10 Questions with ... Seth Mosley
August 3, 2015
1. Brief history/synopsis
I was born in Columbus, OH, and grew up in Circleville, OH. We hadn't thought of this fact when we decided to call ourselves Full Circle Music, but it is very fitting. I got into music around 7th grade and never looked back. Most of my music experience was through the church and leading the music in our youth group and then that evolved into touring around and eventually writing and producing our own music. I got my first studio job right after I graduated high school in 2005, and that lit a fire in me for production and helping other artists be heard. My only jobs have fortunately been in music, starting by giving guitar lessons in high school, producing my friend's bands out of my parents basement, and then getting that job in the studio in Columbus. College wasn't really ever a part of my journey, though I took some classes while I was in high school. I felt like, in music it really isn't about what degree you have on paper. That can certainly help and the education is always important. I'm a big proponent of education, ongoing education. But I think my education came in the form of real world experience. Fast forward to today, me and my wife and daughter currently live in Franklin, TN, where FCM is based.
2. What does a normal day look like for you?
It really depends on the day. It can be different every day, which is one of the things I love about the job. Some days are specifically writing days. I write mainly with artists these days, but sometimes love having a 3rd party writer in the room, which can help a ton. We start around 10 AM, and hopefully have the bones of a song done by the end of the day at 5 pm, but some songs take longer. I've had some songs take 3 or 4 sessions to get done. But I've also had some songs done between 10 AM and noon. We usually try to get a good vocal demo after we finish writing.
Other days are production days, where we might be in the studio tracking with a full band or an artist for their masters. I am fortunate to work with some great people in FCM. They are the best at their crafts in this industry. We only work with and hire the best.
I also have days that are more focused on meetings. A lot of my job is very relational, and I have to dedicate time to this side of things as well.
Since my wife and I have had a daughter, we try to keep our hours pretty normal and try not to work on weekends much. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule. But we generally work 8 hours a day. I find that anything past this, my creativity and inspiration starts to wane. It really makes you focus in on what is the most important thing to accomplish. I'm very big on focus.
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now?
On the mainstream side, Taylor Swift, "Out of the Woods". It is such a good timeless hook. The melody and the track of this song make me feel nostalgic for some reason.
I think the chorus lyric perfectly sums up the feeling of not knowing, but still having hope that things are going to turn out the best.
Relationships are messy and some days even with my wife I feel like we are out of the woods. But then something happens and we are right back there.
It's the good fight you've got to keep on fighting, in any relationship. I love the line, "we were built to fall apart, then fall back together."
On the church side, I really love Bethel Worship, "No Longer Slaves". It is such a passionate song and every now and then a voice comes out of nowhere and rocks me.
This was one of those. "I'm no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God." I love that so much.
Plus, I think it's my 10 month old daughter's favorite song right now too.
4. What caused you to want to get into recording & producing?
I always had a love for music and grew up going to concerts like Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Switchfoot, and Skillet, to name a few.
The production side was always fascinating and I really just fell into it out of necessity to get my own songs recorded in a decent quality representation.
I never really had any formal education in it, which was probably actually a good thing to start with. I just started recording myself and honing my skills that way.
I've learned the rules as I've gone along, only to figure out I've been breaking them the whole time, and it's been working out pretty well so far!
I think some of the best records are made by breaking the rules.
I still love the process of producing an album, though my roles in each production change depending on what the artist needs, and they've also changed as my team has grown as well. When I started, I was doing everything from instrumentation to engineering to editing to mixing and sometimes even mastering. Nowadays, I believe in specialists. There are people who are way better engineers than I am, as well as mixers, editors, and players. Sometimes I wear those hats depending on what's called for. I think it has helped for me to have a bit of skill in each area to be able to communicate well on each level of the production process, but I definitely am trying to focus on whats the main thing that I think I can bring to the process, and let each other person do the same.
5. What Artist or Pastor has had the greatest impact on you?
I always go back to my first record that I got from the Columbia House CD of the month club - Newsboys "Take Me To Your Leader".
Newsboys was such a big part of my growing up and getting introduced to live shows and records. I wore their CD's out on my walkman.
Spiritually, I think they communicated faith in such a fresh way, and it really impacted me there as well.
And since having worked with Newsboys, and Peter Furler, their former frontman, it was only fitting to call our company Full Circle Music.
Those records pastored me in ways the guys probably don't even really know.
6. What's the last book you read?
Gary Keller - "The One Thing". It really drives home the point of focus.
It has helped me a lot since having a baby and really having to focus on whats my "one thing" each day.
I think everyone would benefit from reading this whether they are in a leadership role or a support role.
The tension of balance between work and family is always at the top of every creative person's thoughts.
I think this book gives a great answer to this.
The focusing question of the book is this: "What's the one thing that I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?"
7. Funniest or most embarrassing moment in the studio?
We were recording guitar tracks for the new Sidewalk Prophets record, and their new guitar player Dan, who is a young phenomenon, is so unassuming and humble. We had guitar legend in the studio Jerry McPherson, for support. Which is funny to say. Jerry, for support. But even during the session he would come out into the control room and throw his hands up and say things like "Wow, this kid is amazing, what do you need me here for?" And he meant it. That kind of thing means a lot coming from Jerry.
But during one of the sessions, Dan brought in a steel guitar and was like "so, my parents got me this guitar for my birthday a couple weeks ago, can I try it on this song?"
