering, maths and physics, but the music eventually caught up. I was playing in church and I had a community to build musically - finally the connections in the music industry were able to see me working. I started on keyboards and bass guitar but I developed faster on the bass so I started to get more calls for that.


It’s hard to say how I got [my big] break. I had some life connections and those people were eventually able to collaborate with or hire me. There was a record label, Island Music ... they had a division, Island Black Music and Stanley Brown was an A&R there. He gave me a lot of work as a musician, and as a producer I was able to watch him work. That was the exposure that gave me an advantage towards being a producer."

Keytar for Lady Gaga

“A few mentors of mine would be playing different roles in situations or be busy doing different things, and I’d get the phone call to fill in, and the next thing I know I’m on the Jay Leno Tonight Show! I played the keytar for Lady Gaga. It was a case of valuing those connection as humans, staying connected in real life, and when they needed me professionally I was accessible.

I had the most fun working with Snoop Dogg, Mary Mary and Janet Jackson. In the studio I loved working with Sput Searight. There’s a producer I’m working with called Chordz and we’re working for some really huge artists right now, one of which has already collaborated with Beyoncé and Rihanna. I’m also working with Anya V - she has a distinctive sound and a wide array of different personalities musically.

It’s been crazy – I’m teaching some senior level courses at USC right now so there’s a regiment that comes with that responsibility. I have to be on campus at those times, but I’m also in the middle of a world tour with Brandon Coleman, so I’ve been juggling and deciding which dates I can take while remaining committed to my responsibilities at the University. I enjoy touring but I also like arriving back home, I try and stay grateful for both.”

Planes, trains and automobiles

“That’s where technology and the advancements in desktop recording on a computer have been my best friend. In my processes as a producer/programmer only about 10% of it happens in a real studio now. Planes, trains and automobiles, no place is safe - I’m recording absolutely everywhere! Half the time it’s just a laptop and headphones, then sometimes I’m recording at home. Occasionally I might go to a high end studio and make use of all their resources just to polish everything.


I use Reason on 100% of everything I do, mostly as a Rewire application to Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton. Since I have the ability to record and edit anywhere, I find myself in these rehearsal rooms or gigs, and there are some keyboards that I don’t have at home. On down time, if permissible, I just add elements. I play in my church, three services a Sunday, and there are a couple of keyboards there that I’ll record in between services, or I’ll record some friends of mine who play Hammond B3 organ at their church. That’s why I love the pristine sound I get from Aston mics, because they’re extremely durable and portable and when I need to bring in external sounds I just plug them in to my interface and my sound is right there.”

Astons packed ready

“The Focusrite 2i2 is my go-to travel interface. It’s the smallest and I can get a stereo input - it also has MIDI capabilities and the pre-amp in it is really good for a portable unit. In my mic case I’m able to fit the Origin , my Starlight pair, and I have a couple of other mics that I haven’t used for years! For controllers sometimes I use the IK Multimedia iRig Keys and sometimes a Roli Rise.

I’m recording an album called The Colour Collection (I spelled ‘colour the British way!), I‘ve been working on it for the past eleven years. It’s a 74 minute piece and I was able to orchestrate it on four different continents while I was on tours with Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo and Mary Mary. It has helped me to stay grateful because I was able to absorb the energy of all those places and translate it musically into something I can share. It has traditional orchestral voices, synth layers, recordings of nature and different environments. It’s a way for me to reflect and share.”

Working with Anya V

I’ve found in [LA singer and musician] Anya V a production partner who understands many different genres and has the ability to pull it off. When I met her I said ‘this is who I want to be my vocal producer’. The music is pretty much finished.

* * * * * * * * * *

Back in my home studio I have a Gem H3000, it’s a solid state organ from the 80’s. It’s a novelty piece now, it has a distinctive sound that cuts. I have an Ensoniq EPS 16 sampler. I endorse Roland and Korg so I have a ton of those around. My first professional keyboard is here, it’s a Korg DW-6000, that’s how I learned how to understand analog synths and programming.

Art and science

“I started out as an Electrical Engineering major at Uni. I ended up graduating with a degree in mathematics but I still have a heart for engineering and connectability, and Aston does it so well.

A friend and colleague of mine Arash Roshani (a senior PHD physics major and instructor in physics at USC) and I are constantly looking at the connection between artistry and engineering, we’re always looking for solutions to the problems that arise in creating music. I’m very deep into making the world a better place through music; using physics and mathematics in the process.

A friend of mine was sitting in the Aston booth at NAMM with an entourage of accomplished musicians and music industry people so I knew something was going on that I needed to pay attention to!

Aston mics sound great. They have to sound great for me to use them, but some of the attention to detail; the environmental sustainability, the fact that over 90% of the materials are from recycled materials and the mic is 100% recyclable. The engineering …. details like the wave-form spring head, it’s extremely durable. I love the fact that the finish has no paint or primers, and it’s cool, it has this matte feel to it … yet it’s extremely functionable. The fact that you don’t need a popper stopper because of the steel wool. They don’t need a shockmount, you can just set them up and go.”

Out-takes

Q. Which artists would you like to work with?

A. I would love to work with Ariana Grande. I’m a few degrees of separation from Post Malone, it would be great to work with him. H.E.R. is huge right now, she’s phenomenal. I have a vision for Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder. They’ve collaborated before but they’ve found ways at certain times in history to remain themselves but offer something that people can understand as relevant at that time, and I think it’s time again to show once again what their music can offer to all generations.

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?

A. I’d be an IP lawyer. My Dad has a law degree. He just wanted the knowledge so he could help people and that’s what I’d use the knowledge for.

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?

A. I would love a mic that had a hard drive in it so I could just push a button and record then and there, and if it was USB I could download the audio file straight into my laptop. Teaching at USC, one of the biggest questions I get is how to process vocals, so dealing with sibilance and dynamics - either keeping the breaths in between, or negating them completely - if I could get that in a mic, where I could live with it without having to de-ess it, that would be incredible.

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?

A. 

Clean, Smooth, Open, Personable

Q. What is the first song that made you cry?

A. Somewhere In The Dark by Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones

 

Anya V

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