Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I have nearly twenty years of experience as a sound engineer, but for the last five I decided to focus on Mastering. I have always been fascinated by artists, musicians or even footballers who are able to make a big impact in what they do with very economical moves. And that's more or less what Mastering is all about: bringing out the best of a recording by focusing on how to fine-tune it rather than changing it.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work entirely In The Box, so it's all plugins. I use only what I've come to think are the best, mainly from the Dutch company FabFilter. In my humble opinion, the flexibility their products offer is unsurpassed. They sound crystal clear and offer a workflow unthinkable in the analogue realm. I also work with hardware controllers for these plugins, which are custom made to my specifications. I am privileged to be working together with the developer in a prototype for their future commercial release.
A great vintage pre-amplifier and a couple of incredibly precise customised Polk Audio speakers complete my very spartan setup.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I shouldn't really pick, but the last album from a band from Madrid who are called "Cómo Vivir en el Campo" really got me dancing while working on it. So fresh, simple and lovable. The album is called "CVEEC 3" and I mastered it. Check it out!
What are you working on at the moment?
A lot of Electronic Music, music for video games and Rap.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I think Andrew Scheps is in here? I LOVE that guy. I could retire if I ever get to master anything he's mixed.
Analog or digital and why?
Digital all the way. Because of how I work (mostly remotely), I only get recordings as digital files. There's no need for me to get out of that digital world and risk spoiling something both the artist and the mixer have decided sounds perfect. Plugins nowadays are just mind blowing, and they keep my workflow quick and my rates more affordable. My turnarounds on revisions can take mere minutes and I don't have to charge you extra because I have to pay a humongous electricity bill and a maintenance engineer.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
You are gonna be proud of this
What do you like most about your job?
The fact that almost nobody knows what I do and I can still do it. It's a very "ego-less" profession, and at the same time there is a huge amount of responsibility in what I do. People put in your hands something that has taken them a lot of hard work, time, money and anticipation. It's beautiful when it comes out just right.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
(with blood coming out of their ears) "Could it be a little louder?" :D Just joking. Normally just little revisions of what I've sent them. Remarks to make us reach the perfect common space. I can't complaint about my clients, really. I have always felt very trusted.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
We can fix anything. And the answer is no. Sorry, we cannot perform miracles. As I said earlier in this interview, if the take is not the best, the mix is not going to be the best. And if the mix is not the best, we can do as much as we can do to improve it, but we can never "fix" it.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What do they like the most about their recording. What part of it makes them really jump or give them goosebumps. I never ask for references anymore cause it has proven to be a huge mistake. I have learned to find those references in the music that I get and, unless told otherwise, I 100% respect the mix.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A very sharp knife, a screwdriver, a hammer, rope and nails. What? Would you seriously bring a Manley Massive Passive to a desert island? For what!?
What's your strongest skill?
Low end. I love it. I love punchy silky basses with which you'd like to cuddle. This doesn't mean that I discard the rest of the spectrum, but in my works you can tell that I love bass. It's actually an accidental plus nowadays, because low end is the part of the spectrum that suffers the least when converting to mp3.
What's your typical work process?
First I listen to the whole album or song. I only listen to gradually shorter snippets of each song (or part of the song), skipping a lot.This way I can make myself an idea of how it sounds as a whole. After that I start making decisions on what to use. I try to look for the strengths in the sound of what I'm working on and worry about the weaknesses in a later stage. I find it more gratifying and productive this way.
What do you bring to a song?
Excitement. My aim is to have everyone in the recording sounding their best. I want to give every song and every performer that extra percentage of liveliness. I always approach music from an emotional point of view, I want music to move the listener.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Pick the one that feels the most suitable for your recording, not for you. The recording is what matters, so choose accordingly.
How would you describe your style?
Clean and respectful with the mix. it is not about me leaving my mark, but about supporting your work.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Can you share one music production tip?
If the take is not good, the album is not going to be good. I think that's the basis of a good recording. A good take is the best foundation for an excellent record.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Anything. I am very eclectic and don't believe in genres.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Although my set up is entirely In The Box, I consider myself quite "old school". Bob Ludwig is my clearest reference. He has his own sound, he is instantly recognisable, and that as a Mastering Engineer seems like a huge achievement.
I also admire Brian Lucey immensely. We share a lot of views on how to do this job, and, despite using arguably opposite techniques, we have many, many things in common. He is a true inspiration.