Coming from the world of electronic music production I have a unique take on mixing and sound design for my mixes. My goal is to provide a mix that is atmospheric and punchy at the same time while avoiding any of the cookie cutter sounds so prevalent in today's music.
I fell in love with synthesizers and sampling growing up in the 80's and produced electronic music from acid house to ambient all through the 90's and 2000's. In 2003 I opened the first Audio Post studio in the San Francisco bay area that dedicated our sound to electronic music styles. During this time I also opened the bay area's first DJ and Electronic music production school called Norcal DJMPA that focused on turntablism, DJ mixing and electronic music production using Ableton Live, Reason, Reaktor and various DAW's. in 2005 I found myself growing tired of the electronic music scene especially the big room house music and trance that dominated the club culture I'd been apart of since I was a teen. This led me to buying my first guitar! From there I went crazy buying up pedals,amps
playing bass and now what became my biggest focus drums! As any engineer knows, recording drums is the single most difficult thing a recording engineer will ever do. Sure recording a large orchestra or a jazz ensemble has its specific challenges. But recording and mixing drums is the most complicated and unique thing I've ever done. And being a drummer (going on 8 years) I have special insight into the range of sounds and techniques that different drummers, drums and the room in which drums are recorded can be created and captured.
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Interview with Russell Arteaga Mixer
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I was fortunate enough to work with Chelsea Wilde (aka Minor Birds) who I'm a huge fan of. She slays on all instruments but her voice is that from another world. I produced, recorded and mixed her latest EP The Alchemist which can be found on Spotify and iTunes. For fans of Imogen Heap, Bat for Lashes, Tori Amos.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Just finished tracking this band of sixteen year old high school sophomore's who might just be the best set of song writers I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet but I hope to change that soon!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. No question. An analog front end with non linear editing are the only way for me. Even tracking to tape then dumping to digital is better than just tape and or just digital.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That no matter what I won't give up on trying to make you happy!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love mixing. Taking a song that was tracked with love and turning it into something that hopefully will be around and remembered for a long time. But I also really love working with different people. You can learn so much from the variety of folks I get to be creative with but I think my favorite aspect is the friendships you develop.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Do I have to record to a click track? YES! Unless you want your mixing engineer to go bat shit and have a ton of corrections to make.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That because I'm not a masterful instrumentalist I'm not a good composer or musician. I think this is fairly standard for people to assume you can't create amazing music if you don't know a Cm9 from your left pinkie.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Who do you listen to and what would you like for your end result to sound like!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I work with all kinds of musicians, some have been honing and practicing their instruments for many years while others are just starting out. Don't let not being a master at your instrument prevent you from writing and finishing your music. And anyone who says otherwise can shut up!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My macbook pro, UA Apollo,Fender Jaguar, MS-20, and my Sennheiser 580's
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started out playing synths and making electronic music in high school which brought me into the world of Pro Audio when I was hired as the youngest person to work in sales in the Central Valley of California. That was in 1987 and I continued on working in Pro Audio until 1995 when I went to school for electronics and computers. I then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked off an on in I.T until I could work in Audio. as I became disenchanted with electronic music I started playing Guitar, Bass and Drums which completely changed my outlook and career path and eventually wanted to work with bands.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Romantic with a touch of goth
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Elizabeth Frazier because she is the most amazing vocalist I've ever had the pleasure to listen to and her range and ability to change her vocal style is unmatched by anyone.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't care about what you think other people will think. Do what you feel is great and it will show.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Shoegaze, Indie, Post Punk, Punk, Goth, New Wave
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My ability to coax a performance out of a musician.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Years of listening and enjoying recorded music and being able to translate the styles and sounds into a finished product.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I prefer to get demo recordings of the songs the band wishes to record so I can familiarize myself with their style and sound. I will then set up preproduction templates in Pro Tools and get all the tempos figured out so when we hit the studio they're all ready to go. Once initial tracking is done I'll spend time editing drums then meet up with the band at my studio (Voltage Control) where we start overdubs. During the overdub process we have as much fun as humanly possible playing with all the gear drinking mad amounts of tea and coffee (usually a cig or two) and taking our time so that the creative process is enjoyable and no one is rushed or feeling left out.This is where the primary wonderfulness comes from) the feeling of being able to create and not having to worry about studio time. Then the band leaves and I start mixing.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I generally record drums at Bird and Egg (birdandegg.com) using a wonderful array of mics and outboard preamps. Nino Moschella is an avid gear collector and the live room is pretty large. I mix out of Voltage Control my home base in the box but my mixes are done using analog summing and outboard compression. For guitar overdubs I have a range of amps and instruments including my favorite guitar a Jaguar Thinline Semi-hollow Special Edition.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Martin Hannett, Steve Albini, Butch Vig, Eric Valentine, David M. Allen, Will Yip, Jorge Elbrecht, Stephen Street, Steve Lillywhite, and last but definitely not least Robin Guthrie
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording and Mixing which includes but not limited to overdubs, editing, and even producing.