What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I will give you more than you ever expected possible. I will help your song reach new heights. I wont butcher anything you give me and I wont throw anything away. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel but you will hear a significant improvement/difference. Your mix is my baby and it wont leave my studio until it kicks ass.
What do you like most about your job?
I get to work on music everyday! Mixing for me is like painting on a blank canvas. I take a very artistic approach to it and that allows me to be creative. It challenges both sides of my brain, and that's why I truly love it. Plus, I love the reactions when clients hear their mixes.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
What kind of analog gear I have and how long it takes to complete a mix. My answer is, I have a lot of analog gear but the gear doesn't matter at all. What matters is what I know and how I hear things. I could mix on anything, and still give you a great mix. It's definitely the operator, not the tools. The tools just make the job easier sometimes. As far as the time needed to complete a mix, it really depends. Usually I'm mixing a song or two a day. If I have a song that has many different sections or is longer than five or six minutes, it could take a few days. I give every mix the time and attention it deserves. Nothing leaves my studio that I'm not completely happy with. Client satisfaction is my number one priority! I'm not happy if you're not and I will do whatever it takes to ensure you're completely satisfied with the result.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started as an Intern for the late Greg Ladanyi. He and his assistant at the time taught me much of what I know today. It was an invaluable experience for me, and in my opinion trumps any formal education. I learned in the real world. Real scenarios. I've been mixing and producing for 9 years now.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I work on all different types of music from Latin, to Rock, to Pop, to Country. I don't care what genre I'm working with as long as the song or songs are great. Having a great song is key.
What's your strongest skill?
I like to think that my strongest skill is the way I hear things. I have a very organic approach to mixing and I know what records should sound like. Knowing what has to be done is half the battle really. Having a clear vision of where the song needs to go makes mixing so much easier. All of the other skills like knowing how to balance, compress, and Eq are really secondary and can be taught for the most part. Knowing how a record should sound, how to guide a listener through three and a half minutes, and how to keep them engaged and locked in... I'm not sure that can be taught. It's intuition!
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
My job is not loudness. That's the Mastering Engineer's job.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I was hired to do some editing and vocal comping for a band out of Nashville years ago. The band was impressed with my work, but even more impressed with my attitude so they asked me to do a mix for them. I agreed and sent the mix off. They loved my mix so much that they fired the mix engineer they had hired for the project and hired me on to finish the record. I felt so validated and recognized. I was really proud of the way that record turned out. It was the first record I ever mixed.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I'm working on some pop mixes for an Artist in Italy. It's fun music and it has a cool vibe. Plus, I'm Italian so I have a natural connection to it!
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I'm not sure if he's on SoundBetter, but Dale Becker at Becker Mastering is a fantastic Mastering Engineer. He's a great guy and he only makes things sound better. He never changes my mixes, he only enhances them.
Analog or digital and why?
Both. It's the operator, not the tools. Whatever gets the job done is what I subscribe to in that moment. Sometimes it's all analog, sometimes it's all digital, sometimes it's a hybrid of the two.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What are you looking to enhance or change in your song? Are you in love with the rough mix, and what do you like about it the most? What do you wish could be different?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Make sure you've lived with your source tracks and rough mix long enough to know that nothing else needs to be done or re-done. Sometimes I'll have a finished mix and right before I send it to the client I'll receive an email asking if I can pitch it up/down or change the tempo. Not going to sound very good!
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My BBC EMI Pres/Eq's, my Pultecs, and my Sonics Anima Speakers. Technically I think that's 8..Oops!
How would you describe your style?
I like size, impact, and clarity. Big bottom and clear midrange/top is my thing. I like to take advantage of the full frequency spectrum! I really don't care about settings on any gear. If it sounds good, it is good.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
In my fantasy world, I'd love to work with U2 or Richard Ashcroft! Realistically speaking, I'd like to work with any Artist that has great songs and is passionate about their music.
Can you share one music production tip?
Sometimes taking things away adds more impact. Also, don't over compress vocals. Leave it up to the mix engineer to decide how much compression should be applied to a vocal, if any at all.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring emotion, clarity, impact, and size to any song I mix. I'm able to take the Producer's and Artist's vision and expand on it. I'm able to realize the song's full potential and take it to new heights.
What's your typical work process?
I usually start by cleaning up the files I receive from the client to mix. I'll go through everything and make any necessary edits/fades, clean up with Eq if there's any masking happening or problem frequencies I hear, and gain everything properly so that it's coming into the desk at the optimum level. Then from there I do my thing and send the first pass to the client. I'll wait to hear back and see if the client requires any revisions. Then once they've approved they'll receive all the versions of the final mix.
Tell us about your studio setup.
My studio is based around a dual console setup and a Focusrite Rednet System. My main console is a Focusrite 2802 and my sidecar is a Ramsa WR-DA7. The Rednet System gives me 16 Analog I/O and 32 Digital I/O. It's all clocked with an Antelope OCX-V and integrated with a Lynx Hilo Mastering AD/DA, which I print through and monitor through. I also have quite a bit of outboard, both vintage and modern. It's very much a hybrid setup, though the analog gear is tightly integrated with Pro Tools so my workflow is quick and the results are great!
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Well as far as music goes, I'm very into the post-punk/post-punk revival scene. I love Joy Division, New Order, The Buzzcocks, as well as newer bands like The National and The Killers. I really love and appreciate all music though. As far as engineers, I'm a big fan of Chris and Tom Lord-Alge, Michael Brauer, and Manny Marroquin.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I would say I'm mostly hired to mix. Occasionally I'm also hired to record or produce for clients and I absolutely love producing! Mainly I'm hired to mix albums or singles though.