Local Morgantown artists are fortunate to have an affordable quality recording and music editing service not far from home with Nicco Catalano of NeekAttack Productions. Catalano has been working with rappers, pop singers, R&B artists and full bands since he moved to Morgantown in 2013 to enroll at West Virginia University. Catalano is a musician and a finance major, so starting his own music business seemed like a no-brainer. Since then he has helped record, mix and master hundreds of songs for over thirty different artists.
Catalano started working with home recording in 2009, when he was a member of a rock band in his hometown of Wheeling, W.Va. As a freshman in high school, Catalano and bandmates struggled to pay for time in a professional studio but wanted to have physical copies of their music for friends and fans. So they dove headfirst into recording themselves, where Catalano found he had an ear for detail in mixing—being able to pick out the conflicting frequencies in a song at first listen.
Later, as the band went their separate ways, Catalano continued to pursue his love of making music by working with a handful of rappers from the Morgantown area. During this early period, he was not making money for his services, but was instead gaining invaluable experience and skills that would later make him more qualified in this field.
NeekAttack’s current setup consists of an iMac desktop computer that runs Logic Pro X with external Waves plug-ins, connected to an external compressor, FireWire interface,and finally an industry standard microphone. He also uses studio monitors in order to get a more full-bodied sound when examining a mix. All of this equipment was mainly funded by the revenue Catalano has accumulated over the past two years servicing artists.
When he first got to Morgantown, he needed to find clients so that he could grow his business. Catalano said most of his first artists were referred to him via word of mouth, with friends referring him to local rappers, as well. These artists helped promote NeekAttack Productions as a brand, sparking more artists to get in touch with Catalano. By his sophomore year of college, Catalano was recording artists or mixing their songs virtually every day. The key to his growth has been in his rates and charisma.
"The biggest thing is my pricing. I do $30 an hour, but you get a finalized product from that. Professional studios charge by the hour but also charge a lot for mixing and mastering," Catalano said. "I’m very personable with all the people I work with - I give honest opinions and feedback."
This information can be attested to, as one of NeekAttack’s frequent recording artists Chris Allen has nothing but positive things to say about his musical engineer.
"Nicco knows his artists. He knows the sound we want just as much as we do. He knows what we will think sounds good," Allen said. "There is ton of chemistry on a musical level between us. Then, he’s just cool. We have become actually pretty good friends, so everything is perfect right now."
But Catalano doesn’t think he has even scratched the surface of the music business, as he plans to legitimize his company. He also hopes to establish products that would make home recording easier and more enjoyable for amateur artists. Catalano is constantly teaching himself more and more about mixing and recording music, reading books and watching online tutorials on how to use the hardware and software to their highest potential. His biggest concern is making the music quality as good as that of a professional studio.
"When I mix a song, I want to make sure the average ear thinks it is just another song they bought on iTunes,"Catalano said. For more information on NeekAttack Productions, visit http://neekattack.com. Information can also be found on the company’s Twitter and Soundcloud.