Pedro Calloni is a music producer. Yeah, I know I know, that term has wound up pretty amorphous these days. What the hell does a producer actually do, anyway?
Fear not, we’ve got Mr. Calloni here to break it down and give us a bit of an inside look.
“Music production is a very broad term nowadays, but I see it as realizing and enhancing and helping create an artistic vision, making sure all the steps along the way result in a compelling record.”
Who is this gentleman who has the answers to all our questions?
Originally from Rio de Janeiro, where he was a session drummer and multi-instrumentalist, Pedro relocated to the U.S. to pursue a career in music production and both studio and live performance. He lives in L.A. now, where Pedro has since emerged from a highly competitive market as one of the names to work with, much like a jungle explorer cutting through the brush to find a sunny peak. Calloni has been afforded a unique perspective thanks to his diverse musical upbringing and wide range of experience.
This week- he shared that perspective with us here at LNGFRM, removing some of the mystery around this complex work, as well as getting into what he’s been getting into lately on the professional side.
We were curious to know how he has managed to make a real name for himself in the industry. In keeping with the metaphor, what was the machete that helped Calloni to make it through many obstacles?
“I think finding a middle ground between being original and yet still relatable to a wide audience is key. Coming from a varied musical background has given me a wide palette when it comes to crafting sounds, and my background as a jazz musician translates into very original productions.”
Still being relatively new to LA as a whole, we wanted to know what his introduction to the city was like, and how that impression may have changed since then.
“I had visited LA as a student before and had a great impression, being close to the beach is definitely a plus. Now living here and being a part of the music industry. … I’m lucky to work at the legendary Village Studios, rated among the top 25 in the world according to Billboard Magazine. It is housed in a landmark former Masonic temple from 1922 and has hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Elton John, John Legend and many others I have also worked out of Sunset Sound quite a few times with producer Andrew Lappin.”
Success has been steady for Calloni out in the Golden State, including some very impressive credits with some of the best-known names in music of the last 20 years.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some great acts such as Mac Miller, Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, Playboi Carti. I feel like the breadth of genres if such artists is a good example of how my musical background allows me to comfortably work on such varied projects.”
But as enjoyable as those sessions have been for Calloni, nothing quite compares to the absolute rush of a live performance. We asked Calloni what his favorite aspect of a live show was.
“The feeling that once that performance is done, it’s gone forever. Even if it has been recorded, the energy and feel of playing live is very unique to that specific moment, and because of that it’s very thrilling.”
Ultimately, Calloni is a music fan first, having a long list of artists and albums who he’ll give any number of repeated listens, work that crosses the borders of genre and time period. And deciding on a favorite genre was definitely a challenge for him.
“As a performer, I’m very much into Jazz and the freshness and spontaneity of it. That said, my work as a mixer, engineer and producer has led to some amazing performances such as with Anitta live from the Billboard Headquarters in NY.”
Calloni carries with him an illustrious work history, as you’ve already seen. But out of all of those over the years, we wanted to know what his proudest project has been thus far.
“[It was] engineering on Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Come Tomorrow’ album, which peaked at number one. Working and being recognized for a number one album with a band that I have always been a fan of is a dream come true.”
As for dream projects he’s yet to achieve, Calloni had one in particular that he was excited to talk about.
“Because I am lucky to call the Village Studios as my home base, I would love to work there on a record with Blake Mills, who I really admire as a musician and producer.”
For those unfamiliar, Blake Mills is a guitarist and producer who has forged a pioneering voice in the industry. His 2010 album, ‘Break Mirrors,’ was reportedly only created, recorded, and released with the intention of using it as a portfolio of his abilities as a musician to help stimulate his career as a session musician in LA. His attention to detail and admirable work ethic would mesh well with Calloni’s own style, and he suspects that a collaboration with Mills is right around the corner.
Pedro Calloni has already come a very long way and is bound to go even further as his audience continues to grow, and he’s brought his Brazilian roots along with him the whole way. His determination and undeniable skill have elevated him, putting a distance between him and the thousands of producers who expect contemporary software to do most of the work for them.