1. How did you initially become interested in the engineering side of music, and how did you start working in it?
As I kid, I was amazed when I first heard the duet of “Unforgettable” performed by Natalie Cole and the late Nat King Cole. When my parents explained to me that in the studio they were able to take the vocal track of Nat King Cole (who died in 1955) and pair it with Natalie Cole’s present day vocals to release a song in 1991, I was hooked.
2. From a non-technical standpoint, what are some of the primary things you’ve learned from your time working with Vlado?
The “less is more” approach is what sticks with me the most. In the studio, we have a lot of really nice gear both outboard and in the box. As a beginner, I almost felt compelled to use every piece of it on every single song. However, I lately find myself having dramatically scaled back my approach and only use a select few pieces of equipment to get the sound I want to achieve. I’ve found that the client response has been nothing but positive, and that only makes me happy.
3. Are there any particular experiences, sessions, or stories that stand out to you in your time working with Vlado?
Working on the single “All Day” by Kanye West stands out to me the most. As a fan of Kanye, it was tremendously exciting to not only be a part of the process, but to be able to see the creative process unfold was amazing. The very first mix/arrangement of the song that was sent to Vlado sounded completely different from the final mix that was actually released. That one song took place over the span of a couple weeks, and had a few all-nighters to go with it as well. However, the end result was certainly well worth it.
4. How do you feel about the music scene in Charleston? (Artists, engineers, studios, etc.)
For such a small town, Charleston certainly has quite the bustling music scene. From the top down, I really feel like I am a part of a community here. From hearing Elliot Elsey track the new Dangermuffin record to hearing what Joey Cox has been cooking with Stop Light Observations, and listening to Neil Young and Larry Tran shine a completely different light on the young talent Haley Mae Campbell is truly a pleasure. The concentration of talent here is certainly amazing.
5. Are there certain genres or styles of music that you enjoy listening to most outside of your studio time?
Jazz is my favorite genre to listen to. I do stray away to other genres for months at a time, however I always find myself coming back to jazz. It almost feels like home when i play certain records. My favorite artists are Brian Blade, Christian Scott, and Kenny Garrett. With that being said, working here at Vlado Meller Mastering really keeps my mind and ears open to a wide variety of music. So when I do stray from jazz it could be to vast variety of artists from ANOHNI to Phebe Starr to Yombe.