My name is Calvin and I run a humble studio called DJSM Studios in Tacoma. I offer recording, mixing, mastering and more. I mainly deal with Rap/Hip Hop and Metal, but I'm no stranger to any genre. You can check out a few examples of my work, the studio and get in contact with me at my website: djsmstudios.com
I went to college at Musician's Institute and have continued my education online. At my time at college, I got Pro Tools certified four times over and even won an award. My current mission is to give a professional level product at an affordable price. There are so many talented artists in the area and I want to help push them to a new level. I like to keep a laid back vibe so the artist can be comfortable and capture an amazing performance. If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in contact with me.
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Interview with DJSM Studios
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Extortionist has an album coming out after two long years of work on it. It's technically the first album that I've done. There was a lot of growth for me during that whole process and I can always use it to look back on and see where I came from. I recorded/produced/mixed/mastered the whole thing.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm starting work with an R&B artist. I'm producing the beats and recording/mixing/mastering the whole thing. Exciting!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: No one that I've heard of honestly. I bet they're all quality though!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Whichever sounds better. I've heard great sounds from both sides and I think picking one or the other is pointless.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will do everything in my current power to get you whatever you want.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get up everyday and I have a strong drive to do this. It's almost like I have an unquenchable thirst for audio. I also try to learn something new everyday, which just adds to the fun. Any day I get to make music is a good day.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Usually, "What do you charge?" To which I answer with, "It depends. Give me more information about what you want done."
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Probably that what I do is easy and don't deserve to be paid as much, or at all. This can be an extremely stressful and unforgivable job.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: When do you want to get started? What or who do you want to sound like? If they're sending me tracks to mix, I start asking them questions about how they were recording and such.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I would say to anyone hiring someone to go with your gut. Do whatever feels right to you. Wether that lies with myself or with someone else. Music is such a powerful and expressive form of art. You want to have what you want when it comes to this.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A computer with Pro Tools, a guitar, a UA Apollo and a pair of Adam A7X Monitors (I'm counting the monitors as two things).
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Laid back and fun.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: My first instinct is Lady GaGa. She's an incredible singer and I think working with her would be extremely fun.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I've found that the more you get things right at the source, the better the end product will be. It's honestly worth it to spend more time in the setup so you wont have to polish a turd later.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: These days it's mostly been Rap and Hip-hop. Although, I would like to break more into the metal scene. I keep my metal production skills sharp as a knife.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think my strength lies in my mixing; When I'm just by myself trying to piece together something awesome.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a high level of polish to a song, whilst keeping things natural sounding and full of character.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First I speak with a client to get their individual needs. Then based on what they want from me, I get to work right away. Every client is different and requires different things. So the process changes a bit from job to job.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My setup is small but mighty. I built my own studio out of a shipping container. I have pro quality gear and really sharp ears.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Buster Oldholm, Nolly, Chris Lord-Alge, Joey Sturgis, Kris Crummitt, Eyal Levi, Joel Wanasek, Steven Slate and many more.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mainly do Recording, Mixing and Mastering for Various Artists. I'm branching out into making beats now as well.