By Daniella Kohavy
Time to imagine sitting in a tucked-away, smokey bar or outdoor café and enjoy a taste of some flamenco (with a hint of salsa). Miguel Espinoza’s cultivated Latin guitar rhythms are nothing short of romantic and enticing. Que rico! By the sound of it, he is truly an artist who makes music for the love of music.
Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” “rock,” or “hip-hop,” describe your sound.
Having a foundation in Flamenco, Latin Jazz and World Music to draw from, each recording project is distinctively different. I openly resist categories.
Describe your ideal studio environment.
My ideal studio environment is very much like my surroundings at home. A candlelit room, that is relaxing, inviting and peaceful. It is important for me to have these conditions in my life, in and out of the studio. It makes it easier to be creative, to compose and to be productive with my music.
What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration?
I have always found that I’m most inspired by nature. Driving to the mountains, going for a hike or camping. My six year old daughter Gabbi, Paco De Lucia, Maurice Ravel…to name a few.
I am also inspired by my own emotions. I can vividly remember when I was seven years old, standing in front of a speaker and classical music was playing. I was so emotionally transformed and inspired by what I was hearing that I started to weep. I have always considered my emotions and music the same thing; there is no difference.
How often do you try to put in studio time?
I think being in the studio is one of the most wonderful experiences a musician could have. If there were no time and budget restrictions, I would be in the studio as often as possible.
What kind of studio equipment do you use to record?
Pro-Tools/ a good condenser mic, simple sure SM57.
I have used an expensive condenser that cost thousands of dollars and I have been very happy using a simple sure SM57.
How do you approach recording a song?
I prefer having all the musicians coming in together, playing live. For example, when recording Barrio Latino—a composition from my most recent CD—I recorded it live, without a click track, so the crescendos would have more room to breathe. People tend to get too microscopic and punch in too many notes. The end result is that the spirit is lost and the music has a sterile feel to it.
What do you do if you’re trying to record and it’s just not working for you?
Take a break, go outside, get grounded, meditate, then come back and try again. Sometimes when you’re rushed and when you have a small budget, it leaves you little room to redo one song over and over. Sometimes you just need to step away for a few minutes, maybe drink a beer. Again, getting grounding, meditating, and clearing my mind is what helps me.
How do you know when it’s right?
The criteria for me, is the emotional impact that the music evokes. Rather than the music being played flawlessly and seeking perfection.
Daniella Kohavy is a music enthusiast and creator/writer of the blog www.wanderfunk.com