Here are the values I strive for:
1. Always strive to create the best sonic presentation of the music, but never forget that the sound needs to serve the music.
My McGill tonmeister training made this a difficult lesson to learn. Breaking old habits can be tough. Sometimes the most “audiophile” presentation isn’t the best one. If the music dictates it, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and dirty the mofo up! Mastering comes down to how the song makes you feel. The sound needs to help the music connect with the listener and make them feel something special.
2. Bass, warmth and bottom end rule the world.
3. The best records emerge through collaboration.
Revisions should not only be free but encouraged if it makes the music better. I believe this process gives us the freedom to experiment and push boundaries. Safe is for boring.
4. Depth is greater than breadth.
Strip everything that is unnecessary — leave only the things that help make better sounding records. Developing mastery over a few select pieces of gear will always be better than being mediocre with a larger selection.
5. Train like an elite athlete and treat each session like game day.
Mastering engineers aren’t perfect and I definitely don’t claim to be. This is a lifelong learning process. To ensure that I’m always improving and working at the edge of my abilities, I train at least an hour a day. Sessions are like game days, so I go early to bed, avoid alcohol and watch my nutrition. I want my mind and my ears to be in peak form when I work on someone’s music.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Fear of failure is probably the biggest hindrance to creativity. This is another reason why revisions are free. I’d rather fail occasionally if it allows me to knock it out of the park more often. What’s the alternative? Being safe? Not for me.