Tell us about your studio setup.
My current mastering setup is a hybrid of digital plugins and analog hardware conversion. It's different but it totally works for me. After working in a room at Masterdisk with $100,000 of analog equipment, I got to learn what I liked and what I didn't like or needed to master music. So my current rig is scaled down and has it where it counts. My monitoring is much better than what I had at Masterdisk too now that I have a pair of beautiful PMCs. So the fact that I feel like I can actually hear what I'm doing makes all the difference in the world in creating a great master.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started out playing music in local bands. Could never find anyone who could record and get the sounds I wanted so I started to learn how to record music. Bought Pro Tools when I was 17 and found out I could go to school for audio engineering. While in school, I played in bands and recorded other bands I played shows with. Recorded a few popular local bands and "the phone kept ringing". Eventually graduated from college and started a recording studio and produced local and national touring artists. Was presented the opportunity to move to Nashville and learn mastering from renown mastering engineer Hank Williams at Mastermix. So I closed my studio and moved to Nashville to learn from a legend. While I was an apprentice for Hank, the opportunity to move and work at Masterdisk NYC came up. So I moved to NYC, worked my way up the ranks and started mastering music for anyone I could. Got to 2nd assist on a Dave Matthews live album, had some music on the Billboard charts, and built a handful of clientele. Then I decided to move back to my hometown with my wife and start my own mastering studio (The Foxboro). Ended up landing my "biggest" clients since the move from Masterdisk. I've been working in audio production for over 11 years and don't plan to stop anytime soon.
How would you describe your style?
My style is whatever is appropriate for the song. The song and the direction the client has given me is what matters most.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
This is the hardest question for anyone to answer. Probably Green Day. I've been a fan since I was 10 and it'd be so much fun to work on something by them. Even if it was a 30 sec song for a Pepsi commercial, I'd be so happy.
Can you share one music production tip?
Just because you send me a stereo mix that's "loud" and the meters are pegged, doesn't mean that it's going to come out on my end louder. The truth is I can probably crush it and distort it better than you can with my equipment AND make it louder. But if you insist on sending me a mix that is already pegged and squared off because you mixed into a limiter and it gave you "a sound", then so be it.
What's your typical work process?
I'll listen to the song one time through to get an idea of what's going on musically AND sonically, then determine what I need to do to make it sound better competitively and meet the client's needs.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
The common type of work I do for my clients is Stereo Mastering and deliver their music in the form of a WAV file. All this work is done by file transfers via email/internet. It's pretty awesome how the internet makes the world such a small place. There's been multiple days where I've worked with clients in NYC, Nashville, and Vancouver Canada all in one day from my studio in Michigan. Those are both busy and fun days.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
The Sanctus Real EP "This Is Love". I was the mastering engineer. It was a lot of fun to work on, it turned out great, and I was the only person outside of the band to get to work on the songs. Really cool dudes.
What are you working on at the moment?
An EDM single from Michigan, a Praise and Worship EP from Vancouver and some performance tracks for songs I've already mastered from a Hip-Hop artist from Queens NYC.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Jake Rye. I work on everything he mixes. Really cool dude and outstanding engineer.
Analog or digital and why?
Both. They're both awesome.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I will do whatever you want me to do for your music, the best I can, and the fastest I can no matter what level you are at in the music industry. I've worked for people who have crapped on projects because they're a nobody, can't speak english properly or disagree with everything the client actually wants sonically. It's all about patience and I will listen to your requests and do everything I can to guide you in the best direction to reach your musical goals. I'm here for you.
What do you like most about your job?
I like that I get to work on tons of different music and it's always at a fast pace. It's always a challenge and always a learning process.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Customer: "(Place common question here)?"
Me: "Yes I can do that for you."
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
The two biggest misconceptions are that I can mix the song (can change individual levels in the mix) AND that I can polish turds (aka: Bad Mixes). Fortunately I get to work with a lot of people who are incredible mixers and I don't have to deal with this a lot. But there is the occasional client who is very confused and has been mislead as to what a mastering engineer and the process of mastering is actually going to do for their music.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What direction can you give me? What are you looking to get out of this mastering session? Do you want me to be as transparent as possible with your mix and ONLY make it louder? Or would you like me to do a little bit of "Mojo" to get it to where I think it should be competitively?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
My advice would be to make sure your mixes are really ready for mastering (better the mix, better the master) and don't expect me to pull a rabbit out of a hat if they're not ready. haha.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My PMCs, FabFilter Pro Q2, Dangerous Convert 2, API 2500, Lavry Gold MX.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I've mastered music and have re-acquiring clients in literally every genre. But my most "popular" genres are Rock/Indie, Christian/Praise & Worship (in English AND Spanish), Country and EDM.
What's your strongest skill?
Patience and Vision. Patience because I usually get mixes at the very last min of when the turn in day is, so patience is required cause usually everyone else involved in the project is really burnt out and stressed. Vision because sometimes I'll get a mix with no direction at all and I'm expected to make it sound a certain way...so I do whatever I think it needs and somehow that was exactly what the client wanted. I call that a home-run ;)
What do you bring to a song?
Most of my clients comment on how much bigger and clearer their mix sounds after I get to work on it. I've also received comments on how much louder I was able to get their mix in comparison to when they used "(Whatever is the popular loudness plugin of the month here)".
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Musicians and music productions professionals who inspire me are the ones who have heart, passion and are constantly innovative. I think those three things produce the most honest and successful results when creating music.