I first met Ben Fowler in 2011 while working on a record for a new up-and-coming country artist, Charlie Worsham. I was the assistant engineer during tracking and overdubs, and Ben was going to be mixing. Charlie told me Ben was looking for someone to do mix-prep/edit work for him; I went out to his home mix suite in the country for the “interview,” and we’ve been great friends ever since. Ben cut his teeth working as a staff engineer at New York City’s Power Station in the late ‘80s. During that time he made records with some of music’ s biggest names, including Eric Clapton, Meatloaf, Bad Company, and George Harrison before setting roots in Nashv ille, where he lives and works today. Highly regarded as one of Music City’s best tracking engineers, Ben is also a Grammy Award-winning mixer, with credits including Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, and Michael McDonald. I would bring my mixes to Ben early on so he could critique them. Among the many things I learned from Ben is this important lesson (in his words): “Mixing is the last performance of a song. If it doesn’t sound great, you’ll be the one to blame. Do whatever it takes to make it sound like a record.” -Gus Berry

Ben Fowler

How did you end up working at Power Station?

I was in a band in Indiana, and through that we met Tony Bongiovi, who owned Power Station and also produced some of the early Bon Jovi, as well as an early Star Wars thing [MECO's disco version of "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band"]. We didn't know any producers where we grew up. He owned, arguably, the best studio in the world at that time. I was a musician graduating college, and I applied for a job there, still thinking that I wanted to be a musician. But I thought, "You know, New York is the place to be." I got the call and I was almost like, "I was just kidding." [laughter] I wasn't expecting to get that phone call. I went out and had a quick interview. I'd never been to New York before; it was eye-opening. What a left turn in life, to go from cornfields to the city!

What year was that?

1986. It was a big contrast. The pay was pretty poor; probably much like today. Back then there weren't that many opportunities in music. A thousand people would do it for free, or kill to get that job. I was thrilled to get it. I had to hang onto it, because things were tough and their clients were huge. If you weren't doing your job, or if there were any mistakes, you were gone pretty quick.

Did you have engineering chops before heading out to New York?

No. I studied Music Theory at Ball State University in Indiana. I was always the guy who would get a long guitar cable and walk out into the audience for soundcheck. I would badger the sound guy.

Was Power Station doing the "no real lockouts" deal?

If you wanted to pay for a lockout, you could; but was expensive. Otherwise, there might be a daytime session from 10 to 6, or 10 to 7. We would tear down, tracking setup and all. Then someone else would be up and running by 8 p.m., tracking or getting sounds. There was not much turnover time. The next morning we'd have to recall everything. Measuring mics and consoles. We didn't have digital cameras back then. We were writing on sheets. If you had the night session that ended at eight in the morning, we'd be dead tired trying to document all of that. But people expected it to come back pretty close, and somehow we did. Their clientele was humungous. When I walked in the door, there was Paul McCartney, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Joel, Peter Gabriel [Tape Op #63], and David Bowie. Duran Duran had been recording many of their hits there. It was a great place to land. I got to work on a lot of cool records, like Billy Squier, Bob Mould, and three Eric Clapton albums. I worked with a producer named Russ Titelman. After a certain point, he took me on as his main guy. I started as an assistant engineer, and eventually ended up in the driver's seat for many records.

Ben Fowler

Did Russ like using that studio?

That was home-base for that era of his career, and that's how we got paired up together. We'd go other places. We might go overdub, and not be in a Power Station room, but that was home-base for him and I. If you were a graduate of Power Station, it had something to it. People would book you. I was the last to go through that. It was neat how they did it. Whoever got hired before you was who you answered to; he answered to the guy right above him, and the guy at the top was thumping, and then it would come all the way down. It kept everybody in order, because the guy above me would get in trouble if my shit wasn't getting done.

Everybody policed each other! [laughter] Who was the person that you worked under, initially?

I worked under Alex Haas and Dave O'Donnell. Dave's had a nice, long career. He's worked a lot with James Taylor and Eric Clapton. But both were great friends and mentors to me. They weren't that much older than me, but they'd gotten there a couple years before and had already launched as engineers. I'd also worked a tiny bit behind [Bob] Clearmountain [Tape Op #84]. He's absolutely amazing, and a gentleman. He, Neil Dorfsman, and some of those original Power Station guys really hit it out of the park.

Was Tony Bongiovi doing sessions at that point?

