My name is Jacques Mario Gentil and I run the Magesongs School Of Songwriting together with a publishing company, Magesongs Publishing affiliated with ASCAP Whilst my focus is on songwriting, I believe a great production is the golden platter on which a hit song has to be delivered.  Even before pitching to a major artist or A&R, we need to get the song as close as possible to what we believe to be a finished product.  The more polished a demo is, the more likely it is to become more than just a demo.
Our process can start with an idea, a title, or a particular artist we are targeting and what they may be going through in their life.  Whilst I tend to focus my students on a step-by-step approach to songwriting, I already have some ideas on how a song should sound very early on, particularly those targeted towards a specific artist, with their style in mind.  Arrangements are very important in targeting a song, and we will research a genre or artist to determine what is most likely to grab the audience attention and help the song become a hit.

It was always my aim to have a mix as radio friendly as possible from the outset, as I believed that sending a 'rough demo' quality track to a label was the quickest way for it to make it be thrown into the discard bin.

To this end we spent many hours in Cubase and Cakewalk getting arrangements just right.  But we didn't really master our tracks in house as the plug-ins or processor power just weren't available to do it in real time.  Taking the mixed track to professional mastering houses did yield some benefit but proved costly where we could spend many times more money on the mastering than we did on the track itself.  And then we could not change the track at a later time without having to go through the mastering time and expense all over again.

In my business I found we would need several different types of mixes for a single song depending on the pitch, so third party mastering became a huge overhead. 

Then a few years ago, I worked on some productions in a Scope assisted studio and realized how important this technology could become, above and beyond what could be achieved on computers with host processing only.  It was then that it became clearer to me that with DSP assisted production, that great sounding masters could be achieved in-house very quickly often within the same sessions as our recording and mixdown.

The finalizing technology used in expensive studios was now available to private and home studios at a price we could afford.  Multiband compression, limiters, classic sounding valve EQ processing and even some track level plug-ins could now bring our songs to a more polished level.  I was sold on the benefits of DSP and on the flexibility of Scope as the producer showed me how these devices could be used.

Our showcase track 'Count On Me' was one of the first tracks on which I used a Scope system for the complete process of recording and mastering.

Mario Gentil September 2010

Count On Me (Gentil/Murphy). Vocals: Virginia Purton