One and done.
I've been involved in the music industry for nearly 7 years now. I attended Dubspot in NYC in 2012 and learned DJing and music production. I now work as a professional wedding DJ for a local company and have been doing that for 3 years. I began producing my own music a couple years ago and have been honing my craft since. Over time I've invested upwards of $10,000 into DJing/Production equipment, as well as many credible online courses. My mixing and mastering is very refined and by the book but I still have my own unique tricks and techniques. I'm a very personable, easy going guy who has an extremely strong love and passion for all things music. I love helping other musicians, DJ's and producers to improve on their skills the way others have helped me along the way. Were all in this together and like Frederick Neichieze said, "Without music, life would be a mistake."
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Interview with Mr. Fink
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common work I do for my clients is mastering. A lot of my mixing/mastering clients have taken what I've taught them about mixing and gone on to do the mixing down themselves and just have me do mastering work.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by musicians past and present, I'm always saying how I was born in the wrong generation considering my obsession with older music such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and so on. However my true passion lies in EDM. I've also been inspired throughout my life by music teachers, and other local artists.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio set up took me quite a few years to put together. It all started with an old Acer laptop, a pair of Skull Candy aviator headphones and a cracked version of Ableton Live. Since then I've invested heavily into really building a professional home studio. My studio now consists of a Dell Inspirion 15 3000 series laptop, a set of Yamaha HS7's on DR pro monitor stands, a large TV monitor for working in multiple windows, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro headphones, Focusrite Scarlette 2i4 soundcard, and an Akai mpk25 MIDI. I also have a second studio set up with a MacBook Air, a set of M-Audio BX5 studio monitors, Sony MDR7506 headphones, Presonus Audiobox USB soundcard, and an Akai Advance49 MIDI. I use this secondary studio for teaching music production or working on collaborations with other local artist. I also have DJing equipment, a pair of JBL EON10 speakers and a handful of Bluetooth speakers and cheap headphones for referencing music on many platforms.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical work process is to work left to right and top to bottom. I begin by first listening through my clients entire track often multiple times before really diving into engineering their track. For mixing clients I first use Ableton's mixing window to set the volume faders accordingly for each individual layer of the track starting with the Kick, Snare, and Sub bass layers then continuing to do drums-instruments-bass-vocals-FX. After this I review the EQing and compression and make adjustments where necessary. During all this I will take notes for my clients on things I notice such as muddiness in certain areas, dryness of certain elements, anything that catches my ear. For mastering clients I have a very similar process. Once I've confirmed the client has left me enough headroom and the song isn't peaking too loud in any areas I will use Neutron to make slight adjustments to the mix. I then use Ozone 8 to achieve overall commercial loudness and correct LUF metering for clubs, streaming services.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: The main thing I bring to a clients song is feedback. I want my clients to improve as artists the same way I have and I find the best way to do that is use the information I take away from mixing and mastering their tracks and give them strong advice as to which areas I really enjoyed as well as other areas I think could use some improvement.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is balancing levels. Once I learned mixing techniques I had already amassed a collection of music that needed some serious mixing down. I went back and mixed down just about every track I had ever made regardless of how I felt about the quality of the work. It ended up being great ear training and I learned some very good habits that I still apply to my own songs as well as my mixing and mastering clients songs.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: The majority of the music I work on is EDM. Considering I'm a bass music artists myself I tend to do a lot of work on Trap, Future Bass, Hybrid Trap, Dubstep, and other bass music genres. I also enjoy working on House music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: My favorite music production tip to share with other producers is to get into the habit of finishing songs. I find some of my clients get caught up trying to make something perfect and end up stuck being unhappy with a project. Sometimes it's better to just call it and move on to the next track and let your engineer take it from there.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Working with other artists is actually one of my main motivations for getting into the music industry. I have so much admiration and respect for a lot of these artists. If I could pick one to work with though it would be NGHTMRE. He has been the most consistent inspiration to me since the start and I feel we would work very well together.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is slowly becoming my own. I've taken ideas from all different genre's of music from Trance - Dubstep and have tried to step further and further away from what some call "Experimental Bass Music." Don't get me wrong it's good to experiment but I really wanted to achieve the sound I was hearing from the pro's. I would describe my style as cinematic, endearing, evolving, and cohesive. I want to create an "epic" feel from my music.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My original career path was to be in the lime light, touring the country, seeing the world, and always making music. Lately I've stepped back from that and shifted gears to a more concrete career path. My goals now are to have my own DJing company (primarily for weddings), to be an engineer/ghost producer, and most of all to teach what I know to other producers so that they can avoid many of the speed bumps and struggles I encountered. I've been involved in music for 7 years and over the past 3 years have landed professional jobs in the industry.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: If I was stranded on a desert island I couldn't live without a laptop (with charger), some headphones, a soundcard, a mouse, and most importantly my tool belt.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: The best advice I can give a customer is the cleaner the mix the better the master, and if I'm mixing the track just try not to sound like everyone else.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Most the questions I ask my clients are about their musical background and production processes. I also like to know about what their musical goals are and what they're expecting from my provided services. I deal with lots of clients through DJing professionally and have learned the right questions to ask in order to get the best results.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception about what I do is that there's an "Easy" button in the music industry. I can tell you there most certainly is not an easy button. It has taken years of learning from mistakes and practicing to get to where I am.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Customers most commonly ask me about what I think they need to do to improve their skills and I'm happy to help. A lot of the advice I give is advice I've been given in the past by mentors who have been doing it longer than I have.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The best part about my job is feeling like I'll never have to work a day in my life. I know it sounds cliché but it's true, if you really have a passion for what you're doing for work then it becomes something fun and enjoyable to the point that you can't even believe you're making money doing it. It's tough to get there but definitely worth all of the effort.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise to my clients is customer satisfaction. If they're not happy with the product then I want to do everything in my power to either A: Correct what they're unhappy with or B: Point them in the direction of someone who's a better suit for what they're asking for. I want to have good customer service and never leave a client feeling ignored.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I would prefer to work with Analog but I don't have the resources for that currently so Digital it is. I think that it will be good to have skills working with both in the future because there are certainly pro's and con's to each method.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: My mentor may be on SoundBetter but I haven't looked yet. His name is Alex and he produces under the name ZAKII. If he is on SoundBetter I would highly recommend his services to my clients both mixing and mastering.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently I'm working on starting collaborations with local artists here in Buffalo as well as other artists I've met networking through social media. Like I said before it's one of my major motivations for pursing a career in music. I'm always working on fine tuning my mixing and mastering skills to provide an even better product to my clients.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: A recent project I worked on that I'm especially proud of is my remix of PINEO & LOEB's song Circles. I had always wanted to make hybrid trap music but it was a genre I was struggling with. When I finished this remix I was convinced that I had finally figured it out and could only progress further from there. Just a couple of days ago the original artist did a live stream where they picked and reviewed some of their favorite remixes and mine was one of the 10 remixes chosen. Not just that but their reactions and feedback of the track were really inspiring!