Audeze interviews producer and mixer Jake Rye

April 11, 2023

With 16 years to date of experience both producing and mixing, Jake Rye has become a highly preferred Producer/Engineer within the indie/alt rock genres in the US. Since 2006 Jake has produced and/or mixed over 2000 songs with both indie and label artists alike, garnering respect as a person who not only delivers the highest level of complimentary work but also the highest level of care for the process and the people involved.

Jake Rye in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones

"These MM-500s sound a lot like I'm mixing on mains in the studio. The first thing I noticed was how accurate the low end and center image are... They are super comfy, extremely well built and balanced extremely well."  - Jake Rye
Here's our chat with Jake:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

2008 was my first year in business. It was a major year or learning, struggling and growth. I more or less planted a flag in the ground and just started to really pursue clients.

2011 I was an engineer, songwriter, producer and musician on a #4 debut in the top 200 album "Born Again" for the band "Newsboys."

From Jan 2013 to Jan 2017 I was a member of two time Grammy nominated band Sanctus Real as a bassist, engineer and songwriter.

Published writer with Capitol Records from 2012-2019.

From 2018-2021 I was the producer and mixer for the band "Michigander" releases Midland / Where Do We Go From Here / It's All Gonna Be Ok Eventually, which featured the hit songs (Indie) "Fears", "East Chicago Indiana", C3 Records "Misery", "Better", "Let Down."

This work relationship was really special during this time. It was really cool to work closely with such a talented, hardworking and kind person and be a part of their growth from indie artist to label artist and to see tangible success happen. Taking someone else’s dream on your back and climbing up the mountain with them is a special experience.

2021 Mixer for Canadian Arena Rock Band "The Glorious Sons" on the singles "Young King", "Hold Steady" (staying in the billboard rock top 10 radio chart for an entire year),"Daylight", "I Will Destroy The Void In You."

My biggest highlight is waking up every day and helping people make music... I love my job and am grateful for it.

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

Producer or Mixer. So I'm either helping bring people through the process of making masters from start to finish or helping them finish as a mixer.

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

I was/am a massive grunge fan so as a pre-teen and teen I was listening to Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, Toadies and then Radiohead, Oasis, U2, The Clash and a bunch of other stuff. Before that because of my dad I was always listening to Phil Collins, The Police, Tears For Fears, Crowded House, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Journey, Springsteen etc.

I also like Jazz, Americana and Big Band so I still enjoy Van Morrison and Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich as well. I really love the 50s-70s mainstream jazz.

Currently I’m listening to The War On Drugs, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Leif Vollebekk, Noah Gunderson, Young The Giant, Coldplay (Big fan since 1999), Death Cab, Arcade Fire… There are a few artists that I've had the privilege of working with that I enjoy also... I did a spec mix for Thad Cockrell earlier this year and I discovered his newer catalogue and I love it... There is another artist I’ve been mixing with and the project is called “Coy Roy”. It’s Bo Rinehart formerly of Need To Breathe and his debut songs are really creative and just brilliantly written.

I started off learning bass at the age of 11. My dad and I used to jam old blues standards and Stevie Ray Vaughn songs. From there I started playing in church, jazz band and eventually learned guitar and songwriting. I was in a few bands and we made records at local studios and I met one of my mentors during this time. I was able to have some success, tour and chart on radio during that time from 2000-2005.

In 2005 I started producing demos in my apartment because studio time was too expensive... I eventually started subbing time on projects for a very cool local studio here near where I live.

From there I started taking friends projects for payment and have just kinda steadily built relationships from there and fallen into some really great positions. It's been a really surprising ride honestly.

As of 2020 with the pandemic I transitioned to about 2/3 of my work being mixing and I've really enjoyed the jump as it's allowed me to work a more balanced work/life schedule. I am currently in the process of planning a commercial space build here in this college town I live in with my assistant and colleague Logan Witte that should be open sometime next year.

