What are you working on at the moment?
After finishing a Christian rock mix for a competition, I am now in the process of recording a Christmas single with Shan & Mel. I also have some mixing to do for J-Mac, as well as starting a mix for a pop artist. I also have to mix a hip-hop album in the near future.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That it's easy once you know how to do it. I learn something new from every mix I do.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I always ask for song references. A lot of the time it's just about knowing what ball park to be in when mixing, but depending on the client/song, the reference is extremely important to the direction in which they want their song to go in.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
My advise would be to listen to their work and don't just look at who they say they've worked with and how long they've been doing it. Just because they have 20 years experience, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have a sound that's suited to your music.
If after listening to their work you can say to yourself, "Yes; my song will sound good with this guy mixing it", then go for it.
Analog or digital and why?
I mix digitally, mainly because I can't afford all of the outboard I'd need for mixing. I'd love to get an 11-76 compressor though.
When it comes to recording, I always prefer real guitar amps and the harmonics going through a mixing desk gives you.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
In order of importance:
1. My Ears
2. My Taste
3. My headphones (I've have had this £20 pair since 2009. I always have a listen to how my mix sounds in these, as I understand exactly how a mix would sound anywhere else after listening in my Curry's headphones!)
4. CLA-76 (I love what this compressor does for vocals. Such a rounded sound)
5. Logic Pro X
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Graduating from Red Tape Studio’s, Sheffield in 2010, I achieved the highest possible grade (Double Distinction) on the BTEC National Certificate in Music Technology. During 2010, I also won Red Tape Studio’s recording of the year for my recording, mixing & mastering work on “Vida – The Stages Are All Empty”. After a short while at Leeds Metropolitan University, I further increased my knowledge and experience of music production and sound engineering, working in truly magnificent high end recording studios.
Working out of Stonetown Studio, I now record and mix to a professional standard.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Usually I work with Rock, Pop and Punk. I am equally comfortable with country and acoustic music and anything in between.
What do you bring to a song?
I am typically able to make drums and guitars sound pretty big. I use various techniques to do this, typically by using creative compression decisions and having an ear for what compressor sounds best on any given instrument.
I like to create a space for every instrument so that if every track was a separate band member, they'd be able to hear themselves. To create space for instruments requires some tasteful EQ and panning decisions.
I also like my mixes to move. Once I have the balance I want, I will automate different tracks and settings so that they make the song dynamic and interesting to the listener.
Lastly, I always reference to a similar sounding song (Preferably a CLA mixed song). I make sure that my mixes don't sound out of place next to high budget production. There's nothing worse than having a song come on via shuffle mode and you have to skip it because it sounds out of place. If it has less low end, high end or isn't as loud as another song, this can make listeners skip songs. I try and minimize this by referencing.
How would you describe your style?
A poor mans CLA!
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Chris Lord-Alge. The man is the master of mixing rock music and I would love to understand more about how he gets the results he does.
Can you share one music production tip?
It's all about the song. With a good song and arrangement, mixing is easy. However, my job as a mixing engineer is to overcome these issues and make a good song great. Automation plays a big part in this. A static mix quickly becomes boring.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I run Logic Pro X and monitor on KRK Rokits. I have the entire catalog of Waves plugins and my room is acoustically treated for optimum sound accuracy.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
When it comes to mixing, I always look to Chris Lord-Alge as the bench mark. I like to study and reference his mixes to make sure that they don't sound miles apart in terms of the quality. Obviously I am not CLA, but I don't want my mix to sound too out of place when played next to one of his mixes.
A lot of the mixes I do are rock/pop/punk and when it comes to these genres, CLA is the master!