Hello. My name is Tom and I am a Mixing and Mastering engineer at MP Studios. I specialize in mixing Pop, Soft-Pop, Singer-Songwriter, and Alternative styles. I am based out of Long Island, New York, and I would love to bring your vision to life.
I have been mixing music for roughly five years. I mixed the debut album for The Days Beneath Us. For me the most enjoyable part of mixing is taking a look at the final product when I'm done. Mixing is such a rewarding experience for me because I get to take someones song, and make it the best possible version of itself that it can be. It is like watching a baby grow. Seeing a song develop into what it can be is one of the most enjoyable experiences. I handle each song with care, because I know how special they are to the artist. Being an artist myself, I know what other artists are looking for when they need their songs mixed to radio quality. I handle each song with care, because I know what is at stake.
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Interview with Tom Phillips
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I love the sound of analog gear, but the convenience of digital. I think the setup i would ultimately like to have is a digital board going to analog outboard gear. Analog has such a warmth to it, that you just cant beat, but the convenience of digital and the routing options you have are endless.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I always promise my clients that I will handle their song with care. It's important to me that there is a level of trust between me and my clients. The trust that I am get to take their project and make it sound great. The trust that I am not going to destroy they project.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: What I like most about my job, is the fact that someone comes to me with a project that they have been working on, and they instill their trust in me to take their baby and make it sound perfect. Its an amazing feeling when you can see a song unfold from the beginning stages to a finished product. All of the countless hours you spend achieving the final mix, are all worth it when your clients love the work that you have done.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think the biggest misconception about what I do is that Mix Engineering is a simple job. You just turn a few knobs and adjust faders and the song will be good to go. When in reality, it takes time to find the perfect eq for an instrument, whether tracks need regular, or parallel compression, maybe both. Automating effects like reverb and delay to tickle your ear and keep you engaged, or adding automation to achieve a feeling in a song. I think there is so much more to mixing than people realize.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I usually ask when they need the finished product by. We can always work out a time that is good for the both of us where we meet in the middle. I ask if there are specific songs they have in mind, where they want parts of the mix to bear resemblance. I find a lot of times a client really likes how a vocal is eq'ed or something in their favorite song sounds a certain way, and if that is the case, I try my best to incorporate that into their project.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I would say do a lot of shopping around. I would never want to pressure someone to come to me. I want the client to do what is best for their project. Obviously I like to think that I am the best engineer for their project, but I want my clients to genuinely want to work with me. When that happens, you can both feel the excitement of starting a new project together.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I would definitely take my Neve channel strip, a good mic, right now I use the baby bottle by Blue, however if I had the choice, I would probably take a UA U87. A good pair of speakers, I love the Yamaha's I have, and find that I know the speaker well. An interface to connect everything to, probably the new Focusrite Clarrett, just because of the speed, of the conversions, and a keyboard as well. Maybe a just a midi controller.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this for about five years now. This is when i learned everything up until this point. I don't always think I was reading for this though. I look back at some of my old mixed, and just go "What was I thinking?" . But I am glad that I went through that phase, because it taught me how to be a better mix engineer, and listen for things that the average listener doesn't think of.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: One of my favorite artists to work with would definitely be Gregg Alexander. I personally think he's a genius. The New Radicals album in the 90's was such a hit, and every song captured a mood. Not to mention the extensive list of songs that he has written for other artists that have gone to reach top chart status. His song writing and production are amazing, and I would love to work with him one day.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Whenever there are any kind of electric guitars on a track, i really love having one that is a little dry, and then another track that is re-amped, having a reverse delay petal on the track. i find that if you burry the re-amped track down in the mix a little, you get a nice little pop of the reverse delay every once in a while that tickles your ear and keeps you alert in the bigger parts of the song. Of course, this goes on an on project basis, if I don't feel that it would add to the track, I would not put it in.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work more in more Singer-Songwriter genre. I feel theres a great balance there where you can go either way, you can either keep a simplistic approach, or you can treat the songs more of like a pop record on the production side. You can really experiment as to how you want the song to sound.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I would say my strongest skill would be assessing what a song needs and then achieving a desired sound. I always strive for sonic balance.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When I'm doing a mix, i like to listen to the track first and get an overall feel of what the arrangement is like, and to see what I think the song needs. I like to get a good balance of everything off of the bat. The next thing I'll tend to work on is what I deem the most important in the song, usually the vocals. Once they are EQ'ed and compressed I feel like I can move forward with the mix. After that I tend to work my way over to guitars, bass and drums. Usually I will eq and compress tracks before i put other effects on them such as reverb and delays as well as other processing.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love Gregg Alexander as a producer, as well as Teddy Geiger, and Andrew Muary. Andrew Schepps is a fantastic engineer. I love the sounds of John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Mickey Ekko, and other alternative artists as well.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run a pretty simple set-up. I have a Focusrite Pro 40, this takes care of all of my I/O. I use a Lunchbox Neve Channel Strip to record. This includes the Neve 511 Mic Pre, with a Neve 551 Inductor Eq, and two DBX 550a's for compression. I use an Eleven Rack to capture all electric guitar. As far as plugins go, I have a variety of UA plugins as well all of the WAVES Bundles.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I usually do mix engineering for my clients. Using EQ, Compression, and other effects, I am able to achieve a sonically balanced mix. I love bringing the songs to life and making them radio ready hits.