He always had a pet project or two, but he wasn't in there much. The rooms were really busy, so I think it was probably hard to get in there with a side project or a development project. He had a condo built on top of the building. Power Station is built in an old Con [Consolidated] Edison building. When I moved to New York City, I slept in his electrical closet for two years! There was a washer/dryer and a massive electrical fuse box. It wasn't exactly quiet! But it was what I could afford, and he was gracious enough to let me live there.

What inspired you to move to Nashville?

I’d worked with Meatloaf off and on in New York. He’d done a lot at Power Station with Jim Steinman, an amazing composer, producer, and songwriter. Somehow I got involved a little bit, and eventually I was in the driver’s seat. I did some tracking and mixing. He did a Meatloaf Live at The Beacon Theater DVD. He was on tour, so he flew me over to London interview and photos by Larry Crane intro by Gus Berry to fix some vocals and mix it. I mixed it at Metropolis Studios, and that was great. What a beautiful studio! On the last day, I flew home, changed suitcases, was home for two hours, and then flew to Nashville to marry the audio with the video for a company called Picture Vision, which is still around. The video’s two producers, John Small and Tom Forrest, lived here. They were former New Yorkers that had made the jump. None of it was what I expected. I thought people would be sitting around in flannel on bales of hay. They were gentlemen, super professional, and the studios looked great. It changed my opinion. Then I got a call from Bad Company’s manager. He said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing another Bad Company album.” I love that band; they are the funniest humans I’ve ever been around. We’d made an album at The Manor [Studio], Richard Branson’s manor, for four months. What a spoiled American I was. We had a chef, and we had a lot of fun! I thought I’d be going back to Europe, but he said, “We’ll be making it in Nashville.” Something rang in my brain. I thought, “That’s my sign.” I knew I wanted to have kids, and New York was never my dream place to live. I loved it when I was young, but it’s a hard city to live in. I started the record [Stories Told & Untold], and bought a house about a month after I moved here without ever looking back. I thought I’d have to go back and forth to make a living, but I got really busy here. I came in from the side and I wasn’t trying to get country clients. I wasn’t trying to get the work other people were trying to get. I did Lynyrd Skynyrd [Twenty] right after that. Again, I wasn’t infringing on anybody’s territory, so it allowed me to get settled here.

What year was that?

1996. It’s hard to believe, because I feel like I just got out of college!

When you started doing the country sessions, did it seem really different compared to your other sessions?

You learn quick, or you die. [laughter] I remember one session I did, the songwriter came in and was really put out that we weren’t rolling yet. It was his money, but he had another session to go to. I did learn that there was an expectation for me. I am the one to wrangle everyone together. There’s a responsibility and leadership to getting that together. But there’s a learning curve, and things are done a little bit differently here. One drummer wanted me to use triggers, and I didn’t want to use them; I wanted to use what I’d learned at Power Station. Something must work, because I’ve kept busy and I was doing something a little bit different. I didn’t change the world, but people were interested that I took care in drum sounds. I had a slightly different thing, and maybe it benefitted me.

How early did you get into Pro Tools?

I don’t really remember the year, but I was doing a Michael McDonald record. I think I’ve been involved on five of his records. I’d done a record with him at Warner Bros., in New York. Then he’d moved here [Nashville] in that time afterwards. He graciously hired me. We started with a 24-track. Then it was 48- track, and it kept growing. We needed horns and more. It wasn’t working in a smaller, personal studio. I said, “We need to get a Pro Tools system in here.” With it came an operator, who was making pretty good money per day. After we got going, I noticed a lot of the conversation was around me, as they talked to the Pro Tools guy! I realized, “I’m going to be a dinosaur. That’s going to be a big part of the job.” I did hear of some big-name engineers who thought it was a completely different thing, and they suffered for it. They got in eight to ten years later.

In the higher-end studios for a while, they’d have a Pro Tools operator, an engineer, and an assistant.

I’m lucky I get the occasional big major label jobs, but I’ve always gotten the mid-level and independent sessions of great music that I would never turn away. I’ve got to make their budgets work. When I saw an opportunity where I could retain some of that work in the middle, particularly on things I was developing – without spending money on someone else’s studio costs – Pro Tools made a lot of sense to me. I didn’t understand it completely, but I dove in and bought a system. Now I am many systems in, as I’m sure you are too at your studio. My first Mac monitor was $2499 for a 23-inch screen. Now for $300 or $400 you can have a 40-inch, massive screen. I mixed in Pro Tools for years. I may have been early in it here [Nashville], and it may have benefitted me. I have far from cracked the code for doing it. But, again, someone could afford me who may not be able to afford Blackbird Studios. Having a great setup, and a place to mix, has helped me to develop, stay alive, and do things that I love.

