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Carmen Rizzo is a record producer, mixer, programmer, DJ, and artist based in Los Angeles, CA who has worked with artists including Huun Huur Tu, Coldplay, Paul Oakenfold, Alanis Morissette, Seal, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Pete Townshend, Niyaz and Tiesto. A two-time Grammy nominee, Rizzo’s own music has appeared in movies and TV shows including CSI Miami and True Blood. GPS caught up with him between recording sessions and his position as head of Artist Relations for Native Instruments in North America for our exclusive ’10 Questions’.
1. Favorite destination country outside of the US?
Well, I absolutely love to travel so that’s a tough one! I would say Croatia (Dalmatian coastline), Prague, anywhere in Eastern Europe or The Balkans, and of course Montreal!
2. Best breakfast spot in DTLA?
My house! I cook all meals so I actually don’t go out for breakfast very often…
3. All time favorite compressors in the studio (one digital, one analog)?
Analog: DBX 165 A, I own 2 and love them for pretty much everything. Digital: So many to choose from. There are many great plugins that simulate all the analog classics, but for some reason my go-to is the Avid Pro Compressor. It just works.
4. What is your favorite part of working with Native Instruments?
So, as you may know I am head of Artist Relations for Native Instruments (NI) in North America. I just love nerding out technically and musically, so it’s the best of both worlds. I also hang out with amazing music makers of all type, the young guns and the legends on the same day. If you would see who I see on a regular basis it’s kind of embarrassing in a good way. So I’m happy for the opportunity and happy to bring my knowledge & experience to NI.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not working in the studio?
Play Baseball, garden and spend time with my kids.
6. Who is the most inspiring person you’ve collaborated with?
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Grant Lee Phillips. They both blew my mind.
7. Favorite iPad audio program?
So many!! Lemur is my #1, I can’t work with out it and make my own templates with it. AniMoog, Borderlands, Pro Tools IPad controller, Moog Model 15, Kompaktor are also great, to mention a few. It’s quite incredible that the iPad is such a powerful tool. It’s a shame more people don’t use it more often, and now with Studiomux it works in perfect harmony with most desktop DAWS.
8. What’s a typical day in the life of Carmen Rizzo like?
I live DTLA so lots of walking, trains and bike riding are involved in my daily routine. My position at NI keeps me very busy. Around that, I am regularly in my studio making music. Then, of course, I still travel an awful a lot: both for NI and my own career.
9. If you could work with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
So many. Erik Satie, Trentemoller, Serge Gainsbourg, Ravi Shankar.
10. If you could go back in time and work during any decade of music, which would it be?
Late 1920’s early 1930, the sort of Edith Piaf, Billy Holiday era.