Produced and mixed albums featured in Rolling Stone. Unlimited, free mix revisions. $100 single mix and master SounBetter deal!
I have been working full time as a studio engineer and operating Mountain Arts Center Studios in the mountains of Kentucky since 2014. After years of recording and making music on my own, I moved to Nashville, TN in 2015 and graduated from the Blackbird Academy (Blackbird Studios) the same year. Since then I have worked with hundreds of artist, most notably country duo Sundy Best and americana artist Nicholas Jamerson, both of which had albums ("Almar Sky" and "NJ") featured in Rolling Stone. Aside from producing, mixing and mastering my own music under the name "Collective", a few of my other credits include, Rachel Messer (The Voice season 15), Tabor Mullins, Jordan Allen & the Bellwethers and Bedford to name a few. I have also mixed numerous television segments for The Country Network, in which I mixed live concerts for Rebecca Lynn Howard and Exile.
I'm well versed in many genres, but my forte is Indie-folk, rock, jazz, fusion jazz and anything that might hover around those genres. Please listen to the provided audio examples to get a better idea. All of the provided audio examples I have recorded, produced, mixed and mastered.
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Interview with Brennen Meek
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not at the moment, but I hope to grow within the sound better community and on this platform so that I can refer people to my sound better peers.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I honestly don't know. No matter the concern or issue, it can easily be cleared up with a quick conversation.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: No matter where the music was tracked, make sure its quality. Mixing can't change a bad, distorted, over compressed, artifact filled recording. Mixing and mastering are meant to elevate and enhance what is already there.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would say my style is very dynamic. I tend to not over compress in the mixing process and leave the dynamics of the song intact. I also try to always focus on what the song and each individual section is telling me to do. If sources were recorded with an "open" vibe (maybe a Glyn Johns technique on drums) then I'll maybe lean into that more than normal.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Honestly, not much. My main goal is to get the artists exact vision for the song so that I can give them the best final product possible.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: As mixing and mastering engineers we are truthfully bring that final 10-15% to the project. But without those final few percent, you really know that something isn't right...
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I always start by loading in my mix template with all of my normal routing, etc ready to go. Then I'll spend 5-10 minutes listening through the rough mix or Pro Tools session to get familiar with the song. Then I'll usually turn all of the faders down and start bringing up the most important elements. Then a day or two or three later, we have a mix. From there I'll send the mix that I feel good about to the artist, then we start the revision process.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long does it take to mix a full album? Generally, if I can figure out the music relatively quick, I can mix and possibly master a 10 song album in one month.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The project that I am most proud of is "Finding Home" by COLLECTIVE. Not because of me and my skills, but because it was the largest project that any of us had been apart of and every person involved brought everything that they could bring to the table. The goal was; as always, to tell a story with the record, but also tell a story with the music and with the production. Every note that every musician played was with such intent, you can truly feel it when you listen through the record. I did most of the writing, arranging, producing, mixing and mastering on this project.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am finished up mixing and mastering for an Americana EP, then I'm immediately starting on post-production editing, mixing and mastering for the Appalachian Arts & Entertainment Awards to be aired on television.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! I print many tracks through outboard gear back into Pro Tools, almost every mix. I like to use effects pedals a lot, plus other outboard gear to get the vibe and feel I'm needing when I can't quiet track it down with a plug-in. Other than printing tracks through analog pieces, everything stays digital (ITB) for recall ability.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To always deliver my best work possible and to help you bring YOUR vision for YOUR song to the light, all in a timely manner.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love constantly getting to be apart of something new that could have a positive impact. With every project that we work on, it could change the world, get someone through a difficult time, or just make someone smile...and that's pretty awesome!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My trusty Taylor 214ce, Sm7b, Tascam 388 + tape, Beyer Dynamic DT770's, and a pillow to lay my head on.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I humbly started recording myself and others in high school out of my bedroom studio, then I worked for a few different live production companies and theaters in the tai-state area. I then moved to Nashville, TN and graduated from the Blackbird Academy in 2015. Following Nashville, I immediately moved back home to start working of Mountain Arts Center Studios in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Bands like Bon Iver, Big Red Machine, Hiatus Kaiyote and Kings Kaleidoscope are all artists that I would love to work with because I feel that they are always creating new limits, just to push them further. Those are the kind of artist I want to work with and that's the kind of music that I want to make.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It's all about the song! No ego, nothing to prove, just focus on the the song.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly Indie-Folk/Rock, Americana, Singer -Songwriter and Jazz. But I've also worked on everything in between.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Probably mixing.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Monitors - Barefoot Footprint 01's DAW - Pro Tools Ultimate I/O - Antelope Audio Discrete Outboard - Warm Audio 1176, JHS / Earthquaker Devices / Strymon effects pedals interfaced with Pro Tools Vintage Phonic PMC 240A rarely used for vibe, summing and synth patching
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Favorite artists/bands - Bon Iver, Dave Matthews Band, Madison Cunningham, Josh Garrels, Punch Brothers Production Inspirations - Andy Wallace, Justin Vernon, Russell Elevado, Michael Brauer, Vance Powell
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Since 2014 I've worked with hundreds of regional and semi-local artists (wishing 6 hours driving range). So on most projects I've been an all in one producer, recording engineer, mixing and mastering engineer.