Audeze chats with engineer, mixer and producer Steven "RAWQWLTY" Tejeda

August 19, 2023

Steven "RAWQWLTY" Tejeda is a Dominican born Engineer, Mixer & Producer from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, currently residing in Brooklyn, NY.

Steven "RAWQWLTY" Tejeda in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones
"Never have I heard so much detail and separation between elements while mixing on headphones. They allow me to confidently make mix decisions that translate every time."  - Steven "RAWQWLTY" Tejeda
Here's our chat with Steven: 
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Apart from accruing some awesome credits working out of Jungle City Studios NYC, a fun and different highlight would be becoming part of the Spotify & Gimlet Media fiction series department. Working on an assortment of amazing immersive audio stories and shows that the world seems to really be digging right now. Shows like Red Frontier and an upcoming show by Jordan Peele and his company Monkey Paw Productions have been the biggest highlights thus far.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

My role is usually one of engineer and vocal producer when I'm engineering and mixer is my role for some projects following recording. In the Audio series world, my main role is Dialogue Editor.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

Music was ALWAYS around me growing up. Being of Dominican descent, I was exposed to plenty of Latin genres like Salsa, Merengue and Bachata as well as Ballads, R&B and Hip-Hop down the line. This made my palette for music and hearing sounds very wide and defined.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

My main inspiration was initially my grandfather who would bust out a guitar at most family gatherings and start playing and singing. In my adolescence, some of my biggest inspirations became Noah "40" Shebib, Manny Marroquin, Dr. Dre & Timbaland. Their unique sound and musical impacts in my life as well as the industry were literally life changing.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

A big moment of frustration for me was definitely migrating from PA to NY and going from having a whole studio room to going to a NY apartment where space was... well, much less. So having to make a studio space when I first came to the city was a bit of a headache and had a small impact in some of my mixing work but I quickly re-adjusted and made it work. Part of that was relying on great headphones to reference on which is what has brought to my attention the Audeze brand from all the high praises from some of my peers as well as one of my heroes, Manny Marroquin.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

Lately I've been finding myself really enjoying summing mixers. I've owned/demoed the Burl B32, SPL Mixdream and RND Orbit 5057 throughout the last few years and have loved using them and what hey bring to my previously mostly digital workflow.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Train your ears but also take care of your ears!

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

Since I got into music, headphones have been integral for me for that up-close and personal listen pass. There're times I start off a mix or edit in headphones and there's times I just reference through them to make tweaks in the end. They're obviously also super important for when I'm on the go and need to make edits or tweaks on the road or in hotel rooms.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

They have allowed me the highest fidelity listening experience I've ever had on headphones. Never have I heard so much detail and separation between elements while mixing on headphones. They allow me to confidently make mix decisions that translate every time.

Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I have recently been working on mixing rising star Juanialys' debut album and these have made a huge difference in my workflow specially when making mix tweaks in less-than-ideal listening environments.

Steven "RAWQWLTY" Tejeda's Audeze MM-500 headphones