How To Deal With Lost Opportunities


How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Sound Engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- How To Find Artists To Work With
- How To Price Yourself

And Much More

Working in the audio/music business can bring many situations, both good and bad. One moment you can be flying high from having been booked on a great gig to feeling way down because something didn’t pan out as planned.

Sometimes you can be doing everything right but it still falls apart on the finishing line, like what happened to this woman who shared her story on Reddit, which now, unfortunately, is deleted.

This woman was booked on a tour as a backing musician, it was for one of her favourite artists and they loved her and wanted her to join the tour.

She signed all the papers and was excited and ready to go on the road.

However, she gets a phone call and it’s the management. They are calling to say that unfortunately, she will not be going on the tour after all and that they have found a replacement.

Of course, she is arguing that she has already signed the contract but, of course, there a clause saying that if there’s any security or threat against the act they are allowed to terminate the contract. In this case, the “threat” was towards the image of the band…

Instead, they hired a male, and not any random male person around, but her friend who had also applied for this position.

She, as anyone would be, was broken by this.

This is, hopefully, a rear incident and something none of us have to experience in our careers.

How do you deal with situations like these?

Doesn’t matter if it’s a big, or small opportunity lost, it can still hurt and can put you in a difficult situation, economically speaking.

I have been there and sometimes it still happens that sessions get cancelled or rescheduled for a later date. Once I was even scheduled to go to Spain for two weeks of live-sound work only to have it cancelled a week or two before, and as you can imagine, I was pissed.

In these situations it’s important, I think, to give yourself time to be angry and upset about it before accepting it and moving on.

The good thing with experiencing these situations is that you can learn from them, for example, you can start taking a deposit before every session so if the artist cancels, you are not left completely broke.

It can also make you realise that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, which I have done myself, thinking, “Oh, this project will come and I think they will pay me this, etc.” Before everything is clear, as in, dates and rates are decided, and I would actually go as far as saying until you press record, everything can happen which can leave you either empty handed or pocket “filled” with money.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a few other projects in the pipeline so if one gets cancelled you are not back at square one.

Is this something you have experienced in your career? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below!

How To Battle Procrastination


How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Sound Engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- How To Find Artists To Work With
- How To Price Yourself

And much more

Being self-employed can be awesome because you get to decide when and where you will work, when to take lunch breaks and when to finish for the day.

However, it also comes with more responsibility than being “just employed”, for instance, you have to be the one making sure things get done, that you are not wasting time, that money comes in and dealing with the panic if nothing does come in.

This is where procrastination can creep up and become your enemy because the pleasure of instant gratification is so nice that even if we have a big to-do-list we sometimes find it hard to deal with it, instead, we retrieve to something we enjoy, like watching Netflix or play Red Dead Redemption 2 (like me).

So, how can we stay productive and battle procrastination?

Stay Organised

One way that I have found helpful is to stay organised and plan my week ahead.

For example, if I have a clear plan of what I need to get done for the week ahead, I have a much easier time staying productive and not fall into a procrastinated mode.

The plan also gets easier to follow if you break down the task in hand into smaller tasks. For example, if my main goal is to finish an album, rather than looking at my week and seeing that on Friday I have to finish my album (which would feel quite overwhelming), I would break down what it would require to finish it and finish each small task throughout the week, making it much easier to grasp and complete.

Motivation vs Discipline

Sometimes you hear that people need to feel motivated to complete stuff, for example, “I’m not motivated enough to go the gym”, or, “I don’t feel motivated to finish my music”, and so forth.

However, and as a former Navy SEAL and author of Discipline Equals Freedom, Jocko Willink puts it in his interview on the Tim Ferriss podcast:

"I would venture to guess that the biggest reason creative types don't produce isn't because they don't have vision...or most cases, it's a lack of discipline."

He continues:

"The more you practice," he says, "the better you get, the more freedom you have to create." Discipline in any area of your life will increase your skills, productivity, and, he reveals, will "set you free."

Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink

Now, ironically enough, hows that for motivation?

It sounds easier than it is, but Jocko has a really good point and it’s worth thinking about when you find yourselves in moments where you are struggling to grab the guitar to finish writing that song or opening Pro Tools to finish a mix, or whatever.


If you find yourself getting distracted a lot and that it takes you out of your flow, start organising the space around you. Perhaps turn your phone off for an hour or, if possible, go into another room where there’s no TV or Playstation laying around.

Master Procrastinators

If you, like Tim Urban from the popular blog Wait But Why, are a master procrastinator who likes to wait up until the very last minute to do things, I can highly recommend that you check out his hilarious Ted Talk on the subject below.

I don’t know about you but I knew that exact type of guy when I went to university and they always got good marks, haha.

