I want to mix songs. I've worked with a wide range of artists from Cypress Hill and House of Pain to Billy Idol and Vanessa Williams. If I can't get the mix to your satisfaction, don't pay me. Let me have a shot at it.
I've worked with a wide range of artists from Cypress Hill and House of Pain to Billy Idol and Vanessa Williams. Hoping to find some fun tracks to mix. I left the business full time in 1997/98 while working with the Wu-Tang (not a fun session) and have been doing it part time now that pretty much anyone can have a home studio. I am looking forward to giving artists a professional sounding product for a reasonable price.
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with Ross Donaldson
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Tracking and mixing.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I assisted for Chris Lord Alge quit a bit back in the day and I learned one valuable lesson from him. Get the feel of the song and all its parts before you start adding any EQ or effects. He would put up all the faders and get a quick feel for the song. Most of the other engineers I worked with would immediately go for the kick, push up the fader and start eqing, then on the snare... CLA's magic wasn't that he was the most creative or experimental but that he was able to put together a solid mix of what he was given and find the best feel for the tracks provided to him.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I mix using Cubase 10 pro. I never got into Pro Tools because back in the early 90's I could only afford a PC and Steinberg had a cheap product (a Cubase predecessor) that worked pretty well for what I needed. I needed it to sequence albums because most of the mixing we did was down to Digital Audio Tapes and you couldn't use a razor blade to splice DAT tapes together.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I import stem tracks, Get a real rough mix of the song with no eq or effects and listen to it through a bunch of times. From there I go to the vocal (if there is one) and get a quick sound on that and tune anything that stands out. Then to the rhythm section and figure out what the feel of that should be, should the drums hit hard and in be up in your face or should they sit back and just support...From that point it is tweek and add effects where I feel they add something to the song.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I was always good at finding a good vocal sound. My break into mixing was back in the early 90's I was tracking vocals for "The Whispers". I got a call late one night asking if I could get over to the studio where they were mixing because the engineer couldn't get it to sound as good as the rough mix I made for them when we were recording vocals. I dipped over there and got the mixes to their liking. I worked for them for the next 11 years.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Shit doesn't always have to sound good to be the right for the song. I learned that during a Cypress Hill mix after I spent all sorts of time eqing and tweaking a loop to get the hiss and record pops out and tighten up the bass only to have DJ Muggs come in and tell me to put it all back in. He was right, all that noise and tubby bass was part of the feel of the song and needed to be there. I was mixing a song and the bass player happened along while I had the bass track soloed (there was a weird 7K tone his pedal board emitted that I was trying to get rid of). He said "My bass sounds like shit", and he was kind of pissed. I lied to him and said I was still working on it when in reality it just worked in the song. When he listened to the mix he said his bass sounded way better even though I hadn't changed it from what he heard soloed.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started in 1987 and my first session ever was with an artist name "The Egyptian Lover". I think my second session was Rodney-O and Joe Cooley. I was working with a new artist named Bell Biv Devoe. I asked them the name of their group to write on the tape boxes. The said "BBD", I said what? They repeated "BBD". I said ok whatever. I thought they said BVD and that is what was written in permanent sharpie on all their tapes. One of them got really pissed off and threatened to beat me up and threw me out of the session. I then went to work at Ray Parker Jr's studio. His connection to Motown allowed me to work with so many great musicians from the early motown era. That studio ended up being my home bass for the next 13 years. I would work wherever but I knew that studio like the back of my hand and felt most comfortable there.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Rum and more Rum for when then rum is gone.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have a rough mix that you like. Is there a song that you like the sound of that is close to this song.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: If you hate what comes from me, I'm not going to charge you. I'm doing this for fun and you want something you are proud of. There is no money in music any more so we're all doing it for the love of it. Sometimes you are just not the right person for that mix and I am not going to charge starving artists for something they feel they can't use.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: This is a dumb question for a site that pretty much relies on being able to send tracks over the internet.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on getting some tracks to mix.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: This is stupid but somewhere around 1989 Joe Frank, from Hamilton Frank and Reynolds ("Fallin in Love", "Don't pull your Love") fame booked time to re-record some of their songs (playboy records owned the masters) for some kind of foreign re-release (bankrolled by the guy responsible for 1-900 talk to Elvis, he had made a ton of $$ from that). Now that you have the background, we were tasked with making these sound as much like the originals as possible and I think we did a pretty good job.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: When I made my living in the recording industry I listened to music for work 16 hours a day. Most of the engineers I was friends with admitted that they no longer listened to music for pleasure outside of work. We all had really nice car stereos that only were used for talk radio. After leaving the industry, I regained my passion for music and regularly abuse Spotify looking for new music and listening to what is currently popular. I hope to bring the old experience mixed with a new found passion for new and current music.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Right now I work on mostly Rock, Indie and Punk but back in the day it was Rap and R & B that payed the bills. I just haven't had the chance to do any of that.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I try to mix to fit the song. I want to keep the feel of the song. I think that is the most important thing. There are some great songs that I love listening to that really don't sound that great but you wouldn't want anything changed.