L.A. based mixing and mastering engineer graduated from Berklee College of Music. Awarded by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in 2009 and the Music Production and Engineering department at Berklee in 2011. Has already worked with the Grammy Award winner Milton Nascimento, Grammy Nominated guitarist Stanley Jordan and Brazilian group Rouge.
Nando Costa is a music producer and audio engineer graduated from Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) in 2012. Awarded by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in 2009 and the Music Production and Engineering department at Berklee in 2011, Nando Costa has been achieving international recognition in the last few years. In 2012, he returned to Brazil, where he led uncountable music projects in various studios in the southeast region of the country, including the Versão Acústica studio in the state of Minas Gerais, owned by the platinum-certified Brazilian artist Emmerson Nogueira. Nando has worked with Emmerson many times, including the co-production, recording and mixing of his last two studio albums — "Emmerson Nogueira" (2014) and "Versão Acústica 5" (2015) — and the co-production, recording, mixing and mastering of his most recent DVD, "Versão Acústica Sessions", released in 2019 (all works released by Sony Music Brazil). Besides Emmerson, Nando Costa has already worked with great names in the Music Industry, such as Multi-Grammy Award winner Milton Nascimento, the American guitar legend Stanley Jordan, the Grammy Nominated Brazilian pop group Rouge, Rodrigo Suricato (Suricato / Barão Vermelho), Rafa Machado (Chimarruts), Gleison Tulio (Power Trio, ex-contestant of TV Show Superstar, Globo TV), among others.
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2 ReviewsEndorse Nando Costa
Prompt, proficient & professional. These 3 Ps define Nando. He works on the record until you're absolutely satisfied with it. Loved his energy.
As a producer i can say: Nando takes my music to a higher level. I've been looking for someone to put some color, some magic in my music, and, he brings all these beautiful things. If you are looking for a fast PRO results, he is your guy. And more: he always give a technical feedback to improve YOUR sound. 5 stars EVER!
Interview with Nando Costa
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I offer mixing and mastering services. I work both both in-the-box and analog.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Everyone who is in this industry and tries constantly to take his/her music to the next level inspires me. Challenge is the word for that. I try to take that inspiration to my daily job. People like Dave Ghrol and Manny Marroquin are very good examples of that.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a mixing / mastering room with a Digidesign Control 24 desk. I work mainly ITB utilizing analog gear as inserts in my mixes and masters. I work with three pairs of different monitors to help me out in all music productions stages (Barefoot Micro Mains 27’s, Yamaha HS 80’s and Avantone Mix Cubes). In the analog world, I have a Dangerous BAX EQ and a Manley Variable-Mu compressor to help me achieve the sound I have in my head.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When I’m mixing, I do all editing process and session preparation beforehand. That brings me freedom and focus when it comes down to the mix creation itself. Usually I discuss with the artist / producer ideas that I could improve even more their production. In every task I do, I make that as a part of myself, so I always try to get the best at every stage. When I’m mastering, I try to understand the language and the colors of the song or album that is going to be mastered. If needed, I discuss with the producer / mix engineer and even ask him/her for a recall so we can really push that production to another level.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I listen and try to understand the main goal. I always try to bring my experience and my feelings to the production I’m working on. The first impression is always the most important and I like to use that as the trigger when I’m mixing or mastering.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I believe my strongest skill is the adaptation. Working with music is like being an actor working in different movies. You’re the same actor but you have to adapt yourself quickly to different stories and scenarios. Dealing with music is the same because I work with so many different artists in different genres. In the end of the day, you have to translate what the artist had in mind.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I’ve already done a little bit of everything, but I can say now I've been doing a lot of Pop, Rock and everything related.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: The tip I can share is: don’t follow rules. If somebody says that to get a nice drums sound you have to compress this much with parallel compression, put a limiter across the bus and use this or that reverb, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. So there’s definitively no rules. Sometimes, to get the exact sound you need for the production you have to do nothing other than listening and moving the pieces around.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I’d like to work with so many artists because there’s so much happening out there. I could cite many, but the only thing I can say is that I’d like to work with artists who are able to challenge me. Bruno Mars would be one of them.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I’m definitively modern in terms of conception but the vintage sounds are still the best ones. I’m not afraid of trying different things and I’m not attached to any particular format of sound. Sometimes, we need to create something strange to convey the vibe of the particular song or production.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I’m a musician (guitar player) for over 22 years now, but started to get involved in the Music Production side approximately 10 years ago. Then I graduated in Music Production / Engineering from Berklee College of Music (Boston, US) in 2012 and have been working full-time since then. I was awarded by the Acoustical Society of America in 2009 and by the Berklee Music Production / Engineering Department in 2011.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My ears, my Barefoot speakers, a SSL 4000G Desk, a 1176 compressor for vocals and a computer to record and playback.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I'm here to help in all senses. Try to find somebody who acts like a professional above of all. It’s important to hire somebody who is able not only to deliver a good quality product but also to understand the clients’ needs and help him out to get there.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Usually I try to find out how the project was done up to the moment they contacted me and what is the goal they’re trying to achieve. By knowing that, I can quickly guide them to get the best product.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception is that mixing and mastering do miracle. These processes are key for a consistent song or album, but it's important that the song is good, the artist or band has a good performance and the production and recording are done in the best possible way.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Some young bands always ask things like “well, can you make this album sound like the Foo Fighters album?”. Well, I say “If I become Butch Vig and you get a band like the Foo’s and sing like Dave Grhol, it’s a good start point to get there, haha”. I always try to hear and understand where the artist is starting at and what he is trying to get. If he doesn’t have a nice production, an effective arrangement or the right recording sounds, it’s not possible to make their album sound like the thing they have in mind. So talking is very important in this business so you can clear out some ideas for the clients.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The everyday challenge. Everyday I have something fresh to work on, so I never get bored. And even if had the same thing to work everyday, I would find different ways to reach my result.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: The only thing I can promise is that they’ll get the best out of me. Always.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Analog sound but digital workflow.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm a personal friend of Carlos Freitas, Brazilian mastering engineer. He's great!!!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I’m always involved in different productions projects. Currently working on the mixing / mastering of new songs for the L.A. based band Sway.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: This year I had the pleasure of working with the American guitar legend Stanley Jordan. I was hired to be the recording engineer for his first album produced and recorded in Brazil along with the instrumental group Dudu Lima Trio. I'm a big fan of Stanley since I started studying jazz guitar many years ago. Working with him was an out-of-this-world experience. The album is in post-production now. Check out the short documentary I've done during the sessions: https://youtu.be/e9Fz1ffWYNM.