Producer Chris Fudurich is a man of many talents. With over 20+ years of experience in the music industry under his belt, Fudurich’s list of production and engineering credits reads like a who’s who of rock and pop — Nada Surf, Jimmy Eat World, Britney Spears, Simple Minds, and Matthew Sweet are but a sample of the talent he has produced or recorded since the early 2000s.
When Chris is not in the studio or working on his own music in Los Angeles, he’s out on the road handling FOH duties for bands like YES: Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman or Grouplove. We recently got a chance to chat with Chris while he was still on the road with YES: ARS to learn more about the pedals he likes to use when recording and mixing FOH. We also got to find out much more about his extensive musical history and new music project MODERNS. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a little bit about all you do and how you got your start?
Well, if we are going waaaay back, I started off in bands and an interest in synthesizers, which led to recording in studios, which in turn led to being interested in the recording process and production. I got into a studio as an assistant engineer way back in the analog tape / early digital days. One of my first gigs was with the writers and musicians from Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club. From there, I kept meeting and working with other well known engineers and producers that I respected and picked up an education along the way. In the early 2000’s, I got a call from a label asking if I’d be interested in producing a record, which I figured, sure why not!
I kinda got known for doing records in the punk pop, ska, and emo genre, which wasn’t anything that I listened to, but seemed to do a decent job of engineering, producing, and mixing. I had a few records with Finch, Allister, and RX Bandits under my belt when I ended up accidentally producing a record called Let Go from a band called Nada Surf. I had engineered for them on a previous record and the producer slated to do the next album was unavailable. As progress happens, I got into more of the songwriting aspect and have been doing a lot of commercial music over the past few years while doing odd industry related things such as co-managing a band that was signed to Capitol. They didn’t have a FOH and as I had audio experience, I kinda got into it from that which has now turned into what I’ve been doing seriously for the past couple of years.
You’ve been out on the road mixing sound for YES: Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman and it looks like you’re using BigSky in your setup – can you walk us through how you’re using it?
Digital consoles have made everything super convenient for mixing live — easy snapshots, recall of your settings, etc. One thing that any digital console I’ve been on doesn’t have is a convincing reverb. None of them have the depth and width that I’d get with studio gear. With YES feat ARW, over the summer we had a lot of tours and fly dates in the UK, Europe, and Japan and a lot of information was unknown until last minute as far as what I’d be able to mix on and gear I’d have or not have access to. For Jon’s voice, I needed a consistent quality reverb. The first time I heard a BigSky and everything it could do, I fell in love with it. It’s a super dimensional sound I could throw in my backpack and have available at every show.
How does this differ from the way you’re using it with the band Grouplove?
With Grouplove, I’m using it more as a vocal effect for some trails and washes for certain songs. With YES, it is one patch that I use and vary the send to it. On Grouplove, I use the knobs to change up the sounds in real time depending on what the singers are doing.
How did you end up working with the Anderson/Rabin/Wakeman tour? How’s the tour been going so far?
One of the founders of Grouplove came from the band that I had managed whose father just happens to be Trevor Rabin. Back in early 2016, Trevor had told me the ARW incarnation of YES was getting together to do some touring late in 2016 and would l be interested in mixing them. I was beyond honored to be asked to mix a band of that caliber, but I had already committed to a fall tour with GL. Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, at the end of that run, the singer of GL had blown her voice out and a lot of shows were canceled so my schedule became open. A quick email to Trevor combined with a mixer they weren’t quite vibing with led me to being under their employ this past year.
You also create and produce your own music here in Los Angeles. How are you using BigSky in your studio?
Yes! I started a little synth project with a friend a couple of years ago which ended up morphing into MODERNS. Being an analog synth collector and enthusiast, I like plugging gear together and getting the sound on the way in to the computer. The BigSky and TimeLine are the first things I grab when plugging stuff together to get creative!
Any plans to record or perform again soon with Rosie Okumura as MODERNS? How did that collaboration come about?
I am always creating when I can at home and even on days off whilst on tour. I have a small rig I travel with consisting of an Arturia controller, RME interface and the BigSky and TimeLine. We are getting another batch of songs ready as I write this. Definitely would love to play some more shows, but with being out touring, it’s been a little hard to schedule that. Definitely will be doing something in Los Angeles in January, maybe sooner.
Rosie and I met through a mutual friend in a band I was producing. We hit it off as friends and I found out she could sing. Initially, we had worked on a few commercial songs for Killer Tracks, which people kinda flipped over her voice when we were done. Things were getting a little stagnant with the synth project, so I had asked her if she’d be interested in adding her vocals to what we were doing and here we are!
If you had one recommendation or piece of advice for someone just starting to put together a home studio, what would it be?
Make sure you have a good sounding room to listen and mix in. Spend time and money on getting good quality sound control. Your mixes will thank you later.