Sonny Johns

Grammy,MOBO and Mercury
nominated production

About

I've been making music all my life and it's what I really know. After leaving school at 16 to pursue a career as a musician I have been lucky enough to work as a producer, engineer, musician, performer, songwriter and even tour manager for over a decade with a host of amazingly talented people. I've owned a London recording studio and cut my teeth at Livingston Studios with great Jerry Boys and Nick Gold of World Circuit Records.

 

It was there I learned my specialism in producing music made by musicians playing instruments, capturing what they do and helping to realise their ideas. I've worked with almost every genre of music but my talents lie with folk, world music (whatever that really means) and jazz (whatever that really means too), which has taken me across the country and around the world, including to Cuba, Central America, Africa and Europe, and allowed me to achieve multiple Grammy, Mercury and MOBO nomiations for my work.


Last year I signed to the legendary record label Rough Trade as bass play and producer of the dual female fronted band PicaPica. Being a musician, songwriter, performer, engineer and producer makes me well positioned to understand each stage of the music making process, allowing me to get the most from the artistes I work with. Below are just a few of the records I've worked on.

Credits

Some critical aclaim

Mercury 2017

Dinosaur: Together, As One

Future 50 2017

Brooke Sharkey: Wandering Heart

Mercury 2014

Polar Bear: Each And Every One

MOBO 2011

Fatoumata Diawara: Fatou

MOBO 2011

Cheihk Lo: Jamm

Grammy 2009

Oumou Sangare: Seya

Mercury 2008

Portico Quartet: Knee Deep

Grammy 2006

Ali Farke Toure: Savane

Some favourites

Some more

Ali Farke Toure | Amira Kheir | Ayetoro | Baaba Maal | The Balanesque Quartet | Bassekou Kouyate | BBC Radio | BFI | Buena Vista Social Club | Cheikh Lo | Chris Sheldon | Danny Thompson | Dave Smith | Dennis Bovell | Enjoy Destroy | Fred Wesley | Hattrick Productions | Her Make Believe Band | Ian Brodie | Ibrahim Ferrer | Gilad Atzmon | Gregg Haver | Guy Barker | Jerry Boys | Joe Boyd | Joe Cang | Joe Stilgoe | John Martyn | Kanye West | Later... with Jool's Holland | Laura Jurd | Leafcutter John | Lily Green | The Little Unsaid | London Afrobeat Collective | The Magazine King | Mark Lockheart | Namvula Rennie | Nick Mulvey | Numasbala | Orchestra Boabab | Orchestra Virunga | Oren Marshall | Orlando 'Cachaito' Lopez | Oumou Sangare | Outhouse Ruhabi | Pamelia Kursten | Pee Wee Ellis | Pete Wareham | The Pogues | Polar Bear | Portico Quartet | Powershovel Audio | Seb Rochford | Rowse | Ruben Gonzales | Sevenball | Shakira | Tom Richards | Tommy D | Tony Allen | Tom Herbert | Toumani Diabate | World Circuit | Wired Strings | Yoonkee | Zarif | Zoe & Idris Rahman... and more.

My People

Jerry Boys - Taught me everything he knows...I know...who knows.

Tom Leader - Mastering engineer to the world... music

Liran Donin - Producer, bass player, deep breather

Seb Rochford - Calling this man a drummer doesn't do him justice

Kevin Feazey - Producer/Engineer/Bassist and a great business partner

The Nave Studio - Beautiful studios in Leeds

Production

Give your music a world class sound

What does a producer do?

I get asked this question all the time and my answer is always the same:

"It depends."

It may sound like a vague answer but it really does depend on so many things: the music, the artist, the musicians, the studio, the end product, even who is producing. As a musician, performer, songwriter, as well as a qualified and experienced engineer I am ideally positioned to fit into whatever shape the role of producer needs to be.

My ethos

Production is what I enjoy the most because it encompasses all the things I love; from choosing the repetoir to selecting mics; from balancing a budget to balancing a mix; and from solving problems to coming up with that little sparks that takes a track to a whole new level. But most of all production is all about taking what the artiste has in their head and making it into a record. It's not my album, it's the artiste's and everything I do goes towards making their recording process magical.