We were all like, "oh wow, this is going to be an adventure..."
But we hit record, he rolls the song down.
And we all sat in the control room speechless, because it was perfect from top to bottom. Timing, tone, parts, feel, everything. It was flawless.
We heard over the talkback Dan come on and say, "Umm... I couldn't hear myself the whole time, what channel am I on?"
The whole control room died laughing. That was hilarious and amazing at the same time.
8. Who are a few of the artists you've been working with recently?
Skillet - New Record in the works. Excited to be a small part of what their sound is evolving into.
Newsboys - New Record and movie in the works. Followup to the smash "God's Not Dead".
Sidewalk Prophets - Just finished their new full length record, entitled "Something Different". Expecting big things from this one.
For King & Country - Two New songs in the works. Always love working with these guys. They are the real deal.
9. What's the average budget for a produced project these days? Where does all the cost go? Any ways to lower expenses?
Probably in the 60,000-80,000 range.
Cost goes to Studios, Players, Engineer, Editors, Mixers, Supplies, Food and lots of coffee, and Mastering.
We try to take good care of the people we work with. And we really try to hire the best.
I believe this attitude pays off in the long run.
We aren't really focused on lowering expenses. We are focused on making great records that last and impact people.
Sometimes an opportunity arises to lower expenses. But the people that we work with in our industry are already working for much less than we feel they deserve. People outside of the music industry really don't understand how much work goes into making one of these projects and if they knew the amount of work that these folks are doing for the amount they get paid, it would probably be a pretty big surprise.
I'm not saying that the budgets are ripping us off. We understand the industry we work in, and we also understand supply in demand as a basic business principle. But we do look up to Steve Jobs who spent a lot of time even on the inner wiring of a computer that probably no one will ever see, just because he believed in making a quality product inside and out, and using the best resources and materials to get there. I think it's the same thing with making records. The more shortcuts we try to take, the more we regret it. There really is no formula or easy way to do it.
Some records come easier than others, but it's definitely not because of a formula.
10. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead.....Deities are excused from this question
Gandhi. No matter who you are or what you believe, his integrity is a great model.
He once showed up at an event for the British parliament and spoke for 2 hours with no notes, and captivated the audience the entire time.
It could be said of him, "what he thinks, feels, says, and does are all the same thing." That is true integrity. His life was an indivisible whole. His LIFE was his message.
1. Favorite Bible Verse....life verse?
It's good to know that i don't have to plan my life.
It's in the hands of someone who is much bigger than me.
2. How & When did you become a believer?
I grew up in church. It was ingrained in me since I was a small kid. But I don't think it became real to me until I graduated high school, and by the way, I went to a Christian School until I graduated. Just because you've grown up in it and know all the right words to say and the face you're supposed to put on doesn't mean it's real.
I am thankful for my upbringing and parents and grandparents, and youth pastor, that passed down to us the seeds of faith.
I think the first time I can remember going to the altar and accepting Jesus was on a youth group winter retreat in 8th grade. I was blessed with an amazing youth pastor who is still serving at that church to this day.
I can think of several times that I'm reminded that the God I believe in and live for is very real, and I became a "believer" all over again. See next question.
3. What's the biggest "God moment" you've ever experienced? Personally or professionally, when has God shown up in a powerful way?
The moment that comes to mind the loudest is this one, which happened a couple years back.
For some reason I was always skeptical and carried around a cynical attitude towards people who were charismatic in their faith and expressed worship in that way, whether it was speaking in tongues, God healing sickness, or prophetic words. I don't even really know why, because we read about the Spirit in the Bible and know about the miracles. But me and my wife got an invitation to a friend's upstart church, which was meeting in their basement for about a year or so. We finally gave in and went, and we knew that their way of worshipping and speaking prophetic words was different than what we were used to. But we felt the need to go in with open hands and an open heart to see what God wanted to say to us. At that time, my wife had been sick for about three months with some undiagnosable illness, and it seemed to just keep hanging around. We had been to several doctors and specialists, chiropractors, tried natural healing ways, and tried every other thing you can think of.
At the end of the service, they always had a time of prayer for people's needs. The whole group surrounded my wife and prayed healing for her body, and the leader spoke out a word that this sickness wasn't even to do with her physical body, but it was a spiritual attack. It was like me and my wife had heard that idea for the first time. We prayed for her, and she left that night feeling completely well. She said it felt like a weight was lifted off her body. It made no sense, but it was very apparent that something real had happened.
And then after the meeting was over, a girl we had never met came up to her and said, "You don't know me, but I feel like I'm supposed to ask you, are you pregnant?"
Celi (my wife) replied, "No", a bit confused. And the girl asked, "Do you want to be?"
It was at that moment that my wife broke down in tears, because it was the very thing me and her had been in contention about for the past year or so - her feeling like she was ready and meant to be a mom, and me pumping the brakes because of all of these fears I had about being a dad. The girl called out, very specifically in detail, everything I was afraid of, and prayed over me, and I left that night feeling unafraid. I told Celi on the way to the car that I was ready to start trying, and I wasn't afraid anymore.
Fast forward to today, our daughter is 10 months old, and it is the richest, most fulfilling time of our lives, and I truly feel like God has given us the power and strength to be great parents, despite everything that we were afraid of.