You have a suite at your house?

Yes, I have a room I’ve mixed out of. I actually had a room up here in Ocean Way for three or four years on the second floor. It was very small, but I mixed a fair amount up there. Then I bought this old farmhouse and put a little room in. It was hard. I’ve got kids. I’d take them to school, get ready, and run downtown to work. Now I’m coming right downstairs to work at home. If I take them to school at 7 a.m., I can be working at 7:10, getting so much more done, and being a better dad. But without the clock ticking with a commercial studio, I spend way too much time on my mixes! I wish I was one of those guys who’s like, “Yeah, I did that in six hours.” There have been a few of those, but there haven’t been many. [laughter] I want to please me, and obviously my clients.

What are some of the details that go past the six-hour mark on a song?

I don’t know. I don’t look at a clock. I used to worry myself silly in a commercial studio, and I got a lot more creative when I stopped worrying about it. With mixing, I like space. It’s like landscaping; creating events, and seeing things inside of what is going around. I work really hard to build those spaces. I always hope that, in whatever form it comes out, that some of that is preserved. I notice when I start tapping my foot or moving my body, it’s like, “Oh, I’m actually liking this.” I’m not even aware of it, but when I finally start moving and grooving, I know we’re finally getting somewhere. I think once that mechanical pressure is off, that is when I get a little more creative. Because a song is architecturally built, as opposed to mixed. That’s when it gets fun to me. We’re in a world now where there are over-the-top echo tricks, but I like really subtle ones. I don’t like it to be too tacky or distracting.

Just to open a section up? Or make a vocal feel more important?

Yeah. I hope they are subtle and tasteful. That’s what I work towards. Sometimes I feel like the deliberate ones do more harm than good.

Save those for the Pink Floyd records!

Yeah. [laughter] Generally, if I’m happy with it so is the client. It’s very different from, “Well, your eight hours are up, and that’s what you get for eight hours.” That leads to disappointed clients.

I try to figure out what the line to draw is.

Well, it’s tough because it can end up eating into my family time. Or normal people, who have hobbies! I’m not sure mixers do.

Someone asked me that the other day and I said, “Eating.”

Yeah, eating at the console! [laughter] That’s passion I always find time for! That started in New York; there were so many good restaurants around there. It was an education on every level moving out there. We didn’t get paid well; we could barely eat off the budget end of a Chinese menu. One time I was walking through David Bowie’s lounge, straightening up, and he said, “Mate, are you hungry?” I said, “Oh, I’m good.” I tried to bow out of it. But he was so gracious. He said, “Mate, I’ve ordered too much Japanese food. Sit down and have a meal with me.” And I did. What a nice man he was! And super talented. That was the first time I’d had Japanese food, or sushi.

With David Bowie?

Yes, and what an education! Good food was taught to me by a great artist, and I felt really lucky. I’ve found the great artists tended to be great humans. There’s a reason they’ve had the success they’ve had. Yes, their lives are different than ours; they have to get on a bus, or fly away after the album is done. But when you get people in the studio, they really open up to you; it’s a safe zone for them too. I’ve always been protective about that information, and I tell people that work for me too that this is a sacred zone. If people open up, or get vulnerable, that stays in here.

You’ve had long acquaintances and working relationships with people like Billy Squier and Lynyrd Skynyrd, right?

Yeah, I love the Billy Squier music I got to work on. Being young at the time, that was just good rock ‘n’ roll. Great licks and great guitar. We spent loads of time [together]. It was weird moving from New York to here, because at 10 a.m. in Nashville you start recording. You have sounds. But at 10 at night, you might still be working on drum sounds for the next day. You can’t do that anymore, but back when we had big budgets, we’d spend tons. When we had Billy Squier, I remember starting out as the assistant. These guys were telling me to move a mic a quarter of an inch. I was like, “At some point, there is no difference!” We did that for hours, maybe days, but it was great. The Skynyrd’s have been great to me. I started my first project with them in ’96, which doesn’t seem that long ago. Of course, I wasn’t there for “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” and “Simple Man.”