Is this something you struggle with? Do you have any techniques that work for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Lesson Learned From Having My Music Mixed By Someone Else

As sound engineers, it’s amazing when you get hired to record or mix someone else’s music. It means the band or artist like what you do and trusts your opinion, however, how often do we base our decisions on our own perception about the music rather than working from what the band actually wants and how they hear things within their own music?

This was something I recently experienced but with the roles being reversed, as in, I was the artist and someone else was mixing it.

When I received the music it was nothing like I had envisioned it, instead, it was done with the intention and taste from the engineer.

To be a great engineer it’s really important to understand how it is at the other side of the glass, as in, you have experienced being recorded yourself or you know how it is playing live. For example, having some experience being an artist you know how important it is for them to feel relaxed in the studio and if you are doing live shows you know how important the monitoring is for them on stage.

The same thing goes for mixing other peoples music.

So, how come we sometimes can get stuck in our own way and think we know how something should sound if we haven’t fully understood the artist we are working with?

Unless someone hires you because they love your sound then you are free to do whatever you want, of course, but for most of us, that is not the case (yet).

The Importance Of Asking Questions

So, what can we as engineers do to understand what the artist hear in their head and make them become a reality?

Simple - ask them questions.

For example, before starting the project, whether it’s a recording session or a mixing session, call them up and talk about their music.

Ask for references and which artists they like. What do they like about them? Is it how the vocal or drum sounds? How they pan their guitars? How massive the bass is?

Anything you can pick up and learn the better of you will be, and the more likely you are to deliver a killer recording or mix.

Being Able To Decipher What Artist Means

It’s not always as easy that you can just ask questions to artists and get answers that you can start implementing. Sometimes, artists can say one thing and mean another thing.

For example, a Grammy-winning engineer told me once that an artist he was doing some mixing for had asked for it to sound like the ’70s with big reverbs, etc. However, when the artist heard it it was nothing like he had meant.

These things happen all the time, therefore, it’s really important to dig just a little bit deeper. If the artist asks for a particular sound, for example, a 70’s sound, send them some references or mention some artists that you associate with that decade and ask if that’s what they mean.

This could save some time down the line so you don’t have to mix it once and then come back and mix it again, completely different.

Asking bands and artists for rough mixes is also a really good way of getting a better understanding of their intentions, and gives you something to compete with

Sometimes it’s like cracking a code

Sometimes it’s like cracking a code

Let Go Of Your Ego

Working with bands and artists music, that they sometimes have spend years writing, is something that should be treated with respect and it’s our duty to, at least, ask some questions about their vision and how they want to hear it.

Therefore, it’s important to let go of your ego as much as you can and realise it’s not about you, it’s about them.

Now, I’d love to hear what you think about this, do you have any experience of this happening to you? Let me know in the comments below!

How To Talk To Strangers

Going up to bands or fellow engineers after a gig to introduce yourself can be terrifying. Your anxiety level is at its highest and before you decide to jump, you wished you had stayed home that night, or for the night to finally be over.

Same goes if you are at a networking event, alone, you want nothing more than to be done with the night.

However, these are situations you will probably find yourself in when you are trying to build your network and eventually find work through.

So, how can you get over this fear and start walking up to strangers and introduce yourself, whether at a concert or at a networking event?

Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich did a great article where he shares some great tips on How To Talk To People.

Some of the things he mentions are:

  1. There are no magic lines or phrases, rather, it’s how you say things.

  2. Smile - sounds easy, but often gets overlooked.

  3. Slow down - the speed in which we say something can have a huge effect on how people perceive us.

These are really good things to keep in mind when you are next out networking and if you want to check out Ramit’s full article, check it HERE.

Practice Makes Perfect

Have you found that the more you do something that is hard, the easier it gets?

Same thing with talking to people.

The more you can put yourself in a situation where you have to talk to strangers, and this can be at your local coffee shop when ordering a coffee, instead of just asking for a coffee, ask them how their day is going - start a conversation.

You Won’t Die

There have been so many times, either at gigs or at networking events, where I have been dreading to go talk to people, almost feeling like you won’t be able to do it and that something bad will happen.

But does it, ever?

Of course not!

However, this fear that holds many of us back is completely unjustified.

Practice by making conversation in places like coffee shops

Practice by making conversation in places like coffee shops

People Love To Get Compliments

If your plan is to get to know more local bands or engineers, remember that people usually love to get compliments on their music and/or work.

Wouldn’t you love it if someone walked up to you to praise your work after a show, either if you played or was doing the sound?

I know I would.

This is the perfect ice breaker and opens up many more possibilities to take the conversation further. For example, you can ask about their up and coming shows, are they working on some new music, do they need a studio to record in (this is where you can jump in and offer them a visit yours).

The same applies if you know or recognise a person at a networking event whose work you love. Compliment them.

