Award winning producer, mixer and multi-instrumentalist. HBO Docs, Daru Jones, The Districts, Modern Inventors, Liv Warfield, Swear & Shake and more...
I'm Matt Kass and I've been working as a producer, mixer and musician in studios nationally for over 10+ years. I bring a deep musical knowledge, an intuitive creative sense and hard work ethic to my collaborations. Whether I'm producing, mixing or playing, my style is a blend of musicality, technical skill, and sonic creativity.
Originally from Philadelphia, I'm currently based in the vibrant hub of East Nashville, TN which has the highest concentration of musicians/studios per capita out of anywhere in the world. It's a truly inspiring place to live and work, and I have access to some of it's best studios and musicians.
I specialize in indie, rock & pop, with an emphasis on textures and dynamic arrangements. I approach my work as a conduit for emotional expression, where everything serves the song, vibe and performance.
in 2008, I won "Best Live Album" at the Indie Music Awards for "Tale of Two Cities" by The Brakes, which I produced. in 2013, I co-composed, engineered & mixed the score to the feature length documentary "First Comes Love" for HBO Documentaries. My compositions have aired on National TV shows & commercials, and have garnered over 100+ million impressions.
I also studied ethnomusicology at Cornell University, and have a great knowledge of different types of music from around the world.
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Reviews (4)Endorse Matt Kass Music
I've had the pleasure of working with Matt on several projects. He is the among rarest of talents - a seasoned engineer and producer with a truly gifted ear for dynamics, composition and melody; PLUS you get the benefits of a marvelous player and co-writer! Matt has tremendously elevated the quality of everything we've ever worked on together.
I love every piece of music I've heard Matt produce. I've been a fan of his band, which he is the producer for, for a long time and his music is always creative, tasteful, and has a beautiful sense of harmony. I always look forward to hearing whatever new project Matt is working on!
Did a project with Matt a few years ago and he did great work. Has a great ear, great ideas and suggestions, but also holds an enormous respect for the artist and the project as a whole. I did vocal tracking, mixing, and mastering with Matt and am thrilled with the result. Would love to work with Matt again if I get the chance. http://mosiemo.com
Matt has an amazing ear and instincts. He writes, produces and plays with the song's best intention in mind. Everything I've done with him has been just great and I look forward to working more with him!
Interview with Matt Kass Music
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: When you're trying to hire someone, it's important to get all of the formalities out of the way up front. Know exactly what's expected of you and of them, and have it in writing, so you can refer back to it. It can be awkward to talk to someone about business when you're supposed to be making art, but the little uncomfortability up front saves you lots of headache on the back end. Also, know the holy triangle. Anytime you're negotiating a project for hire with someone, whether you want to make a record or do construction work, keep this in mind. It hasn't steered me wrong... GOOD. FAST. CHEAP. you can only pick 2... 1. If you want something Good + Fast = it will be expensive, the person has to drop everything and make this happen for you. 2. If you want something Good + Cheap = it will take longer than you expect. The quality will be high, but you can't expect someone to drop everything their doing, you'll have to roll with the punches. 3. If you want something Cheap + Fast = it probably wont be very good. This is a non-starter for me, I really care about everything I attach my name to, so if you're willing to sacrifice quality for speed and frugality, it probably wont work out.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Jim James from My Morning Jacket. His creative vision and sense of space in his MMJ and solo recordings is an inspiration for me.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It's super important that every musician knows where the payoff of the song is, that is, the dynamic peak of the song...so when they're recording, they can all be working towards the same peak. If the drummer thinks the payoff is the 2nd chorus and the guitarist thinks its in the bridge, they're going to play the dynamic arc of the song differently, and that isn't going to yield the best results. I like to get a sense for how people communicate and then go over this with the band while we're tracking. It saves a lot of time on the back end :)
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1. a Neumann U48 - when you hear this mic, you feel the weight of all of the great singers who have used it. And its got figure 8 too, for more directional applications. 2. a Neve 1081 Preamp/EQ - warm and fat with all the right EQ notches. 3. a vintage LA-2A vocal compressor - this is the glue that makes vocals sound like a hit record. 4. a 1960's Fender Deluxe Reverb - this amp is the genuine article. The trem and verb are spectacular. reamping things into this is super fun too! 5. An EMT 140 Stereo Plate Reverb - nothing can recreate the sound of this classic plate reverb, when you hear one for the first time, its like a eureka moment. This is the sound that I've been hearing on all my favorite records!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Musically, I concentrate on making interesting and unique textures for my productions. For me, it's not enough to sound pristine and transparent (although I can do that well), I like to create a sonic landscape for each song.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I love the freedom that digital gives you. You can sculpt and create anything you can imagine, but I also love the warmth that analog imparts, and the intention that you need to approach your music with, when you know you can't fix it in the computer. The first time an artist cuts to tape, I love watching them adjust to listening with only their ears, instead of watching a screen, and listening with their eyes.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love seeing an idea come to fruition. Sometimes it's like a kernel of an idea for a song thats brought to me, sometimes it's a vibe the artist is going for, but nothing gives me more pleasure than sitting back and listen to a final version of a song and saying "We created that. That used to just be an idea, now it's a tangible, viable thing."
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think the word producer has become a misunderstood title. 1. It's part musical visionary, you have to identify the best parts of the artist's material and performances and help to bring everything up to that level. 2. It's part business person, you interface with the label, studio, musicians and engineers, so the artist doesn't have to if they don't want to. Part of the job is to allow them concentrate on their art, by taking care of the business details. 3. It's part psychologist, you have to read the people in the studio and draw the best performances from them.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What's your budget for the project? Do you have a hard deadline? Is your timing flexible? Do you have a vision for this project or do you need help with the vision? What do you see my role in this process being?
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My work with the artist usually starts with meeting and have them play through the songs with me. We take stock of where we are, and start talking about the vision and scope of the project. Some records are made like a photograph, a snapshot of that artist in a particular room at that time, and some are created like a painting, layer by layer. There's also a hybrid way of working, which is my favorite way to work. It captures the raw energy of the live, in the studio process, with the ability to mold and sculpt the rest of the song after the fact.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have my studio set up in a huge old house in East Nashville. Almost the entire house is wired up to record, piano upstairs to the drums and amps in the fully finished 40x40' basement. We have lots of amps, vintage guitars, synthesizers and mics to choose from. Depending on the project, I also have access to more than a few great studios in Nashville, and can find the right studio for the vibe.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by true musical visionaries, forces of nature, the ones who can write, play, produce and engineer. Names that come to mind, Danger mouse, Jeff Lynne (ELO) Quincy Jones, Nile Rodgers, Blake Mills, Greg Kurstin, and others...