The original era.

Yeah, but I’ve known a lot of those guys. I know Leon [Wilkeson, bass], Billy [Powell, keys], and Hughie [Thomasson, guitar], and so many of them that aren’t with us anymore. I just finished a co-production of a Gary Rossington solo record [Take it on Faith]. It’s really, really good. I was impressed. His wife, Dale Rossington, is singing on it, from Rossington Collins Band. I would love to do another Lynyrd Skynyrd album with them – it’s been a nice long run. I haven’t done everything in the last 21 years, but [I’ve done] a lot of it.

A lot of concert releases and videos too.

I’ve done several live albums and DVDs, plus one recently for Blackbird Presents, which was a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd. I’ve continued working with Blackbird Presents, which is not the same as Blackbird Studios. I’m working on Kris Kristofferson’s [The Life and Songs of...] DVD now; I’m almost done with that. It is a slew of great artists doing his songs. Over the last couple of years, for Blackbird, I’ve worked on releases for Dr. John, Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings. It educates me on their body of work. Everybody knows their hits, but not necessarily their deep catalog. People still care about them and are passionate about their music. There’s a video component, and it’s surround sound. That’s a little different for me.

Do you have surround capability in your home mixing setup?

I don’t, actually. I get it all beautiful in stereo and then I take it over to my friend, Nick Palladino. He owns a place called NPALL Audio. He’s a post-production guy. He sweetens it with crowd, if needed, and we spread it out. He’s got a couple of surround studios in town.

It’s a perspective you’re trying to build.

Yeah. I hope we’re getting it right. We work really hard to make those mixes and performances have integrity. There are great artists up on that stage. It’s been fun and challenging. There are loads of recording issues that happen on the road. There’s feedback and all these live issues that I’m not used to dealing with. It makes us use the tools we’re so blessed to have.

Even 20 years ago, think of how difficult it would be to move a vocal, or take a vocal from another night and fix the chorus.

Or take a vocal from rehearsal, if they recorded that. Our software is great. I love the Waves software; it’s been really handy on some of this, as well as my studio sessions. I don’t think I could make sounds this good without some of the great manufacturers that we have.

It’s the best era, in some ways.

It really is. It would be hard to complain about it. I get motivated creatively when I get something new, like a new plug-in or piece of gear. When I feel like I’m getting a little stale, it wakes me up. I probably overuse whatever it is, but it engages me. I love discovery. Paul Brandt is another artist that I’ve had a long, long career with. I think I’ve done eight or nine records with him. I started on the engineering side, but the last one I coproduced with him. We’ve had a fair amount of success. He was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. That kind of loyalty in our business is pretty rare, so I am grateful for it.

How did you guys meet in the first place?

He was signed to Warner Bros. down here, and he was starting to have a couple hits. His story is fantastic, and he’s a great human being. I met him when one of the guys working on a Lynyrd Skynyrd project, a producer named Josh Leo, was producing him and got his first two hits. He was coming by the studio, and then the second record I ended up recording a bit of. I started as an engineer on that. By album three I was really involved, and probably mixed a good bit of it. Then he got off Warner Bros. and did an indie record, trying maybe to figure out what the next phase of life was. It was an acoustic record, and he owned it outright. It sold a fraction of what his Warner records did, but he made ten times the money. It blew open his career up there [in Canada]. Because he’s done it his way, he’s been able to creatively do whatever he wants. He’s fun to work with, because he’s an artist in every way. They’re his songs. He’ll come down with a vision and direction. We just started a new album. I always tell him, “You don’t have to call me, but I’m glad you do!” [laughter]

Have you done most of his work in Nashville, or have you gone up to Canada as well?

I have gone up there. But we’ve tracked a bunch of it down here. I know there are great musicians everywhere, but we are really lucky. The best of the best are here, and they get it. I love casting bands for these people that call me. I like to cast nice, talented people. Why not get the best? We track down here, and I mix here. That’s why Pro Tools makes sense; Paul’s not here for the mixing. I’ll send him a mix over the internet, and he’ll send me notes. We’ve done that for many years.

Are you using any summing hardware for mixing? Or outboard hardware?