Bring A Friend

If you find it too difficult to do this by yourself, don’t hesitate to ask a friend to come along.

Having someone there with you can work wonders and give you that extra boost you need in certain situations.

If you are interested in hearing some other great benefits on why you should talk to strangers, check out this interesting TED Talk by author Kio Stark.

Now, let me know what your experience has been in the comments below. Is this something you struggle with and/or what have you done to get over it?

How To Priorities Your Spare Time To Achieve More

I recently got this question from a reader who was wondering how he can spend his spare time to develop relationships in the music industry, he asked: “I have a little (not a ton) of time outside my job but I’m not really sure what to do with it: go push boxes with the local crews? Try to meet engineers at shows? Or online?”

It’s a great question and probably something we have all experienced, or are experiencing, whether you are trying to pursue live-sound or a music/studio career. However, there are so many options/tactics you can try that it can easily feel overwhelming, leaving you confused and passive.

In the case above, they are honestly all great tactics to pursue to further build your relationships within the live industry or any other industry for that matter.

But which one should you start with?

As stated above, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with thinking you need to do all of them, therefore, instead of looking at it as a big list of to-do’s, break it down to smaller tasks and spread them out. This will not only make your goals look easier to accomplish but it will also make you realise how you will accomplish them as well as reducing the stress that you have to do them all at once.

So, going back to the initial question, which ones should he do with his limited spare time?

All of them.

I say this because they can all offer an opportunity and you never really know where an opportunity can come from, especially in the music industry. Again, there’s no need to stress out about it, thinking that you have to do all of them at once, instead, dedicate a few weeks to try them all and start figuring out which one of these tactics works best for you.

Maybe you will find that all of them works, or if you do one or two really well they will yield a better return.

In my own experience, I have found that booking personal meetings with people in the industry and continually nurturing relationships with artists/engineers/producers have given me most of my opportunities. Therefore, I focus my energy on these two tactics.

Organisation Is Key

This is something that I talk more in the guide, How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Engineer, and this certainly applies to this.

For example, without you being organised, as in, scheduling in days to meet people, which shows to see, which people to talk to, it will be very hard for you to measure any success you might have, or not have, therefore allowing you to focus on the tactics that actually work.

So, do your homework beforehand and schedule in at least a few days for the next couple of weeks where you will try a few tactics and see which one works best.

Important note - even if you don’t have any success the first time doesn’t mean you should not try it again. It might take a few times before something happens.

The Power Of Asking Different Questions

This is a tactic I learned from Tony Robbins, the life coach, author, entrepreneur, etc., who has worked and helped people such as, Serena Williams, Hugh Jackman, Bill Clinton and many others.

In his teachings, Robbins encourage you to change the quality of your questions to get different results, for example, instead of asking yourself, “Why am I so unhealthy/fat?”, making your brain come up with all the various reasons as to why you are fat, instead, ask yourself, “What can I do to become more healthy?” This will give your brain completely new answers and better solutions to change the issue at hand.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

The same applies to the very same question in the beginning, “I have a little (not a ton) of time outside my job but I’m not really sure what to do with it?

This question will most likely give you some confusing answers, leaving you uncertain of what to do and what the best way forward is.

Instead, if you changed it to, “How can I make the most out of the little time I have left over to develop more relationships in the music industry?

Notice how that change in question will give you a whole new set of answers and probably more answers that you can work with as well as answers that you can work with and put into action.

I can highly recommend that you try this out and please let me know the outcome!

I hope you found this article useful and if you did, please share it with your friends and let me know what you think in the comments below!

The Importance Of Working Out A Deal Before Starting A Project

Whether you are hiring someone or someone is hiring you to work on an album or EP, make sure you have worked out a deal beforehand so both parties know what they are walking in to.

Otherwise, there can be some stressful moments for the person not knowing or thinking that he will get paid when in reality, from the “employers” perspective, you are doing them a favour.

If you are working for friends it might be that you start a project without talking about payment, for example, maybe they hung out in your studio, one thing led to another and 20 hours in you are suddenly the producer of their album.

Not to say that isn’t a great way to start a record, you just got to be aware that you have to agree on something before you are way too deep into a project. This will help clear out any misunderstandings that can happen during and after the project is done.

This situation was something a Reddit user experienced, take a look below.


I hope you don’t take on that much work and spend that much time on a project before you know that you are, in fact, getting paid and know how much you are getting paid.

A situation like this can have some unwanted effects on a friendship or a professional relationship, but it can easily be avoided, you just got to work it out beforehand.

A tip here is to also have it in writing, even if you don’t want to make it too formal by having a contract, a simple email stating what you have agreed upon beforehand will be sufficient (The goal here is that you can prove in writing what has been agreed upon).

Put it in writing.

Put it in writing.

Also, looking at a situation like this from a bands perspective isn’t great either.

