Can you describe the journey that brought you to what you are doing now?
Mixing is a never ending craft that combines technical skills with creativity and science. When I was 15, I started experimenting with making beats and tracks at home. I had no formal musical education but I was always listening to new music and saving money to buy CDs… and then waiting days to download a new mp3 on Kazaa. Either way, I couldn’t figure out why the music I bought or heard on the radio sounded so much BETTER than my music. It was deeper, wider, brighter, heavier, punchier, thicker, and more magical. It was special. That curiosity was the impetus to start working in a recording studio the following summer and I just got sucked into the abyss that is audio engineering. That day seems like it was yesterday.
What led you to work at Nimble Division?
A friend of mine, Calvin, is friends with Todd and David. They were looking for a mix engineer. I got a text during a snowstorm asking me if I’d be interested in coming to meet the crew. I came in a few days later and it was pretty clear during that initial meeting that this was going to be a good place for me.
Did you have any mentors?
I’ve had some great guides and enablers to help course my creative career – primarily my parents. As far as technical mentors, I learned my discipline and attention to detail, the hard way, from an engineer at JSM Music named Hoover Le and I learned a lot of my finer mixing skills from Nick Cipriano, a totally genius engineer – I don’t think I’ll ever be nearly as good as he is nor as humble about it.
Your title is Mix Engineer, but for those who aren’t sure exactly what that is, describe your job in more detail.
My true role is actually Director of Sarcasm and Chatroom Stimulation. When I have free time, I find myself mixing and sound designing commercials for our clients, primarily major television networks and prominent brands. To clarify, I balance all the sounds (people talking, the music in the background, the voice of god narration, a small dog yipping in the background) at any given moment in a commercial. So essentially I’m deciding how loud or soft that dog is going to be, where it is going to be between the left and right speakers, I can make it sound like the dog is in a house or in a park or in a car or in the belly of a whale. Not to brag, I can even make the dog sound smaller or bigger, heck if I wanted to – I could make that dog sound like a dragon…. I think. Gimme a sec. Hold on…Yeap. I can.
Where are you from?
Born in New York City and raised in Westchester. I’ve been in New York state my entire life except for a quick stint in Vermont where I attended University of Vermont for two years… I dropped out and later wrapped up my degree at NYU.
How long have you lived in New York City?
I came back to New York City in 2006 so I’m approaching my decade mark. Oy vey.
What is the best part of living here in your opinion?
Lately, I’m really in to checking out little greasy spoon diners and restaurants and riding Citibikes.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
In the summer I try to get to the beach as much as possible – so I’ll go bake in the sun and read books. But a great day off is catching up on sleep, having a big breakfast, getting a good caffeine buzz and reading, running some errands, working out, and hanging with my crew – having some drinks and playing pool.
What is the biggest risk you have taken?
Not sure. All the risky stuff I do doesn’t seem like a risk cause I want to do it so bad. I’ve eaten some pretty freaky things like goats head, cows heart, and jellyfish. I recently went diving with sharks and also camped 6,000 feet up and woke up engulfed in snow. Oh… I recently risked jumping a subway turnstile and ended up getting stuck and everyone on the platform watched as I slowly untangled myself. That was cool.
Where do you go/what do you do to get inspired?
I get inspired to up my game when I hear a mix on a record that blows me away. It just makes me want to get better at what I do… and I listen to new music every day, so it can get pretty stressful. When it comes to rejuvenating my creativity, I find a trip to a museum is actually the most beneficial. Something about being around great creative works or great history, and only observing them makes for a very meditative moment.
What is your favorite karaoke song?
Anything by Michael McDonald or Outkast.
What is your favorite movie?
Waterworld, Happiness, Primer, and Star Wars.
What is your favorite book?
I love Sci-Fi classics like Dune and Enders Game. Two of my favorite authors of fiction are Michael Chabon and Gary Shytengart.