So…why another mastering studio?
In 2011, I was working as a freelance producer/engineer. After months of hard work on an album project, we had arrived at the mastering stage. There was a decent budget for this project, so we decided to go with a big name engineer from L.A.. He had a great track record and I admired his work. Needless to say, we were excited.
Our elation soon turned to disappointment. First, our only communication went through his assistant. He was nice enough, but after putting so much energy into this project, we wanted the engineer to understand what we were going for. After all, it was costing us around $2000. Perhaps this is not a large amount for some people – but it was very expensive for us. Were we asking too much because we wanted to speak directly with the mastering engineer?
Sure enough, the masters we received were unspectacular. They were not terrible, but not what we were looking for. We could have asked for revisions – but that would have cost more money – money we didn’t have. We made due with what we received. Would we have the same treatment if we were a big name artist? Doubtful. However, we were paying the studio’s full price.
This wasn’t an isolated occurrence. I had worked on many records that had received similar treatment. Underwhelming sonics with little or non-existent communication. It seemed that if you weren’t a big name producer or artist – or didn’t have a small fortune to spend on Bob Ludwig or Ted Jensen – getting an exceptional mastering experience would be challenging.
There had to be a better way.
After all, we’re living in a long tail world. These days, independent artists are producing the most records and some of the most interesting and engaging ones.
We live in the 21st century and the music industry has changed dramatically. Yet, many studios are still stuck in the old industry where style often trumped substance. What if we could take a hacker mentality, eliminate all the fluff and bs, and create a mastering studio that focuses on music, sound and what the artist actually wants? But could I be that guy?
I do have a background in mastering. In 2007, I apprenticed with Phil Demetro at the Lacquer Channel. Side note: Phil is one bad ass engineer and I am forever indebted to him. If you decide not to work with me, give Phil a call. He’s a legend.
After the Lacquer Channel, alongside my production and mixing work, I continued to master records as a freelancer. I also mastered plenty of music during my time at the CBC and in advertising. Trust me – when ad clients are paying $400/hour, they don’t care that the music they paid for wasn’t mastered by Bob Ludwig. They expect the best. I spent countless hours figuring out how to get my masters to compete with the best…I had no choice.
After years of working in almost every facet of the industry, I realized that mastering is where my passion lies.
In 2012, with the need for a studio that focused on the essentials – and frankly, my love for the art – Mojito was born.