I am a student at Berklee College of Music studying Contemporary Writing and Production. I have multiple years of experience mixing and mastering projects with my fellow Berklee students, as well as my own material. This, combined with my experiences playing in several bands allows me to bring an informed and unique perspective to your music.
I just completed my fourth semester at Berklee College of Music, where I have had the opportunity to learn about and work on all aspects of engineering, production, and writing. I first became interested in mixing and mastering several years ago because I wanted to be able to make the songs I had written sound professional and radio-ready. During my time at Berklee, I have been honing my skills and working extensively with many of my friends and classmates. To complement my school studies, I recently had the opportunity to study under Tim Lukas at Blink Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 6 months.
I have a solid background in many genres. I took 6 years of classical piano lessons and played classical viola for 8 years. I played banjo and dobro in a bluegrass band from 2012 until 2018, and I currently play banjo in a bluegrass/country band. I played banjo, dobro, and electric guitar in Wright and Wrong from 2018 to 2019, and I currently play electric guitar and lap steel in a pop-rock band, which is my main passion and specialty.
My background and experiences put me in a unique position as an engineer. I can draw on the knowledge I have gained - and continue to gain - in order to bring several perspectives to my work; that of the engineer, the musician/writer, and the artist. This blend of considerations allows me to provide you with professional, radio-ready results.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Graham Northrop
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am especially proud of my song 'Make Sure', which you can find here on my profile. I did absolutely everything on that track myself. I wrote the song, arranged it, sang it, played all the keyboard and guitar parts, programmed the drums, and mixed and mastered it. I'm proud of it because it is often difficult to maintain objectivity when mixing/mastering your own material, but I feel that I produced an end result that is competitive with today's commercial releases.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm mixing and mastering an EP with my band, The Bad Oats (formerly Tinder Sweethearts), as well as a few tracks by my friend Corban Welter, who also goes to Berklee. I am also working on my own EP that I hope to release by the end of the year. Listen to my track 'Make Sure' from that EP above.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The thing I like most about my job is that it gives me a window into the creation and development of amazing music. It's truly amazing to be a part of such a vulnerable, yet rewarding process.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with The Band CAMINO. They have been my favorite band for years now, and feel that I understand their vision very well. Getting to work with an artist who makes music that you absolutely love is a very special experience.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When starting a mix, I like to listen to a song all the way through a few times to give myself time to identify its overarching feel. I then move on to developing an overall balance. After that, I apply processing to each individual channel that needs it, refining the balance as I go. I then put the final touches on the track, such as automation (if needed). Finally, I check the mix on every pair of speakers and headphones available to me to ensure that the mix translates well between playback systems.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to help you bring your ideas to life and prepare them to be sent out into the world, all while maintaining your artistic vision and intent.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: One amazing quote pertaining to production and music in general comes from Terrace Martin. I attended a talk he gave at Harvard University last year, and I was blown away by the simplistic genius of the phrase: "The biggest ego in the room has to be the music." I think the idea of letting go of personal pride in the interest of creating better art is incredibly important.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on 75% pop-rock music and 25% bluegrass/country music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is my ear. I finished the ear training curriculum at Berklee a full year early, and I have taken courses like Critical Listening for Musicians. This training, along with years of practice, allows me to bring an informed perspective to your music.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring an effective blend of perspectives and considerations to a song. My experiences as a songwriter, a member of several bands, and as a student of Contemporary Writing and Production at Berklee allow me to approach any project from the point of view of the engineer, the artist, and the musician/writer simultaneously.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think the biggest misconception about mixing is that it's just deciding which instruments should be louder and which instruments should be quieter. When I first started learning about mixing and mastering, I was completely caught off guard by the level of nuance that goes into a great mix/master.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: It's important to find an engineer who's willing to get the best understanding of your vision for your project. The more work they put into getting to know you and your song, the easier it will be to work with them towards a sound that you are totally satisfied with.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I would take my computer, my guitar, my banjo, my mic, and my interface.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would describe my style as pop-rock with a splash of electronica.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a MacBook Pro running Pro Tools 12, a pair of PreSonus monitors, HifiMan audiophile headphones, a PreSonus Faderport, an M-Audio Oxygen 49, An AKG P220 large-diaphragm condenser microphone, and a PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL interface.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am inspired by musicians and engineers across a wide array of genres. The Band CAMINO is my favorite band, and I draw a great deal of inspiration from them, their producer Jordan Schmidt, and their mixing engineer Jeff Braun. I also have an appreciation for a french artist called Maître Gims and his many engineers, most notably Renaud Rebillaud. Additionally, given my background in bluegrass music, I am inspired by the Punch Brothers. I was surprised to learn that one of their albums featured production and mixing by Jacquire King, who has been a part of many other projects that I love.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I use digital gear primarily for the consistency and cost effectiveness. I have tons of plugins that are modeled after analog gear (such as the CLA Classic Compressors from Waves). I prefer the digital versions of these pieces of gear because I know that every instantiation of a certain compressor or EQ will impart the same character onto the song, whereas if I was using the real analog gear, each hardware unit could sound slightly different.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common type of work I do for my clients is mixing and mastering. They send me the tracks of their song and I mix them together in Pro Tools. I send them the finished mix and they give me feedback until they are 100% happy with the way the mix sounds. I then move on to the mastering stage and provide them with a radio-ready, professional-sounding song.