Hiram Hernandez is an American musician, songwriter, audio engineer and record producer. He has produced, engineered, written, and/or mixed tracks for As I Lay Dying, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Eyes Set To Kill, Craig Owens, Jared Dines, Dragged Under, AVOID and more.
How did you get into producing? / How did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
Well it kinda started out of necessity for me to get all these ideas I had out. After my dad passed, he left me an old Marantz tape deck and I somehow figured out how to jimmy rig it so I could hear my ideas back. I think I used a pair of headphones and plugged them in while I played a guitar amp and started singing. Then somehow figured out that if I blast volume into them, noise came into the recorder. It still actually blows my mind how I figured that out. I was about 12 or 13 at the time. Ever since then, I was obsessed. That turned into finally having a PC computer that had some sort of really cheap Dell pencil desktop mic, and I would record a guitar amp into Mixcraft or something really weird like that. Lets just say IT’S BEEN A JOURNEY.
Do you have a producer/role model that you look up to?
I don’t think there’s a specific one, rather a few really key players that have shaped me thus far. John Feldman for his ability to make pop sensibility, rock, and the way he made his mixes sound was just so insane. Story Of The Year and The Used, namely, just sounded like the band was playing right in front of your face. Even to today’s standards it holds up in my opinion. Another big key player for me is Bob Rock for making heavy music accessible to the masses. Respectively, Jerry Finn for …..everything….
What is your favorite instrument to work with?
I start almost all of the songs I write with a guitar or a voice memo. With guitar being my primary instrument, that seems to be what gets everything going. Drums are probably my favorite though.
Who are your favorite bands/artists you’ve worked with & how do you work together?
Wait, am I allowed to have favorites?
What is one thing you wish people knew before coming to the studio?
To be able to understand that not every idea you come up with is necessarily going to be the idea that is going to be used. I think the whole mindset of going to a producer is to be able to let them collaborate as if they were a member of the band. You should be ready to hear every idea out and not get your feelings hurt if the collective decides yours wasn’t “it”. At the end of the day, the only way a song/album/whatever is going to be gratifying is if everyone in the room is stoked. Sometimes it’s instant, sometimes it takes a while. The important thing is just having an open mind.
What are some of your pet peeves around being a producer / the music industry in general?
I used to have a lot more starting out, but as I’ve grown I’ve realized that if I can be patient, there isn’t much that can bother me. The music industry and its growth is 9/10 a slow crawl of a race. From being in bands myself, to producing bands, that’s just something to be understood.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Seeing people light up. Legitimately, the feeling I get when someone is super stoked on a song beats out of any successes the project might gain (although that’s pretty fucking sweet). I just really enjoy seeing people proud of the record.
What is your favorite album of all time?
The Black Album, hands down. From songwriting, to production, to mix, the record is just unbelievable.
If you could go back in time and change one thing about any album that exists, what would it be and why?
Almost everything on every album I have ever done hahaha.