Chicago-based Mix Engineer & Producer who is interested in helping shape your sound to be uniquely yours.
Rock, Pop, and Indie Folk are my main wheelhouse for Mixing & Mastering. However, I love stepping out of what I usually do. No matter what project I'm taking on, my goal is to make your song stick in someones ears no matter what.
When producing, I seek to take the 'problem' an artist presents me with and find a unique and memorable solution. My interest is in making your song stick out and be memorable to your listeners.
If you've got any questions, feel free to email me - lets see if we'll be a good match to work together!
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Little Dipper Sound
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered an album by an artist named Safari. It was his debut album, and he was going for a very particular sound, a Nirvana/Pixies vibe. We were having a hard time with the songs, and none of the tracks were clicking well with me. I was worried it would be a terrible project, but as we neared the end, I began to see his vision and really fell in love with the songs. When I wrapped up the project and sent him the mixes, I was genuinely sad. To this day, it's my favorite album I've worked on, because it's so focused in tone, so dedicated to one idea. And it was just a really good learning experience to sit back and let another persons ideas guide the way, even if I didn't understand them right away.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently, I'm beginning to work with a returning client on a series of songs. A lot of fun pop songs with loads of harmonies and chunky synth and string sections. I'll also be starting on an album mix for a returning client, so I'm preparing for that. I also just finished an EP of personal work, and am in the middle of an album of personal work.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm new here, so I don't think I know anyone. But I hope I run into more cool people!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I don't see it as either/or at all. They're each good for their purposes, analog for its rich subtleties, digital for a speed which allows for more experimentation. That being said, I use Digital, because it is significantly cheaper.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is that as long as you bring your best, I'll bring mine. And that as long as you're excited about the song you gave me, I guarantee you will be even more excited about it when you get it back from me, and there's a good chance I can make you be excited about a song you were on the fence about. And at the very least, you will get a professional result. That I guarantee.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love that when I sit down to mix, I'm almost always going to be making decisions that actually make something better. Music may not have a massive effect on the world, but I think it has a good one. And I'm just glad I get to take a good thing someone made and help them make it something that everyone else can find good in.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Honestly, the questions I get most is "how much do you charge" and "how long will it take to get stuff back", which are boring questions. Other than that, there's not really one question I get asked.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think that the biggest misconception is mix engineers are the "secret sauce" that make a song good. We can make something listenable or aurally exciting, but if the song isn't good in the first place, we can't fix that. This, of course is really subjective. There will never be a song that everyone likes. I say this more in reference to the artist themselves being happy with it. If they aren't happy with their performance, or their lyrics, a better producer or mixer isn't going to fix that.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I always ask for reference tracks first, and then I ask them what they like about the tracks they gave me. Then I ask for their favorite artists, and if there are other songs on this project I should listen to. I also try and ask what songs might highlight what they want to avoid in the song or project.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: My advice would be look for a provider who asks questions that you're excited to answer, because then you don't just have a producer or mix engineer; you have a collaborator.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My acoustic guitar, Computer, WA-47 microphone, Apogee Ensemble, and my headphones. I could make records for years, but man, using the Apple Keyboard Typing would suck.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I was a self-started audio engineer. I taught myself/had very generous people explain to me everything I know. While I've been a musician my whole life, I've been learning the world of Studio Recording for six years now, and have been working professionally for the past 2 years, pulling in new clients each year.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style, more than anything, is textured. I'm interested in making each instrument feel like something unique, and then make all those unique feelings into a cohesive whole. I love using heavy Parallel compression to make instruments punch as hard as they can, and I love using effects in ways they were never meant to be used.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Picking one is tricky, but if I've gotta pick one it would be Jack White, for the soul reason that I would just love to see the intensity with which he works. I feel like it would be so inspirational to get behind the mix or work on arrangements.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: The best music production tip I have is ripped off from Andrew Shepps: songs are firstly about feeling. It doesn't matter what guitar you used or how many decibels your mixbus is hitting; if it doesn't feel right coming out of the speakers, it's not right. Bonus tip: learn to feel a compressor. It's the tiniest detail that will literally change your life forever.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Generally, I work on Pop, Rock, and Indie Folk. In pop, I've done everything to more stripped back, R&B inspired tunes, to bombastic, 80's inspired ballads. My favorite sub-genre of rock is definitely grunge or garage, as I just really like noisy guitars and overblown drums. However, in my free time, I'm always toying with Hip Hop and Electronic beats, and would love to work with artists from these genres. I just haven't put in the networking yet.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I believe my strongest skill is my ability to trust my "gut" in the beginning and not get hung up on little decisions. This allows me to work quickly and get initial mixes that really feel right as opposed to a mix that has a really great kick . . . but everything else is lackluster. Then, I can go back in at the end and tighten the "nuts and bolts" and it sounds awesome.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I think I bring a sense of unique flair to the songs I work on. My goal is always for artists to bravely embrace who they are, and I hope I bring that out of people. Generally, this manifests in unique synth hits, strong drum sounds, groove soaked guitars, and punchy, thick mixes with lots of little details coming from all sides.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First step is always talk with the client; figure out what their goals are for the song, and make sure we're going to be a good match. Then if I'm producing, I generally take the demo and just start sketching out rough ideas, working quickly and trying to not get too married to one idea. From there, it's just passing the song back and forth with a client until both they and I are happy with it, building off of each others ideas. For mixes, I take in the stems, drop them into my DAW template, and make sure they're ready to mix (trim, phase issues, etc). Then, I'll listen to reference tracks, as well as the rough mix (if there is one) and try and get a good sense of where the song should go. From there, its level setting, any NY style parallel compression, parallel mixbus compression (inspired by Michael Brauer), EQ, effects, and then final tweaks. Of course, these aren't hard and fast rules, they're just guidelines to keep me working efficiently
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: For mixing and mastering, I work "In the Box". I run Logic Pro X on a 2017 Macbook Pro, and have a large selection of plugins to use, from the Soundtoys and iZotope suites to large selection of IK Multimedia and Waves plugins. For monitoring, I use a pair of HS8 speakers running through a Clarett Preamp, and also a pair of Shure SRH1840s. I also use an old pair of Sony heaphones that, while they aren't anything to write home about, I've been listening to all of my music on them for fifteen years, so I know them quite well. For production, I have my MIDI keyboard controller and a number of VST instruments, including the Sounds from Mars Suite and Analog Lab from Arturia. I also own a Telecaster, Fender Blues Jr, Vox AC30, and a large selection of mics I can record them with if necessary
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My favorite artists vary greatly: Paul Simon, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Lingua Ignota, Kanye West, Alex Cameron, Kirin J. Callinan, and Jack White just to name a few. In terms of production professionals, I really am inspired by Jack Antonoff, Andrew Schepps, Michael Brauer, Dan Korneff, and Jack Joseph Puig.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Previously, I worked out of a home studio, tracking small bands and overdubs. I would then edit, mix, and master the tracks. In my current housing, I don't have room for a recording space, so I take in people tracks and either add my own production flair or mix and master it.