Audeze chats with producer, mixer and creative director Marc Daniel Nelson

Marc Daniel Nelson is a Grammy and French Academy Award nominated Music Producer and Creative Director. He has been mixing, producing and managing creative content for over 20 years. 

His music credits include Fleetwood Mac, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Need to Breathe, Eric Burdon/Ben Harper, Francesca Battistelli, Robert Duvall, Ozomotli, Reik and more. As Protégé for both legendary producer/engineers Bill Schnee and Ken Caillat, Marc has carried the torch for impeccable quality sound and production. 

Marc's film credits include Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Vietnam War, Mulan, The Expanse, Wild Horses, Point Break, No Manches Frida, Fractured, Amanda, Father Figures, Blade Runner 2049 and much more. As a creative leader, his work with Warner Brothers, PBS, Alcon Sleeping Giant, ArtistMax, Sony and Warner Chappell Publishing stands out above the rest.  

You can check out Marc's Audeze Live video interview here.

 

"Audeze headphones completely changed the way I mix music. They were the first headphones I gained confidence in and I haven't stopped using them since." - Marc Daniel Nelson
Here's our talk with Marc:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I would have to say my proudest moment was when I was asked by Ken Caillat to partner with him in doing the reissues for Fleetwood Mac's "Mirage" album.  It was so surreal going through all the multitracks of what was history to me.  I grew up on that album and it had my favorite Fleetwood Mac song on it.  It became a push and pull of how far I could go making the new mixes modern yet still retain the values and vibe of the originals.  

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

These days I do mostly mixing in music but still get called to track orchestras and larger sessions.  I really enjoy mixing though as that's the area to really pull out the best in what was left behind.  Sometimes you do very little, just making sure you serve the song.

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

Growing up it was always the Beatles first, then came Fleetwood Mac and then alternative rock.  I got into music production from listening to The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac.  You can learn so much about production and mixing just by listening to only those two bands.

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

The three men that made the most impact in my life in music are Bill Schnee, Ken Caillat and John McBride.  They have all been so generous in teaching and sharing their knowledge and passions.

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?

As a person that fuels off perfection, I got into a bit of trouble when I was younger trying to always achieve the best.  I have learned over the last 20 years that you should only work towards one goal at a time and that failing is part of winning.  You can't really lose if you feel you've gained something from the loss. The key is to keep moving forward and never stop learning.  Challenge yourself but always give yourself a break.

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 feel monitoring is by far the most important part of my job.  Over any other piece of gear, your speakers and headphones are a mixer's best friend.  If you know both of those and trust them, they will never let you down.

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

Just stay positive and always keep learning.  The industry has changed so much since I started but it was still incredibly hard when I started.  Ed Cherney said it's probably harder being a professional in the music business than an astronaut.  Obviously he was joking but there is total truth in that sentence.  Just keep your head down and always keep learning.

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

I really started using headphones at the start of the 2020 pandemic.  I needed to be able to work in different environments and trust what I was doing no matter where I was.  The first project I mixed with headphones was the score for the Netflix film Moxie.  I used a pair of Audeze headphones and it gave me absolute confidence in the low end and sound stage.  Since then I check everything I do through them.

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

Audeze headphones completely changed the way I mix music.  They were the first headphones I gained confidence in and I haven't stopped using them since.  I've mixed large scale feature films with them and well known label projects.  Being a very mobile person moving around a lot, I needed to always be able to put on a pair of headphones and feel like I was in the exact place I was in the week, month or year before.