My name is Thomas Mason. I am a hip-hop engineer based in Portland, Oregon. I specialize in working with small hip hop artists. Starting as an engineer two years ago, I can give you guys killer mixes at an affordable price for small artists. Being an artist myself, I understand what a Hip Hop artist looks for in a mix and can deliver it.
My background starts as a piano player. I was classically trained from a young age, which eventually grew into a love for producing and making my own music. As with many modern artists, Hip Hop was a huge influence in my life and is the genre I personally gravitated towards. Two years ago, I transitioned into engineering and had been learning ever since. I am now the newest freelancer to Falcon Recording Studios in Portland, Oregon, and specialize in work with small Hip-Hop Artists. I offer Mixing services with access to most plugins an artist could want in their mix (Yes, including Antares Autotune). I also offer mastering services. Then build an arrangement with features to complement your track. In a nutshell, I have you covered from start to finish on your track without breaking the bank.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
3 ReviewsEndorse Thomas Mason
He basically taught me GCSE music in around about 4 days, and his masters are always on point, he knows what he's doing.
Thomas helped me get into Studio One, and I’m working on a feature song with him currently. He clearly explains things and has helped me better than most people I’ve tried to work with. He knows what he’s doing and has a good work flow. I would definitely recommend hitting him up if you need help finishing a song or just advice on Studio One software, mixing, mastering, etc.
Dope content, awesome work, nice engineer work and all self controlled and self taught!! Great job my guy!
Interview with Thomas Mason
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The projects I'm most proud of are, naturally, my own. While I love everyone, my most excellent satisfaction is my work. Specifically, a recent song called "No Sleep". It's just empowering to put your music out there.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A personal track of mine called On My Own Shit just finished the instrumental and I'm now working on the lyrics.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: There isn't anyone in particular, no one is new to the platform, but from what I have seen, there are many great options out there when finding an engineer.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I use a mix of two. Most things are done in my DAW (Studio One), but I often route to analog gear to achieve a specific sound. However, you won't see me doing a mix entirely analog; I would likely pull my hair out.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will do everything within my ability to make sure they have a mix, master, or instrumental that they are happy with. Even if a request is a little out of my wheelhouse, I consult with fellow engineers. Almost everyone can get something they're happy with as long as I put in the effort, and I recognize that.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The satisfaction of finishing a banger mix. I love seeing an artist proud of their work, and my job helps them achieve their artistic vision.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: 1. Can you make the beat hit harder? The answer simple, arranging it properly. If I have the track stems, I can take out instruments in the intro and bring them into a drop with a little bit of white noise, making more of a difference than most would expect. 2. Can you keep my vocals from getting lost in the instrumental? Yes! I can. The biggest problem I see is pre-mastered instrumentals, which don't play nice with vocals. I often have broadened the dynamic of the track and tone down the frequencies interfering with the vox. (usually the low mids)
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That we can slap Antares Autotune on and make tracks sound phenomenal, my job can never fix a bad performance, and it usually takes a lot of tuning to get vocals right.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: First off, their budget. There's such a wide variety of artists out there I want to make sure I can do their project to make professional mixing accessible to them. The second is a time frame; I want to make sure that I can do their project to a high degree of satisfaction while meeting their timeline. Lastly is an example of what they're going for. Most people influence what style they want to achieve, and having examples helps me better recognize their goals for the track.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Give your engineer as much time as possible! The more time they have to do your mix, the better it will be.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: AKG 414 Mic, Manly Preamp, UAD 1176, a Presonus Quantum 26x32 Interface, and Bare Dynamics DT 1990 Pro Headphones.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started as a commercial photographer while making music on the side. A couple of years ago, I found a love for engineering and spent the next two years getting very involved, spending as much time in the studio as I could get. Recently I decided to take that passion and use it to serve other artists out there.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: As an artist, very west coast. Not sure how to better describe it than that. However, as a producer and engineer, I think my style is very trap-oriented with a large classical influence; I like to incorporate pianos whenever I can with a sort of Beethovenesk power chord progression. You will see this style in my mixing as well. Everything I do is theatrical, with an emphasis on spatial mixing.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would have to go with Joyner Lucas. His music, especially in his recent album ADHD, really resonates with me. My ideal project is always with music I'm passionate about, and his work meets those criteria.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't get too hung up on the small details right away. Treat your mix as a whole fist and see how far you can get with the least editing. You can make fine adjustments from there, but try not to start with them; it usually overwhelms new engineers, myself included.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hip-Hop/Rap, it is the genre I specialize in personally and professionally.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is spatial mixing. Any person with a good pair of open-back headphones will appreciate my work to an extensive degree. Attention to detail is important to me in work, and I think my mixes reflect that.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Simply put, I bring a Hip-Hop artist's perspective. I work with the type of music I make myself because I find I do a better job when I treat every track as my own.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Well, first is always a pack of Redbull (an essential for mix sessions). I then start by organizing and categorizing the tracks. I am a stickler for folders and neat arrangement in my DAW. After that, I usually a rough top-down mix, seeing how much I can do with just a little bit of EQing and compression on the master bus. I make the more fine adjustments, usually starting with the vocals and then overlaying their eq with that of the instrumental. Before anything, I want to make sure the vocals cut through the track. After an eq, I start on vocal compression. Most of the songs I work on are rap vocals, so my go-to is an 1176, whether that be my UAD analog comp or a modeled digital one (it just depends on the vocalist. If I have stems at this point, I usually space the instruments; I generally like hats and snares panned far-right, kicks, sub, and vocals in the middle and the primary melody to the right. I find a more spatial mix creates better emersion in the track. There are far more tweaks and song dependent edits I make, but those are the core in my mix process.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work out of one of two rooms at Falcon Recording in Portland, depending on the project. Most mixes are done in the A room. The setup consists of an acoustically treated room with full back wall diffusion designed by Dr. Richie Moore. There are two sets for monitors, a pair of 8" Sunholms and a pairUrei 813C monitors, which are my general go-to for mixing. There is a whole list of analog equipment that would make this read more like an equipment list; some of the highlights for my type of work include the dual UAD 1176 and the Bricasti Model 7-M Reverb.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: When I think of artists that inspire me in the music department, the first to come to mind are the likes of Logic, Joyner Lucas, and in the lyrical department, Eminem. These are the artists that I feel shape good storytelling and complex lyricism. As far as engineers, I'm a huge fan of Bobby Campbell's work. I think is a fantastic engineer, and my producer's top pic would likely be Tommy Profit. I love his sound and feel his music really evokes an emotional response.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common work I do for my clients is recording, mixing, and mastering as a whole for small Hip Hop artists. My work generally entails fixing small errors in instrumentals to suit the vocalist better, arranging stems of unmixed beats, and helping artists achieve a very commercial rap sound.