What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started of Mixing live when I was 16 after learning to play guitar - I didn't even have to roadie much as the owner/engineer put me onto the desk after a single week and he was the first to recognize my talent after throwing me into the deep end. After school i studied a bit while continuing to mix live, I then got picked up by a small studio though I was still doing live mixing for both clubs, outdoor events and churches. I eventually got picked up by a large Musical Instrument Retail Store that hired me on the spot to head up their studio department.
From there I made lads of connections in the industry and helped a lot of the top engineers and artists - my natural talent and understanding of gear and music led to becoming a go to for advice from studio builds, acoustics, mixing, recording, gear, song writing and technical problem solving. I also helped pioneer distribution of certain Audio brands into South Africa. During my retail years I helped found one of the most well known studios in SA - Heritage sound with famed recording engineer, Brendyn "Rusti" Rossouw. I worked alongside "Rusti" until I focus more on mixing. I left both Heritage Sound and the retail segment to pursue my career as Mix Engineer as a freelancer after getting an overwhelming amount of amazing feedback on my mixes which has the confidence booster I needed to take the leap. 6 months in I got a phone call to go help run a well known studio called Coffee Stained Vinyl where I continued to hone in my skills for a few years and have just recently left there after setting up a new mix room for myself. My career so far has led me to work with some of the top artists in SA as well as number 1's on the radio. I also garnered the attention of one of my heroes - Tom Waits for a Mix I did on a song that helped win a international songwriting competition, Tom Waits had some extremely kind things to say about my mix which is for me, the highlight of my career thus far.
How would you describe your style?
I would have to say that I am a pretty aggressive mix engineer - i really work the track. I am more of an additive mix engineer than a subtractive one as I feel that it's better to bring out the right tone and feel in the mix than simply removing what I don't like - I like exciting and dynamic mixes.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Jack White - He is so organic in his use of instruments and songwriting - he believes in pulling the sound out of the instrument which is how I feel about mixing. Every song has had someone pour their soul into, and the more you have wrestled with the song, the closer the song resembles your emotions the easier it is to bring it out with the mix.
Can you share one music production tip?
Make sure your arrangements/compositions and performances feel great - this will help both Mixing and Mastering Engineer bring out the best in your music.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Mostly Pop, Rock, Folk and Indie though I love mixing Hip Hop too.
What's your strongest skill?
My mixes expand on the feel and sentiment of the song - I get what the artist wants by listening to their tracks and bringing it to life.
What do you bring to a song?
I'd like to think that I bring out the focus that the song dictates, focusing on feel and emotion. I bring energy and life to the song according to it's needs - I'm a huge fan of mixing the way I listen to music, so I veer away from a typical safe approach and rather make it sound the way the song makes me feel - I want the song to move me.
What's your typical work process?
I usually receive consolidated projects from my clients - First thing is find out from the client what there are looking for and get a feel for where they are at before looking at the tracks. I then open up the session and listen to the tracks to get a feel of where each songs focus is. I then prepare a mix session by bussing and arranging the channels into my workflow and reroute the relative i/o's. I then prep my 2bus after which I bring up the faders and get each song into a rough fader mix before looking for any issues to address before diving in.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Current studio setup is a converted Garage in Cape Town, ZA. I work off of a mac and mix in Pro Tools 12 but run out for analog summing into an analog 2bus with some hardware inserts patched into Pro Tools to bring more depth and life to my mixes.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Mix Engineers would have to be Tom Elmhirst, Tchad Blake, Andrew Scheps, David Kahne, Jacquire King, Tony Maserati and Michael Brauer. Musicians - Tom Waits, Lana del Rey, Jack White, Dustin Kensrue, Allison Mosshart, Michael Jackson, Adele, Niel Young etc.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Most of my work involves mixing, more so of Pop, Rock and Indie Artists.