Delivering affordable and professional mixes for the working class musician.
Affordable mixing and mastering solutions with experience in home and pro recording studios. My work is mostly on various local indie projects as a recording, mixing and mastering engineer. Currently, I am an audio recording student at Cal State University Dominguez Hills.
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Interview with Robert Rodriguez Del Toro
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: They often ask for advice on how to mix and I usually am excited to teach. I think, especially when working with DIY musicians, it is important to give people a basic understanding of how doing this works because it makes our jobs easier and hopefully it makes better sounding music.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People outside of music assume every artist these days mixes on their own. While there is a growing number of DIY musicians, myself included, there is still a necessity for someone who could simply do it better. I see it as a jack of all trades vs someone who really honed in on one aspect of the industry. There is nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades, but in reality, we all need help with sometimes and that's where being a mixing engineer, a musician, a songwriter, or a producer comes in handy here on this very website.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How many tracks are we mixing? Could you provide reference tracks and describe the sound you are trying to achieve?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Reach out and take a chance. I may not have the experience that a lot of other people here do, but I have the skill and I am willing to provide more examples of my work and am always flexible in pricing.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: All I need is a computer, interface, two 57s, and a piano and I'll stay busy for the rest of my life.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My career path is very much still being formed. I have been recording bands since I was in high school just reading as much as I could about placement and minimalist techniques and by the time college rolled around I grew to have these very useful connections that allowed me to have a better home set up and to assist engineer on some larger sessions in nearby studios. Up to now, it's been a little over 5 years that I've been doing this and currently, I am working to expand my knowledge and ability further over at Cal State Dominguez Hills as an audio recoridng major.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is friendly, direct, and efficient. I am straight forward and to the point for the benefit of the client always and am a really laid back kind of person.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: It's a difficult question to answer because I have worked with some great small local groups and have really had so much fun being a part of their sound. I also have gotten to work with some of the bigger yet still relatively unknown indie names like Paul Cherry and Michael Sayre and they were equally a pleasure to work with. I guess I want to work with people who when I listen to their music, even if it isn't something I would regularly listen to, I feel something authentic.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Less is more and your ears ALWAYS come first. As tempting as it may seem to go over the top and layer 10 guitar tracks and 15 lead vocal tracks, you'll find that a really full sounding song comes from minimal, catchy, arrangements. This ties in to always using your ears first to make decisions. Instead of doubling every guitar and vocal track by habit, really listen to what is happening in the song and make critical decisions based on what your ears tell you.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on indie rock and pop music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I could find and carve out problem frequencies very quickly and tend to get very clear, clean sounding mixes with ease.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring the ability to serve the song. I put in my best effort to hear and interpret the vision the artist is trying to convey and make it a reality.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Typically my mixing process begins with listening to the song and adjusting track levels, as if this were a live mix and the faders had to stay in one place. I then would pan according to what feels best and try and get the most solid mix out of just those two elements. Then I add eq and I compress when necessary. My time-based effects come last, but of course, there are always exceptions. Every mix is different.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio set up is humble but more than adequate thanks to a few tools. I have a MacBook Pro running ProTools, Logic Pro, and Reaper with the complete Slate Bundle, SoundToys 5, Ozone 8, and Sonarworks for room and headphone tuning. I use a Behringer UMC1820 interface for recording and monitor and mix off of Yamaha HS8s and AKG K240 Headphones.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Currently, the music professionals who inspire me most are the people I know in the business such as friends who took a chance in this field and my audio professors because they are an example of hard work paying off in a way that maybe did not get them massive fame, but allowed them to do what they truly love for a living.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I normally work for small indie rock and pop groups but I have also worked with hip hop and jazz artists as well.