Hello! Proud to be a faculty member at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, I have freelanced for a variety of up and coming artists during my 2 years at Los Angeles, California. Currently mixing and recording music in Arizona, I am able to mix your tracks regardless of location.
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Interview with Jason Kay
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing music to be sent to a mastering engineer. If a client wishes to bypass mastering, then I can make your tracks "louder" to accommodate.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: As a musician, artists like Redfoo, Dr. Dre, and M83 inspire me to keep innovating and focus on a fun environment. As an audio engineer, Jeff Harris, Tony Nunes, and my fellow faculty members always keep me up to date with the latest mixing trend or audio gear.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: For mixing in the box I prefer to use an Apple Macbook, going into Pro Tools 10 or 11. My favorite pair of headphones to mix in are my trusty Sennheiser HD598. Despite what engineers may say, I am an advocate of mixing with headphones. When not using headphones to mix, I like to use Genelec 1031A or a pair of Sonodynes.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I always start with the kick drum, as it's the "heart" of any song. Depending on the client, I can either stay out of the creative process, or if they give me free reign (with guidelines of course) then it really depends on the track.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I believe that a mix should match the mood of the song. Fun songs should get the listener to snap their fingers or bob their head to the beat, while more mellow, moodier songs should console the listener. I strive to keep to that ideal.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My ears are without a doubt my greatest trait and "secret weapon". They tell me where an instrument should go in a mix appropriate to the song, if levels are too loud or quiet, and most importantly, whether or not a vocal track should be "altered" in pitch and timing.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I like to keep to more "pop" and "electronic" genres of music. While I have experience with more indie genres and rock, I find that I have the most fun doing "pop" "electronic" and "hip hop" mixes.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Cut sharp, boost wide.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Redfoo, without a doubt. Every track he brings to the table is already at a high quality of production, giving us engineers less work to do for the same rate of pay (LOL). But to be honest, he seems to be a very chill artist and I'd like to see his workflow and production methods.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Flamboyant and adventurous, or subtle and gray.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I was lucky enough to freelance after graduating from my school in 2014. While many of my classmates went on to intern at studios, I had artists that wanted to work with me from the get go. From an early age I knew music was something I wanted to be a part of, and strive to keep being a part of it.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: The SSL 4000 G series mix bus compressor (hardware or plug in form), Fabfilter Pro Q 2, Celemony Melodyne, the 1176, and 550b API EQ. Please don't limit me to 5.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure you know what you want before contacting me professionally.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want to for this song? Will you be mastering this song? What is an artist you admire and inspired you to make this song?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I am not a music producer. You are approaching me as a mix engineer, I have obligation to help write your lyrics or help you with songwriting.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That I'm surrounded by amazing and talented artists, engineers, and producers every day. Getting to teach the future of the audio industry. Each day is a new project so mixing never gets boring, although it does get methodical sometimes, It's my dream job and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My 100%.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog for quality. You cannot beat a vintage SSL or API console going through thousands of dollars worth of outboard gear. If I need to work analog, I am fortunate to have the Conservatory's facilities to use. Nowadays, however, mixing on a laptop "in the box" is convenient, with many plugins getting within a hair's length of emulating their analog counterparts.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Being a Staff member at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, slowly returning to freelancing.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My first gig ever was back in 2014. LA Laser Center was looking for an audio guy to record a commercial. I sent my resume and they hired me for $200 a day. Many crew members complimented my cool and reserved work ethic and were surprised that I was on my first job. Just getting my foot into the door and realizing " I can do this" remains to this day one of the most defining moments of my career.