What's your strongest skill?
Mixing drums and vocals.
What's your typical work process?
For mixing - I spend a good amount of time getting a great static mix. I route everything in a specific way to get lots of parallel processing in an easy workflow. From there, it's all about capturing the emotion of a song and bringing it out. I try to fix the bad, and enhance the good. I love automation. It takes time, but it really brings out the energy of a mix.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
I'm still new to SoundBetter, so I don't have anyone specific I'd recommend. However I recommend 'competitors' all the time. I'm not territorial like that. It gets in the way of positive and creative energy. I'd rather just focus on the music.
Analog or digital and why?
Both. Analog for recording. Digital for mixing, although Slate's Virtual Console Collection is probably needed to help with digital summing, which still isn't nearly as good as analog summing. But if you know what you're doing, mixing in the box can get just as good results as mixing on a console. Andrew Scheps mixes on a laptop! And he mixed Adele!
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Quality first, always. Time spent is irrelevant, which is why I charge by the project not by the hour. Clock watching ruins creativity.
What do you like most about your job?
What's not to like? I get to play with sound all day!
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Usually it's all about price. However I really enjoy spending lots of time on a track and making sure quality is always put first. Quality is something I simply don't compromise on. I refuse to put something out I don't believe in. If we barter too much on the price, I won't be able to afford to spend the time that it will take to make sure your track is great. If that's the case, we both lose.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
People always think that a mixing engineer can fix almost anything, but we can't. Ultimately, if the tracks sound like crap, the mix will sound like crap. Yes, we can do some amazing things, but in the end - it's all about the music. You need good musicians first.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I try to get a feel for how they want the song to sound. What types of music do they like? I need a good reference track. I also try to gauge their personality because if we're not clicking on a personal level, we just might not be the right fit.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Listen to their mixes and make sure they are professional. Some guys are better at mixing certain genres over others. Also make sure they are a good fit for your PERSONALITY. Because this is a relationship.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A guitar, SM7b, Neumann U87, UAD Apollo and any of Steven Slate's Plugins.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started in Radio production. I've imaged over a dozen radio stations throughout my career. I've also had experience with all types of audio engineering projects including audiobooks, post film, soundscapes, sound design etc... Music has always been my passion though.
How would you describe your style?
Aggressive. I'm not afraid to mute tracks if I think they're doing the song a disservice. I'm also not afraid to get creative with processing and effects and textural additions. However, you are always in creative control and ALWAYS have final say.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Lauren Hill kind of blows me away.
Can you share one music production tip?
Yes. Less is more. Don't "over-mix". Focus on the music.
What type of music do you usually work on?
Lately I've been working on a lot of Christian Rock, and Pop Rock, with the occasional folk and acoustic track thrown in.
What do you bring to a song?
I bring my mixing Philosophy and ears to the table. Less is more. Ideally, someone should be listening to your track and thinking how great the artist is, not the production. If they're noticing the mix, or the production, I've failed.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I'm running Pro Tools 12 on a 2015 Mac Pro. It's a beast. Currently I'm mixing in the box with almost $5,000 of plugins and software including Waves Platinum, Slate, SoundToys, UAD and many others. I mix on KRK VTX 8's, and Sennheiser HD650's for reference.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
So many to mention. I absolutely love Snarky Puppy these days which is a Jazz Fusion type of big band. Check them out on YouTube, they are truly breathtaking.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Mixing and mastering by far. However, sometimes I'll also be asked to lay down some drum tracks for jingles or full songs.