I'm Justin Ames and I own Sky City Audio(Formerly Ames Recording Studios). I've been a recording engineer/mixing engineer for about 10 years. My goal is always to meet or exceed your expectations. Music is personal and I strive to provide you with mixes that you can be proud of.
I provide recording, mixing, editing, and live track services. With any project, I always start out by listening to the entire mix with dry tracks to get a better idea of the direction I'd like the mix to go. I need to get a feel for each musician and band's style and feel for each song. Will the drum tracks have a little more overheads and room sound or should I keep those levels low? Do the drums need to sound big or more minimalist? Will the guitars be more in your face or more in the background? I take this step through each instrument and vocal tracks.
If you come and record with me in the studio, if you're local, I like to attend a practice to hear what you're trying to do with your songs. If you're out of town, listening to a demo always helps get a feel for what I'm trying to accomplish.
Bottom line, I take great care in your music. As a musician myself, I know the importance of making great quality recordings.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
2 ReviewsEndorse Sky City Audio
I've recorded several projects at Sky City and its always an enjoyable and productive experience. In addition to being a great engineer Justin is a great musician as well, which makes the process so much smoother. No matter what your genre is he will deliver a professional sounding recording. I will definitely be recording at Sky City again soon!
The Faultlines fully endorse and recommend Sky City Audio. We can say with confidence that Justin Ames has a vast understanding of many genres and is a personable guy who will help you get the record you want. Having played at three other studios in the area, we vouch that Sky City Audio is the best.
Interview with Sky City Audio
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common type of work that I do is hip-hop and rock.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I listen to a lot of hardcore and punk type of music, so I would say my biggest influence for production would be Kurt Ballou with Godcity Studios.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run Cubase 8 Pro with a Presonus 16.0.2 mixer/interface. I have over 20 different kinds of microphones(all dynamic, condenser, and ribbons), and I use a lot of Universal Audio Plugins and Waves Plugins. I also use other types of digital software for drum replacement(drumagog and slate trigger)if the project calls for it. I also have virtual guitar amps(from Positive Grid). I've also got a plethora of guitar and bass amps to fit any needs of musicians that come to record with me. I own a Tama Export Series drumset that I use for the studio.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Well.... there are a TON of artists I would like to work with. I like more aggressive music, so I guess maybe bands I'm into right now. Converge, Trap Them, Architects, Thrice, Mutoid Man, Sumac, Every Time I Die....the list can go on forever.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I like things to sound crispy and natural. I like to refer to amazing sounding cymbals to be "buttery". I like things to sound natural too.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I'd like to turn this into my full time business, I've been doing this(not this business)for about 10 years and I've been running this studio for about 3 years.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My laptop, Epiphone SG, Cubase Pro 8, Presonus Audio Box, Audio Technica AT2020- That's my go-to mobile setup.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I provide recording, mixing, editing, and live track services. With any project, I always start out by listening to the entire mix with dry tracks to get a better idea of the direction I'd like the mix to go. I need to get a feel for each musician and band's style and feel for each song. Will the drum tracks have a little more overheads and room sound or should I keep those levels low? Do the drums need to sound big or more minimalist? Will the guitars be more in your face or more in the background? I take this step through each instrument and vocal tracks. As far as process during the actual production, I record drums and scratch guitar tracks first. Then Guitars, Bass, other instruments, overdubs, and then vocals. After that I listen to the mix dry and start mixing. Once I do a mix, I invite the artists to come and listen. We will then schedule a session to finish the final mix.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I've developed sort of my own recording "style". I also help during the production if there are notes that don't sound right, or a drum part that's over played, or a vocal part out of tune, I bring an outside ear to help improve the sound and arrangement of a song. So....I guess it's the feedback I provide. I ALWAYS try and provide honest and constructive feedback.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: People. The people I work with is why I do this, if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be able to do this. I always take ownership in my projects as if it were my own.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work with a lot of Hip Hop/Rap and Rock genres. So, rock, punk, metal, blues, alternative, indie... etc.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: When I us EQ, I always try and cut rather than boost. Anything that is not a Bass type of instrument(ones that take up lower frequencies)I always cut around 50-75kHZ.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to their recordings and talk to them! You need to hear their work and also get to know them as a person.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What's your budget and what are you trying to accomplish? What are you looking for in overall tone? Can you give me examples of artists you're looking to sound similar to? Do you have a demo I can listen to?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People think that when I have people in the studio, that it's ALWAYS music that I have made. I always have to tell them that I only record them and that I'm not part of their band.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you make me sound like T-Pain? ....and the answer is, YES!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The finished product and the people I get to work with.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will give you nothing but quality and something you can be proud of.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! I use mostly digital for my DAW, but I also integrate those with outboard gear and amps and stuff like that.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I haven't had the opportunity to meet anyone from SoundBetter yet since I'm new to this site! But, I would love to meet new people!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I just finished an album for a band called The Faultlines and I would say this is the most work I've ever put into any record and the finished product sounds absolutely amazing. We started in March of 2016 and finished in August. We rerecorded parts, and mixed it 2-3 times and we finally came up with the final product. The album is titled "New Rage" and it's set to release on 10/8/2016.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on building a new room in my studio. I'm also finishing up a mix tape for Pharoh De Qua.