As an artist, you don’t want a money situation hanging over you after you have poured sweat and tears into a project, so working out a deal beforehand is good for both parties.

The deals you make doesn’t always have to be about money, initially, but a way to secure future work.

For example, let’s say someone wants you to do a mix for them, it could be a friend, a relative or a client, you can definitely offer them a free mix but the deal is, if they like it, you get to do the rest of the album, EP, or whatever they plan to release - for a price.

However, before offering them such as deal, probe for more details about what their plans are for the future, are they hoping to release a full album or EP?

If no, it might be worth sticking to a money deal from the beginning.

Another great deal you can make with your friends or partners in the music world is to exchange favours, for example, and this is something I use with my friends, where for one day of my engineering I get one day of producing back.

This deal works great for both of us because he gets what he wants and I get what I want, “for free”.

It’s a win-win situation.

The important thing to take away from this article is that don’t work blindly or under the assumption that you will get compensated for your work. It doesn’t always have to be about money, as you saw above, but make sure that you know what the deal is before, either if that’s future work or an exchange of favours. Put it in writing if you can, you never know if you need to go back and prove what was agreed upon.

Now, have you been in a situation where you didn’t agree on a deal beforehand and it just ended up being super stressful for you? Let me know in the comments below!

How To Build New Relationships With Artists

I know many of you reading this probably have your recording and mixing skills down and can turn out great sounding mixes, however, you might be struggling to find new artists or bands for which you can actually utilise these skills for.

Therefore, in this article we will look at a few simple steps that you can take to build new, lasting relationships with artists or bands.

One thing I did when I started out was that I went to a lot of gigs and talked to bands, either if it was bands I knew through friends, or bands I found online. I have had a lot of opportunities coming my way by building relationships this way, for example, by consistently hanging out with a group of musicians led me to working for Jon Moon (Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson).

This relationship then led to other work with legendary soul band, Loose Ends.

No point of rushing, you will get there in the end.

No point of rushing, you will get there in the end.

One thing to remember is that these opportunities didn’t come straight away, they happened after a few years and after having built those relationships over time.

Building a relationship that will turn into a gig later on doesn’t happen over night, you got to stay present in their minds, however, don’t harass them, instead, grab a coffee or a drink every few months, catch up see what the other person is up to.

The same goes with building relationships with artists and bands.

One of my most important relationships, which now is also a very dear friend of mine, was initially done by consistently going to their gigs, talking and finding out what they were doing. We now have worked together on multiple projects and have another album scheduled in January.

Happy days!

You can do this too, and it’s fairly simple if you think about it, it’s low cost, you don’t have to spend money on ads, perhaps just concert tickets and a few beers.

The only “downside” is that it takes time, but in the end, it’s worth it.

So, if you don’t have any artists or bands to work with or want to find more bands, do this:

  1. Find an artist/band in your town that you like, or at least can tolerate.

  2. Go up to them after the show, introduce yourself, offer them a drink and learn more about them.

  3. Go to their next gig

  4. Mention that you have a studio or that you are looking to mix some new music. Make them an offer, perhaps one free mix and if they like it, take it from there.

Now, can you do this online through social media, too?

I will reference what Herb Trawick said on this in last weeks interview:

Today, networking has become automated and technology has made everybody network, but they don’t network in the same way. For example, if you and I got in touch through social media, it’s not the same as you and I sitting down, getting to know each other, being able to customise a project, get your philosophy, etc. It’s not that you can’t do it online but most people have shorter and briefer interactions there

So, yes, it’s possible but I don’t forget to take the connection you make online and perhaps arrange a Skype meeting or, if possible, and you live in the same town, sit down with the person, get to know them.

The main thing with being able to record or mix artists for a living is that it takes time, but the more you do it the more people you will form connections and relationships with and the more work will come your way.

I hope you can take away some of these ideas and please let me know in the comments what you think or if you have any other suggestions.


How To GET Work And Become A Freelance Sound Engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- How To Find Artist To Work With
- How To Price Yourself

And Much More

When Should You Start A Website?

If you are a freelancer, or thinking about starting your freelance career, you might be wondering if you need a website to showcase your awesome recording or mixing skills to get hired for more work.

Of course, a website can be important to show your portfolio and display various records you have worked at, as well as having testimonials from clients to establish your credibility.

But if you are starting out and haven't worked on at least a few records/EP's, your potential website could look a bit empty.

 You might even be wondering if you should start a website or not?

Or, maybe you have but you are still unsure if it would help your business?

There are a few things I recommend you do before you decide to start a website and start spending money on a domain name and a monthly/yearly subscription on Squarespace or WordPress.

1. Build your portfolio

If you haven't got a portfolio yet it's time to start creating one. The most effective way is to offer your service for free to any band or artist you know, either online or offline, in exchange for you to use it in your portfolio. Also, ask if you can get a testimonial after the work is done that you will display on your website.

