British producer / mix engineer based in Brooklyn, NY
Hi! I work out of my mix room near the Navy Yards, in Brooklyn, NY. With a background in live performance and musical directing, I've spent 12 years as a music industry professional, and have worked with artists signed to major labels including Republic Records, Universal Music, Capitol Records, Warner Records and more. Additionally, I am always excited to meet upcoming bands and musicians, whom I may be able to offer suitable rates. I can facilitate attended sessions, if necessary - great coffee and pizza spots here at the Navy Yards! I have a small dog called Olive who comes to the studio with me every day, and who likes to meet new friends, too.
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4 ReviewsEndorse James Gordon
James was a delight to work with. He did a great job communicating and was very timely with the mix. My band and I are very happy with how it all turned out, would definitely recommend James to anyone seeking a professional sounding record.
James is one of the most talented and dedicated professionals I have ever worked with. I use James in a multitude of ways with the various artists I represent. He is not only a class mixer, but a great producer and writer as well. He always serves the song, and can provide either a light touch or a fresh perspective depending on what is called for on each project. I can't say enough great things about him!
James is an incredibly talented producer and mixer. He is not only technically and creatively skilled, but also easy to work with and takes direction well. I've worked with him on a number of projects and am always so happy with how it turns out!
James is a masterful mixer and a pleasure to work with. He had been instrumental in helping to realize the sound of our project.
Interview with James Gordon
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I mixed an EP for LITANY, called '4 TRACK EP' a few years ago. They were an absolute dream to work with, and their music came to me great shape, with everything clearly labelled and organised. I was able to have some great fun with these mixes, utilizing some creative approaches, which were really fun to play around with. The song 'Bedroom' now has nearly 26m streams on Spotify! https://open.spotify.com/album/64NBfuKfE49atmxBp4H3ZZ?si=VsH4VkNoT7yqQ-JP9nJcmA
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I've been working with a new British artist called Carina Jade. Her debut song 'Still Love' has just been released. I mixed it; Lewis at Stardelta Mastering mastered it. Check it out, it's great! https://open.spotify.com/track/0K8esa9gc3R7SRGyjwsKNC?si=NxsnoFJ8QYOzGHABNLVJAw I have some other artists I am working with here in Brooklyn, NY, and remotely I am working for some other British acts. I also produce / write music for brands / tv commercials.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Yes! Nik Hughes is an incredible session drummer and percussionist, who has a great recording setup at his home studio. Check him out!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Mostly digital; plug-ins are fantastic these days. Though I do have a few select pieces of outboard that I still like to use for certain tasks.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will get a great result!! Because I will work with you / make changes for as long as it takes to get the best possible result, until you're completely happy.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to hear a lot of great, new music. I am optimistic about the music industry, and I think there is so much talent out there. It's wonderful and inspiring to hear.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Mostly, I get asked 'how soon can you get the job done'; and I answer by asking 'when do you need it by'! I will always attempt to work to a client's timeline, where possible. I understand that music moves very fast nowadays / bands are frequently writing, recording and releasing music in a matter of weeks; so it is important to move 'with the times'. This is another reason why I opt for a mostly 'in the box' set up, so that I can quickly recall and make changes to any project in a very short space of time.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have a good sense of what you're aiming for (great references are always useful, and a great talking point / jumping off point!). Also, spend some time organising your session / multitracks before submitting for mixing. For example, if you can label everything clearly / uniformly, that helps us out a LOT once we get to setting up a session for a mix.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started out in bands back in the late 90's / early 00's, usually playing a Producer or Musical Director role. After helping to make his debut record back in the UK, I toured worldwide for a few years with Until The Ribbon Breaks (Universal Republic Records / Kobalt). Our first tour was across North America supporting Lorde, just as she was breaking in 2013 - which was very exciting! I also MD'd and played with Mondo Cozmo (Universal Republic Records) across North America and the UK. We supported Bastille and Spoon in North America; some of the best touring days I'll ever get to experience. Great bunch of dudes.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I think of music in terms of energy. I suppose 'style' as a mix engineer is perhaps defined by a sonic character... As much as possible, I try to make a strong mood in the music I work on. I enjoy playing around with dark and light, and the contrast and dynamic of music that really moves people. I usually know I have nailed a mix when I'm dancing around the room :)
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: James Blake! There is just an incredible blend of production / storytelling / soulfulness in his music, which I think is rare.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Listen to everything - all the best albums in all genres; and always only follow your instinct. If you have a good understanding of the building blocks of music, 'production' is just following your gut. Anything that is formulaic, artificial, or disingenuous is probably not worth associating with. Oh and...be ok with making mistakes! MANY great sounds in production come from 'happy mistakes' in the studio :)
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Every album or track is different. I work in many different genres, with artists and bands. I like to take anything on, especially when it comes to mixing. I find obscure genres challenging and an opportunity to have a 'sonic adventure'!. I once mixed a Russian rap / metal track - it sounded bloody great.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I like to think my sensitivity to music itself (I am classically trained!) brings a discerning ear to the production and mixing process. I also pride myself in delivering a consistent final product - I almost always insist on a project being finalised by the mastering engineer I have used for the last 10 years. I know how he works / he knows how I work; so we always arrive at a finished track or album with everyone involved being very happy with the result.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: This depends entirely on the specific project. On a mix job, I like to 'prepare' my session as much as possible, tidying track names, checking audio files for errors, and general pre-mix housekeeping. Then, before I jump in, I will normally group and set up busses / parallel compression routings according to processes that I know work from previous experience. However, every track is different, and therefore my 'process' differs, or rather shapes itself, around the material every time.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Nowadays, I run a fairly 'in the box' setup, using a Universal Audio UAD Apollo Quad for the bulk of my processing. I prefer this way of working in this age of recall; being able to make changes for a client quickly and easily is very important to me (and the client!). My setup is therefore somewhat mobile; I can take my rig to any studio, and have all the plug ins and effects available to me that I know I love the most. For the vast majority of my mixing work, I use my Yamaha NS-10's for monitoring.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love attention to detail; I get inspired by records that sound like they have been cared for from the very start of the process, right up to and including mastering. I have a lot of time for musically sensitive and technically proficient mix engineers and producers, like Andrew Scheps and Tchad Blake. For energy, experimentation and innovation, I have huge respect for Nick Launay, Brian Eno, Geoff Barrow, Nigel Godrich, Flood... and many more.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mostly mix records for artists and bands, though I sometimes go a little deeper with clients, helping with anything from songwriting and arrangement advice, through to production.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are your influences? When do you need this mix back?! (What does your timeline look like?)
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My UAD Apollo; Maschine; Juno synth; and then I guess my Mac and a mic!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I am a people person, and I like to talk through and become comfortable with clients and projects before any work is done; and similarly, it is important to me that clients and collaborators feel like they can approach me and ask me for anything at any time during the process.