Lilian Blair

Rock and Roll Fairy Godmother

Lilian Blair on SoundBetter

Hi! My name is Lilian Blair and I am a producer and engineer in the Seattle area, specializing in the rocks and/or rolls of all shades of heaviness. My approach to production is very much focused on providing a supportive environment to allow the artist's creativity to shine.

I consider myself a love and support producer. What I mean by that is that I'm coming to you with a passion for your music. It's a necessary headspace for a producer to be in. After all, it's our job to be the first fan, to help cultivate the record so it gives you goosebumps and gets you excited and dancing along to the music. You as the artist want to work with someone who wants you to succeed, wants to help you achieve your dreams, and that is the role of the producer. As an engineer, my job is to make sure what we make together shines. I utilize the equipment at my disposal to get you the sound you're after, with a bit of creativity thrown in to make something that sounds uniquely you.

Let's talk pricing:
I decided to publish my mixing and mastering rates to give you a sense of what kind of time commitment goes into doing this. Soundbetter, and especially Fiverr, are all over the place when it comes to pricing, depending on how much time the engineer thinks will go into the project. In my own work I've found that working too quickly leaves a lot of creativity on the table, and too slowly causes us to lose our perspective. For a mix I've found that 6-8 hours (including revisions) works best, so that's what I charge for. If your song has a small track count, let's talk and see what we can do. The prices say "average" for a reason.

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

Interview with Lilian Blair

  1. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  2. A: That feedback look you get when everyone is in sync and you hit creative flow. Ironically, it seems like when that happens I have less to do, instead simply sitting back and listening to magic unfold. You can feel it in the control room, from the downbeat. Something about the timing, the tone, the confidence sends your spine tingling and your eyes wide with excitement. Everything from preproduction to engineering to talking performance and songwriting leads up to this point and then BAM! The spell works and you have something truly amazing.

  3. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  4. A: That we're in charge, pulling strings like a sinister Svengali manipulating the artists into making the record our way. Sure, we run the show, as in we're the ones with our eye on the clock making sure things go along smoothly and within our budget, but it's the artists who are actually the ones making the creative calls. I'm not going to witch anyone into doing what I want, even if I think my way is the right way. I'm here to serve.

  5. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  6. A: My dream artist is one who's willing to go with me on a journey. Who wants to put aside fears and expectations and go somewhere they haven't gone before. Maybe even somewhere nobody has gone before. I want someone who is excited at the prospect of facing the unknown, excited for the collaboration between us, excited for the creation of art for the sheer joy of creation.

  7. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  8. A: I'm going to use the phrase "love and support" a lot because it's true. Sure, I can turn knobs and push faders and set up too many mics (you can never have too many mics) but at the end of the day what I'm bringing is passion, for your music and for your creative expression. That's ultimately what you want, that feedback, that dedication, that cultivation of a liminal space where your art is birthed and made ready to send out into the world. What kind of experience do you want? What are your loves? Your fears? Your dreams? What do YOU want me to bring to a song?

  9. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  10. A: For mixing I have a hybrid setup. While most of what I do is "in the box", for flexibility and creative potential reasons, I do have an analog chain for my stereo bus processing. Sixteen channels out of an Antelope Orion Studio (great sounding converters) into a TL Audio Ebony Summer through a Tegeler Audio Crème and back in through the Antelope. The Ebony Summer is cool, because it has a TUBE!!! Which is not always a sound you want, so unlike other tube summing boxes this one is optional, with variable drive too. It's pretty easy to swap out the tube, so I get to play with that for added flavor. My favorite for the stereo bus is a Telefunken, though I love using the gold tip Tung-Sol on guitars when I'm using it as a distortion box. The Crème is a combo VCA bus compressor (think SSL with a few more settings) and passive shelving EQ (think Pultec). This allows you to add body and sweetness to the track as well as glue, and I absolutely love it.

  11. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  12. A: Sylvia Massy is a big inspiration. I love her fearless approach to making music and willingness to try new things that, regardless of whether or not they work, will make a memorable experience. That's the thing that is often forgotten, when we dive into the weeds of making the record and all our focus is on making something that sounds amazing. It still needs to be a fun experience, or else why are we even doing it? We "play" music for a reason.

  13. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  14. A: I recorded a record in the middle of the woods! We went on a camping trip and brought some equipment with us: an eight channel interface, laptop, and rechargeable battery, as well as enough mics and cables and stands to do what we wanted to do. It was really fun micing the forest to record the echoes off the trees and hills and the birds singing along to the songs (which surprisingly synced up rather well). My favorite songs were recorded around the campfire at midnight. It was a new moon, so all we could see were the stars. There was a hill nearby, so I had the artists face the hill and placed a lantern behind them, projecting their shadows 50 feet tall. They got to see themselves dancing as they performed, and really embody that otherworldly spirit of the recording we were making. Very magical.

  15. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  16. A: Both. Analog, because we still need mics and pres to record, and EQs and compressors are fun to play with. Digital, because it makes everything that comes after recording so much easier. I mix using a hybrid setup where the majority of the mix is done digitally, with analog stereo bus processing for that extra zhoosh.

  17. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  18. A: What are your dreams? What do you want your art to say? What do you want your listeners to get out of your music? How many toms do you use?

  19. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  20. A: Reach out and talk. Even if you think you can't afford to work with someone. Making friends is everything, and you never know what the future may bring.

  21. Q: How would you describe your style?

  22. A: I'm a love and support producer, focused on cultivating a fun and creative experience that encourages artists to move outside of the familiar and into the unknown to make something that is uniquely you.

  23. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  24. A: Make facial expressions while you're singing that match the emotional content of the lyrics. It'll change how your voice sounds and your listeners will clue into the subtleties and feel the impact of your performance.

  25. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  26. A: I typically do rock and indie genres of varying heaviness, though lately I've had some electronic artists reach out for one-off mixing or mastering. In fact, most of my streams come from those projects. Go figure.

  27. Q: What's your typical work process?

  28. A: We'll start with preproduction. It is probably the most important part of the process, outside of the actual songwriting. We'll talk about overarching vision, demo the songs, I'll go to practices and give my notes and suggestions like I would in the studio, workshop lyrics, help the band come up with a practice schedule, really anything that can get us as prepared as possible for going into the studio. When we are in the studio, I set up a lot of microphones to get the necessary coverage and sonic creativity that we're going for. When we do get to recording, I focus on how things come together in the control room. I'm the first fan, with my critical listening focusing on whether or not the performance is fun to listen to, and conveys what it is that the artist wants to convey. I'll note places that need to be played tighter, help the artist get into the right headspace, and come up with fun little things for us to try, all while making sure we get done what we need to get done in the time we've budgeted to get things done. Once recording is done it's time for me to do all the post-production fun. I'll do final editing on the tracks and commence mixing. I do my mixing at home, and my revisions over email. I'll give the artist a mix, they'll give me a list of changes they want done, I'll send off another mix, and we'll repeat the process until everyone is satisfied. While it typically takes 3-4 versions of a song to get it done, I don't cap revisions. Making the best work that we can, that leaves everyone satisfied, is paramount.

  29. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  30. A: Record production, recording, mixing, mastering, song workshopping (especially lyrics), love and support, inspiration.

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