You know, I tried that. I might touch, at this point, three to five different things. But resetting any outboard; I was screwing up. I had a GML EQ and an SSL compressor. I’ve tried some summing boxes. But every time I did that, I was jumping back and forth so much. I could never get it exactly right. With the summing bus – it would’ve never stayed fixed. I always have to touch it and tweak it. I got away from that; it’s all in the box. I had some classic rock clients that make some unbelievable music, and have been for 35 or more years. We tracked it in here [Ocean Way] and I mixed it at my place. One them was like, “We have to go back to the studio. We can’t do this in the box.” I’d already mixed it and he was beating on about something. I brought it in and had it in Studio B, going through the monitor bus only. He stood back and said, “See, I told you it would sound better over here.” I wasn’t touching a fader! I didn’t say anything… [laughter] The perception of seeing the console was everything. There’s a little perception in that.

It would be hard to sell this Ocean Way room if you just had a little laptop sitting over there with a monitor!

And this place is irreplaceable for tracking and recording. For an old church, it has a certain soul to it. The players feel it and it shows up on tape. I’m thrilled to work here. I would love to be able to mix and spread things out on this console [80 input Neve 8078] because it sounds so creamy. It could be a great advantage. The disadvantage is that as much as we go back and forth, and send people mixes all over the world, I couldn’t get in here enough to do revisions. It’s too costly.

When did you feel you were able to get the quality you wanted out of an inthe- box mix?

It felt like it early on, because I felt like I could get some really punchy sounds out of it. I’m sure some of the work I did was awful and over-compressed, because I can use 55 compressors. I’ve tried every way. Every once in a while I’ll get a client who wants to mix analog, and I like the SSL [XL9080K] console at Blackbird in Studio F. I’ve done every combination, where I’ve mixed at home and then I go there and close mixes, because their monitoring is so good. I’ve split it out a little bit; but sometimes you’ve really got to backtrack from what everybody’s been living with, because you’re getting rid of your master fader and any hype that’s been on there. It changes levels a little bit. I’ve tried everything, but I feel pretty good about it. I never felt I could blame the technology. They could blame me if I didn’t sound good, but I never thought I could blame Pro Tools.

Going between a standard console mix and an in-the-box Pro Tools mix, do you have a different methodology overall? Or are you trying to follow a similar working method?

I think everything I do in there is off this template – what I learned back in the day at Power Station and how those masters mixed. When I think of sidechain, and how I do it in the box, I always think about the masters. The first time I saw sidechain compression used was with Jay Messina [Tape Op #90], who engineered a lot of the early Aerosmith records that I absolutely love. He had these subtle little secrets that made the records. You listen to them today and they are still really, really good. Another reason Pro Tools never seemed so bad to me was I felt that I knew what a console was supposed to sound like, and what a tape machine was supposed to sound like. If you know what they sound like and what they do, you can replicate that pretty damn well. I look at everything I’ve done in mixing, and I don’t look at it as digital. I see it coming off a tape machine, or through a Neve console, or what an SSL 9000 would do to it. That’s where my head is at, because I was lucky enough to start way back then.

 

Is there anything you would do differently when you are in the tracking stages of a record you’re going to mix in the box? Would you print an EMT reverb, or a chamber?

Absolutely. If somebody else mixes it people probably cuss me, because if I track a record drum-wise, I record a lot of tracks. If you’re in a room like this, it has a lot of room opportunities. I like the close mics to sound close, tight, and detailed. And I like the room to pound. I don’t know what the record is going to become by the time there are loads of overdubs on it. A lot of records really shift gears in the middle of the overdub stage. I give whoever is mixing a lot of options. I tell people, “Mute what you don’t like, but at least play with some options.” Getting drum tracks to mix that don’t have a bottom snare mic and the snare up top sucks. You can make a sample sound so much more real if you’ve got the rattle of the bottom, and you can get the grace notes. Give somebody options, because tracks are free now. This place has killer EMT plates in the basement, one that’s absolutely the smoothest I’ve ever heard, and I print that because we’ve been listening to it all day. I wish I had it to mix with, because it’s a beautiful vocal reverb. I’ve never found anything that quite does what it’s doing. If I’m here at some point for strings, I’ll also print reverbs and rooms. At Blackbird, both tracking rooms have great chambers that John [McBride, Tape Op #97] built. One is adjustable, and the other is controllable by where you put your mic. I try to be as creative as I can, without slowing things down. But I’d rather have options. I’m sure some people are like, “Well, he’s not doing much.” And I think, “Well, that’s because I feel it actually sounds good, and I shouldn’t be getting in the way of the recording.” But if I’m not happy, you’ll see me buzzing around. I’m trying to get it to where I’m happy.

