Phil Smith | Virgo Sounds

Mixer, Producer, Guitar/Bass

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5 Reviews (1 Verified)
Phil Smith | Virgo Sounds on SoundBetter

Give your song the final touches it deserves! I can help you get more punch, clarity, width and dynamics using the best gear money can buy in a well-treated room with great speakers.

I am a mixer, producer, guitarist and bassist in Los Angeles, CA. I've been playing music for close to 30 years and producing for 10. My many years of experience have taught me that good music is always about energy and intention. How is a song supposed to feel? What story is being told, and how is the production or mix helping or hurting that story? I work on all aspects of music, from the songwriting stage through mastering, but my specialty is mixing and production. I have a gift for hearing how sounds interact to paint a full picture. I take that same approach when doing session work on guitar and bass, only playing what is necessary to tell the story of the song. If you've taken your production as far as you can and need new life breathed into it I'm your guy! I'll help give dynamics and shape to a song when that's needed, or trim things back and create focus. No matter what I'll do everything I can to bring out the soul of the song and make your music feel great!

Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Phil Smith
  • Will Downing
  • Will Downing
  • Blinddog Smokin'
  • A.J. Croce
  • Phil Smith
  • Corpus Christi
  • Corpus Christi
  • Corpus Christi
  • Pastor A.L. Smith
  • Shawn Megorden
  • Shawn Megorden
  • Elvis Nagel
  • Settly
  • Sandy Smith
  • Sandy Smith
  • Eric Lindell
  • Eric Lindell
  • Old 97's
  • Steve Earle
  • The Pointed Sticks
  • InMe
  • North Star Artists
  • North Star Artists
  • North Star Artists
  • A.J. Croce
  • Ceramic Hobs
  • Carter Burwell
  • Slaughter & the Dogs
  • Vanilla Fudge
  • Howard Werth
  • Howard Werth
  • Michael Davis
  • Nick Heyward
  • Jay East
  • Bob DiPiero
  • Zappatistas
  • Zappatistas
  • Don Henry
  • Harley Allen
  • Lalo Schifrin
  • Steve Earle
  • Parallel String Band
  • Parallel String Band
  • Michael Johnson
  • Angela Kaset
  • Fred Knobloch
  • Wild Turkey
  • Wild Turkey
  • Joseph Patrick Moore
  • Warlord
  • Luis Miguel
  • Dishrags
  • George Michael
  • Luis Miguel
  • Gone Dog
  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Deathwish
  • ABC
  • Steve Reich
  • Steve Reich & Musicians
  • Vanilla Fudge
  • Starz
  • Phil Smith
  • Matt Papa

5 Reviews

Endorse Phil Smith | Virgo Sounds
  1. Review by Damien O.
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    check_circleVerified

    Phil was great to work with, very friendly and delivered a great bass line for my track,
    Thanks Phil it was a pleasure!

  2. Review by Russell
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    by Russell

    I've had Phil mix and master 2 upcoming songs of mine. Both are retro funk and he completely nailed it! I supplied some mix references and he honestly blew me away. Now my songs can finally live on any big Spotify playlist. I plan on hiring him again in the future.

  3. Review by Gyan Riley
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    by Gyan Riley

    Phil is a fantastic mix and mastering engineer. He has mixed and mastered 2 very different albums for me. He brings a vast understanding of varying musical styles, from classical to funk/rock/blues and everything in between. Phil listens carefully to what sound you are going for and finds a creative approach to achieve that sound without trying to corral you in any direction along the way. He also hears details I often don't and improves a mix drastically before I even have to say anything. He's also optimistic and open-minded and super friendly!

  4. Review by Yukon
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    by Yukon

    Phil is a great mixer and producer. All his tracks are dynamic, clean, and super musical! And not only is he really easy to deal with but his commitment to excellence is something I appreciate in everything I master for him!

  5. Review by Alina
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    by Alina

    Phil can bring any song to life! He's passionate about making high quality music and works meticulously to complete the artist's vision. He's so cool to work with and is open to feedback, which can be tough with other mixer/producers. I'm so blessed to have met him and I'm excited to hear more!

Interview with Phil Smith | Virgo Sounds

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: My favorite song I've ever done was "We Forget" by Alina Cherone. I did the mix and helped with production. She's just such an incredible songwriter and producer, and I was inspired bringing it to completion.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: A full length LP with my band Even Us and an EP with Alina Cherone

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: Adam "Yukon" Harr

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Obviously Both! I love analog gear because there's a little something extra. And even when going all digital, the aesthetic is informed by analog processing. It's just the era I grew up in so it's what I like. It's all about many different kinds of subtle saturation.

