At World Record Productions, the production of a song is never quite finished, figuratively speaking that is. Songs, of course, reach a comfortable completion point and even earn accolades – including a Top 40 hit in 2007 – yet still James Harley obsesses about ways to improve and find that musical utopia.
Passion and drive are contagious and addictive. Lofty goals encourage other lofty goals – Per project, per band, per song.
Harley uses one-word descriptors when he expands upon the path to a perfect song: “Intense. Satisfying. Grueling. Instinctive.”
In 1999, Harley started what would be a four-year stint at Mastermix and worked under engineer/mixer Tom Tucker (Lucinda Williams / Soul Asylum) as well as Desmond Child (Clay Aiken), David Bottrill (Mudvayne), Chris Kimsey (The Proclaimers) and Japanese mega-producer Masataka Matsutoya (Yumi Matsutoya).
Several years after the it’s start, the company has the freedom to be selective with projects but the principles have stayed the same. In fact, with the added toys behind the board, more complex approaches from artists and an ever-competitive music industry, the focus on the original company mission is stronger now than ever. “Million-dollar music no matter the project agreement.”
The underlying principle is the same today as it was the first day: No matter the project budget, the finished product should sound like all the money in the world. Put plainly, big ideas know no fences. World Record Productions.
In a time of difficult-to-describe music and unpredictable decision-makers, the ear of the fan has never been more important. World Record Productions takes a full-circle approach to a project with that fan in mind. “It’s all about research. Spending hours online, at their shows or cranking demos in the car. Indulge in the band. Realize that down-the-line a new fan will be doing the same. I want to help make that experience even better.”
That tight approach helps bring focus to the band too. “Making a record is 50 percent mental and 50 percent physical. Bands have a pretty good idea what record they want to make. They have certain influences. I help them see through the music and develop good recording habits,” Harley says.
Today, World Record Productions has a healthy list of accomplishments from doing a Radio and Record Top 30 hit with Minneapolis pop-rockers Quietdrive for “Time After Time” from their album When All That’s Left Is You and the theme for NBC’s America’s Toughest Jobs with The SuperSuckers, engineering Prince’s 20Ten, as well as the recent success of New Medicine’s hit “Race You To The Bottom”.
A proud result and happy band culminates everything.
“Listening back to what we’ve all created and watching the band freak out is what it’s all about. That experience pretty much encompasses the project.”