Blake La Grange is a Grammy Winning Mixing & Mastering engineer and has mastered literally thousands of songs every year. He is the chief engineer and founder of Mercury Mastering, #1 industry standard mixing & mastering studio. Blake's clients include: P.O.D., Chicago, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Mase, Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, Nine Inch Nails, Hanson.
Blake and his team have the most streamlined process in all of the online mixing services and platforms. His southern California based studio and company is the #1 industry standard mastering studio for achieving the big label sound required for all audio recordings. The combination of their Grammy award-winning engineers, their acoustically treated rooms, and their legendary equipment (both analog and digital) proves that they are the #1 leader in audio mastering.
Mercury Mastering has worked with the World's musical greats, ranging all over the board including legendary artists such as Chicago, Cheap Trick, and Kiss, to various modern artists including Kanye West, Victoria Justice, Cake, and P.O.D.
Check out this video that breaks down his online mixing process: https://youtu.be/ZfBrW0fobPY
Check out this video that breaks down his online mastering process: https://youtu.be/Sn5Zh5ZFYs8
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Interview with Blake La Grange
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: 99% of the work I do is online mixing and mastering. Musicians, engineers, and producers, either send me their finalized stereo mixes for me to master, send me 3-5 stems for me to stem master, or send me their WAV files for me to mix. I spend all my time in the studio working for my clients.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love anything that is excellent. I appreciate organic recording techniques. I appreciate live recordings in the studio. I appreciate capturing moments and then bring those moments out in a mix or master.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Too much to type. Simply put, it's a hybrid mixing console in a 3000sqft space overlooking the beautiful scenery here in sunny southern California.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Client sends me files->I take the files and convert it into ProTools, and run everything out through my console. I do a full analog mix down of every song. I then start consolidating back into ProTools. This hybrid setup allows for analog mixing as well as digital fine-tuning. Then, of course, a tape master with every final master bounce.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Because I am also a musician, I always think things through musically. I will try to dive in and be the band member that listens to and develops the frequency spectrum. I will do what is best for the song. Period.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: After mixing and mastering thousands of songs, probably: 1) Understanding and analyzing frequencies 2) Bringing out the moment that was captured in the live room
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Less is more.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with anyone who is willing to take their music seriously and try new things that serve the song the best! Also, The National or Ryan Adams.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Organic. Analog.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have never done anything else. This is all I've ever done.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1176 SM7 NS10s U67 API550A
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Prep your files. Only send things that you are proud of. The best mix/master comes from an excellent song, recording, and performance.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How many tracks do you have per song? How many people will end up hearing this? What is your turnaround time? What is your budget? How did you record this? What does this project mean to you? What do you want me to bring to the table?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: 99% of people think I am the technical side of the music. Far be it from the truth. I am playing a creative role in this process.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I get questions all over the spectrum. I don't like to have canned answers. It's more important to understand what the client needs before speaking.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The people I work with are amazing! The gear, music, studio, my team, and my view don't hurt either.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise you I will treat you like I do my Grammy Winning artists. I will never compromise my work for anyone.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog for sound shaping. Digital for editing.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: If you can afford him, Chris Lord Alge.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I master about 5-10 songs a day and mix about 3-5 songs a week. It's always moving. This answer will always change!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I had the amazing privilege to work with the Beach Boys and Hanson on a combined project they are doing together. It's now out yet but I can't wait for everyone to hear!