Tandra Jhagroo Mixing and Mastering Engineer, Producer and Remixer with credits on Albums - Drake 'Thank Me Later', Sean Paul 'Tomahawk Technique', Shaggy 'Intoxicated'. She has experience working in Studios both in the Jamaica and Canada, and with clients from all over the world.
If you could picture yourself coming from Toronto's budding and very underground hip hop and indie scenes to then relocating to Jamaica and becoming the only female behind the boards mixing and handling sessions with Sly & Robbie, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Drake, Major Lazer, Amy Winehouse, Bob Sinclair and many many more... then it's not hard to image a girl like Lytes doing her thing on the daily.
Mixing, producing, remixing, A&R'ing a situation... you will find me all engrossed in music and the business behind it. Getting a beat from me is one thing, but now imagine yourself in a combination with some of the islands hottest artist. It's all possible.
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Interview with MixedByLytes
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Bob Sinclairs two album projects. He is delightful but his A&R, Rodney Hill is virtually my mentor and I gained that relationship from working on those projects.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Juno-nominated Ammoye (Canada), her second album.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, best of both worlds, why not!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The transformation of the track and the fact that in its journey of immortalization, I may be the last hands to touch it.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Would I know anything you mixed? Ans: *opens up youtube and let the playlist speak for itself*
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I can "sweeten" a vocal performance.. and to an extent I can. But experience has taught me that if a singer didnt envision themself performing the song on a stage, then they will always miss that mark when voicing. Asking me to put in that element is a big misconception.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How do you need the track to sound?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: You found the right one! (ever try doing business in Jamaica???)
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My laptop, a keyboard, a pultec EQ, Maschine, AKAI APC 40
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: 10 years
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Calm, playful, definitely not something you see everyday and genuine.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd like to work with any artist, but in Jamaica. Its a very humbling place and I usually work long sessions with artists that come to island. It's a powerful thing to witness a power humble themselves to the surroundings. Jamaica is musically safe for alot of artists.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: We probably already know that adding a little distortion makes your Kick Drum feel heavier, but ever thought about "when" to add it. I usually save it to the last, if I feel the kick is awesome already, I always have it on standby and drop it ... 9 out of 10 times, that kick just feels amazingly sweeter and really owns it's spot.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Dancehall and Reggae
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Aptitude! (comes with wisdom and lots of versatility)
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Creativity, competitiveness and shelf-life. Again, watching the Dancehall genre and knowing that songs sometimes only last 6-weeks, you learn what it takes to get a song to a competitive level.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First approach is key when mixing a song, so I like to let the song reveal itself and also gather a good idea of what the producer was aiming for. Secondly, finding a great reference song, being a DJ helps here. Third, get in and do surgery on the track, whatever it takes.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: A Tascam DM4800 is the mainbrain of the ship. KRK and ADAMS monitors, Tubetech EQs and CL2 comp, a variety of microphones and a whole lot of vibe!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Definitely, Sly & Robbie and the engineers that they work with. It's about 5-6 different engineers. Great set of individuals with great ears and insight to music. You have to, to be able to work with such a variety of artists.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Competitive mixing. Dancehall genre has a tendency to generate alot of titles which virtually always demands that mixes be professionally mixed, by nature of the music, it enters the international markets. So mixes are always ready for cross-genre platforms.