Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
There is not a particular project I especially proud of, I'm always proud and happy for the artists I'm working for when their music is being exposed to a bigger crowd after mixing a record together, I love seeing the songs in the charts and I'm happy when their following is growing and they perform in larger venues. Going to a concert and hearing thousands of people singing songs I've just mixed a few months earlier is magical ! I work between the same pair of speakers in front of the same console everyday and I don't get to see how people react to the music I'm mixing. I'm pretty much just doing what I like hoping that some other people will like it too.. whenever someone is humming a song I've mixed when waiting in the line in the supermarket, or when a car passes by playing it LOUD I feel very lucky and proud.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a few projects I like a lot, there is a singer songwriter album I mix for Sony now that I really enjoy
Analog or digital and why?
I mix hybrid so both ! for example I love cutting unnecessary resonances with digital plugins, but for boosting frequencies and for vibe I prefer analog.. I love DAW automation to conduct the mix dynamics while for tone shaping I can't live without analog compression on the other hand limiting is a digital thing.. both are very valuable tools in my arsenal, basically it's analog tone with digital control in my world most of the time
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I'll always be 100% true to what I hear in a song, I never try to impress and I'll never try to mix a song trying to second guess someone else's opinion about it and go against my own instincts. I wont let a song go before it really works and excite me and my clients
What do you like most about your job?
I love everything about it ! I'm becoming more and more passionate about mixing over the years.. when I drive home at the end of every day I can't wait for tomorrow morning so I can put my hands on the faders and begin my date with a new song, even on Sunday eve.. I can't wait till it's Monday and I can go back to mixing ! there's nothing quite like it, I'm very lucky and thankful in that regard
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
I'd take my protools rig, ATC monitors, SSL console, Bricasti reverb and an 1176
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've started my career as a DJ in 1989 and started to produce music at the late mid 90's, not so long after I've started to get calls from local producers and artists who liked my sound and asked me to work on their productions. it was a very short path to become a full time mixing and mastering engineer. I think my years as a DJ has contributed a lot to my mixing style because playing recorded music to a different crowd every night for years and see how they react to it taught me a lot about what elements in recorded music make people to react, it has developed my mixing instincts a lot.
How would you describe your style?
Exciting, contemporary, deep, wide, big, punchy and powerful
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
There are so many artists I'd love to mix for.. sometimes I'm listening to the radio and wish I could re mix everything ! it's more about the song than a specific artist for me, great songs inspires me
Can you share one music production tip?
Great sounding records starts with good communication. A good dialog contributes to the sound of a record much more than the best sounding mixing console and gear on the planet. In my opinion being able to work as a winning team and being able to really listen and communicate your ideas is the key to making great music !
What type of music do you usually work on?
I'm mixing a lot of mainstream radio Pop, Rock, EDM, Singer songwriter, , but in my 20 years of mixing I've enjoyed mixing and mastering many different styles.. Indie, Soundtracks, Latin, Jazz, World music, Middle Eastern music, Techno, Metal etc
What's your strongest skill?
After almost 20 years of mixing records I rarely have to think about how to technically get from point A to B, the thing I get better and better at all the time is as a listener which I think it's my strongest skill.
What do you bring to a song?
I mix a song until the song really touches me. For me it's all about making the song as exciting as I can make it and I try to make the song stand out and have its own unique sonic personality and signature, a song got to have a special sound to be recognised and remembered, every song calls for different treatment, it's all legal as long as it sounds exciting at the end of the day
What's your typical work process?
It's a six stages process. I start by listening to the latest version of the rough mix which is the place I take over from, I listen to it carefully to get to know the song and learn the production's priorities, most of the time my job is about expanding the artist and producer's vision and make it sound great so a rough mix can really give me a direction.
In the second stage my fantastic talented assistant is listening to the isolated channels looking for technical problems like clicks and pops and cleans it all up, than he copies the rough mix ITB and we listen to it together while isolating sections of the song so if I hear some elements out of sync or out of tune (in a not desired way) I'm marking it and than he go back to it, editing and fixing it. We do the editing a few days before the mix is scheduled so we have enough time to fix things and get back to it once or twice before the song hits the desk.
In the third stage my assistant is routing the song's channels on the SSL and once again copies the rough mix balance on the analog faders before I get to the studio in the morning and start mixing, the reason for that is I want to be able to make decisions about the big picture before getting into details
The fourth stage is the actual mix where I mix for 5-10 hours. sometimes the sessions are attended, sometimes I stream the studio online and sometimes it's just me at the studio for the whole day.. I'm always mixing on my SSL AWS desk using my favourite outboard gear units
Stage number six is a recall session done after the artist, producer, a&r and myself have listened to the mix outside the studio and coming back to it with our notes, I love getting back to a mix a few days later to fine tune things with a fresh set of ears, time gives me perspective
Tell us about your studio setup.
TanTan Studios is where I'm doing all my mixing and mastering, It's a room which was designed by Roger D'arcy and fitted with a pair of ATC scm100 mains and big JL Audio subwoofers.
I mix on an SSL AWS 900 with full automation and total recall and using a large collection of gear I've collected over the years:
Vintage Neve, API, GML & Manley EQ's, many variations of 1176 compressors, La-2a's, Retro STA, Distressor, Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Neve 33609's, SSL dynamics, Dave Hill Titans, Maselec multiband compressor among others.
I use a lot outboard effect units as well: Bricasti, Lexicon 480L, PCM42, PCM70, Eventide H3000's and DSP4000, Yamaha SPX2000's, spring reverbs and more..
I have an SSL Sigma as a sidecar for all my effect returns and I mix on Pro Tools HD12 so I can automate my hardware effects too.
I'm not restricting myself to analog processing at all though, I love plugins and using them a lot ! I have most of the UAD 2 stuff, Fabfilter, Soundtoys 5, Waves Mercury & SSL, Softube, Izotope Ozone 7, Melodyne,
IK Stealth limiter, DMG Limitless, Sonoris EQ, Valhalla reverbs etc
Apart for the ATC mains I'm also using Yamaha NS-10's, an old pair of Auratones, Bose Soundlink, a car stereo system and a collection of headphones. I also use my iPhone speakers a lot for reference.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Quincy Jones, Phil Ramone, George Martin, Butch Vig, Andy Wallace, Nile Rodgers, CLA, Bob Clearmountain
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I mix and master, I call the process Mixtering