Plugin Alliance: First Off, where did you come up with the pseudonym “Khaliq-O-Vision”?
Khaliq Glover: I was actually given the name Khaliqovision by an engineer, one of my mentors, named Humberto Gatica who was David Foster's go-to engineer for some of the biggest hits of his career.
I was still pretty new and we were in Studio A one day and out of the blue Humberto just said "hey Khaliqovision go do… for me” and from then on it just stuck.
Anybody who is old enough to remember it, there was an old-school video game console called Colecovision that had such classics as Donkey Kong, Burger Time, and Q-Bert.
I wasn't sure if I liked it at first but then I thought that it was great for branding to make my name stand out on records credits instead of just another usual name.
PA: What were some of you early musical influences?
KG: Sly and the Family Stone, Earth Wind and Fire, Yes, Prince, P-Funk, The Isley Brothers, and anybody who could bring the funk. I was always into funk music. Also, not to forget most Motown artists, especially Stevie wonder. He changed the game for me. I wore out every song on every album back in the day.
Also, jazz guitarist George Benson was from Pittsburgh and he was a hometown legend who became a huge star, so I always looked up to him, even though I didn't understand jazz at the time. Plus other guitar players like Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Cropper, Jeff Beck, Jimmy page, Grant Green, Roy Buchanan, Frank Zappa, and a whole slew of different influences.
PA: Did you play music growing up?
KG: Yes, I started playing guitar when I was around 14 or 15 and I was forever hooked. I also dabbled in keyboards, bass, and drums a bit. Just enough to get my ideas down so I could learn to write songs.
PA: How did you break into the music industry?
KG: I broke into the professional music industry quite by accident after playing in local bands and doing club dates in Pittsburgh.
I came to California with a band called Pyramid and we drove across the country from Pittsburgh to get to L.A. We did pretty good as a band for a little while but I eventually decided to leave and come up with a different plan for myself.
I went back to Pittsburgh and worked with a couple of different local bands and decided that I had to come back to LA if I was serious about trying to make it, or be forever stuck. Only one person, my ex-wife, who was an awesome singer, had the courage to come with me. So again, we made the trip across the country.
The two of us were always writing songs. My drum set was my suitcase. It made a mean Kick Drum. We ran across these guys that had a publishing and management company who wanted to sign us and they had a garage studio full of brand new Tascam equipment that they really didn't know how to use.
They told me we could use the studio to write and record our songs if I learned how to use the equipment so I dug into the manuals and started learning how to record.
They had a friend named Jay who came by their studio periodically and he happened to be an engineer. He helped me figure some things out and watched me teach myself for almost 2 years and one day he came to me and said that there was an opening at Lion Share Studios, which was owned by country music legend Kenny Rogers, and would I be interested in learning about engineering?
I had never even considered the thought of being an engineer, I wanted to be a musician and producer, but this was an opportunity of a lifetime to get inside a real professional studio so I said yes.
I was totally fascinated and I spent long hours learning everything I could, even when I was off the clock and not being paid, and people were watching my passion.
After about six months, different people started requesting me on sessions to help out because I was always there helping out anyway. Plus, I got assigned to engineer a few demo sessions pretty quickly to since they had a publishing house and a lot of songwriters were recording their demos there.
PA: You were an engineer on sessions for the “We Are The World” song written by Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie and Stevie Wonder. What were some of your favorite moments from those sessions?
KG: One of my favorite moments while working on “We Are The World” was watching Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones discussing the lyrics and make changes in real time. I got to hear their thought process of WHY they were making the changes and that was a MasterClass in songwriting that you can't buy anywhere.
Also, even though Michael Jackson is now passed, I was “haunted” by him while he was alive… Let me explain. One day while I was in Studio A getting some equipment and cables I heard this ghostly sound by me going "wooo, wooo – like a ghost" and when I turned around startled, I saw Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’ young daughter underneath the grand piano cracking up laughing. It was so funny and special because I can say that I got pranked by Michael Jackson. That is a great memory for me.
PA: What are your strategies for determining what needs to be 'cut' or 'changed' in a production?
KG: I think that space and silence are just as important as any sound in creating a balance and contrast between the two so that it plays with your emotions. It is the ultimate key to the biggest hit songs that connect emotionally. Also, finding the core groove to any song and never letting it get hidden by the embellishments.
In other words, I try to make sure that whenever I add a new element, it never competes, waters down, or dilutes the core groove. This can be achieved by using EQ, level adjustment, dynamics control, or effects processing. Also, not being afraid to use the mute button or simply cut out parts that are competing and fighting. Space and contrast is supreme.
