Producer | Mixer | Songwriter | Drummer — For 15 years I've mixed, produced & performed with a Warner Brothers recording artist, international bands and artists featured in SXSW, The Great Escape, Spotify and NPR playlists. I go for rich sonic textures, melodies that stick with you and unique drum compositions. Let's do this!
Mixing, production, drumming, recording, mastering, editing, tuning, and sound design.
Mixing + Mastering:
I like finding and pulling out unique details in your songs while tending to the important aspects of your vision. Or, for those producers who prefer to stay close to their original sound, I'm happy to clarify/punch-ify only!
If left to my own devices, I blend a lot of Hifi/Lofi sounds with varying ratios, searching for and emphasizing the "wow" moment. Or, in collaboration, I'll guide you towards the sonic vision you're after.
Fun fact: I'd rather make samples than search endlessly for them.
If you need a live drummer recorded or sampled, I'm your guy.
I seek to capture the uniqueness of a source, compressing on the way in (if that's what the sound needs) or leaving it clean and unscorched.
When mixing, I often re-amp with mics and/or pedals to revitalize sounds.
Once the foundation is solid, I enjoy combing through details to make sure the song has the ability to stand out. I gravitate towards sounds that inspire me and build sonic forts around them to ensure excellence on every play. I take what I hear in songs that blow me away and strive to apply their attributes to songs I work on. Let's collaborate, maybe break some rules but most importantly, have fun in the process!
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
4 ReviewsEndorse Christopher Newton
Chris has been helping with my Ancient Lasers project pretty much since it started - from playing drums on the first album to doing fully-fledged mixes and production techniques on my newer stuff. He has an impeccable ear and would recommend him for any project, as I know he will be able to tackle it!
Chris is my number one source for music production knowledge. He truly cares about his projects and goes the extra mile, and it clearly shows in his final products. He's also exceptional at communicating about music, whether it is explaining complex concepts in an easy to understand way or listening to an artist's desires and vision. He is open and flexible, so much so that in my own production situation we have created a custom unconventional process together that ultimately best fits my personal needs-I don't believe I could do this with any other engineer out there. Highly recommended!
It always a pleasure to work with Christopher Newton! He is great in his main role as a mixing engineer, but also contributes to your songs with suggestions for sonic improments. His gear can make a difference in any style of music and he goes the extra mile trying different stuff. He is detail oriented and strives to get the job done right! If you are lucky enough to work with him in person, he is eager to share his knowledge along the way. You won't regret working with him!
Chris is very talented mixing engineer, always a pleasure to work with, knowledgeable, and has great communication skills. He has a good ear for small details, not afraid to experiment. He's got great versatile gear at his studio, some really cool analog stuff. I've done one album with him for my band and will come back to do a second!
Interview with Christopher Newton
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you make this sound like band "X"? Hopefully, they have just recorded their demos and are looking to record the actual album/EP because then the answer is always "YES!" But, if they've already recorded their final tracks then it's a bit harder. But my answer is almost always a "there is at least a pretty good chance". I educate the artist that mixing is a lot like being a chef. You need the right ingredients to make the right dish (sound). If you give me a figurative assortment of vegetables and want an apple pie, then we're not looking good. Sound is more malleable than food ingredients but you get the point. Thankfully, I don't run into this often.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would be honored to work with Nick Zammuto. He's arguably one of the most inventive music producers out there. He's a self-sufficient rule-breaker, and everything from his music to his personal life demonstrates this.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I shoot to be innovative and think outside the box for each project I work on. The fact that I'm also an active musician I feel really helps with this too. I don't like to settle for something that isn't up to my standards or taste level.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: There is an album called Autwik by a band called Chkbns (pronounced Cheekbones). My role was co-producer, recording engineer, mixing and mastering engineer. Chkbns are a group from St. Petersburg, Russia and are also 3 of my closest and favorite people. We've been working on music together since 2015 but this album Autwik was one that took us 2 years (off and on) to complete. It included 2 trips to Russia (for me) and one trip to Seattle (for them). The album almost didn't get finished and we were close to giving up on it. My last trip to Russia really brought everything together enough to finish it. We grew closer and earned deep trust in each other for pulling through and finishing it. They have gained interest and have played at SXSW, The Great Escape and played live on KEXP. This album was a critical piece for propelling their career and I am so glad I saw it through till the end. I am very proud of this work and hope you might check it out!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I've always got a record I'm mixing but I am perpetually creating new song/sonic ideas and slowly building and writing my own songs. Trying to bridge the gap on being able to create the sounds I hear other producers do or the sounds I perceive in my head.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The details of production and especially mixing bewilders even music critics when I get to explain to them the details about what I do. They don't understand how much fine detail and big-picture work goes into mixing.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you want it to sound like a polished version of your demo, then saying that upfront is a time and headache saver. Also, ask yourself, are you leaving room to have this sound a bit or a lot different than your demo? How's your relationship with your ego?
