Interview with Alex Prieto
Alex Prieto is an American producer/engineer based in New York. He has worked alongside David Bendeth, Dan Korneff, Alex Newport and the late Kato Khandwala.
Some of the artists Alex has worked with include Papa Roach, Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens, Hands Like Houses, Basement and many more.
How and when did you get started?
Probably 16-17 when I started doing live sound and got an internship at a big union theater. I honestly thought I was going to do Broadway sound. 14 piece bands, 40 actors, crazy cues. It all seemed very exciting to me at the time. I ended up going to college in Boston, I played in a few bands, got signed, and toured. I was mentored by Susan Rogers (Prince, David Byrne) and decided to quit the band to focus on the studio side of things. I was working as an independent producer/engineer in Boston for a while, then decided to move back to Jersey and started interning (AGAIN! haha) at House of Loud for David Bendeth, Dan Korneff, Kato Khandwala (R.I.P. Brownsound) and John Bender. I ended up working for Dan Korneff for 3-4 years as his engineer, did some assisting for Alex Newport. I ended up in LA a year ago.
What have you been working on lately (that you can divulge)?
I co-produced the new Hands Like Houses record, engineered the new Basement. I've been mixing for Bad Omens, Papa Roach, Mainland, and a few others things I would LOVE to talk about but can't just yet. I also did the audio for an animated show "Paradise PD" that will come out on Netflix on 8/31. That was a BLAST.
If you were the age that you originally started today, and you had to start again from scratch, how would you approach things?
Not too much differently. I started interning for people at 19, and I learned more of what actually went into making records from those guys/girls than what an institution can teach, but the schools give you the leg up on signal flow. I would probably learn to be more objective, more self-aware. Try to sit back, remove myself and ask "Does this suck?" and have the courage to be honest with myself.
It's the lumberjack, not the chainsaw.
What is the most important part of a song for you?
The complete thought, and the genuineness of the vocal performance. Everything in the song has to cater to that. I want to feel like the songwriter/vocalist had to sing the song, and get these emotions out like their life depended on it.
What is your favorite project that you've worked on?
Probably a record I did in 2011 with my old band Grass is Green. All live to tape, no click track (other than me conducting the band in the live room), no headphones, just going for it. That was special.
Who is an artist you would like to work with but haven't been able to yet?
Joywave or Kimbra.
Are you a big plugin user? If so, name some of your favorites!
What is one thing that you can't get your sound without? Hardware, software or whatever else.
The Soundtoys bundle, and my dog Raven.
Who are some of your favorite producers & engineers today?
Rich Costey, and Mark Rankin are my two top guys right now. Super versatile, and can jump genres seamlessly and always put out amazing sounding stuff.
The staples are always those two, Eric Valentine, Dan Korneff, Randy Staub, Serban Ghenea, aaaand I'm sure I'm forgetting some people.
What advice would you give to those new to the game?
It's a war of attrition. Keep your mouth shut, ears and eyes open. Think big and long game. Be patient and put the work and time in. Let yourself have fun and remember to enjoy those special moments. Figure out what makes you special.
Outside of your day job, what music have you been listening to lately?
Billie Eilish, Joywave, Julian Baker, Dreamers, Slothrust, Ovlov, Boards of Canada, Trap Them.
Thanks to Alex for answering our questions. Check out some of his work in the Spotify playlist below!