What are you working on at the moment?
Since the answer to this question will never get updated (and so will be out of date rather quickly if I name a particular project that I'm working on), let me rather say that at any given time I'm working on improving my abilities in all relevant areas: mixing, production, mastering, editing and communication. I love this stuff and I never tire of learning more and more as I go along.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Q: Can you also master my song/s for me?
A: Yes, I can, but I advise you to try as much as possible to use a different engineer for mastering than the one who did the mixing as it allows a fresh pair of experienced ears to hear your music and realise its potential.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
Can you give me an idea of the type of sound you are after either with a rough mix or commercial reference tracks or both? What is it that you like the most about the song that you want to be preserved or highlighted? What are you not currently happy with that you want to have changed?
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I don't know them personally but I've mentioned them in my list of people who inspire me: Graham Cochrane, Joey Sturgis and Jordan Valeriote.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
That I will treat their music with the respect and attention that it deserves. My goal, as stated in my profile, is to make my clients happy.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Make sure that the person you trust your music with is the right fit for you. Check what other work they've done in your genre to see if it appeals to you or not and if possible, have a quick chat with them even if it is via email or instant messaging to make sure that you can understand each other and work together.
How would you describe your style?
Clean yet cohesive mixes that have weight and punch where needed.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I'd love to work with David Maxim Micic. I love how visionary his compositions are, his overall musical ability and his skill at mixing.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My laptop (with all my software), portable audio interface, headphones, electric guitar and bass guitar. That way I'd still be able to make and mix my own music...provided I can find a way to generate electricity of course.
What do you bring to a song?
I identify and highlight the most interesting parts of any song for the listener while keeping the music surrounding those parts to still stay clear and relevant. I have my own personal flavour but I also know how to make sure that what the artist wants from their sound takes priority.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I mixed and mastered the debut album for a Ukrainian instrumental band called Prophet Defroster. Even now when I listen to a comparison between the raw recorded tracks and the final product, I feel extremely proud of what I achieved with the sound. A huge compliment that I received from one of the band members was when he said, "These songs don't deserve to sound this good". While I disagree with him (I think that the songs are great), that really did make me happy.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
I've been amazed so far at how many musicians think that mixing is basically just setting faders and pans. While that is the foundations on which everything else is built, the job is so much more than that. I also have a lot of people confusing mixing with mastering.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
About 3 years ago I started learning the engineering side of things as a means to produce my own music. In doing so I found a passion for it and ended up spending more time working on other people's music than my own. I used my new abilities to assume the role of sole in-house audio engineer for the software company that I worked for (while still keeping all my other roles and responsibilities as Head of Product) and I've now quit that job to pursue my passion of being a full time mix engineer.
What's your strongest skill?
My attention to detail and my ability to understand what my clients are asking for and then how to translate that into the mix.
What's your typical work process?
I start by setting the project up with all the individual tracks and then if there is a rough mix from the artist, I spend the time to listen and understand it to work out the general direction that the artist wants things to go and also to get to know the song itself. When I know what areas to focus on at which points of the song, I check for any minor editing that is still needed and then start building the mix from the drums. It always starts with a rough mix that gets things as balanced as possible without any processing and then I start refining the tracks that need it. I always finish off with automation of whatever I feel needs it to keep the song interesting throughout and sometimes I will play around with the original arrangement to achieve interest and freshness as well.
Analog or digital and why?
Digital because it is what I learned on and what I'm good with. It offers me a great workflow, instant total recall and the ability to work from just about anywhere that I choose to.
What do you like most about your job?
There's very little that I don't like about my job. It is both a creative and a technical discipline and you get to shape amazing songs in to something even bigger and better. The end result is hopefully a lot of happy people: the artist, the fans/listeners and me. What's not to like?
Can you share one music production tip?
Automation is a big element of making music sound professionally produced. From making fader and pan changes through a song to more creative things like changing aux send levels and plugin parameters to keep things relevant, fresh and interesting from start to finish.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I focus primarily on rock and metal these days as they are my preferred genres for listening to personally. I have, however, worked on all kinds of music in the past because I love music in general and I find it interesting and a good learning experience to put yourself outside of your comfort zone every so often.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I am completely in the box and so everything I do is with plugins inside of Reaper.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Graham Cochrane is someone whose ethos and story has always inspired me. Joey Sturgis and Jordan Valeriote are 2 others who also fall in that category. I am currently really enjoying the sound of Will Putney's stuff. On the musician side, I'm a huge fan of guys like Ola England, Keith Merrow, David Maxim Micic and Andy James. No surprise that they all have really inspiring backstories just like the engineers that I admire.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I am a mix engineer and so most of my work revolves around adding punch, clarity and interest to my clients' raw recordings.