February 03, 2024
I've had a ball working on exciting and challenging projects over the past ten years, but one project in particular that I really enjoyed was my SFX work for the "Stranger Things (Season 3)" Marketing campaign with Baskin-Robbins. I sound designed and mixed the SFX for their marketing, which was all very creative and enjoyable. Whenever I am given video / audio projects, I give it my all.
I've found that these days, the Mix Engineer/Programming role makes up roughly 90% of my job. Most of the songs I receive are almost perfect in terms of sound and execution, but they lack the last touch to elevate them to greatness. In my line of business, I'm known as the "jack of all trades" since in addition to mixing, I also produce and play multiple instruments. Thus, I'm usually the one that adds that finishing touch when something comes across my desk that needs it. It can be anything from programming appropriate Drums or Percussion to adding an electric guitar riff or re-harmonizing a chord structure. I complete that and go on to the Mixing stage to finalize.
Growing up, I always dreamt of being a vocalist, and as the years progressed, I fell in love with arranging, and then inevitably stepped into mixing. Growing up in church music was a huge influence during my upbringing, I really learned how to direct the band, manage the musicality of every individual, and turn it into one sound, which intern made me a better producer, and mix engineer down the road, not to mention, my parents always playing the best of the best artist for us at the house, we’re talking, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Notorious, all of this influenced my sound today.
When I was 16 years old, my mother bought a piano and placed it in the living room. For the first few months, I would pass by it. A few months later, I sat down and experimented. A few years later, I recorded my first song with that and won a radio competition with the song "Me Enamore De Ti." This inspired me to pursue a degree in music production, and I owe this to her.
The majority of the projects I take on involve vocals in any way, therefore some level of manual tuning is required to complete the task. My trusty bx crispytuner by Plugin Alliance, which is a real soldier, is what I always reach for. I adored it so much that I'm now listed as a Pro Affiliate.
The biggest advice I can give is to improve your taste and musicianship because, just like a chef, an artist seeks to create a flavorful contribution that an audience can enjoy; while tools are vital, taste buds are crucial!
I've used headphones combined with sound ID for post-EQ tuning to give me what my ears are seeking for, but I'm still on the hunt for my forever cans! During the past five years, practically all of my workflow has been done on headphones out of convenience and productivity because I travel so much. Workflow is simple, look for what feels good and amplify that, usually I check low end on monitors.
Here's an example: I had to leave right away for a tour and brought my MacBook Pro... which I generally use for production. I receive a call while on tour telling me that I have to submit a mix the same day for a "unnamed" client. had no option but to accept and begin! Just a laptop and headphones, no preamps or speakers... That day, we presented the mix, which ended up going to Snoop Dogg.
I have been completely blown away by my Audeze LCD-X headphones, which have completely transformed my perspective on over-ear monitoring for professional mixing, mastering, and production. From the moment they arrived in the studio, I haven't been able to take them off, despite breaking them in the first few days. The headphones' warm tone and slight boost in the mid-range evoke memories of the classic NS-10 monitors, while the exceptional frequency response in the low mids and below provides a highly accurate representation of the bottom end in my mixes.
I recently collaborated with Atlantic Records and Warner Music on an exciting project called "Mockingbird" for the talented artist ENISA. What's unique about this project is that it was fully produced using the remarkable LCD-X headphones.