Industry level mixing and mastering with digital AND analog equipment!? I've got you covered! I've helped many artist surpass 100k streams like Bryson Cole, Kwota B., and Jaye Hill to name a few. Exceptional customer service is high priority to ensure your vision is fulfilled. Let me help you get that Billboard hit!
As a mixing & mastering engineer as well as an artist himself, Derron understands the importance of great quality for radio, streaming, and performances. With over 10 years of production/engineering experience and over two decades of performance experience, there has been no doubt that he understands and conquers the standards necessary to impress even the most high value artists. Derron has worked with many different styles and genres including Hip Hop/R&B, Electronic, Classic Rock, Pop, and more. His expertise lies within vocal production, arrangement immersion (imaging, automation, and balance), and maintaining dynamics while achieving commercial loudness. Derron's mission is to bring an artist's vision to its full potential; leaving the listener to judge only the artist for their work rather than their quality.
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Interview with Derron
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I worked on a project with Lache on his "My Emotions" album. I mixed and mastered 5 out of the 15 songs and those five songs ended up being his top tracks for a while. I've worked on a lot of projects that I'm superbly proud of, but this moment was mind-blowing to me at the time. The streams on Spotify and the stars on Apple Music were so satisfying to look at; seeing the mixes and masters you were in charge of perfecting get the most recognition is a huge blessing.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently producing and engineering for multiple client's albums and singles.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: At the moment, I am not too familiar with all who share this platform. However, I do expect to network with others as I'm willing to collaborate and learn from fellow engineers. You can never learn too much!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Analog and digital both have their strengths and weaknesses. I enjoy digital because it allows you to be more surgical and precise. Sometimes changing the tone is not what I'm after, rather I'm fixing issues that stand out. I enjoy analog because the distortion, character, and tone that it brings can be so much more pleasing to the ear. I love analog compression and in most cases prefer it over digital, in fact. Having both gives me the best of both worlds, which is great for pro level sonics.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will communicate with you as much as possible to ensure that I am not straying away from the vision YOU intended! I am aware that this is YOUR song, therefore what you want is the goal. If I add/expand on the vision positively, that is a plus.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love taking a sound and sculpting it into a work of art. Most people won't ever get to hear the before and after of a polished final track. It is beautiful to playback what you've changed a project into with the processing that YOU utilized.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How do you get everything loud but crisp in the mix? Proper gain staging, balancing, panning, and use of EQ/compression can really go a long way when it comes to loudness. Especially when you want to push the final limiters to get to that commercial loudness, you have to have a proper balance in the mix for your master to prevail.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I can only enhance what is given to me. Audio engineers are not miracle workers, but our job does require bringing the most out of a given signal. The better the source, the better the outcome.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Who's sound do you admire the most? What's the most important thing in a mix to you? What are your pet peeves in a mix?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Aim for a business partner, not just an engineer. Building that relationship with those you work on your craft with could unravel better/consistent growth in sound and creativity. Work with someone who cares about you as well as the music instead of just the money that comes with the service.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My laptop, Apollo x6, Tube Tech CL-1B, Neve Portico II Master Processor, Adam Audio A7X, (Sennheiser HD650, if laptop is implied).
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been a part of music my entire life. Singing in church, performing in talent competitions, open mics, and even pageants. Producing and engineering became a passion at a young age (pre-teens) because of how much I enjoyed being that close to the music. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to do music full time one day. Now that I am doing so, it is a blessing that I will not let go to waste.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Versatile. I have worked on different styles/genres both on a production side as well as engineering side. Sometimes I like to mix genres together to see what unique flavor I can create.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Chris Brown. I've listened to his growth from a teen to household name in the industry. He has worked with so many different genres, excelling in all of them as well. Him being that versatile is what I describe my production and engineering style to be.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Always keep learning, and never feel like you know everything. The best of the best continue to learn on a daily basis, so why shouldn't you do the same.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I have a lot of clientele that work on Hip Hop and R&B, but I also enjoy working on Alternative, World, Pop, and Electronic a great deal.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I've grown proficient at balancing a mix for mastering as well as vocal production. Clarity and depth are of high importance for me.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring high attention to detail as well as a creative mind to help add some life and movement to a record.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: After gathering a client's files, I organize the session, set up a reference, then start my static mix (setting levels and panning). Once I feel I've gotten a solid mix with no plugins, this is when I start to sculpt the sonics. I clean up the vocals, low end, and mid range simultaneously to guarantee a clean mix. After that foundation is set, then I add creative processing (reverbs, delays, flangers, filters, distortion, etc.). While doing this, I am still checking my reference to keep my balance in check. I take 10 minute breaks intermittently throughout the session to avoid ear fatigue and bad changes. Once I feel the song is finished, I bounce the mix out into a master session and take a 30-45 minute break in another room. When I come back, I have a fresh perspective of the mix and continue to master the track while still using the reference. Once I feel my master is commercially competitive, I take another 10 minute break to make sure I like what my master gives. When I like it, I bounce the final out into an MP3 and two WAV files (24-bit, 16-bit) and send them to the artist.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work in a strategically treated room using professional panels/basstraps from GIK Acoustics. In order to handle phasing and listening accuracy issues, I use room correction software from Sonarworks. I work with a hybrid analog system, using two hardware compressors, an equalizer, and preamplifier. All of which connect to my Apollo x6 Heritage Edition while also using an Apollo Twin as a controller. I also utilize multiple monitor setups such as the Yamaha HS7's, PreSonus Eris e3.5's, and an Avantone Mixcube. This allows me to have plenty of reference points to ensure a solid mix.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I gain so much inspiration from engineers like MixedbyAli, 40 Shebib, and Leslie Brathwaite; producers like Timbaland, KAYTRANADA, Kanye West; artists like Chris Brown, Eric Bellinger, and Kendrick Lamar.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mix and master records, instrumentals, podcasts, and short films for clients.