The added benefit with this is that if you do a kick-ass job, that free recording/mix you did might just have the artist come back to you for other, paid, work in the future.

2. Research the market

Having an awesome portfolio online is great, however, to make a living in today's music world requires that you are able to work in many areas, especially when starting out.

Therefore, just showing, for example, your mixing skills might not give you a lot of work straight away so it's important to research what people want and need.

What I mean by this, and this is the same principle Ramit Sethi teaches his business students, you got to research what people are struggling with, what their pains are, what do they want help with?

Find out where they hang out, online or offline? Go meet them or engage with them online, ask them questions about their problems and find out more information.

For example, beyond just offering your record/mixing services, you can go to various Facebook groups or various subreddits where musicians hang out, or where podcast makers discuss their various problems with audio, maybe there's even a place where YouTubers go to get help with the audio/music for their channel?

What you are looking for in these different places are peoples pains and struggles, for example, maybe there's a podcast who is really struggling with the sound quality and editing of his or her podcast, same with a YouTuber or a musician.

So, beyond you just offering a straight recording and mixing service you can also start to offer these people a solution to their other problems. And the more people you can serve and add value to, the more work will come your way.

Having said this, I don't think it's a good idea to offer too many services on your website, for example, beyond your recording or mixing service, having a few other services are fine but if you are offering everything from music recording to location recording on films, ADR, podcast recording/editing you might start to confuse people to what you are actually offering.

I hope this helps with your question about starting a website. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

Is It Worth Joining Sites Like SoundBetter, Upwork, Fiverr, To Get Work?


How To Find work and become a freelance sound engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- Find Opportunities And Work
- Be More Productive

And Much More

There are tons of sites out there for freelancers who are looking for work, for example,,,, etc. These sites allows you to create a profile to showcase your talent and for what position people can hire you for, for example, mixing or mastering engineer.

These sites also operate on a sort of rating system, where the person who has had a lot of work with good results and good testimonials will show up at the top of the search results, obviously, resulting in more work for them.

So, if you are thinking about creating a profile on one of these sites, is it actually worth spending time on creating a profile, hunting for projects, filling in forms, writing a bio, pitching yourself to clients, etc?

Or, can you spend your time more effectively?

If you live in a remote town, with no artist around you whatsoever, maybe creating a profile on one of these sites is tempting. Because, at least, it feels like you are putting yourself and your skills in front of people which you can’t do in real life, so to speak.

Will it give you work or is it a waste of time?

This is what some people had to say online.

Comment on SoundBetter

Comment on SoundBetter

Comment on Fiverr

Comment on Fiverr

Comment on SoundBetter

Comment on SoundBetter


Some interesting opinions and insights here.

Some people have a good experience using these services, however, it takes a few years before it starts to amount to a good income. But, as you know, this is what it takes outside of these platforms too. It takes years to build relationships and connections within the industry and the same is true for these platforms.

My friend Martin Merenyi, who is featured on SoundBetter and who makes most of his living there, had this to say about his experience on SoundBetter:

So far it has been very pleasant. I have completed more than 130 jobs and it was mostly with great people. I only had an issue 3-5 times when I didn't receive payment in time (or when a 50-50 payment was done and I didn't receive the 2nd half). I have mixed songs for bands that are doing really well, such as The King Lot, Psycho Skull, 777, Krzikopa and others, coming to more than 500.000 YouTube views and streams. I have worked and experienced more genres and cultures that I can count or remember.

Martin Merenyi

Martin Merenyi

The guys at SoundBetter are also amazing, they are super helpful and take on feedback really well. Of course, not every client is perfect, many times you have to deal with them more like their therapist than their engineer. But that's just the music business for you.

However, I also think that
SoundBetter is, in some ways, destroying the market by forcing engineers to lower their prices. I have seen people with platinum records and Grammy’s doing mixes for $200 which is unreasonable, however, it’s more a statement about the music industry in general. I wish we engineers stuck together a bit more, instead of mindlessly competing against each other.”

Check out Martin’s website where you can see his previous work, listen to his portfolio and hire him, here:


If I can put my own two cents into this, I tried a few years ago and it didn’t result in any work. I spend many hours looking and pitching on projects, but with no results.
Some were close, but in the end, no cigar.

Should I have tried SoundBetter and giving it a proper chance?


Would it have been more beneficial and productive to try to connect with people in the industry and invite them out for a coffee?


Even if you live in a small, remote, town, as I mentioned in last weeks article (click here), which was also echoed by Herb Trawick from Pensado’s Place, that is, travel to a bigger town and set up meetings with people in the industry.

