Vintage // Pop // Neo Soul // Indie // Pop Collage // Female Artists
I'm a mixer, producer and BMI songwriter and musician with 20+ years of experience. I was trained on analog equipment (SSL, Ampex, Studer) and specialize in combining the best of vintage and modern sounds. I'm new to soundbetter.com.
I love working with indie labels and female artists.
I work ITB from my NY-based private project studio where artists can work in a no-pressure, living room-like and creative atmosphere. Your location is never an issue - I can work via Google chat and Google drive (or FTP).
I cut my musical teeth as a guitarist on the NYC punk and new wave scene at CBGB, Max's Kansas City, the Mudd Club, Irving Plaza/Club 57, etc. Refer to the book Sweat: The Story of The Fleshtones, America's Garage Band.
I cut my engineering teeth working for iconic bands of the time, including The Fleshtones (I also was an early guitarist), Suicide (Alan Vega and Martin Rev, minimalist progenitors of using drum machines, loops and analog synths), Boston's The Real Kids, Arto Lindsay (DNA) and others.
For these reasons, I experiment and go outside boundaries to break new ground.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and consider whether I am right for you.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
3 ReviewsEndorse Mitchell Ames
Mitch has been arranging/producing/mixing and co-writing my EP that is about to drop. He knows how the vocals and arrangement should hit and is an amazing guide. Thanks!
When it came to lead vocals, Mitchell relieved any pressure I initially felt, and the comped vocals felt and sounded great. He literally hears things I couldn't imagine before working in his studio, and he helped coax out a truly emotional performance.
I came to Mitch for some mixing work on a demo for my art rock band, and my expectations were exceeded by a mile. Mitch not only brought the mixing chops we needed for our demo to sound professional yet-still-edgy (i.e. not too glossy), but also provided production advice that took our songs to the next level. He's also a fantastic guitar player and provided some additional instrumentation for us.
Interview with Mitchell Ames
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Two diverse projects, both high up in my wheelhouse. First is producing and mixing the 3rd album of an indie label pop collagist who approaches rock music like J. Dilla approached sampling and hip hop. The backing track always starts with a lo-fi, vintage loop - often from an old 45 record - which usually is mono and noisy. The artist edits the loop and writes melodies and lyrics on top of it. Live and software instruments and samples are then added to echo or counter the instruments and themes embedded in the track, and loops, samples, FX and sound design elements are also added. Second, and probably my favorite, is co-writing, producing, tracking and mixing an indie neo soul female artist with an amazing voice.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital for recall and multiple processing choices . . . but digital with an analog sound achieved by using analog mic'ing and processing techniques.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Sorry, but there are three musts. 1. Be honest to yourself and pour out your emotion. 2. Keep listeners interested by letting a song breathe and making sure the structure moves often enough, with a shattering climax to build to and let down from. 3. Less is always more.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: To quote Muddy Waters: "I love the life I live, and I live the life I love." Every project is a new day, a new sound and a new feeling. It's poetry.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Anyone with a laptop and DAW can do it, or learn to from YouTube or the various tut services out there.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Besides the mundane and necessary, how do you hear yourself/this song, and what is your objective regarding its placement.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you want to combine vintage and modern sound like Lianne La Havas, The Black Keys, Beck, Camila Cabello, or Alabama Shakes, work without pressure and to maximum creativity, and if you want the ears, input, guidance and network of a musician with analog training, I could be right for you.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: MacBook Pro, loaded iLok, Universal Audio Rack, Avid S3, AKG Headphones and Neumann U87 (oops, that's 6, so I would smuggle the iLok in inside my pants pocket, or just insert it in the MacBook Pro and pretend it's a permanent attachment).
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Besides marrying the best of vintage and modern sound, patience and the ability to listen and then make the most out of a little.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A personal stamp of taste, musicianship, songwriting and arranging skills, and analog training that combines the best of vintage and modern sound design.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First, second and third: listen to the artist, the idea/vision, the rough mix. Then, impart personal taste and experience. Finally, tweak until artist walks on air.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Private, no pressure, living room-like, creative. Vocals and O/Ds are all done right next to my desk, so communication is 1:1.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Mixer: Tchad Blake. Artist: Lianne La Havas. Bands: The Vanity, Jesus & Mary Chain, Beck. Styles: vintage R&B/soul (Stax/Volt, Motown), neo soul, American roots, British invasion (early Stones & Kinks), garage band.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing combined with producing. Artist development from idea to commercial release. Opening doors to my network.