Looking to help artists mix and master their songs to the standard they wish to achieve as well as use it as an opportunity to work on my chops and become a better mixer!
Hello, my name is Lane and I have been mixing and mastering my music for 2-3 years now independently. I have a deep desire to mix and master music to help musicians whip their songs in shape for streaming platforms. I want to make this a career at some point because I have way too much fun working with other artists (even myself) to help them get their mix to the standards THEY want.
I also have a Fiverr page I conduct business on! https://www.fiverr.com/hillstrumaudio/mix-and-master-your-music
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Hillstrum Audio
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I have a group of friends I play Dungeons and Dragons with and we recently started running a new campaign. My friend who was running it wanted a theme song for it much like the ones he watches weekly. I had a bunch of orchestral libraries and told him I'd give it a go. I had him write down what he wanted it to sound like, what kind of instruments he wanted to be emphasized. I sat down with him and had him hum out different melodies and we went back and forth picking which ones worked best for the overall style. Eventually, we finished it and I got it mixed and mastered and we've used it every weekend before we start our campaign session. Our friends still aren't tired of it!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently working on an instrumental album that I am recording, mixing, and mastering myself.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I don't own and have never worked with analog gear but I'd say it's 50/50. It just depends on the application and the context of it. Some things digital can come close to the point of not needing to use the outboard gear, other times analog may come in handy more than digital. To me, either way, if it works, it works.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to work as hard as I can to ensure you are satisfied with your mix. At the end of the day, if you are not happy with it, neither am I.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I just love mixing and mastering. As long as I can help someone get their song to the level they want it at, that is all I care about.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: It mostly comes down to pricing, which I generally tend to go over during the initial emailing process.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Not a misconception but a lot of people see mixing engineers/producers as something of a drill sergeant that is going to put them through the wringer or ask them about things they don't understand as far as the process is concerned. Good news for you, I'm not a ballbuster that will put you under the microscope for every little thing. I'm extremely nice, patient, and understanding about your project and how you want it done.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: It usually falls under what is your deadline, how many tracks, do you have a reference track you would like for me to use, things of that nature.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Just give me a list of how you want to shape your mix and I'll do the best I can, don't be afraid to ask me questions about the process or any techniques I have applied to the song. I'm extremely laid back and welcoming of anything you might be curious or interested in.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Don't have any outboard gear so it would be my Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones, a laptop that had a CPU strong enough to handle a lot of plugins, a UA Apollo X6 Interface, and a PRS custom 24 guitar.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My current career path is IT but I have been doing this for about 2-3 years now and I'm always learning new things and working with new people.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I try and create the most dynamic mix possible that is up to today's loudness standards (as far as streaming is concerned). I think it is really important to the client as well as the listener that the track isn't crushed into oblivion rendering it unlistenable. Nevertheless, If that is the way a client want's it done, I'll see it done. At the end of the day, it is their song/record, I will, however, send them a copy of how I thought it should have sounded just so they can have it in case it is ever needed or preferred.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Mastodon. I have always been a fan of their music and the evolution their music has gone through over the years. I feel like I would be able to bond with those guys not only as a musician but just as a person who loves music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: When you start getting into the nitty-gritty of the mixing process, try and make all of your eq, balancing, and compression without soloing the tracks. Over time your ears will become more accustomed to hearing these changes with all of the elements being present at the time the change is made. Not to mention it is a lot more time-efficient.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I generally work on Rock and Metal but have also recently dipped my toes into working on some Lo-Fi stuff, which I find fun.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I have a pretty good ear for picking out bad frequencies that could become a problem down the road for the listener and the artist.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I generally try to bring as much life to each instrument in the track as equally and seamlessly(every track needs to be loved, heard, and appreciated in some aspect) as I possibly can, while at the same time keeping the client's end goal in mind.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I usually start with an empty(ish) project that has several FX buses and some sub mixes set up and ready to go. Afterward, I will set up all the tracks and turn them down then slowly bring each one back up (as well as pan what tracks need it) until I have a balanced static mix. Soon after I start doing the heavy mixing which will involve EQ, compression, FX, etc.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I use Studio One 4.5 as my primary DAW of choice, I use Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones to monitor with and use an Audio Technica AT-2020 for some recording purposes.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm a guitarist so I usually get inspired a lot by other guitarists out there. I can easily draw from other instrumentalists as well, though. I draw a ton of inspiration from other mixing engineers out there (CLA, Steven Wilson, Greg Fidelman, Mark Roberts).
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mostly just mix songs for clients and occasionally master them.