It’s hard to learn that part. It’s hard to learn what the subtleties of a certain sound can be that are going to bite you in the butt later.

It is. I wish I could’ve retained more about what I learned at Power Station. I got to work with Al Schmidt a little bit, who’s a master. I worked with Elliot Scheiner on a couple records. Those guys are masters of mic placement; true engineers, gentlemen, and kind. I learned a lot from them about where to put the mic, and what mics you use. Those people never seem to get in the way of a recording either. They got it; [they] set it up, it sounded good, and they didn’t overdo things like compressors and outboard shit on every track. Sometimes we get in our own way with all that. I mix all the time for people that have tracked somewhere else, and I’m surprised how compressed things come back.

Are you self-managing, as far as work coming to you, and are you booking yourself?

I always have been. I tried having management in New York for a second. I wasn’t a name; I brought a couple

of good things to the table, and they actually ended up with somebody else on the roster when I took it to management. That gave me a bad taste. Particularly in this town, artists and producers call me directly. I have a really broad-based client list because I’ve said “yes” to almost everything. That includes budget. We’ll make it work, somehow. And I’ve found, generally, a way to do it. That’s a tough dance to do, with what they can afford and where you can afford without feeling like you’re getting ripped off. I’ve missed that occasionally. One thing I did recently was I got a business manager. I do the invoices myself, but they do everything else, paperwise. It has changed my world, because getting done with studio late at night, and then going home and paying bills? That will make you grumpy! It’s worth every dime I’m paying to have them be a part of it. It’s lightened my load, and added an air of professionalism. I wish I’d done it sooner. I think they probably save me money. We’ve got to be creative about how to make a living and survive this, particularly as producers. The money stream has to be in there. If the artists aren’t making money, they aren’t hiring producers. If producers aren’t making money, they aren’t hiring engineers and studios. There’s a lot to pay attention to; I think a stronger voice is important to what we do. Sometimes I think we have an image problem – we’re looked at as the worker bees of the business. We’re the factory workers, and there may not be a ton of respect there. But if you’re going to show up for a session, show up clean, not sweating your ass off in a sleeveless t-shirt. Look like you care about the job. The job deserves respect and integrity.

You’re involved in The Recording Academy and the P&E Wing.

Yeah. It’s certainly an honor to get to participate. For us, as engineers, it’s our only voice, our guild. There’s not a union. They do such great work on advocacy on credits and metadata. I think that’s huge, because that’s how we get work, and they’ve really been at the forefront of pushing that. And the quality in recordings; there’s been that push, trying to get what we hear to the consumers over the years. It was such a disappointment with MP3s, and certainly Mastered for iTunes was a huge step forward. They’ve been important in the deliverables [Recommendations for Delivery of Recorded Music Projects], trying to standardize a level of integrity that we preserve. Because if something has legs, you want to be able to touch it again in 20 years, pull it out of the archive, have it work, be able to have tracks labeled, and also know who played, produced, and engineered it. Because that’s ultimately how we get paid.

I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to do when sending people home with data on low-budget records.

Yeah, it’s tough in those situations because you don’t want spend three hours making files, stems, or whatever.

What have you been doing locally, with P&E or The Recording Academy?

We had an event last week. I’m the recent Vice President of our chapter here, which is an honor and a shocker. We’re pretty busy at this chapter. It’s great. I can’t think of why somebody wanting to do this wouldn’t be involved. I wish I’d jumped in earlier.

And this job, where you spend part of your time mixing at home, it’s even more isolating.

It’s healthy to go see other people. In all regards, it’s healthy to exchange ideas on how people are doing in the business, how they’re making their records, and what excites them. I’m lucky, because I have a broad range of clients from every genre. If I just worked with the couple big people we’ve talked about, I’d be sitting at home. I’ve been doing a lot of alt-pop, which I love. I’m mixing a couple of gospel albums now. It’ll teach you how to balance, as well as how to mix vocals. It’s been really diverse, and that keeps it fresh for me. I’d get bored if I had to do the same genre all the time. There’s a surge of cool projects that I feel lucky to touch. Like Ruby Amanfu; her voice will get right through you and give you chills. A lot of good, new artists, and a lot of people who aren’t household names yet, but should be. Hopefully it continues for another 30 years!

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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