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: I promise I'll give my whole heart to your project and not send it out until I know I've done everything I can to make it great!

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: I love that moment when a song stops feeling like a pile of crap and starts feeling like a hit!

  13. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  14. A: Can you make this sound like X Y OR Z? Probably! I'll try my best.

  15. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  16. A: A lot of people believe in "fix it in the mix." I have a ton of tools to fix things, but I don't believe in deferring decisions until the end of the process. I'm not here to put my stamp on someone's song, but to present their vision in the most awesome way possible. So the more an artist or producer does to clarify the project before sending it to someone else the better.

  17. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  18. A: I mostly ask for references so I know what they love and where they want their music to "live"

  19. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  20. A: Make sure you've taken your song as far as you can. Don't hire a mixer or a session musician to fix problems in the arrangement and writing. Guys like me are here to enhance your song and present it in the best possible light, not to fix it.

  21. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  22. A: Laptop loaded with plugins, Strat, Dave Smith OB-6, UAD Apollo, PMC speakers

  23. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  24. A: I've been playing guitar for 25 years, producing for 10, and mixing professionally for 5 years. I started out playing rock music as a kid in Philadelphia, going on several tours as a high-schooler. Then I studied classical guitar for several years at the Oberlin Conservatory. After graduating I spent several years playing r&b, gospel, reggae, and world music all over the East coast. I taught private lessons for 10 years and worked in recording studios in the Philadelphia area. In 2019 I moved to Los Angeles with my girlfriend Alina, and incredible artist, and we formed a band called Even Us. I now split my time between the band and doing mix and session work professionally.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: Dynamic and Colorful

  27. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  28. A: Radiohead because they're the best band ever.

  29. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  30. A: Less is more! Make every sound have a special and unique character, and write more interesting melodies or chords rather than add on new parts.

  31. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. A: I usually work on pop, indie rock, funk, soul, and house. But I've worked on many genres besides that and all types of music excite me.

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: Mixing

  35. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  36. A: I bring Energy and Intention! A song is all about the dynamics and the feel. You should never get bored or wonder when the song's gonna end. I try to keep the listener captivated. Sometimes that means making a section smaller, narrower, dryer, so that the next section can EXPLODE! It's all about contrast! That's my approach no matter what I'm doing - producing, mixing, or playing. Give the song a shape and energy architecture that honors the core message of the song.

  37. Q: What's your typical work process?

  38. A: When mixing I'll listen to the rough mix while setting up the session. I do a quick balance to get all the levels where they feel right, and then I'll set up my routing so that I'm listening through my beautiful master buss. After that I'll start with whichever sound I think is the "hook" of the song and give it the color and texture I like. I'll then spend hours detailing and sculpting, and doing automation to bring the track to life. About halfway through the process I'll listen to references to make sure my mix is better than everything else out there! If I'm doing guitar or bass work I just listen to whatever I'm sent and play whatever feels great, refining as I go until there are beautifully sculpted parts that perfectly fit the song!

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I have a beautiful studio in Highland Park, LA. It's a well-designed, well-treated room in a 10-person studio complex. I use PMC, Focal, and Auratone speakers which give me an incredibly detailed image of the music in front of me. I listen through gorgeous Lynx Hilo converters and record through a UAD Apollo x6 with an assortment of hardware preamps. When mixing I sum into an Alan Smart C1 (SSL compressor), Chandler Curve Bender, and Neve Master Buss Processor. This outboard equipment adds a beautiful depth, power and space to my mixes that I haven't been able to recreate with plugins. When tracking guitar I play numerous guitars through a Fender Deluxe Reverb, using pedals and plugins to sculpt the sound. Lead vocals are usually recorded with a Manley Reference Cardioid through a Chandler TG2. I love my little studio and I'm super proud of the sounds I'm able to get.

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: My favorite mixer by far is Michael Brauer. I'm completely inspired by Mark Ronson, Diplo, and Ian Fitzpatrick when it comes to modern production. My favorite producers ever are Quincy Jones, Brian Eno, Leon Sylvers, and Maurice White.

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: My two main services are mixing and session guitar/bass work

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Alina Cherone - We Forget

I was the Mixer, co-Producer, Bassist, Guitarist in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • Adele
  • Beck
  • Radiohead
Gear Highlights
  • Alan Smart C1
  • Chandler Curve Bender
  • Rupert Neve Master Buss Processor
  • Manley Reference Cardioid
  • PMC and Focal Speakers
  • Lynx Hilo
  • UAD Apollo x6
  • Chandler TG-2
  • A-Designs P-1
More Photos
More Samples