My specialisation is in Acoustic Sound Mixing. Making your mix sound as natural as possible, while also enhancing it to be in sync with what YOU envision in your mind to be the final sound. I've consistently worked with local artists for some time now, and SoundBetter is my way of extending the skills I've gathered to a larger audience.
[IMPORTANT]: Prices are currently at about 20-30% of what I usually charge professionally, specifically because I am new on SoundBetter and want to build up a base here. I might think of this as an "introductory offer" :)
1. I am a multi-instrumentalist (Piano, Guitar, Drums, Sax, amongst others) and song-writer with almost 2 decades of experience
2. I have been mixing and mastering tracks professionally for the last 5 years, mostly for local Indie and Folk artists
3. My emphasis is on acoustic sound processing. How do you make that guitar sound like you were sitting right there in the room? How do you make the vocals sound big, while also preserving intimacy? This is what my work focuses on, and therefore what you can expect from my sound.
4. My absolute HIGHEST priority with audio work is what YOU think YOUR sound should be like. Please expect some extended communication on your vision so that I can do my work on getting the track there. Only if I ask you enough about your goals, can I make the song sound like them.
PS: I only take on projects that I think are a mutually good fit. That means I do unfortunately need to reject some requests. It also means that I have a high level of confidence with those I do decide to work on. I am an easy person to get along with, and rest assured that if I work with you, your voice (pun intended) will be amply heard.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
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Interview with Shaan Raaz
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: My own album :)
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will do absolutely everything possible to get their song to a stage where they are happy with it.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Do what you love and you won't have to work a day in your life :)
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How early can I get this? Answer: I normally take a week to really get into the weeds of a mix and have a first version that is worth listening to. But if it is a time sensitive requirement, you can let me know and I will try my absolute best to have it with you in a few days.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That the more complex a process is, the better it sounds. Sometimes all you need is an EQ, a compressor and a bit of reverb. Sometimes you need 15 stacked effects. Each situation is different and there is no "rule of thumb"
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: The most important one is to describe their vision. That is what ties the whole piece together and gives me direction when working with it.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be open and honest. This process works only if we can communicate to each other effectively and that is pretty much my only ask from you.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A guitar, and 4 sets of spare strings.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started off learning how to play the Piano when I was 5 years old. Since then, I picked up new instruments whenever I found the opportunity. Learnt how to play the Guitar, the Drums, Harmonica, Flute, Trumpet and most recently Saxophone along the way. About 6 years ago, I started writing my own music and producing. It sucked to begin with but slowly improved as most things do. Eventually I started getting requests to help out fellow musicians with their tracks and that is where the learning curve really shot up. As I started getting more such requests, I realised it would be so much more convenient to join an online freelancing service so that I can stay better connected with my clients. And here I am now.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Simple, minimal, no compromise
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Sleeping at Last. When I have a good day, or have a shit week, or have an exam I'm stressed about, or break up with someone, or meet a new person, or pretty much anything I can think of, there is a Sleeping at Last song that describes exactly how I am feeling. It would an mind blowing experience to work him and get to see his process of music making better
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Where do I start... Here is a good one: never "add in" layers to a song while mixing. It is often the case that amateur producers "fix" the drums, then add the bass and then the vocals and so on. This defeats the purpose because the drums would never be heard just by themselves. Therefore, one needs to always mix in context of the rest of the song. Turn up the volume of the drums if you really need to while adjusting them, but don't ever Solo the track.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Perhaps ironically, the ability to unendingly come up with more layers to add to a song :) But on a more serious note, I have a strong background working with vocal centric music, and my strongest skill would probably be how to mould a song to highlight and support the vocals instead of drawing away from them.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Interesting question. I bring a sense of maturity to mixes. You don't need blaring drums or over the top electric guitars to have a song that sounds inspiringly good. I believe in minimalism and I bring to a song the experience of how to achieve a sense of minimalist excellence without compromising the character of a song.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: 1. Interact with the artist (ie, you) to really understand the ask. This whole process depends on our communication and so I place a strong emphasis on that. 2. Spend a few hours or even a day or two just mulling over the song. What do I think works? Where do I feel improvement is needed 3. Start iteratively working on the mix, while sending regular updates to you 4. Through a series of revisions and reference tracks, get the mix to where you think it is how you imagined it
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Simple: A MacBook Pro Scarlett 2i2 Studio Monitors and Headphones
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Many, but one of the lesser known musicians is Ryan O'Neal (Sleeping at Last). If you haven't heard them, you need to NOW.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I work on Acoustic Sound Mixing. This essentially involves working with instruments and vocals recorded in a home studio, with basic Midi elements added in. I find this to be a more "raw" and "intimate" form of music, and it is where I can do the most to boost the experience. Think Let Her Go by Passenger or some of Taylor Swift's earlier songs.