Interview With Chris Keup

Posted by The Audio Hunt

Chris Keup is a songwriter/ producer and owner of White Star Sound. He stands behind productions for Mercury Records, Warner Bros., Atlantic Records etc., and nearly a hundred independent projects.

Interview With Chris Keup

Chris Keup is a songwriter/ producer and owner of White Star Sound. He stands behind productions for Mercury Records, Warner Bros., Atlantic Records etc., and nearly a hundred independent projects. His songs have appeared in numerous TV shows and films including Grey's Anatomy, The O.C., American Idol, Jimmy Fallon, The Heartbreak Kid, One Tree Hill, and The Vampire Diaries. Chris is also the man who helped write and produce several of Jason Mraz's albums, including “Waiting For A Rocket To Come” and “Yes!” Keup’s hauntingly beautiful songwriting (which you'll also catch in his upcoming second solo album) has landed the award-winning lyricist comparisons to Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. Not bad for someone who usually spends most of his time behind the scenes. 

Today, Chris is talking to Studio Assistant about how he started his career as a music producer and lets us in on some of his current projects and favorite pieces of gear. 

Chris Keup

Studio Assistant: Hi Chris! Thanks for joining us today!
Chris: Hi Hunters!

Studio Assistant:  Tell us, how did you first start producing music?
Chris: I was in a band from the ages of about 18 to 21, and made several albums where I hired producers thinking the title meant what I now realize is an engineer. I thought the producer was the person who knew how to use the equipment as I certainly did not! Then another artist asked me to help her make an album. I hired the band, helped pick and write the songs, made the drum loops, chose tempos and keys and helped select which parts made the cut. The artist said: "Hey, I think you are the producer on this album". I was surprised but thought - if she's correct then this is what I want to do!


Studio Assistant: So what's your favorite stage in the music production process? 
Chris: For me it's probably the pre-production. As a songwriter first, making sure the bones of the song are prepared to support additional production is the part I take the most pride in.

Studio Assistant: Do you have a favorite piece of gear that you used recently? 
A converted Ampex 351 Preamp with an odd, non-stock transformer in it. It made things perfectly dark and edgy.

Ampex 351 Preamp

Studio Assistant: How about a piece of gear you no longer have access to that you miss when it comes to making music? 
Chris: An Optigan keyboard to instantly re-imagine a song.

Studio Assistant: We are sure you have a bucket-list piece of production equipment. Name one thing on it.
Chris: A Sony C37a mic imparts immediate mojo to any track. It also holds its own against any of the more revered - as in, expensive! - mics in the canon while leaving you resources for other toys.

Studio Assistant:  You definitely know your toys. On another note - let's talk influencers. Are there any other producers/ songwriters you're inspired by? 
Chris: I'm inspired by producers of all genres and time periods. An album I recently worked on, however, had me equally referencing Lou Reed's Transformer album and contemporary Spoon records.

Studio Assistant:  Can you share with us what you're working on at the moment? 
Chris: I'm working with a young artist from LA named Lena Fayre. She's a very talented and creative vocalist and writer. On the last batch of tunes, we brought in an eclectic group of collaborators including Matthew E. White and The Dirty Projectors' Olga Bell - and Lena held her own and performed superbly. I'm looking forward to seeing what we come up with this time.

Studio Assistant:  We are curious to see that, too! Well, thank you for this interview Chris! To wrap it up, how would you end the sentence: If I wasn't producing music, I'd be...
Chris: Earning a stable living!




Interview Producer