Since 1999 I've worked as a producer, engineer, mixer and musician with singer/songwriters for indie, rock, shoegaze and country bands; folk singers, jazz combos; and electronic and ambient artists. My goals are to always serve the song, create a unique sonic space for the music to live in, and to have a good time while doing it!
I started working in studios in 1999 at Sonikwire Studios in California as the house engineer and studio manager. Moving to Seattle in 2005, I went freelance and ran a project studio called the Track Shack for several years, as well as working in major studios around the Seattle area including: Crackle & Pop, Avast, Electrokitty and Bear Creek. In 2014 I relocated to Hamburg, Germany working as a freelancer but have now returned to Seattle.
My bands, Trespassers William, the Soft Hills, St. Kilda, and Disinterested, have released records on labels Nettwerk, Tapete, and Bella Union and have toured the U.S. and Europe extensively. More recently I've moved into the world of film scoring, working on the film festival favorite, "Eden" and the lifetime movie "The Night Stalker".
Some of my recording heroes include Brian Eno, Dave Fridmann, Peter Katis, Daniel Lanois, Tucker Martine and Chris Eckman.
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9 ReviewsEndorse Matthew Emerson Brown
Matt does incredible work. The tones he is able to capture are what every musician hopes for: The ability to make you sound like you do live. He has an ear for what you need, and takes the time to get to know your music/style before working with you.
He also tempts you with delicious YouTube videos as motivation to work HARDER.
Love this dude.
Matt Brown is a talented and creative engineer, producer, and musician (not to mention an overall swell human being). I'm lucky to have gotten to make records with him!
I can't recommend Matt enough. He's creative and knows his way around the technical aspects of the recording studio. On top of that he's super easy to work with and moves fast. Hire this man now.
Matt is a wonderful producer/engineer/collaborator: he has great sense of how a session
should operate (steady forward progress &humor), an eclectic but individual slant on how music can sound and the technical chops to back it all up.
I have worked with Matt on many projects. He is meticulous, intuitive, fun to work with, gets great sounds and just does all around excellent work. Great engineer and great producer.
I've returned for many projects with Matt, being very pleased with the first album we recorded. He has a strong aesthetic musical sense, and can get his head into the genre at hand. He moves effortlessly through Pro-tools, while bringing solid old-school analog know-how. He is supportive but "chill" -- easy to spend long hours with in the studio.
I loved working with Matt on our album. He knows his stuff, has a great ear, and knows most musicians like me don't have unlimited funding. (I thought he charged us too little, actually, but don't tell him I said that.)
The final product was easily mastered because it was mixed so well. Great engineer, great producer, great guy!
Matt did a wonderful job engineering, recording, mixing, and co-producing our newest album, "Tall Mountan." His demeanor in the studio was prossional but light hearted...he got the job done well within budget while keeping everyone happy and laughing...no easy task! His ears are honed by his experience as an excellent musician. Superb
Matt does fine work and gets colorful sounds. He also has a good ear for production. I've made some quality records with him!
Interview with Matthew Emerson Brown
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Trust your gut and go with someone that feels right for you.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My 1947 Rickenbacker Lapsteel, my 1978 Tele Custom, a Deluxe Memory Man, a 1965 Deluxe Reverb and a Martin D-28.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: There's a lot, but if I were to pick one right now but the one that comes to mind is Lindsay Fuller's "The Last Light I See". I often play on my productions and get very involved, but on this one all I did was put the band in the right room and get out the way. The songs and players on this record are just amazing and one that I like to listen to to this day.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Some of my studio heroes are Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Dave Fridmann, and Peter Katis. What I love about all these guys is that they seem know that the texture of a recording can often have as much as an impact as any other element. Atmospheric, experimental, ambient, distorted, and effected soundscapes often feature themselves like additional instruments in their productions and I love how these can enhance the emotional energy of a song.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Some mixes for Gems, an instrumental band out of Seattle similar to Tortoise; producing a track for Shauna Sweeney, an acoustic/pop artist from Florida; and producing a few tracks for Jeremy White, an atmospheric indie rock artist from Paris.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I haven't gotten a chance to see everyone here, but I'm sure there are some very qualified and talented folks that would be a good fit.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Doesn't really matter. There are advantages to both, but there are so many more important factors - first and most importantly - the song, then the performers, the instruments, the room - then person behind the desk (or DAW, or tape machine) and then the mics, preamps, compressors. Analog or digital is such a small variable in the big picture these days.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That when they hand out a CD or send a link of the work that we did together that they'll do it with the full confidence that they're sharing a true and fully realized version of their artistic expression. For productions or mixes I always revise until the client is happy. For sessions I strive to keep things on schedule, relaxed and to strive to create as creative as an environment as possible.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Pretty much everything.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "How does this work?" - I usually answer, "However is best for you." And then we have a conversation about the best way to make that happen.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Hmmm, not sure about that one!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you looking to get from working together? What are your goals? What does music mean to you and what are you trying to say? What has worked in the past? What hasn't worked in the past?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: In 1999 some friends started a studio in southern California called Sonikwire Studios. I got very lucky to get involved in from beginning and learned studio construction, management, and engineering in an amazing, world class studio. After working there for six years, I decided to move to Seattle and go freelance, and did that for ten years until 2015. During that time I was also the member of the bands Trespassers William and the Soft Hills and had experience with major and independent labels as well touring the US and Europe. In 2015 I relocated to Germany and am continuing to work freelance there as well as pursuing new musical projects of my own.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Atmospheric, deep, lush, dynamic, experimental.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Leonard Cohen! He's one of the best songwriters of all time, but I feel like his recordings have never fully realized the brilliance of his words, melodies and voice.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Pre-production! The best thing you can do is be prepared on the vision, arrangement, parts, tones. A well prepared record always comes out better in the end.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I often work with singer/songwriters with melancholic leanings, indie rock bands with atmospheric or experimental touches as well as electronic/ambient groups and American roots based bands. I love hip-hop but haven't done as much of it as I'd like to!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I feel like I often understand what an artist is trying to say musically and that I have the sensitivity to help them extract the core of that feeling into a recording. Again, it's about knowing whether to do very little, or get very involved.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Though not a singer or songwriter myself, I feel like the song is the most important part of everything I do. I love creating the atmosphere and environment for a song to live in and I try to make every decision based on trying to bring out the very essence of a song. Sometimes this is a simple as doing as little as possible and just capturing a great performance, other times it involves everything from working on lyrics and arrangements to far-out creative sonic experiments.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It depends on each project, but the one thing that I always do is spend some time talking or hanging out with my clients before we even start working. I do this because I want to know what it is that they'd like to get from working together. Their goals, expectations and passions greatly inform how I approach a project and I adjust the budget and logistics accordingly
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: At my home studio I've got a extra room acoustically treated and dedicated to mixing. I mix on Adam A7X's, Yamaha HS5's, and an old pair of Realistic desktop speakers. I use mostly UAD plug-ins and an Universal Audio Apollo interface which is hooked up to a SPL MixDream 16x2 analog summing mixer. For tracking I've got a Daking Mic Pre IV, a UA 6176 Channel Strip and a small mic collection with a couple AKG 414's, a Sennheiser 421, two Cascade Fat Head ribbons, and a handful of SM57's.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: These days the most of my work is doing mixes or producing tracks for singer/songwriters and bands.