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Coil Audio CA-70 Tube Preamps. My Dangerous Music AD+ Analog to Digital Converter. My Dangerous Music 2Bus + Analog Summing Amp. My Lauten Audio Atlantis LDC microphone. My Sound Toys Echo Boy Delay Plugin. My Fabfilter Pro Q3 and Pro C2 Plugins. I think that's 7.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I try to be an explorer for every song I work on. There are many treatments and tricks I do over and over but I invite many elements of surprise that create new metaphorical doors for me to explore and compare against the song.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Mixing: I import the track into my mixing template set it to mono and cut frequencies that take up unnecessary room/blend tracks. Then I pick out the key tracks that I will process with analog components. Then, follow the rest of my process step by step to get the song sounding crisp and punchy. Once I am about 70% done, I am consistently A/B-ing the mix with a mix that either I think is similar or that the client would like me to reference. Tweak until satisfied. Production: A good song deserves a good production. If your song foundation isn't good then a good production will not work as well. But let's say your song rips. Then in the production stage, I run tracks through all sorts of analog processes. Or plugin delays through copious compression or amps or tube distortion. Reamp picking up tracks through microphones when putting tiny speakers in the washing machine to get a tinny short reverb, etc. I mean, the sky's the limit. Then, take all these layers (phase aligning is a big part of this process) and combine them, equalize them to sculpt them and fit them like a puzzle + a riddle. I rarely use all these tracks I create but the experimentation is worth it - you never know what you'll find.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I use the increasingly popular hybrid digital/analog set up. Pro Tools Ultimate as my DAW --> Dangerous Music Convert 8's (x2) as my D/A conversion --> Dangerous Music 2Bus+ for analog summing --> Dangerous Music AD+ for capturing my mixes and converting them back to the digital domain --> Dangerous Music Convert 2 --> Crane Song Avocet monitor controller --> Focal Twin 6be + Matching Sub Preamps: Coil Audio CA-70 tube preamp x2 Black Lion Audio B173 Compressors: Dangerous Music Compressor Empirical Labs Fatso EL7x EQ: Dangerous Music Bax EQ Analog Reverb: Benson Studio Tall Bird Pedals (I use pedals extensively in my production and mixing process): Death By Audio Reverberation Machine Electro Harmonix Memory Man (90's large vintage version) Electro Harmonix OP Amp Big Muff (JHS modded) Zvex Instant Lo-Fi Junky Zvex Sonar Moog Cluster Flux Chasebliss Audio Brothers Chasebliss Audio Thermae JHS Haunting Mids Guitar Amps: Benson Monarch (15-watt tube amplifier) Swart Space Tone (5-watt tube amplifier) VOX AC30 Head (30-wat tube amplifier) Guitars: 2011 American Fender Stratocaster Synths: Moog Sub 37 Elektron Analog 4 Casio MT-68 Microphones: Lauten Audio Atlantis Placid Audio Carbonphone Shure SM57 DIY RM-5 Ribbon Mic Vintage Tram Mic From Russia DI's: Phoenix Audio Nimbus DI x 2 A Designs REDDI Tub DI
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you want this to sound like your demo? What do you want this to sound like? Who has been a big influence for you lately and/or always?
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To do my absolute best to achieve and/or surpass the sound you hear/desire. *H O W E V E R* Not afraid to be real with you if we are in the mixing process and you're trying to make your tracks sound like something they are not. But that's really the only disclaimer that I have. It's fun and challenging to get your songs sounding the way you want them and the best feeling when you're genuinely happy with them. I promise to do my best to go above and beyond your expectations.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I grew up in wonderment about the songs I loved. WWWWW&H over and over in my mind. But now, since many of mysteries are solved, I am elated to be able to sling these sonic spells out into the world with the songs I create or work on. I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: John Hayes is an amazing producer who creates Deep House with meticulous sound design. I've had the honor of working with him a lot and he creates very interesting and sonically lovely tunes. If you're a good singer, look him up, he's always looking for talented singers to collaborate with him.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: You can achieve greatness with both but I've reached a point to where I can hear (usually) the difference and my ear prefers the roundness, impact, and spacing of analog. Not because I think it's better, but because I like the way it feels and now that I get to work with analog I can now confirm that they just sound different. I think using both is best, but that's just me. This is, after all, art and I don't see a point to endlessly debating. I'd rather spend that time creating!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I try and have more than one source of sound for each track. Giving tracks, especially key tracks a sound signature from pedals, microphones, plugins, second-hand cassette machines, whatever you can get your hands on gives harmonic complexity that can be blended and combined in unique ways, even at different parts of the song that often really make your tracks stand out.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on electronic or rock music. My favorite is when artists blend both genres.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Fearlessness to experiment with a track. Outside a solid foundation, I make sure to have lots of opportunities to run into happy accidents. I try and set up a healthy relationship with my logic and my subconscious pushing the song to its limits and then depending, either backing off a bit or backing off a lot. Maybe the song is already what it needs to be but you never know until you try!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The musicians and producers that inspire me the most are Boards of Canada, Ryan Lott (Son Lux), Frederic Robinson, Nick Zammuto (The Books, Zammuto) and Trent Reznor. I've had to pick up my jaw from the floor many times from these artists that make amazing songs and productions that transcend trends.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common work I do for my clients is mixing and production.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started as a drummer for bands (1999 to 2009) until a band I was in, who had major label success, suddenly disbanded after we were planning a tour. I found myself back at square one. This inspired me to get into production - I had always been into it but wasn't very good at it. Since 2010, I've been closing the gap to meet the taste of the music that inspires me. Now that I've arrived at this level I've always wanted to be, it's up, up, up from here!