What are you working on at the moment?
Apart from the work for the label, at the moment I am working with an emerging hip hop artist on his EP and an EDM producer with his next few singles. I will be helping both these guys bring their best to a few other labels in hopes of being signed.
Analog or digital and why?
I prefer digital! While analog is less buggy, digital is more versatile and it is easy to recall settings and presets.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I will not finish working on your track until we are both happy with the end result. I am more interested in releasing a quality track than getting a track finished fast.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that I get to hear new tracks before anyone else!
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
It is generally believed that mixing involves setting volume levels and mastering involves only a hard limiter. However, the key to mixing is subtle sidechaining and volume/effects automation and mastering concerns itself more with dynamic processing and stereo processing.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started recording audio at 13 with the cakewalk program. After a few years of terrible recordings I found a local studio and shadowed the head engineer, who also let me help with live sound for a church band when I wasn't performing. After a few years, I ran the sound board for the bands and concerts at the church and recorded bands and choirs in the studio. I later left the studio and studied popular music in university and shadowed a professor who is does mastering work for labels in the US, Canada, and Germany. I have worked on tracks with him and have learned many tricks. Now I work with a startup label in Toronto in marketing and as an artist liaison.
Can you share one music production tip?
Silence is power. I find many people have the urge to add pads or filler percussion to simply take up space. While more layers in a track may at times give a sense of fullness, in most cases less is more. If you feel like your track is losing momentum, try limiting it to four to six elements. While this cannot fix a bad performance, this brings attention to the more important elements in the track.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I usually work with EDM and Hip Hop.
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill is my ear. After more than a decade of music training and sound design, and having had to learn from many mistakes, I can hear where tracks need improvement. Whether it's a weak vocal or a boxy snare bringing down the quality of a song, I know how to fix it.
What do you bring to a song?
As a radio host and DJ, I have come to understand what makes tracks flow well. When working on a track, I mix them so that their spectral characteristics are in alignment with other tracks of its genre and style.
What's your typical work process?
For both mixing and mastering I spend the first and largest chunk of time solidifying the bass and subs to give the track a good foundation on which to build the rest of the track.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
My main two influences are Dave Pensado and Graham Cochrane. Pensado has the invaluable years of understanding and he likes sharing his tricks and new discoveries with his followers. Cochrane, in addition to being a studio artist himself, takes a fresh approach as a young entrepreneur in the industry. The combination of the new and old experience gives me a good perspective.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
When working with EDM I get sent stems to mix together. With hip hop, I typically receive one or two vocal tracks and an instrumental to mix together. However, if the artist decides to have me as a mastering engineer as well, I master for half price.