Nate Combs, founder of Nate Combs Media, is an MFA in producing music. He specializes in composing, arranging, producing, and mixing, and is also very experienced in session recordings; performing guitar, bass, drums, organ, keys, and percussion; mid-level mastering; and more. He is well connected with professional singers and instrumentalists.
Having trouble making your track exciting? Nate is a melodic and compositional expert with over 300 original scores, songs, and instrumentals in his arsenal. He can help you add—or remove—the necessary components to make your track tasteful and unique.
On a similar level, Combs can offer you a great mix to pull the most out of your tune.
Other services include live and studio recording (if you are in Florida or want remote musicians to perform); access to multiple home and professionally designed studios; access to pro guitarists, bassists, organists, singers, keyboardists, drummers, and percussionists; and mastering.
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Interview with Nate Combs Media
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring strong melodies and harmonic support to each song. With my additional training in composing and my understanding of classical and jazz music, I don't mind going back to find the best chord inversion and don't shy away from complex ideas. I stand apart from the rest because I have put years of work into receiving experience, education, and other forms of practice and professional work that has prepared me to take any song from conception through completion if need be. I made it a mission to be strong in every aspect of the music creation process, and it has paid off for my team.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Just finished 3 short films and playing keys / synths on a studio album and am heading into a small game project.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Caleb Neff. He is an expert at recording and making sure things sound great at the source.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, meaning digital. Getting everything analog is a rare exception these days, and it's just not handy, especially if you are on the Internet right now. Quality gear is quality gear, and using digital equipment, namely DAWs, really allows you to have full control over the final outcome of your song.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will give you something you can smile about for a long, long time. Just check the reviews on my website!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: When you cross the point from a track sounding like a bunch of separate recordings playing similar things to it nearly being complete and sounding like a mixed song.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How does scoring work? I write a bunch of music to fit the mood and styles requested for your project. Are the instruments live? Sometimes. Never all of them unless you want to pay a hefty price to hire an orchestra. I'm new to recording. How does it work? Do I play and sing at the same time? You can, but not usually for the style you are recording, unless don't want to get the most out of your song and can't play with a metronome, or at least, a drum track. Can you make x louder/softer? I can, but just as an informational warning, that will change the whole dynamic of the song causing other elements to stick out more or fade away. For example, this organ that you want louder now only feels quieter because we just turned the guitars up. Music is about balance, so you may have to choose which elements you really want in the forefront, and which ones can sit back a bit. They can't all compete for the front all at the same time.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I am both a composer and studio producer. I have been in music for nearly 20 years, and have been producing and writing for 8.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: In grad school, I worked with a film director my professors were ready to murder. He did every single role of his 3D animated film except for some rigging (creating skeletons for movement) and the music. It was a red flag he wasn't a team player, and because he just didn't understand music, he requested I give him John Williams level Star Wars professionalism on a student budget. I was the composer and music mixing engineer. With over 100 nitpicky, random, or complete direction-switching revisions, I knew that no real world project would ever be that insane, so because I stuck with it and was able to please him in the end, I know I can handle just about any project.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Highly creative. A lover of melody and harmony, but a bigger lover of tasteful space.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Adam Levine, John Mayer, Adele, Paul Meany, Prince, Norah Jones, or Carrie Underwood—I've written songs for their voices John Powell or Hans Zimmer—they are scoring geniuses.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Learn to listen…then re-listen. It opens you up to better ideas, it makes the process more fun, and it helps you to ensure your track is done correctly.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock—Indie, Pop, Classic, Jazz/Blues, Modern Reggae Classical—Film and Video Game Scores Electronic—Production Instrumentals and Scores
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Tie—mixing and music writing
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Start early, be open to new ideas along the way, get fresh ears to give opinions on the progress, impress clients with both quality and quick turnaround.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have unlimited access to a local studio with every piece of gear under the sun, from multiple B3s to Great River preamps to drum kits to every brand of guitar to various Neumann mic models (including a U87 very soon) to insane handmade gear that works even better than some of the industry standard equipment. My home setup for on-the-go work consists of a Macbook Pro, Focusrite Sapphire Pro 40 interface, a 2004 Fender Deluxe Tele, Yamaha HS50 monitors, treated recording room, PDP drum kit, various mics, tons of MIDI software (Vienna, EastWest, Pro Tools, Logic, etc.). I also know of a hidden gem studios who don't always advertise themselves regularly but have killer rooms and analog gear for which I can get discounted rates.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Dave Pensado—Mixing Engineer John Powell—Composer John Mayer—Guitarist / Songwriter Jared Falk—Drummer My Mentors Far too many others to list here.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Writing or scoring the musical portion of their tracks, gathering and recording the necessary talent to perform live/studio parts, programming MIDI parts, editing and mixing. I also master a lot for people who don't heed the advice to use separate mix and mastering engineers.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I only score film or game type music or that I only produce bands and singer/songwriters.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your goal for this song? How long and what style will it be? What rights are you looking for?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask questions when you are unsure. Trust your producer when all else fails.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Something to generate power, a cell phone with recording capabilities, an acoustic guitar, a Macbook Pro, and a studio monitor with an 1/8 inch conversion cable.