Q+A: Chris Tabron
Meet Chris Tabron.
Multi-platinum winning record producer and master mixer for the likes of Beyoncé, Common, Mary J Blige under the moniker Madison Avenue Girls & chief engineer at Red Bull Studios New York.
What DAW do you work in?
Pro Tools almost exclusively. I use Ableton or my OP-1 for quick ideas, too, but most of the time bounce out stems into Pro Tools fairly quickly. I’m really fast at PT at this point and find it’s the shortest distance between an idea coming out of the speakers.
Your go-to source of inspiration?
I find New York City a really inspiring place. I’ve lived in a lot of places, but there’s something uniquely inspiring about being in a city with such a diversity of people, and ways of engaging the world. Sometimes when I’m people watching, I’ll pick a random person and make up their entire life story in my head… it’s worked more than a few times for song lyrics!
What’s the last album or song you’ve listened to?
Man, I’ve had Jeff Parker’s The New Breed on heavy rotation since the summer. I usually listen to jazz records at home when I’m trying to unplug.
For whatever reason — I’m able to hand myself over to the listening experience without my brain trying to pick apart the DNA of how they got a sound or figuring out a chord the way I do with pop records.
What instrument is usually your starting point?
I usually end up playing a bunch of different instruments on my productions, but I’d say I usually sing or hum an idea into my phone or whatever mic is sitting around so I remember the idea. My singing is certainly not for public consumption these days, but it’s the quickest way for me to get the melodic structure of a song down right away and not get distracted by technical things.
I refer to that scratch vocal track as I’m building a song and it’s there to keep me honest to the original idea. I’ll also beatbox drum parts or sing synth lead lines, too – so I don’t waste time finding a patch and forget the idea.
What is your favorite Output product?
Exhale is phenomenal. I’ve actually made a bunch of patches that I’ve just rendered to audio. I treat it as a sample bank and re-chop it or whatever.
It’s really easy to get great sounds right away out of it, and it’s also accessible to someone like me who’s always looking for ways to mangle and shred sounds.
Do you have a favorite tempo?
Hmm… that’s a tough one! Can I cheat and say ‘andante’?
What is your favorite emoji?
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