Mixing & Mastering
Hello! I am a songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and post production engineer/artist! I have been working on reputation with clients across the country and have grown very passionate about mixing and mastering peoples' music. I find it very rewarding to extract all the emotion from a song and achieve natural balance, polish, and vibe.
I work in my studio with a very open, dynamic, analog vibe as a starting point. The first thing I do with a mix is sit down and make a More Good/Less Bad 'T' chart on first listen to get that gut reaction for the essence of the song. I will spend 2-20 hours or whatever it takes to get the mix just right - which often involves sleeping on it for a few days before wrapping it up.
I like doing both mixing and mastering equally, and am a highly detail oriented personality. I soak up the original intent for the song and manifest that in my mixes, but along the way often times the tracks present goodness within them that goes unnoticed until the mix is further down the road. I have a quick turnaround time when my backlog isn't too big as I put a lot of effort and time into each mix and limit my output so I can remain as focused on each project as I was my first studio gig. I've been working on reputation, and have sought out SoundBetter to get a bigger reach. I never would have thought it, but doing this professionally online has really opened the doors to meet a lot of fascinating individuals and given me experience I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
I also like to work closely with the client. After the project gets to rough mix I open up for client feedback and tweaking - that's really fun putting the final sweetening to the track.
Contact me through the green button above and lets get to work.
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Interview with Santini Sound
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am cautious of pride but I am especially satisfied and elated with all work that I turn out or I wouldn't release it. Most recently I spent 26 hours working on a mix from Portland that was recorded very poorly and developed some new techniques to clean up home recordings and was very pleased with the result I got there.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am a songwriter, coproducer, and guitarist for Kiss the King. We just released our album Psalms 2:12. I am working on promotion and gigging for that, as well as educating myself further, and mixing & mastering projects.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I am new to this community at the time of writing.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Why not? Capitalize the good in each. 10 years ago though... analog!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will deliver to you a robust mix and/or master with a satisfaction guarantee. I've never had anyone not like a mix after collaboration and fine tuning. After that first mix I will take feedback and incorporate the changes you want while keeping it tight in regards to the track.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The creative aspect. The reward at the end of a mix and master project when I listen to it and it 100% through and through sounds completely polished up and ready to take on the world. I absolutely love engaging the spirit of the artist in each song and sculpting the track until everything is perfectly in focus and accentuated at the right times. I like the automation and sweetening phase because it is then when I 'play' the song like an unseen member of the band. It allows me to branch out from my own group and touch other people's music and be a part of that content.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I would say most discussions are about meeting their budget and mixing techniques.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it is more of a techy thing and not an art form - at least that is what I thought when I was just a musician. You can be this way, but only great productions come from artist engineers in my opinion with few exceptions as exhibited in the industry. That it is simple, easy, and isn't that important. That you can record whatever junk you want and "fix it in the mix". Oh you can but it's going to hurt the mix in the end. Great mixes start with great recordings. That it is something that shouldn't cost much money. Engineers put in a lot of work and a lot of investments into equipment. They also don't get paid on the back end. If your track isn't properly mixed and mastered no one is going to hear what you've accomplished.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: That depends on the client. I listen before I ask questions and what I hear dictates what I need to know.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Find someone that is passionate about your creation and that you have a good feeling about professionally. The most important aspect of being an artist in the studio and engineering tracks is your listening, tastes, and workflow. You don't need to focus so much at this level on if they have the exact sound you're looking for because each client wants something different. Don't worry so much about if they cover your exact style or not either, often times getting something out of your comfort zone can bring so much to the table. Hire someone that is both a lover of music and creator of music/musician - it makes them a better engineer. On the flipped, engineering makes them a better performer and recording artist also! Win win! Speak on the phone. Communicate what you are looking for and what you want. When you get the rough mix in the ballpark it's pretty easy to do the final tweaking. Find someone that will listen to what you want but also give you what you need.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Survival gear so I could get back to not just having one guitar and 'Wilson'!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been fully professional for six years but truly have been a musician all my life. There was never a time I wasn't doing this or working on it in some way.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Creative, flowing, organic, funky, eccentric, soulful, powerful, moving, stirring. Modern classic.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I don't like questions like this, I don't have any idols I just have a lot of people I respect and to pick one over the other would be crude. Anyone that truly values my skills and respectfully wants me to be involved on their project and is blessed musically.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Record at the right levels! Stop overloading a song with stereo tracks! Mix in mono 80% of the bulk mix, keep your monitors at conversation level - if it pops there then you did well. Check on different systems in a real world environment and against reference tracks.... I don't think I could share just one tip without knowing someone's situation. Maybe my answer to this question should have just been simply 'yes.'
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I get a wide variety from pop or folk oriented singer songwriter types from the Northwest, sunshine pop from Hawaii, the LA sound, blues from the southwest, bluesy rock from Chicago, Soul, Gospel, Rhythm and Blues, jazz from New Orleans and New York, Latin and World fusion from Florida, and more. One of the blessings of being in my position is having heard so much music and getting to work on so many different projects.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My critical listening for sure and innovation working with home recordings. I have been a musician for a long time and I think that makes me a better engineer and arranger. I'm very happy with the product I turn out of my studio and am grateful for all the wonderful clients I get to collaborate with due to the power of digital connectivity. If it sounds good, it is good.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Ideally I bring the transparency of nothing. Of course the song is going to get a professional sound and polish as well as radio ready feel, but my first rules are do no harm and realize the original intent of the artist. I focus on what makes the song great and bring everything into balance at all times throughout the song so it is always there for the listener.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Creative flow all the way. I touch base with the client and discuss the project, collect initial my impressions, break the mix up into 2-3 sessions, achieve goals and feel, get feedback, fine tune, then usually I take a few days off and come back to master using the same process.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: A unique feature most people notice about my studio is that it is a standing desk studio! Of course I will really sit down and ponder over something through some headphones but generally I find that sitting down is a stagnant position - bad for health and bad for music. I also am very much oriented to an analog and natural vibe, I can do all kinds of work but my roots come from the '50s and '60s.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I draw inspiration from everywhere and everyday.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing and Mastering for sure - I just love doing it and keep getting more and more clients.