PA: How has the music industry changed since you started your career, where do you see it going, and where would you like to see it go?
KG: The music industry is changed dramatically since I first started. I love that I grew up in a very special time in music to see where it all came from, and witness where it is now, and where it's going. There will never be another time like those special formative decades of our industry and everyone who is too young can never fully appreciate what it was like to see and hear these things invented, not copied or sampled, firsthand.
That being said, I'm kind of excited because I actually see music going full circle in a cycle. Have you noticed that we are kind of getting a lot of throwback-style music now that really captures the spirit of old-school music mixed with new.
“Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars is just off the chain. And there are a lot of other examples of old-school grooves being given a new twist by young artists and producers. Plus the exciting thing for me is that the SPIRIT of the music is still there.
The one thing I would like to see happen is that even though we have wonderful technology that allows us to do almost anything we can imagine, there's something to be said for just capturing a performance and not correcting every little thing. I still think that it is well worth it to sing the best performance you can and only THEN Autotune just a few things, if needed. I also still think that it feels better to have a few timing discrepancies that keep music humanized and not too perfect. To me, that's where the life and soul is.
PA: When did you join the Alliance?
KG: I actually reached out to Dirk a couple years ago when I was working on Michael Jackson's posthumous album and I thought his Brainworx plug-ins were amazing. I even made a quick-start PDF file for him to give away to his customers because I was so impressed. Before using his plug-ins, I was doing MS processing manually, multing or duplicating the audio and doing phase reversal techniques.
PA: What are your favorite Plugin Alliance plugins and how do you use them?
KG: I also had owned the hardware versions of various SPL and Maag processors so I had to make use of the plug-in versions. It is so much more convenient and still sounds great. They help me separate out the details without having to fight to get it sounding right.
I just love the Brainworx bx_digital V2 which is the first thing I got turned on to and then made the Quick-Start PDF for it. I also love the whole Brainworx plugin suite, especially the bx_limiter. Plus, the bx_control V2 is so convenient to control the spread of stems and whole mixes without have to manually set things up any more. I heart them all. :-)
I also used to own an SPL 4 channel Transient Designer outboard unit and the EQ3 hardware outboard unit and I really love that Maag has come back to the rescue because the hardware box was my secret weapon.
I have used the Vitalizer hardware before so I go to the plugin to let it do it's special magic to give some character and edge when needed.
PA: If you had to be limited to one type of audio effect or process (i.e. EQ, Compressor, Reverb etc.), what would you pick?
If I had to be limited to one thing it would be EQ because I could still use that to simulate compression by automating frequencies and I could even use it to create effects using combinations of duplicating tracks and moving them in time and playing with frequency and phase.
PA: When did you start the “Music Mixing Success Bootcamp” and “Vocal Recording Secrets” educational programs?
KG: My newest educational programs are the Music Mixing Success Bootcamp at MusicMixingSuccess.com, which is a live 2 day event that I have been having for the last three years. It focuses on how to achieve success in making your music the best he can be. I've had several Grammy winning top engineers as well as myself teaching in a hotel ballroom over a two day period. Great networking.
I also have a dedicated compressor program and a vocal mixing program as well as group and private coaching. I've been helping a lot of people behind the scenes over the last few years. In fact, one of my students recently sent me a video saying that he got a job working with Prince at Paisley Park and that I was a big part of helping him be prepared for the opportunity. That warmed my heart.
PA: What inspired you to begin teaching?
KG: It is my responsibility to pass it on and help others like I was helped. People are literally drowning in too much information so they are confused about which of the thousand options are correct. My experience helps them focus on what’s really important for a strong foundation.
PA: Will audio engineering be the sole focus of these courses?
KG: Mainly, but I also hold weekly Hangouts and Webinars and we also discuss everything under the sun related to music, career, and life. That is how we will stay fairly sane in this industry.
PA: Where can people sign up for these courses?
KG: I am currently revamping all my courses so the best bet is to go to MusicMixingSuccess.com and get on my notification list. They can also go to CrushItCompressors.com if they are interested in my upcoming webinar course on compression.
PA: What is one piece of golden advice you would share with anyone trying to make it in the recording/engineering industry?
KG: Never give up. Never let anyone steal your dreams. And focus on MASTERY of foundational skills so that changes in technology won't matter and take you out of the game. You'll always be ready because you built a strong foundation.