Greetings! I am Mike and I run an online mixing & mastering service called Hollowpath Mixing | Mastering or HPMixing for short. I have done album/EP mixing & mastering for several artists all over the world!
I created Hollowpath Mixing | Mastering with the intention of finding talented artists in the metal and electronic genres to help them get their material into a place where it would shine and sound fantastic without the need to hire an expensive audio engineer who does not know the specific genres well. I specialize in doom metal, death metal and electronic music and look for bands who reflect that specialty. I see and hear bands that are extremely talented but have subpar mixes and I feel like the band suffers undeservedly because of it. In those cases I will approach the band and make a proposal to mix their new material and do a better job than any previous recording they have made. It's important that the bands I work with come away from the experience of working with me feeling like their music has had the best treatment it could possibly get and fits the style they play completely.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
Interview with Hollowpath Mixing | Mastering
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Soliloquium, a band from Sweden. I mixed their debut album this year and they released it through a label. i mixed the album and mastered it along with doing some synth/electronic drums programming to add ambience behind some of the softer parts.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A black/death metal band from Moscow called Disillusionment, I am mixing the drum tracks for them.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Brian Hood.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. They both have their place. I would favor digital simply for ease of use but I do see analog still being worth using.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: A superb quality mix/master and a helping hand in making your music shine.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Creative freedom, the ability to make something interesting and a sense of accomplishment for helping in making someone's dream happen.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How much? will you do it for free? Do you take weed instead of money? Prices vary, no and no.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think people take mixing for granted especially now that music is more of a commodity these days. People will pay thousands of dollars for equipment and take thousands of hours to learn an instrument but neglect to hire a person to mix their music properly.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I always ask them to reference an album they like the sound of for me to listen to and get a feel of what they like production-wise. Do they want a lot of space or a dry, tight sound? Do they want to emphasize a particular instrument in a part on a song? Do they need any sort of ambient effects?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure your recording is what you want everyone to hear and that all your playing is precise and interesting. I will do the rest!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1. guitar 2. bass 3. drums 4. microphone 5. PC
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started recording myself in 1996 on a Marantz 4 track cassette recorder, just demos and rough tracks to show my drummer. Then in 1998 I upgraded to a Fostex FD-8 digital 8 track with the funky zip drive that held 250 MB of info, hardly enough to fit a single song on. I would record the drum tracks to a stereo file and bounce them down so that we could fit 2 guitars, bass and vocals onto the 8 tracks. After I bought a computer in the late 90s I discovered Cubase and from there I learned how to record instruments properly. i mixed my own music for about 10 years before I got a first client to take a chance with me. Now i try and find bands that i feel like need help and quality mixes who might not have them.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am very invested in making people happy! I am just like those guys who grow up, start a band and want to rock a jam out! I wanted to record myself back in the early 90s but technology was not so advanced then, so i never was able to do so until I bought a computer and discovered Cubase. I took years to learn it and got to a point where i wanted to help out other people who didn't know how to record or mix their own music.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: So many of those! Probably Katatonia or Soilwork. I feel like those bands have had issues with production in the past but recently have overcame those problems with their latest albums.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Never lose sight of the goal. always keep in mind what you wish to accomplish with the sound of a band and shoot for that.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: So far it has been electronic music, specifically IDM style music but since I am a metalhead by design and love death and doom metal, I have been mixing some bands in the style this last year.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I feel like I have an excellent grasp on distorted guitars and the sonics of how they should sound. I also feel like I work well in the IDM and EDM environment as I have worked with that style for 20 years or more.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Number one, a sense of clarity and fullness. After that I hope to achieve a unique feel and level of polish the band has not yet heard in their music.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I will receive raw tracks from the client after the price is agreed upon and half the total payment is made. Then I set up the project in Cubase as separate files into tracks and begin naming and grouping tracks into drums, guitars, synths, etc. I begin processing the drums tracks first, then move to bass and guitars and then vocals and synths. I level everything using automation so that the volumes flow well and nothing stands out too much from the mix and it's nicely glued. After I make an initial mix, I'll send it in mp3 form to a member of the band that is authorized to give critiques on the mix to see if I am heading in the right direction. After any revisions are made I will finalize the track mix with the band and either master the tracks or send them to the mastering engineer of the band's choosing.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I try to be as minimal in the hardware department as possible and use plugins, mainly. I feel like since I do remote mixing and do not record bands, it's less necessary to have a lot of outboard compressors and equalizers and my focus is to get a great mix or master from the plugins I use. I have Event ALP-5 monitors that sit on Isoacoustics L8R-130 monitor stands. I have a minimal mixing room and acoustic treatment on the walls zero furniture (basically four walls, a desk and a computer) so there are no distractions when it comes to focusing on a mix/master.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I really like what Randy Staub has done over the years especially since he is a very high profile mixing engineer. i am a huge fan of Daniel Bergstrand, Fredrik Nordström, Andy Sneap, Tue Madsen, Maor Applebaum, Eyal Levy, among many others. For music, i am inspired by band such as Katatonia, Shape of Despair, Meshuggah, Tesseract, etc.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I started out as the in-house mastering engineer for an IDM netlabel called Altered Echo Project and continued with that label for two years. Recently I have been doing more and more mixing in my primary field of interest, which is metal music and have done some mixing for two full length metal albums and two EPs this last year.