My experience in all areas of the process allows me to give considered and knowledgable opinion to create a record with a journey and as a recording musician myself, I know how important, location, people and atmosphere are to allow you to create the right feeling for an album.

Rates

For my rates on producing your music I need to know about your project, so contact me or fill in my Get a quote form and tell me a bit about what you'd like to do. Alternatively, take a look at my online mixing and mastering rates below.


Here are some of the ways I can help:


Complete Record Production: From rehearsal to record pressing

Mix Engineering: Attended and online options

Recording Production: Make sure you record the right approach before you send it to be mixed

Musical Arrangement: Give your music a fresh perspective

Audio Editing and Arrangement: Have your recordings polished

Production Consultation: advice on all the steps above

Mixing

Analogue or Digital, Online or Studio

Mixing

I love recording, especially when I'm producing or engineering for my favourite producers, but mixing is where I love to get really creative. And I love to mix in alsorts of ways: On a console, in the box, in a studio, in bungalows, from tape from Pro Tools - whatever suits the project.


There are plenty of mixing services out there on the internet, especially online services, so why choice me? Well firstly, you know who's mixing it when you get a mix from me. I don't farm out mixing to anyone else. Secondly, you know you'll get world class mix production, that's why my work has been nominated for the Mercury, MOBO and Grammy Awards. When I mix I use all my musical, technical and produciton knowledge - I don't just push buttons. But most importantly, my ethos for mixing is the same as producing - it's your music so you get the final say. I'm always happy to take feed back, tweak mixes and revist work until you're totally happy with it.

Mastering

Mastering isn't just making stuff louder, it's the final stage of putting your ideas out into the world for all the hear, so it's just as important to get right as every stage before it. That's why I use Tom Leader; someone with years of experience, who can make sure my work is at its best, and who allows me to stay creative and keep an overall perspective.

Tom Leader

I've worked with Tom since I started as an intern at Livingston Studios. Tom was the first mastering engineer I witnessed working his magic, making what I thought already sounded good sound even better. Since then I've worked with a few mastering engineers, all talented, but I've always come back to Tom. He has recording legend heritage and has made some phenominal records himself (his credits). But it's because he knows me and the music I love that he can makes them sound just how I want.

Rates

Below are a few options and rates for my mixing services. Get in touch and send me a rough mix of your work to get an accurate quote.

Online mixing

from £200/song

Attended Mixing

from £350/day

Master: Album

from 450

Master: Single

from 45/hr

Recording

Studio, Location, Abroad

Recording

I've recorded in many places in the time I've been an audio engineer, from Livingston, RAK, Metropolis and Fish Factory in London, The Nave in Leeds, Giant Wafer in Wales, Watercolour Music in Scotland, in Paris, Cuba, Sengal, Ghana and in a long list of rooms not specifically designed as studios.

 

I love finding new places to record, new ways to catpure sounds that musicans are making and new ways of making music. From recording everyone live with no headphones, to everyone in a separate room to everything overdubbed bit by bit. The challenge for me is to make sure the right energy is there when you listen back.

 

It doesn't matter where you think you'd like to record, I've probably recorded somewhere similar... or if not, when do we start? Churches in Ghana with sounds from the sound side, Churches in London, empty bungalows, old mills, front rooms, venues, you name it.

Mobile Studio

I'm not one for talking endlessly about gear, but I know the importance of know your tools well and know a good one from a bad one. Over the years I've built up a collection that I know well and I know what I can get from it... essentially a mobile studio to rival some perminant studios.

 

with 16 i/o into Pro Tools 12, as selection of industry standard and some quite tasty ribbon, dynamic and condenser microphones, 4 fold back feeds, a selection of outboard and all the stands and bits to go with it, all you need to do is pick the location and I can do the rest. Get in touch and we can build a studios somewhere weird.

 

Rates

Below are a few options and rates for my recording services. Get in touch and tell me about your project to get a more accurate quote.

Studio: (London)

from £300/day

Studio: UK & Abroad

from £250/day plus exp.

Location:

from £450/day

Contact

Get in touch with any questions

Get in touch

Sometimes, somethings can't be answered on a website, so if you've got any questions at all about how I can help you with your music, please get in touch with me at sonny@sonnyjohns.com