(You will be surprised how easy it can be to set up meetings if you do your research and offer them some nice beverage in return)

Having said that, and taking into account other peoples experiences on, for example, SoundBetter, there’s definitely money to be made there. Reading other peoples experience the tactic you need to employ is the same as in “real life”, that is, you have to play the long game, success doesn’t come faster online than it does offline.

Should you try it?

I think it can be worth trying but, and as the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Now, I’d love to hear your experience on this.

Have you had any success, even failures, with any of these kinds of sites?

Let me know in the comments below!

How You Can Turn Your Engineering Skills Into A Career

A struggle that I see come up a lot, either if it’s questions from emails, or in various groups online, is how you can turn your engineering skills into something that pays and something that you eventually can turn into a career. Many of you already possess great recording or mixing skills but are struggling to make a living doing it.

Maybe you have run out of friends to record for free in exchange to help you grow your portfolio? Maybe you are living in a small remote town with no artists or no other related opportunities around you?

The questions and struggles can be many. I know, I’ve been there.

However, there are some key elements that you can focus on to turn this around.

Consistency and Patience

What is so important and what I have learned throughout the years is the importance of being consistent and having patience. If you can practise both, a lot of things can happen over time.

Let me give you an example - let's say you live in a town with a lot of music around you, such as Los Angeles, Nashville or London, and you need to grow your network of people you know in the industry (musicians, producer, label owners, etc). Going to one network event and expecting to walk out of there with a job, is highly unlikely (this is what I expected at first). The best approach and I’ve heard this from many people in the industry, is to play the long game. You need to consistently attend these events and make your face known to the people around you.

This is how you build relationships that can eventually lead to a job, or get hired for a project, down the road.

But what if you don’t live in one of the music capitals of the world?

There’s always the option of travelling to a town a few times a year that has a bigger music scene than your town. However, don’t travel there without having any meeting setup beforehand. Do your research first about whom you want to meet and try schedule in a few meeting with some key people in that city over a few days. Go see some bands and introduce yourself.

This is what Herb from Pensado’s Place had to say about it:

You also have the option of building a name for yourself online, whether you live in a big or small town. This, I believe, is based on how much value you can add to peoples lives. For example, sharing knowledge on how to overcome various recording or mixing challenges people are experiencing or providing tutorials on various audio/music subjects.

You can also use the internet to find interesting bands you would like to work with and contacting them through email. Tell them how great they are and what you are doing. Offer them your services by offering to do one song for free and if they like it and wants to work with you in the future negotiate a fee.

What is important to remember, and I say this again, consistency and patience. Building your client base from nothing takes time but stay consistent with your work and things will change for you.

Start Learning About Business

This is something I wished I started learning about way earlier and something I have delved into with great interested for the last year or so.

There are so many great resources where you can learn about how to run a business and this is an essential skill you really need to have to start make a living doing music.

Many of you might think this is boring and all you want to do is music, however, without any business sense whatsoever, chances are you will fail.

I have a few favourite resources that I like to recommend to you and they are:

Ramit Sethi’s website where you can find amazing info about starting your own business and other great articles in all things related to having a business. He also has some premium courses that I can recommend you check out.

Check it here:

The E Myth - Book

A newly purchase of mine but explains why most small businesses fail. Voted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs. Very easy to read and I’m enjoying it so far.

Buy it here: Amazon

The Six Figure Home Studio Podcast

Discovered their podcast fairly recently but Brian and Chris are sharing some great knowledge on starting your business and most of it is related to music/audio (Where I discovered The E Myth book).

Check it here:

Find Out What Separates You From Other Engineers Out There

Why should artists and musicians come to you instead of the other engineer down the street? Because you are cheaper? You can deliver a mix faster? You have better credits? You know how to operate a mixing board? You are reliable?

These are questions you need to ask yourself if you want to be able to distinguish yourself from the competition out there.

However, you don’t want to have to rely on cutting your prices to get clients. Rather, focus on how you can add the most value to your client, for example, how much of the workload can you take away from them so they don’t have to think about anything else than provide you with their best recording (if you want to provide is a mixing service).

One thing that I have found that is hugely important, it surpasses any cool gear you might have or how good you are technically, and that is being reliable. Showing up on time, pick up the phone when they call, cover for someone last minute (even if it means you have get out of your couch at 11 pm).

If you want to learn more about how to find work and become a freelance sound engineer, download my free guide below!

How To find work and become a freelance sound engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- Find Opportunities And Work
- Be More Productive

And Much More

Let me know what you think in the comments below! Are there anything you are struggling right now with your own career? Let me know and I’ll get back to you.

Why You Should Use Parallel Compression

The term parallel compression is almost always heard when top engineers are talking about their recording or mixing techniques. It’s a technique used by almost everyone and made famous by, for example, Andrew Scheps, Vance Powell and many others. It’s a great technique that allows you to shape the envelope or manipulate the feel of an instrument/s with just the use of a compressor.

