Audeze speaks to producer, songwriter, and engineer Tucker Bickell

September 16, 2023

Tucker Bickell is an up-and-coming producer, songwriter, and engineer based in New York City. Since graduating Berklee College of Music in 2022, Tucker has amassed an impressive discography of production credits, ranging from soul-pop inspired acts such as Couch, Zoe Sparks and Victor Franco, to up-and-coming indie and pop artists including Michael Stolar, Avanti Nagral, Andie Mechanic, and Chloe Southern.
Tucker Bickell in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones
"With today’s need to constantly be more mobile while upholding standards, I feel confident that the quality of my deliverables has increased dramatically since using my Audeze headphones."   - Tucker Bickell
Here's our chat with Tucker:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of? 

Favorite Projects To Date (September 2023):

-Never Been in Love-Zoe Sparks and Victor Franco

-Naked-Chloe Southern

-Poems-Couch

-Tethered-Michael Stolar

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I’m mainly cast in as a producer or arranger on the majority of my current work. I’ll include engineering in there as well, as I normally take a pretty large hand in that end (when I can). In a writing room I might also add or help in editing some lyrics, although I normally know to trust the more experienced writers in the room to handle the bulk of that!

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I grew up playing viola but never really took a liking to music intensely until I was a teenager. I was obsessed with violinists Joshua Bell and Pinchas Zukerman growing up, treating them like pop stars as a kid. Of more modern music, I listened to a lot of Bon Jovi when I was little (completely uninfluenced by my parents or family-I liked one of their album covers on a CD when I was five, and aside from my love of guitar now, I’m not sure how often this influence treads its way back into my current work). I was incredibly influenced by my friends’ tastes in music until I was about thirteen or fourteen. When I finally started listening to music on my own, I listened to lots of folk music and acoustic recordings of singer-songwriters. Then, around when I picked up the guitar, I began diving deep into roots and old blues music, as well as a healthy obsession with classic artists from the late sixties like Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Nowadays, I listen to a ton of indie, retro, and funk-inspired pop, as well as huge appreciation, influence, and inspiration from the music charting on the Billboard Hot 100! Truthfully though (and hopefully not too stereotypically) I love to listen and take influence any and all music introduced to me by my friends, teachers, and clients. I know, that’s the blanket answer; I’m just an audiophile, I swear!

Can you name any role models or musical heroes that influenced the course of your musical life?

The work of Jon Bellion has played an enormous role in my work as a producer and songwriter, as well as that of FINNEAS, Rob Milton, Brasstracks (Ivan Jackson), Lawrence The Band (with a special shoutout to Jordan Cohen, who has become an enormous mentor and hero of mine in the work that I am trying to do), Jon Class, and Jack Antonoff. Jon Castelli and Manny Marroquin are masters of their craft, and have lately provided amazing goals to chase after in my mixing work. I also have immense appreciation for my past professors in school for pushing me and believing in my work and growth, with extra recognitions for Susan Rogers, Rodney Alejandro, Enrique Gonzalez-Müller, and Ben Camp.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

The general learning curve of this career, both what I’ve taken to get to where I am and the long road ahead for where I want to go, both serve as moments of extreme frustration. Learning any craft is hard, long, and slow work, and I’m honestly still learning to cope with the emotions that come with this growth. Trusting the process, knowing how to look back to see how far I’ve come, and lots of deep breaths to continually overcome my insecurities all play factors in how I continuously approach these obstacles now, and I look forward to learning how to better deal with these challenges as I progress.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

The majority of my workflow is completely in-the-box at the moment, so aside from a few plugins I tend to use a lot, I have just a few pieces of gear to get things done. I’ve loved having my Arturia MKII keyboard (as well as their collection 8 VST bundle) and my Novation Launchpad to cover all things MIDI in my current configuration. Plugins I love to use include UAD’s API Vision Channel Strip as well as their 1176 compressor collection, Oeksound’s Soothe 2, Valhalla Reverbs, and many of the products from Izotope and Soundtoys. 

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I’ve used headphones more and more for reliability in my work, especially over the past year. They have become my mobile studio, giving me confidence regardless of what space I work in. Great headphones also aid in my more creative production moves, and have allowed me to explore the depth and width of my tracks quicker than on my current speaker setup.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Never let yourself regret forgoing an opportunity to pursue your passions, no matter how scary. It’s never too late to start a new path, and with diligent and hard work, results will show. I definitely feel too early in my progression to be giving such lofty pieces of advice, but if someone had told me five years ago I’d be able to have a career in music production at all, I wouldn’t have believed them.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?
Since my pair of LCD-Xs entered my workflow, I’ve seen my precision as a producer and engineer absolutely skyrocket! I feel far more confident with regards to my control over the frequency spectrum, imaging, and depth in my projects, as well as great improvements in my sound design. With today’s need to constantly be more mobile while upholding standards, I feel confident that the quality of my deliverables has increased dramatically since using my Audeze headphones. As of late, I’m spending my time in writing sessions and developing artists, both remotely and around the NYC area. Among recent releases, I’m very happy with my recent collaboration with Michael Stolar “Tethered,” as well as well as “Hyphenate” with my friend Camila Solis. I’m also especially looking forward to Couch’s upcoming release “Alright” ahead of their Sunshower EP!

Tucker Bickell's Audeze LCD-X headphones