Mark Abrams is a Producer and Mixer who has been involved with hundreds of records and has studied under some of the world's greatest mixing engineers and producers.
Mark has been making records for over 21 years now after his love for an early version of Pro Tools sent him down a path that led to hundreds of records, the creation of a widely successful commercial studio, and the honor of being the content manager for pureMix.net, where he has had the privilege of studying under some of the world's greatest mixing engineers and producers.
Mark focuses primarily on both the message of the song as well as the artist's intention, making sure that every production he is involved with realizes it's unique sound.
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Interview with Mark Abrams
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Buggie's first released record. My role was as a mixing engineer. I feel that Buggie's commitment to her project (saved money for over a year, then quit work for a year to make the record) and overall vision are something that is incredibly rare these days. Bringing her record to life, which she took many many leaps of faith to make, was a career highlight for me. Follow her on social media to see why this record is so significant.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I just finished up one of my favorite records of my whole career with an artist named "Buggie". She is amazing, and the prime example of most answers to the previous questions. Other than that, I am mixing multiple records for bands of multiple genres and loving the variety.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Absolutely. Darrell Thorp!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Because both can help bring life to a project. Sometimes all analog, sometimes all digital. The important part is that the right tool is the one that brings the artist's (here it comes again) intention to life.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To always work until your goals are hit! You'll know when it feels right to you, and it won't work for me until I know that we have realized your vision.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Handing the final mix over to a client and virtual high giving when it is an online project. In person, it's seeing their eyes light up when their vision is realized.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That the vibe is established in the mix. Mixing enhances the absolute hell out of a recording with great performances and songs, but you cannot wait until the mixing process to bake an attitude, or vibe into the recording.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1) Tell me about yourself 2) Tell me about your vision as an artist 3) Tell me about the project we will be working on 4) Who are your favorite Artists 5) What is your goal with this project
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Have a discussion with a provider like me and discuss the songs! If the entire conversation is focused around gear, or that providers sound, run as fast as you can. Anyone you hire needs to help you realize YOUR vision. And in turn, you should have a clearly established vision before working with a provider.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I would need to be able to build a setup capable of recording a great song and connecting with others. So: 2) A Laptop (you can do almost anything if you have that) 3) A hotspot for an internet connection 4) An audio interface 5) A microphone. And to get nerdier: 1) Pro Tools 2) Necessary cables/power 3) Universal Audio Apollo x8p 4) Universal Audio Plugins 5) Lauten Audio Eden (AND an Instapot)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been making records for 21 years, non-stop.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Vibey, yet flexible. I love to both drive sounds through whatever means necessary to get something interesting, as much as getting a polished, clean and punchy mix. It's all about where the song and the artist want to go.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Once again, any artist that has a clear vision of what they want to achieve. Artists like Mutemath, SOHN and Sylvan Esso come to mind sonically, while the songwriting chops and vibe of bands like Death Cab For Cutie, and Foo Fighters know exactly what they wish to achieve.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Not to sound like a broken record, but: Act with intention and think about what you want to do before you do it. Great songs are written this way, great songs are produced this way. It is the difference between recording something with the mindset of "we'll create the vibe in the mix" and pulling up the faders after a recording session and knowing EXACTLY where the song should be headed.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: A lot of everything! Although a lot of projects have been coming in through word of mouth in the Pop, Indie Pop, Hip Hop, and Indie Rock genres.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Identifying the artist's (here's that word again) intention and making sure it is realized in the final mix.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I enhance what the artist brings to the song! The goal is to enhance their vision, not impart my flair onto it, although that will naturally happen when you introduce any third party onto a production. It sounds lame, but I bring the song to the song.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First thing is first! The SONG! I listen down to either the rough, or the multitrack sent by the client with all of the screens off and try to find the artist's intent, and where the song wants to go. The rest of the job is easy once you know where the song wants to take you. After that is figured out, I move a bunch of knobs to bring out the sound I hear in my head. Once you've heard the mix, we work together to make sure that all of your goals are met. I also offer Virtually Attended Online Mixing Sessions for those clients who wish to be a little more hands on.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I am a hybrid mixer, meaning that I use both analog hardware and digital software to achieve the sound I hear in my head. The most important aspect of the studio is monitoring and being able to guarantee that I what I hear is what my client will hear. At the end of that day, all that matters is what comes out of the speakers. (but I do have some fun toys to make sure that sound is pretty rad!)
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Everything is about the intention to me. Artist's who act with intention are the most effective communicators and nail areas like great songwriting, great performances, and great experiences for their fans. Anyone who acts with intent inspires me to do better every day. Artists like SOHN, Sylvan Esso, Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Jack White, and engineers and producers like Fab Dupont, Vance Powell, Andrew Scheps, John Paterno, Angel Lopez, Joel Hamilton, Darrell Thorp and so many more make this journey all the better.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing and Producing in a nutshell, but most of my work these days is remote mixing for clients.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What gear do you use? My answer is: "It depends. Tell me about your song/project!"