But what is parallel compression anyway?

Simply put, it’s sending a bunch of your tracks, for example, drums, bass, guitar, you name it, to a bus and on the return having a compressor set up. The compressor can be set up in a bunch of various ways, depending on what you desire (more on that later), for example, to make something pump, breathe, fatter, or just go crazy. This then gets blended back to your "dry" signal and the parallel chain is complete.

This parallel thinking doesn’t have to be exclusive to compression, but can also be used for EQ, FX or anything else you can think of.

Now, the big question, why should you use it?

It all depends on what you desire and hear in your head. Do you want something to be more exciting, fat or distorted? These can be awfully vague terms and also very personal, therefore, I have provided some sound examples below that will help you to understand what these sound like. Check it out!

First, a dry drum kit and a dry vocal performance (vocals are from the band The Brew with their song What I Want. Available from Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio By Mike Senior website)

In the next two examples listen to the length of the kick drum and snare drum as well as the thickness of the vocals.

How do they compare to the dry examples? Does it feel fatter?

In the next two examples listen to the attack, or transient, of the instruments.

Do they feel more in your face than the dry examples?

Pretty neat, right?

Internalise these sounds, and note down how the different examples sounded to you. Hopefully, this will help you associate what the different terms, such as what fatter and more attack sounds like.

You can also abuse your compressor and create some nice low-end distortion as an effect. The Pro Tools Dyn3 Compressor is particularly good at this. Check it out below.

Pretty cool and perfect to use to add some grit to your sound.

Having heard all of the above examples you can start asking yourself, "Do I want my drums, bass, vocals, etc, to feel fatter, or have more Attack?"

Maybe you want both? Maybe you want them to be distorted, too? These are just a few questions that you might ask yourself before applying any parallel compression, but ever so important to do so you know why you want to use it.

Of course, the options are not limited to just making things fatter or punchier, you can also make things pump or breathe to create excitement.

Useful tips and tricks to get you started

However, and as I know from my own experience, it’s not always as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to compression, so in this section I have provided some useful tips that will help you apply your thinking to the most important controls on your compressor which will allow you to dial in your desired sound.

Let’s go over the most common controls you will find on a compressor and why they will help you achieve your desired sound in a parallel setup:

  • Release: The amount of time it takes for a compressor to return to its normal gain-before-threshold level. The perfect control, together with the Attack control, to create fatness by extending the tail of a sound, that is, applying a longer release time (as heard in the example above).

  • Attack: How fast the compressor will apply gain reduction after the signal has passed the threshold. Slower attack settings will allow more of the transients to pass through unaffected by gain reduction, giving us more attack (as heard in the example above).

These two controls will give you most of the power you need to achieve your desired sound. And the good thing is, doing parallel compression, is that we don’t have to be subtle in how we shape the sound because it’s getting blended black in.

How to set up your compressor for fatness

Based on what you heard in the first examples you know we are looking for a longer tail and from the description above you know that the Release control will be our friend. Having said that, it’s important to understand that the Release controls best friend is the Attack control and these two needs to interplay together.

The interplay between the attack and the release knob is worth experimenting with to find out what works for the material you are putting through it. Below you can listen to some examples where the only thing that’s changing is the attack time to hear how that can help us fine-tune the tail (fatness) of the instrument.

In this instance, although very subtle, I find that the Fast attack Slow release helps extend the tail (fatness) a bit more.

How to set up your compressor for more attack

Go back to the first audio examples and listen to the `more attack sound, remember how it felt. Based on what you learned from the above description you know we are looking for a slower attack. Again, the interplay between the attack knob and release knob is important here as you will here below.

In this instance, the clear winner for me is the Slow Attack Fast Release that wins if the goal is to create more attack.


Having an understanding as to what you can achieve with parallel compression will enable you to know why you should use it and not just put in on, for example, your drums just for the sake of it. I hope the audio examples and how to dial in your compressor will allow you to get your desired result quicker and give you a deeper understanding of what the controls can do. There’s so much you can experiment with in this area with all the various compressors that are available, so I encourage you to do some playing around in your DAW and find come cool sounds.

Let me know in the comments what you think about using parallel compression

Why You Should Use Delays When Mixing

You most probably know what delays are and you might even have come across a cool delay guitar pedal that makes you write some awesome psychedelic songs. Perhaps you have seen delays being used on various mixing tutorials online, especially on vocals. You know you can choose from 1/4, 1/8, 1/16-notes delays, and many other note values. (Using the Dotted note value is actually one of my favourite delays to use on drums, but more on that later).

Delays can be used to create special FX or give width to instruments, therefore, still allowing them to be dry and upfront in your mix.