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

If it wasn't for my wife I may just be working a normy job somewhere and not being passionate about work. She has encouraged me and created space for me to be who I am now which is crazy to think about because we've known each other for 20 years.

My dad was major in introducing me to everything music and instructing me. He was always asking me to jam and I observed him in bands throughout the years as a real solid guitarist.

My buddy Pete Bishop here who is an Audeze fan is really a person who invested in me early and often with the studio and recording process to just learn how to work problems and be consistent. He pushed me and kinda planted the seed early that I had what it took to pursue this adventure that I've been on for 22 years.

Back in 2012 I had an opportunity to sit with Tom Lord-Alge out in Miami for about 10 days and observe, assist and just listen as he mixed a couple records that I had produced as well as a couple Blink 182 singles from “Neighborhoods.” He really invested in me during that time and throughout that year as well after I left the studio. He's a very generous and spirited guy and we all know about his talent level. That dude is built differently.

Being from a small rural community just south of Detroit has shaped my journey in a lot of ways that people from big cities wouldn't experience... It's also created problems that I've had to solve and overcome in order to be successful. I never moved to Nashville or LA by choice so that has played into my journey etc.

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?

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when producing a band. It's a different process than sitting by yourself as a composer on your own time.

You have to account for different personalities, different talent levels and people with different habits and mood swings. On top of that you are expected to fill all the gaps where there are deficiencies and find what's special about the band's sound and bring it forward. It's a LOT.

What I've done is spend a good amount of time really walking the band through their demo process, doing pre-pro remotely and then setting the stage in the studio to make sure they are comfortable, can be themselves and feel free to be vulnerable... Making music is a vulnerable experience for everyone in the room. So I remove as much of the friction as possible from my sessions.

Comfort is very important so I keep the room cool, the lighting right, I burn incense for good smells, the bathroom is close, the fridge is stocked with drinks and snacks that the band will request before the session and I set up 90% of the room and workstations before the band arrives.

I mic everything, tune the drums, prep lines and patch and also have each song template built based on our discussions during pre-pro. I also set up times for breaks in the schedule and if we have an evening session or are working like a 12-15 hour day, set up another location for after hours work so we can move over there easily. Logan, my assistant, has a great room on the other side of town that we will often move to as we are on the same system. It's super nice to just be able to take a dinner break with my family for 2 hours and then meet up over there for a 7pm-11pm session to finish the day.

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 love my Synth rig right now. I midi patched 4 synths together to a slave board and I sum them to a mixer and can blend multiple sounds together as well as send midi from Logic to them and "reamp"/ remake certain sounds through the analog synths and back in through nice analog pres.

I recently upgraded my ADC to the new Crane Song Interstellar for mix capture and I couldn’t be more happy about it.

Love my Chandler Little Devil 500 series preamps. They are my all time favorites for kick and snare drum as well as DI's.

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

Be consistent, put others first, be generous with your time, listen and be a problem solver.

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

I've been an audiophile since I was like 5 years old. Totally obsessed with sounds, reverbs, speakers, headphones. I use headphones when editing, when doing close listening and I'd like to really be able to do an entire mix with headphones at some point and learn that way of doing things as some of my friends have moved to that type of mixing and love it.

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

Be excellent to each other ~ Bill and Ted.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

These MM-500s sound a lot like I'm mixing on mains in the studio. The first thing I noticed was how accurate the low end and center image are. There really wasn't any adjustment to these... I got right to work after taking them out of the box. They are super comfy, extremely well built and balanced extremely well. I love that the cable and ear pads can be replaced as well... I plan to use these for a long time.

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

I am currently mixing songs for artist Bo Rinehart formerly of the band "Need To Breath". His new project is called "Coy Roy"... I have also been tracking and mixing on killer indie projects for the band Stay Outside from Indianapolis Indiana and the artist Au Gres from Detroit MI. Both groups are writing some killer material and it's been a great few months. I've been using the MM-500s during tracking and mixing and I'm really settling in with them. I'm very happy.

Jake Rye's Audeze MM-500 headphones