Audeze chats with producer, mixer, and composer Byron Brizuela

June 24, 2023

Byron Brizuela is a multi platinum record producer/songwriter based in Los Angeles. For over 30 years his company, Brizz Productions, has been pushing the boundaries of Latin music with highly stylized, first to market productions, to deliver some of the most unique Latin music in the market. His company specializes in producing music for various media applications, such as film, television, radio, online content and video games.

Byron Brizuela in the studio with his Audeze LCD-MX4 headphones

"I have been using the LCD-MX4 for months now and they are my trusted companion. They have brought clarity to my mixes, especially in the lows and mids."  - Byron Brizuela
Here's our chat with Byron:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I have been very lucky in my career to have many. One that I am especially proud of, is my work for a style of Latin Hip Hop, called Regional Urbano. It mixes traditional Mexican music with Hip Hop. I wore many hats: producer, mixer and ghost writer most importantly A&R to the movement. I’ve had platinum selling albums, national tours, major movies and important television placements. Countless hours in the studio have fine tuned my ears. But the most exciting moments recently for me have been when I get a call from a friend or family, telling me how they have heard my song on the latest Netflix show or on a ubiquitous commercial. What is really special is still getting young people still quoting and using my songs in social media, it still resonates. Meeting random people at events and them telling me my music gave them a voice! I am humbled. Those moments have the same gravitas as a platinum record, ha! Maybe I’m crazy.

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

My main role today is to mix and master, while making sure the music is marketable to our audience. I started out producing and mixing a lot of Hip Hop and House music but as my production workload expanded into different genres, so did my mixing duties. Over time it progressed to Reaggton, Mariachi, Trap, Banda, Rock, etc. When I set out to mix a particular genre, I first focus on listening, to try to understand what makes the genre special and then figure out what plugins match the vibe the best. Specializing in Latin music, I work with creatives from all over the world so having the most reliable pair of headphones is imperative to my hybrid work lifestyle.

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

I started producing music right after college, producing demos for friends or artists. From there I moved on to working as a remixer for various Latin labels. As a remixer I learned the art of producing outside the box, which is my signature sound. My remixing work got me noticed by A&Rs which led to getting my artists signed. At that point, I was lucky enough to remix some of the biggest Latin pop stars and hits of the era. I have a huge musical palette. My job requires me to listen to a wide variety of music from all over the world in various languages and genres. To this day, I still consider myself a music super fan who loves to discover new and great music. I love listening to music from various countries. Whatever the culture, music enriches everyone's life experience.

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

My friend Richie from junior high school who got me hooked on DJing and emceeing started my journey on music. Meeting Pietro Carlos, my first real contact in the music industry, taught me the ropes on how to conduct my business as a music producer. We still have lunch together when he's in town and not traveling the world managing the illustrious career of salsa legend Willie Colon. Meeting Debra Grobman at a music convention in San Diego changed my professional career by opening the door to commercials, sync music, and radio jingles. I have known her for over 20 years and feel blessed to have her as my music director at Brizz Productions. More recently, mix engineers Jaycen Joshua, Manny Marroquin, and Dave Pensado have changed the course of my mixing perspective, but the one who has had the most influence in my sounds would be Dr. Dre. When I was a teenager I would listen to him spin records live on the radio from a local skating rink in Los Angeles on Friday nights, scratching and mixing for KDAY. I remember getting on the decks afterwards and trying to mimic his DJ tricks and scratches, which were extraordinary to me. From there, Dre went on to become the icon that he is. From DJ to mogul inspires me to do the same. When Dre performed at the Superbowl halftime show, it reinvorgated me to keep making timeless music.

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?

My biggest regret is that I was successful early in my career and didn't fully appreciate what was happening and appreciate my sound. I couldn’t appreciate my work because I was chasing perfection. Now in my later years of being in the business, I have realized that perfection is in the ears of the listener and now I focus on making those magic moments in songs that become unforgettable to me. I always look for the emotion, mood, and soul of the sound, rather than only science and engineering.

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

I travel a lot for business, so the most important pieces of gear are my laptop, headphones, and interface. I mix mostly in the box, so I have a few favorite audio plugins, some of them AI-based. Cradle's “The God Particle” is on my mix buss. I like to use it when I start writing a song, to get all the emotions and feelings brewing from the beginning. I also use many of Universal Audio's plugins, such as their Shadow Hills Mastering compressor, Neve 1073 and Capitol Chambers, among many others. I like Acustica Audio's Dave Pensado EQ. A couple of notable mentions are Waves Factory's Spectre to beef up the sound and Oeksound's Sooth2 that makes things float in the mix. I love it for bass and vocals. I also like MCDSP plugins. They are full of character and are very intuitive to use. I am also a big fan of Antares, their signature sound processing and all their new products. The list goes on but I must hold off!

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

Be unique and be a pioneer in everything you can. Maintaining good mental health is critical, so you can stay fresh and creative, open to new ideas and flexible in your workflow. Meditate, take breaks, do yoga, go hiking, get on your bike, go for a walk, make sure you move your body. I believe our body is our most important instrument.
As for words of wisdom, I will refer to the great Friedrich Nietzsche, who said, “Sit as little as possible; do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement, in which the muscles do not also revel... Sitting still... is the real sin against the Holy Ghost.”

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

I’ve been incorporating headphones into my mixing for years now. I’ll start mixing with headphones, then switch to my monitors and finally listen to the master with headphones only.
Mixing and producing with headphones is integral in the modern era. Today's headphones allow producers/mixers like myself the freedom to travel the world beyond our studios, enjoy the sunlight, people-watch or stick our feet in the sand and manipulate sound all at the same time. Imagine being in Yosemite mixing a record from your favorite location, full fidelity and confidence. That's the future. As long as the sound quality and the emotion is there, it doesn't matter where it's done. What counts is the final master and the tools you use to get there.
Audeze is the leader in the headphone market, bringing world-class technology, elegance and craftsmanship all in the palm of your hand.

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?

I had the opportunity to chill with Manny Marroquin at the Audeze NAMM booth last year. He is a super cool person while also being one the GOATS of the mixing engineer realm. He took the time to chat with several of us, sharing interesting stories about his career and gave us some interesting tips. His headphones with Audeze, the MM 500s, are amazing. I took them for a test drive and they sounded fire! The bass and 808s had long, clearly defined notes and the top end was crystal clear with great headroom.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I have been using the LCD-MX4 headphones for months now, and they have become my trusted companions. They have brought clarity to my mixes, especially in the lows and mids. I enjoy the amount of detail and presence they have, as well as how loud I can make them sound. Since I got them, I hardly use any other headphones.
I used them exclusively on the chart-topping podcast "En Boca Cerrada," which was the #1 podcast in Mexico in the week of its release on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and the highest-charting Spanish-language podcast in the US in 2023 on Spotify. I was hired as the main sound designer, and the LCD-MX4 gave me the edge I needed to ensure that everything sounded great.
I have found them to be very accurate, and my mixes translate well over various listening devices. I completed a Regional Mexican radio imaging package for several national radio networks, and the LCD-MX4s were on my head about 80% of the time. For our label Brizz Sound Works, a company that has co-ventures with various artists to help them market their music for sync in film, television, trailers, podcasts, and radio, I have mixed various genres using the headphones, including trap, reggaeton, Mexican music, EDM, rock, and R&B. They have become my trusted source for mixing and mastering.

Byron Brizuela's Audeze LCD-MX4 headphones