Indie Mixer/Producer/Writer My work has over 20 million streams on Spotify alone, and has been featured on Taylor Swift's handpicked "Songs Taylor Loves" playlist, New Music Friday, Fresh Finds cover artist and charted #2 on Global Viral Charts. I use some of the best analogue gear in the world (ask for list). I don't list credits I didn't earn
20 million + streams on Spotify
My work has been featured in publications including Billboard Magazine, ARTISTdirect, Ones To Watch, the FADER, CLASH, LadyGunn, Galore, The Wild Honey Pie, Indie Shuffle, Indietronica, Local Wolves and Born Music.
See: Eighty Ninety, Bell the Band, Aaron Taos, Stevie Wolf, Nola Wren, Sorcha Richardson, Cody Lovas Hunter & Wolfe
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
5 ReviewsEndorse Harper James
Very professional and a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended!
I have been working with Harper for years now with his role(s) as engineer, producer, and co writer. In each situation the music in my head was coming through the monitors. Our relationship is imperative to making the music come to life.
I stumbled into Harper in an elevator! I had been thinking about recording my music for a while, but never did because it seemed so daunting. Harper was extremely professional and did a great job in guiding me through this whole process that was so alien to me. The most important thing, however, was that he cared a lot about how *I* wanted my music to sound and did everything to make it so.
Harper is one of the most creative engineers & mixers I've ever met. He's got a wealth of studio knowledge and is great at approaching every project with an open mind. Definitely taking my next record to Harper for mixing.
Harper is a true collaborator and one of the few producers I've worked with who approaches each project with open ears, genuine consideration and higher standards than the last.
Interview with Harper James
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Once I load up the files and organize them, I like to really get to know the rough mix/the artist's song and meditate on a vision for the mix before I start turning knobs. I ask my self questions like what is the emotion of the song? What are the strengths and weakness of the production? What sounds need improvement? Where should the vocal be placed, base on type of performance, genre and arrangment?
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I am often hired to produce engineer and mix a record or single from start to finish. Specifically I have a great track record of helping artists put out their first breakout music. An EP or single that helps take their career to the next level, whether that be getting on a New Music Friday Spotify playlist, getting that first big press, or booking their first big shows/tour. Steps which then lead to building a team finding a label partner etc.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I had the chance to work with Michael Brauer (Coldplay, John Mayer) who I believe if one of the great mixing engineers of all time. He taught me that mixing is an emotionally based skill, rather than a purely technical one.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Doesn't really matter. I like analogue because of how it feels to use; there's a physicality to it that is just fun and engaging. I like plugins because they are so easy and can do absolutely wild things. The easier the technical process the more energy can be focused on the art.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Understanding what an artist and a song needs from the production and mix. Sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's a little.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: My most successful projects have been in indie pop, roots folk music and indie rock. Go figure! It's all music to me.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't let fear box you in to making boring safe decisions. You think you're being safe but your product will sound amateur.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Paul McCartney. He's the best. He speaks music as a universal language. If I could be in the same room as his that would be enough!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Was in a band, got interested in the studio side of things, assisted some friends, studied with some legends, got an apprentice gig at a studio, worked my way up to producer, had a few streaming hits, developed a career. 5 years full time.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: U67, Neve 1073, 1176, Gibson Acoustic, 8 track.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's a technical job, and that you can perfect a formal. I've never met a truly great mixer that doesn't have spiritual and emotional depth and wisdom. Every great mixer has a different approach and hears in a different way. Like any art, mixing is about finding yourself through your work, and about finding your best work by going deeper into yourself.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to as much work from the provider as possible and try and get a sense of their professionalism and personality from their Soundbetter biography/interview. Do they seem intelligent, creative and detail oriented? Don't be convinced by big credits alone. Sometimes it just means they got coffee for the artist when they were an intern or assistant at a big studio.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your vision for the project emotionally & musically? What do you like about your music and what would you like to work on, improve or change through the process of mixing?
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My brother and I worked on a track recently that made it to #2 on Spotify's Global Viral chart and has over 15 million plays, as well as a track that Taylor Swift and-picked to be #13 (her favorite number!) on her "Songs Taylor Loves" official Spotify playlist. Proud of him and so happy to be in music with family.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I've had success taking indie bands and delivering them a track or record that helps jump start their career or adds momentum to the early stages of their career. I think that's because I come to each project with an open mind and try and follow the artist's vision. I don't treat mixing as a technical craft, it's an emotional practice. You have to feel your way through it.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What can a mix do for a song? A mix can enhance what's already there. I can help you find what's special about your music and feature it. It can add texture and depth and clarity and aliveness to your production.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Jillian Lavin
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Working with amazing clients, developing life long friendships and listening back to a song I've worked on that makes me feel something powerful.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Dozens of projects! Mixing, producing, tracking, writing for artists across the world and a lot of NYC and LA based artists. I keep the Insta updated.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a professional mixing and production suite located within a top of the line commercial recording studio in Brooklyn, New York. My personal room includes my favorite outboard gear of all time which I use in conjunction with a giant slew of modern plugins including UAD, Soundtoys and Waves. Outboard gear highlights includes a stereo pair of Chandler Germanium Compressors which are often across my stereo bus. A pair of Empirical Labs Distressors, often used across the drum bus. As well as a stereo pair of Ward Beck 480C preamps & EQs and a blue stripe 1176 compressors which I love on bass or vocals. My speakers of choice are generally NS10s. If they're good enough for Dr. Dre they're good enough for me. Also like to check on a pair of PSB head phones (which Serban Ghenea is rumored to use when he's mixing remotely)
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will listen to you and treat you and your work with respect. I will try and always bring my best self to the work.