Recording and mix engineer, owner of Sonic Conscious recording studio.
Hello, my name is Jason Wagner. For the past 15+ years I have been recording, mixing and producing music projects, slowly growing my skill set and gear collection. The studio is hybrid with 32 channel input, 30 channel summing, with 16 channels of i/o for the 36 channels of outboard. Apogee Symphony conversion, Barefoot MM27 monitors. 50+ microphones.
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Interview with Jason Wagner
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've always had a day job to support my music and the studio. Around 15 years ago I started transitioning from performing musician (guitar and bass guitar) to studio engineer and started recording and mixing. Only so much time in the day and I love being able to be a part of so many different musical projects, so I focused on recording and mixing. I still play music of course but it's more to write or play on a project I'm working with. My goal has been and still is to keep building my portfolio and eventually build a commercial facility and transition to music production full time.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Kongos, I like their blending of genres, they have cool songs and a very unique production.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Constantly check what your are doing via "bypass" to make sure you are making sounds better and not just changing them.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock & Alternative but I would like to do more Pop, World and Americana.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Being a good listener and being empathetic to what the song means for the artist, which allows me to better share the musicians vision and be a beneficial entity to accomplishing their goals.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Passion for music and helping musicians express their music to the world, in other words I really put my all into your music. I have a background in writing and can offer help to musicians in writing parts, song arrangement, production goals and accomplishing certain sounds. Being a musician myself I've been behind the microphone and I work really hard at creating an experience that allows musicians to perform their best.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: For recording when possible I prefer one or two pre-production meetings to get a solid vision of the production. Full band projects they generally follow one of these processes; band all performs together to get good scratch tracks and we overdub starting with drums or the band all performs together and we record "keeper" tracks for drums and or drums and bass. followed by overdubbing everything else. My live room is not suited to full band off the floor recordings with lots of bleed. Mixing is time by myself to get everything in order and to build a basic mix, if the band is recording with me, this is generally all ready from well done tracking. From there the musicians are welcome to attend the follow mix sessions or I can stream mix sessions which can be great as you listen to the mix in a setting you very familiar with, your living room or car for example.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: 32 channels of Apogee Symphony for tracking and conversion to the Shadow Hills Equinox summing box, which feeds my buss compression. 16 channels of Apogee DA and AD16x which is used for I/O insert points to access analog hardware which includes; 20 channels of analog compression, 16 channels of analog eq, 6 channels of analog distortion and saturation. Barefoot MM27s for monitoring in a very accurate room. Small live tracking room which is suitable for drum sets, horn ensembles, small vocal groups, guitar amps, etc.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I find most productions to be interesting so I find inspiration in many genres and artists.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Working with bands to record and mix their song or songs is what I do the most currently. This generally includes pre-production time to prepare for tracking and developing a solid vision for the production. Mixing previously recorded music is much different than starting with the project from the beginning but I really enjoy it as well.