Michael Winger is a San Francisco-based music producer, engineer and songwriter
A musician in his own right, he spent most of the 1990s fronting Athens band Dayroom and recording as a solo artist. Winger takes a creative approach to his productions, emphasizing personality and character rather than absolute technical precision. “I try to get a sense of an artist’s vision and draw that out”, he says. “If a song needs some work, however, I’m not afraid to step in if the artist is open to it.
From his mix room located in San Francisco’s Broken Radio Studios, formerly known as the historic Coast Recorders, Winger not only offers his production and engineering skills, but also access to one of the largest tracking rooms in the city. “Having a great space like Broken Radio makes it so much easier to be creative,” says Winger. “Whatever vision an artist has, we have the means for it to be realized.”
His ability to wear a number of hats (producer, engineer, musician, songwriter), as well as his relationship with Broken Radio, allows him to accommodate a wide range of budgets, from the DIY singer-songwriter to the major label rock band. His discography includes Bay Area luminaries such as Beth Waters, Forest Sun and AJ Roach, as well as roots rock troubadours Four Year Bender. He’s currently producing a new album for Waters, as well as a project for Francesca Lee and the New Believers, on which he also plays bass.
Winger also has several live albums to his credit, including Regina Spektor’s Live in California 2006 and Volumes 12 through 14 of San Francisco rock radio station KFOG’s popular Live from the Archives series.
Winger’s skills as a live engineer come from extensive work through his mobile recording company, Flying Kitchen Productions, formed in 2003 with engineer/business partner Boone Spooner. Together, they record everything from live concerts to outdoor festivals and other events, with artists such as The Shins, Tom Petty, Keane, Los Lonely Boys, Corinne Bailey Rae, Feist, and numerous others benefiting from their experience behind the mixing console.
As a studio engineer, Winger has held posts at both Studio D Recording in Sausalito and San Francisco Soundworks, working with notables such as the Von Bondies (with producer Jerry Harrison), Kronos Quartet, and Alanis Morisette, among others.
Winger currently serves as President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy’s. He also serves on The Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing.
In his rare free time, Winger can be found playing bass, keyboards (often simultaneously) and singing alongside drummer/keyboardist Jake Wood in the power duo Super Adventure Club. They play, as Guitar Player editor Michael Molenda describes, a keyboard-driven blend informed by “60s film soundtracks and Esquivel-inspired lounge melodies,” spiced up with dashes of whimsical humor. Of their decision to multi-task both on stage and in the studio, Winger says, “I wanted to do something challenging that involved taking on way more than you might think possible.” That tendency to push conventional boundaries not only drives Michael Winger’s latest musical endeavor, but has also led him to become one of the Bay Area’s most promising and versatile producers.
Bio by Heather Johnson