Jimmy has programmed over 3,000 songs! He is known for his "I can't believe it's not a real drummer!" drum programming. His LINN 9000 expertise is the key to the "feel" he is known for having in his professionally programmed tracks. He understands how to use MIDI instruments together in ways that sound as if a complete recording session was done in parallel.
Hunter uses a variety of sampled library sounds in MIDI situations coupled with samples from his own personal studio kit to get the amazing drum sounds he's known for. His kick drums are awesome and the toms are rich and commanding. The snares can cut through a wall of guitars and dictate the "you can't lose it" backbeat like Roman soldiers marching into Babylon.
Jimmy has the ability to get inside tracks and create inspired string arrangments that truly serve the song. He knows how to do proper brass arrangements from marching bands to Tower of Power type licks and intuitively knows how to keep things from going overboard or sounding too "over-produced."
You can read about Jimmy Hunter's prowess on his machinery in the two feature Music Connection articles which have been done on him below.
Music Connection Close-Up: Jimmy Hunter
By Maxine Hillary J.
I usually don't like drum machines; I suppose a lot of musicians don't either. They remind me of cheesy dance music. There're loathsome, because they sound contrived, and they've pulled the delicately woven security blanket our from under a lot of studio drummers . . . at least some of them.
Jimmy Hunter used to be a studio drummer. He also used to play live, but not anymore. Now he runs his own recording studio and programs a LINN 9000 drum machine to lay drum tracks for his clients. Hunter sees it as a pleasant alternative to a lifestyle that makes living on the proverbial edge mean hanging on with only one hand.
"I've had a career as a drummer," he explains. "I was playing in five bands at the same time, trying to stay working. It I didn't get myself in a signed rock group, I'd go down to Downey and play country & western gigs or put on a tuxedo and play a lounge . . . I'm not ashamed to be a mercenary."
During the mid-seventies and early Eighties, Hunter performed as a session musician, making records for Explorer, Nick Gilder and the Village People, to name a few. His career looked secure until programmed sound moved into the studio.
Spotting and opportunity at its beginnings, Hunter learned to use drum machines, and instead of hitting the bread lines, he tapped into the bread line. "I worked seven days a week. I have to fight to get a day to go do something. I'm booked two or three weeks in advance generally. I'm working, and I'm going to work into my forties on this box. I have a career."
While some may see Hunter's newfound vocation as a cop-out to being an onstage musician, Hunter sees it as another way to be creative. Using his LINN 9000, he can do things that a conventional drum kit can't come close to. "I can make this machine sound like me on the best day of my life," he says. "In ten minutes, I can give you a drum sound that would take six hours to get on a drum kit, and by the time you'd get the drum sound you wanted, wouldn't be able to play anymore because you'd be tired and your drum head would've worn off. Then you have to change the head and start getting the sound all over again. This is why, in 1990 it's better to use drum machines (in the studio)."
Closing the subject on whether or not he's still a musician, Hunter offers, "I work at music; this is what I do. I 'm not trying to get a record deal. The loud music just make me have more ear problems. I'm trying to save my ears for mixing."
Not that Jimmy Hunter forbids live drumming in his studio. On the contrary, if you're good, you can even help. But you'd better be able to impress upon him the worth of you kit. "A drummer's going to have to be very tasteful. I wouldn't even work with anybody who's intimidated by it.
Hunter claims that the Linn 9000 drum machine had a bad reputation early on because of bad software, but the machine is currently the best on the market to date. The machine also does voice samples, and because of this, his studio is a practical choice for singers who want to cut demos.
Along with his drum machines, Jimmy Hunter also plays drums and keyboards and is networked into a readily available bevy of session players to help with the other musical tasks.
Attracting bands from as far away as Northern California as well as major label artists and songwriters, Hunter's an active producer-engineer who advises people to stay away from him if they are only looking for a button pusher. Attests Hunter, "I'm an active engineer. I like to be creative with the music. I'm completely involved in the production of the song. This is the wrong place for anybody who doesn't want that. It's too frustrating for me."
Both a producer and an engineer, Hunter claims to be a drum programmer first and foremost. He doesn't miss live playing and looks forward to the variety of music that comes through the doors of his studio. He takes pride in being able to achieve the best sound in the least amount of time and with the least amount of money. If you have a song idea, maybe a tune you conceived on the freeway, Hunter can make it a bonafide song, and once it's on tape, it's yours to do with as you please. Just give Hunter the chance to do what he does best on the machine that he loves the most-the Linn 9000. "I have over 25, 000 hours on this box. I know this machine. I've probably played it more hours than most people because I've had it since its conception. You hear it on records every time you turn on the radio."
Hunter can be reached at (323) 655-0615.
By Sean Doles
Since the early Eighties, when the Linn 9000 burst onto the scene and revolutionized the recording industry, electronic drum programming has become an integral part of creating quality, cost-effective music. Now, after more than a decade and despite a growing "retro" movement and its recent trend towards more live playing, electronic drums and the people who program them have proven their worth and appear here to say.
Freelance programmer Jimmy Hunter, who has been a staunch proponent of the Linn 9000 since its early days, is even more adamant about the talents of the machine that, he says, drove him out of a career as a session musician drummer eight years ago.
"I don't think I could get the kind of drum sound that'll match the sounds I have in my library," says Hunter, who before opening his own Cazador Studio, played on albums with the Village People, Nick Gilder and Flo & Eddie. "I've got a snare drum sound that would take you six hours to match in a studio, and by the time you got that sound, the head would be thrashed becaue it took the engineer that long to make it sound so good."
Hunter agrees, claiming that a drummer is going to make a better drum programmer than would, say , a keyboard player. But he also does not hesitate to take advantage of the expanded capabilities of his machine.
"With drum programming, you have preferences and you have options and you have choices to make," he says. "And often it's not my choice, it's the producer's choice. Do we want to fool the listener or do we want to have three snare drums in there to make it sound good. The bottom line is, does the record sound killer?"
"My intention is to put the passion into my drum programming that I put into my drumming," sums up Hunter. "And believe me, I do. And after eight years of working exclusively as a programmer and producer, I love it every bit as much as I loved playing live."
© Copyright 2007 Jimmy Hunter. All rights reserved.