SAFETY HARBOR, FLORIDA – APRIL 2017: Not so long ago, Callum Baker was something of a child prodigy who was magnetically drawn to the beauties and mysteries of music. He found an early outlet for those passions playing cover shows with his older brother in New South Wales, Australia, and later formed the still-active band “Bliis” with him. “I was seventeen when I dropped out of high school and moved to Sydney to focus on my work within the music industry and to develop my craft as a songwriter,” he said. “I really fell in love with the art of pop songwriting and pop production. I was hooked by the simplicity of arrangements and the huge amount of focus that it took to make a great song, and so I traveled to different studios every week to work with new writers and producers. But as I learned the art of writing, I also learned how important engineering and production were in fully realizing the vision of a song.”
Thus, Baker enrolled in the JMC Academy, a leading Australian creative-industries college, based on his obvious passion and aptitude (and despite his lack of high school credentials!). He graduated with Bachelor in Audio Engineering & Sound Production and cut his teeth making countless recordings for himself and his friends, all the while continuing to work on his songwriting skills. Now only a few years out, Baker writes and produces based out of Bulletin Place Studios in Sydney and at various locations in Los Angeles, California. He recently finished up Bliis’ EP Midnight Fantasy, is deep inside projects with Atlanta producer BL$$D, and is working with a range of producers and songwriters on catalog material for international pop & hip-hop artists.
Baker got turned onto Metric Halo’s flagship plug-in, ChannelStrip, while he was working recently in Los Angeles. “Everyone was using it, and on top of that, I heard that Serban Ghenea and Dr. Luke were both big fans of Metric Halo,” he said. “Because I’m a huge fan of both of those guys, I grabbed the demo and fell in love. My favorite thing about the Metric Halo plug-ins is that they sound good, fast! When I’m producing, it’s important that I stay in a creative space and not get stuck down in getting things sounding perfect too early on. With the Metric Halo plug-ins I’m able to get everything sounding fantastic super quick.”
That’s important because what excites Baker most about making music is the creation of something new – the technology is only a means to that end. It shouldn’t, in Baker’s view, get in the way of the creative process. “I love leaving the studio with a record, when before we started we might not of even had the idea!” he said. “Music is an incredible expression and I like to share the creative process. Collaboration is a huge part of what gets me excited in the studio. There’s something about getting everyone on the same wavelength and putting our minds together that I’m a big believer in.”
He continued, “ChannelStrip could be my favorite plugin ever! It sounds like a million bucks and has become an integral part of my production and mixing workflow. There is nothing on the market that even comes close to sounding as great as ChannelStrip. It has such an unbelievably beautiful character for a plug-in channel strip that others just have not been able to capture. It is so transparent and always complements the sound and never becomes too digital or too falsely colored.”
Metric Halo ChannelStrip lets Baker configure his in-the-box workflow to feel like an out-of-the-box workflow. “Because it sounds so great I know I can just load it up on every track and get working with the fundamentals on each sound. The compressor is by far my favorite sounding plug-in compressor. I use it on everything but I especially love the way it tucks back low frequencies and gives everything a natural character. I’m especially fond of the ‘Smooth’ compressor type, and I’m able to push the compressor to make certain parts become ‘small’. This is really hard to do without making it sound squashed, but ChannelStrip sounds great when I use it like this.”
Baker works remotely as often as not. “When I’m in the studio, I love to track into Pro Tools through some old outboard gear,” he said. “But when I’m on the go, I have to go straight from my digital interface into Pro Tools. I really love using the California presets within the Metric Halo Character plug-in to give my recordings some color when they sound a little too clean. All of the presets are subtly unique and complement the sound. I’ve found that other manufacturers’ ‘coloring’ plug-ins add too much and thus take away from the sound. In contrast, going through Metric Halo Character complements the track in a natural and distinctive way.”
Baker has also put Metric Halo’s Dirty Delay plug-in to great use. “I went from using long, complex delay auxiliary channels to just using Dirty Delay on my sends,” he said. “I especially love using the drive feature, which sounds so unique. It’s got so much more character than just running my delay through a distortion. I’m using the drive a lot to sit back delays that are sticking out too much just by adding more harmonics and allowing them to blend in with the other instrumentation.”
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Based on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Metric Halo provides the world with award-winning software and hardware recording, processing, metering and analysis solutions.