Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I was proud to work on 'Lelio' from Ayumi Hamasaki, because it sold over 60,000 physical copies in Japan and was performed at a stadium of screaming fans!
What are you working on at the moment?
A production/mixing job for a HUGE Chinese pop girl group.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I would recommend Manny Marroquin as a top level engineer for those with a bigger budget. I recommend SoundBetter as a resource ALL the time!
Analog or digital and why?
Digital. When you hear what Skrillex can do with just Ableton and his laptop, you really won't be so concerned about anything else. The ears and skills are WAY more important than the gear.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I promise to take each project seriously and to work on it to the best of my ability. I promise to work with them to make a satisfactory result, and to ALWAYS have the end game in mind.
What do you like most about your job?
Audio frequencies hitting my brain constantly.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Can we sound like [insert Billboard top charting artist here]? My answer: that depends on what you've got going in -- writing, arrangement, how well everything was recorded, where it was recorded and more. With the right factors, we can make a great sounding record. Without the right factors, we can greatly improve a bad record, but it won't be able to reach the highest highs.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That it's not important, that it can't have a HUGE impact, that it's not a vital, artistic piece of a completed song, that there's no difference between a "record" and a "demo" in terms of major A&Rs loving a record. A mixed song ALWAYS does better in pitches than ones that aren't.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What records do you LOVE the sound of? What is your target with this release? What do you love about the current mix? What do you hate about the current mix? What would make you really happy when this process is done?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Honestly assess your situation by comparing what you have to commercial records. Understanding how far along you are in your life's journey as well as in your sound is very important. People need to be realistic about what can achieved if they record with a noisy USB mic in an untreated apartment, etc. We can work miracles, but garbage in = garbage out, so don't be unrealistic.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
One Auratone, a Subwoofer, my Macbook Pro, Apogee Duet, GREAT headphones.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I have been DJing for 13 years, and I got my start DJing campus parties. I quickly fell in love with sound engineering, as I realized it was something VITALLY important that most people had/have no idea about. When you play records out live, you hear a big difference between the best and the worst sounding, even if the ideas are the same. How a record sounds is a large part of whether it's a hit or not. I learned everything I could, putting out music and releasing for other people and helping artists improve. I helped start one of the world's largest EDM blogs before moving to Amsterdam, where I worked at Armada Music (record label of Armin van Buuren). Two years ago, I moved to Los Angeles and continued mixing and mastering for clients. Many of my clients are Europeans who can't seem to get the "American" record sound.
How would you describe your style?
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I would like to work with Adam Blackstone -- genius amongst geniuses.
Can you share one music production tip?
Monitor in mono at low volumes to make your record pop more when it's loud!
What type of music do you usually work on?
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill is mix engineering in general. I like phat American bass, and I like making the mix shine on a wide variety of playback systems.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring a critical ear, taking EVERY project seriously. I pride myself on not just applying a formula, but rather on listening to what each client wants for THEIR project and bringing that to life. I want to make each client the best version of themselves, so that they can overcome the technical hurdles in their way.
What's your typical work process?
The client sends me a demo track showcasing the status of the mix/vocals/demo. I assess the amount of work needed and provide a quote for what they are looking for, along with setting targets together with the client. Once we have established a sound they are going for (using provided references), they client delivers the audio files to me and I start the mixing process. I send the first mix, and then we adjust as needed to suit the client's tastes.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Yamaha NS-10 studio monitors (with matching Yamaha amp), Auratone 5PSC nearfields, KRK V4 secondary monitors, KRK 10 Powered Subwoofer, Apogee Rosetta converters, BAE 1073 mic pre, Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone, Mac Pro running Logic, Ableton, and Pro Tools. I rent major studios for larger projects to ensure top sound quality.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
In terms of mix engineers, Serban Ghenea is the current world's greatest, and Bruce Swedien is the greatest of the previous era. Other heroes of mine in mix engineering are Manny Marroquin, Jimmy Douglass, and Phil Tan. Max Martin is a genius.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Mixing and mastering, or just vocal mixing over an existing beat.