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The Musician's Producer is a Musician

Have you ever wondered what a musician feels like before they’re about to go work with producer Ronan Chris Murphy? STOKED! 

As Willie Oteri has said time and time again, the greatest musicians out there are always the easiest ones to work with and this holds true for producer Ronan Chris Murphy. “Not often we musicians get a response from a producer who has worked with some of our favorite musicians.” says Oteri. He flew out to Marina Del Rey near Los Angeles just a few days after talking with Murphy for the first time in his life. It was a very intense experience for Oteri. This was the first time he would work with a big name producer who had worked with guys from Frank Zappa, Deep Purple, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon and Pink Floyd.” I asked Oteri how he prepared to meet Murphy, “Wow, I practiced my ass off,” said Oteri and, “I read as much about his productions as I could find.” Oteri admits that he was more than a little apprehensive and really didn’t know what to expect. He dealt with it by getting himself into an open minded state with a “Let’s see what happens” attitude. Despite the initial apprehension Oteri says, “after meeting him in person it was back to two musicians mind melding.” Ronan Chris Murphy

Oteri’s original vision of the album was less organic then what it became. He had planned on using loops and drum machines to save on money, but once Murphy stepped in they had Tony Levin on bass and Pat Mastelotto on drums. “After that,” says Oteri, “It became obvious that it would be more improvised. It worked out great!” Willie Oteri called the album Spiral Out, and Willie Oteri’s Spiral Out also featured Mike Keneally on keys, Ephraim Owens on trumpet, and Ronan Chris Murphy on keys too.

I asked Oteri if there was a difference working with Ronan Chris Murphy the producer and Ronan Chris Murphy the musician, “Not really,” says Oteri, “he’s very open in both areas. He’s always about the music first. Ronan is very easy to work with and has good communication skills I think because he is also a musician. He does of course have his opinions about things but never too pushy about it. He has great vision and perspective.”

As with all things, it was the beginning. Oteri and Murphy did some recordings together in Italy while they both worked the same bill of shows, including the 45 Hour Super Sessions. We may get to hear them in a future project. “I just worked with him recently in Austin with Dave Laczko for an upcoming album by Kathleen Blackwell.” says Oteri.  

I asked Oteri what advice he had for up and coming musicians who want to work with a top producer like Ronan Chris Murphy, “Have your chops together,” Oteri said, “keep an open mind. Don’t get too pushy or fling your ego around during the process. Remember that nothing is guaranteed in life, it’s all about the music.”

-Article written by KD Neeley

Ronan Chris Murphy (producer and musician): Ronan Chris Murphy producer / engineer and owner of Veneto West Studios in Los Angeles. "I've worked with him off and on for 15 years or so. Super nice guy." -Willie Oteri
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