Mark Fuller, engineer and musician.
I specialize in mastering on a per-project basis. No 1 size fits all. Every project is unique.
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Interview with Mark Fuller Mastering
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Primarily mastering for musical artists of all styles. I also mix and sweeten short films and videos and do productions for radio and corporate uses from time to time. I also mix full projects and do some tracking and editing for artists and producers. Finally, I write and play and do sound design gigs here and there.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: It's a small mastering oriented rig in a very clear, tight room in the hills above downtown Sebastopol. There are chickens in the backyard.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Have a conversation with the artist and/or producer and try to get an understanding of the aesthetics they're looking for. All projects are rightfully different, sonically, dynamically, emotionally and I need to align with each one as needed. Once we're on the same page, I get files and do a listen through making a starting point for signal path that I think will work for the majority of the album. I contact the production team with any questions that come up. From there I work, usually over 2 days time when mastering album length projects, and deliver DDP format or individual .wav files to the relevant parties via Dropbox. After they listen on various systems for a day or two they give me notes and I make whatever changes are necessary. Once everyone is satisfied I deliver the file-formats required, the possible list of which is available on my website.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A ton of experience as a fan and musician.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Good taste in music and sonics.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: There is no single answer to this question.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Stop using your eyes to listen.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: If I had the chance before he passed, I would have done about anything to work with Joe Zawinul, the great keyboardist and composer.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Started as a musician - drumset and tabla - and studied in College, University and Ali Akbar College of music. By my early 30's I had begun working relentlessly as an engineer. Produced/engineered countless albums on analog tape, later with DAW's. Did 7 years as audio producer at an NPR radio station during which time I earnestly put my focus on mastering.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Communicate fearlessly. Listen intently.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do I need to know about your project?
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What is metadata? Answer: look at my website's blog.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You'll be stoked when we're done.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Because both are great if used appropriately, and there is no single 'right' way to do anything.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Just got here. Don't know.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The list is too long to go into in depth but recently Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" has been played a lot. Also Kneebody's "Anti-Hero". I've also been checking out how great Rick Rubin is with vocalists.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The most recent 3rd Ear Experience album "Stones of a Feather" mastering job was difficult but I worked relentlessly and brought the project to a new level. It's being well received in Europe and stands strongly alongside their other 3 albums.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Matches. Knife. Tarp. Hatchet. Water Filter.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That louder is necessarily better.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Bringing projects over the finish line.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Mastering several projects for producers in various parts of the USA and Germany. Planning an acoustical fit-out at The Tank in Rangely, Colorado, and a substantial gear installation in May so that's taking a lot of time for planning. www.tanksounds.org