Mixing, Mastering, and Production. 14 years of experience. Driving an API 1608 console in a State-of-the-art studio. Hybrid mixing analog and digital. Transparent producer and can create/produce music within many genre’s. Learn more at: www.justinjamesdumar.com
I am the head Record Producer, Mixing & Mastering Engineer of a high end recording studio in Chicago, IL (Artists of the Industry). I have a degree in Audio Technology from SAE Chicago, I've attended Mix With The Masters with Chris Lorde Alge, and have been producing music & mixing for a decade. Accolades aside, experience matters the most. I've gotten where I am by pushing myself out of my comfort zone everyday, understanding where my weaknesses are and practicing instead of staying within my strengths. I've worked within most every genre from
pop, r&b, electronic, rap/hip-hip, rock, country, and everything in between.
“Justin’s ear for pop is what initially impressed me, but his versatility both on the technical and musical side sets him apart. His growth in the music industry in such a short amount of time is not something you see very often. He’s naturally got a special sound, and I expect big things from him.” -- James Auwarter (Jay Z, Lupe Fiasco, Rihanna, Kanye West, DJ Khaled)
“Justin has an aura that can be seen, heard and felt in his work. Justin is a talented composer and recording engineer who brings stylish vibes to anything he’s involved with.” -- Zak Fox Jablow (Chance The Rapper, Eryn Allen Kane, Lt. Dan Band)
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Interview with Justin James Dumar
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mainly play the role of Record Producer, creating the music, mixing, and mastering.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Man, so many! in every genre. Pharrell, Timbaland, Mark Ronson, Rick Rubin, Travis Scott, Lenny Kravitz, Frank Ocean, H.E.R, Bryson Tiller, The Black Keys, Childish Gambino, Daniel Caesar, Anderson Paak, Ella Mai, Elton John, Gallant, G Eazy, Post Malone, Jhene Aiko, Justin Timberlake, Kid Cudi, Majid Jordan, Miguel, The Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Drake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, SZA, Tory Lanez, Zayn, 6lack, Sabrina Claudio
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I currently work as the head producer and engineer of a high end recoding studio North of Chicago. All the recording/mixing is driven through an API 1608, surrounded by classic analog gear (Compressors, EQ's, Pre Amps, Microphones, Instruments, everything)
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical process (If you're working with me in the studio) will be recording, editing, mixing, then mastering. Takes time, pretty simple process, not re inventing the wheel.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring dynamics, depth, and dimension to a record. I'm able to sculpt with sound and make everything sound glued and intentional.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is my attention to detail and not cutting corners. In my experience, there is no "one thing does all" Technique to achieve great results. It's the hundreds of small moves that create the bigger picture.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Honestly, everything. I work pretty consistently with my clients which range in all genres from R&B, pop, electronic, rap & hip-hop, but I also love working with rock, country, alternative, and blues bands.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: For music production, create depth & fullness in your chord progression by layering sounds to become one sound. Instead of just a piano doing the progression, try adding a synth pad that will sit on the top end of a mid range piano, and maybe a subtle sub bass to add some warmth to the low end. For mixing, It's easy to drown yourself in reverb, by increasing the reverb, the farther your voice gets in the mix. Dial the pre-delay little slower on a reverb which will space the timing between the vocal and the start of the reverb. This will keep you vocal still present in the mix while pushing the reverb away. Another thing you can do is don't add any reverb on the vocal but use a bussed delay, on the delay bus, send that to a reverb so the reverb isn't on the lead vocal but on the delay's.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love the opportunity to work with Frank Ocean. I think he crosses the bridge between forward thinking & singer-songwriter while keeping the integrity of current music and styles.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would say my production style is transparent. I can produce within many genre's. My mixing style is definitely going to lean on the more pop side while keeping dynamics. Really punchy drums, up front vocal, wide stereo dimensionality.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been producing for a little over a decade, I would say I was extremely passionate and took it serious at the age of 16 (I am 30 now) and I would consider myself professionally mixing for about 3 years. The career path for me was always certain within music.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: -Laptop -Native Instruments Maschine -Fender Strat -Neuman U87 -Tube Tech MEC1A
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: It's hard to find someone to pay for work online that you can trust without any initial risk. So my recommendation would be to just do some research. Look beyond "Likes & Followers". Go to their website or social media to find their work, always reach out and ask any questions or simply get to know someone (We're all human), understand that if you're looking to pay someone for work, the way you inquire and the way he/she responds should be 100% professional. No ego, no music shaming, no attitude, no negativity. You should always feel comfortable and confident with who you want to invest your money in, especially when dealing with your art and wanting to involve someone in your self expression.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I'll usually just as for a few of your inspirations and reference tracks.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I'm not sure, maybe that I push a lot of buttons?
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: This can easily turn into negative vibes, if anything, I get asked a lot of questions, it's part of my job to also educate because not everyone has the luxury of working in a studio or working with audio professionals all the time. I just answer the questions as best as I can in terminology you will understand and on a wavelength that suits you.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Everything, the fact that I can create music from start to finish. from concept, to recording, to mixing, to mastering. Took me years of learning, patience, and practice, practice, practice. All worth it.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Promising is scary, I can't promise you will receive a hit record, but I can promise in myself that i'm very passionate about what I do and that I will give you 100% of my heart and soul into every piece of work. I treat everything with the same equal integrity.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! My style is a hybrid of both analog and digital. Why? because if I had a million dollars, I'd have all the pieces of gear but even working in a high-end studio already, we still lust over gear we don't have, which is where plugins come to play, they also are getting really good at actually emulating the tonality and color of certain pieces of gear. But I prefer both!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet but I really look forward to networking within the community and connecting with like minded people.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a full length rap album with a local artists, a pop album with a local artists, and then a few consistent other clients who come to record singles.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm happy and proud of everything I work on as a producer or engineer! With every piece of finishing work, weather good or bad, it's always going to be a level up. And for me, helping others and being apart of their art by utilizing my skillset is beyond humbling. Those shared moments with all the artists I work with is best part.