In many of the pop songs nowadays, delays are almost always heard on the lead vocal, so let’s have a closer look at some examples.

Check out the delay on this track by Ariana Grande. Pay attention to the space after the first line of vocal, after she sings, “…I can barely breath

Pretty nice. Here they used delay, with some additional feedback, to fill out the space between the vocal phrases. It’s also in tempo with the track, which helps keep the groove going.

Below, another example, this time Beyoncé - Halo. The note value stays the same but listen to how the feedback increases the closer we get to the chorus, wherein the verse it’s a single repeat and in the pre-chorus, there are many more. This creates more excitement as the track builds. Pretty neat.

Now, all delays are not that obvious and many times they can be used to create width without being heard. This can be applied to vocals, guitars, drums or whatever you can think of. This is usually done with short, between 10-30 ms, delays. Below you can check this out on a drum kit. A short delay has been applied to the snare drum, the right channel and left channel vary slightly in it’s delay time to give us the spread of the image.

Did you feel the snare drum getting wider? Pretty cool, right!

As you have seen so far, delays can be used in many instances, but we are not done yet. Delays are also a great tool to add groove to a drum kit. Have a listen below.

I like to think of it as I’m adding ghost notes. It just grooves a lot more. Also, experiment with your note values, in this case, I used an 8th note delay but sometimes you get a better result with a 16th- or an 8th note dotted delay.

Learning about these various situations where delays are used is important because it will allow you to decide WHY you want to use a delay in a certain situation. Do you want to fill out a space, like in the Ariana Grande song? Do you want to create excitement or a sense of urgency as in the Beyoncé song? Do you want to widen a particular instrument? Do you want to enhance the groove on a drum kit?

The options are many but knowing what you want beforehand is the most important thing. Don’t just slap a delay plugin on something without asking what you want to achieve first.

The Most Important Features

The essential features you need on your delay plugin are, in my opinion:

Note value - Allowing you to change between 1/1 to 1/32nd notes.

Feedback - Allowing you to create repeats. Such as in Ariana Grande - Into You.

Low and High-pass filter - Allowing you to shave some of that low- and high-end of the delays. Allowing the delays to be “tucked” under without being overly distracted.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, was this helpful? Was there anything I missed that you like me to go through? Let me know!

Mix Analysis: I Don't Know - Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney recently released his 18th solo album, Egypt Station, which was produced by Greg Kurstin, who himself has had a huge amount of success over the past few years with artists such as Adele, Foo Fighters, Beck, etc.

According to Paul, the words Egypt Station felt to him like the “album” album they used to make in the past. The concept of Egypt Station is that it starts of at one station and through the various songs you end up at the end station, just like a concept album.

Egypt Station was mixed by Mark Spike Spent who has done work for Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Muse, and many others.

Paul was definitely surrounded by top professionals to make this record.

The song I Don’t Know, which according to Paul’s website is, “a plaintive, soul-soothing ballad as only Paul can deliver.” I believe the song was one of two first singles that was released ahead of the album and it definitely caught my attention, with it’s awesome drum sound, beautiful melancholy piano part that mainly drives the song, and, of course, Paul’s distinctive vocal.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, listen to the song below and I’ll see you afterwards.

Structure wise, it’s as follows:

  • Intro 1

  • Verse

  • Chorus 1

  • Verse 2

  • Bridge

  • Verse 3

  • Intro 2

  • Chorus 2

  • Verse4/Outro

Pretty standard, however, listening to the song there seem to be no obvious chorus because the verses sound more like a chorus with the signature line, “I got crows outside my window, dogs at my door.” and the chorus sounds more like a verse. Also, going from the bridge section to the verse doesn’t immediately sound like a chorus as we are used to. Maybe that’s why the song has this floating kind of feel.

But let’s start at the beginning:

The intro starts off with a piano, most likely played on a 1905 Steinway Vertegrand, which has been doubled on a cimbalom, with a lot of reverb on it. The piano is very dynamic and so is the reverb return, that is, it has not been very much compressed so every time Paul hits the higher notes you get an “explosion” in the reverb which gives it a very nice feel. Also, the piano has also been high-passed, helping exaggerate, together with the reverb, this distant/dreamy feel.

A cimbalom. Used to double the piano intro.

A cimbalom. Used to double the piano intro.

After the first round of piano an acoustic guitar enters, it doesn’t have the same reverb applied to it, so is not in the same dreamy space, helping us “travelling” back and get ready for a dryer/more in your face verse.

To end the dreamy part we get this piano drone taking us into the dry, main piano riff. It sounds like the trick usually done with cymbal hits where you reverse a cymbal hit and use it between section to create a clear distinction, almost like a page-turner. Although, in this case, they used a reversed piano note instead. More fitting with the spirit of the track.

The verse:

The main piano riff doesn’t have the same reverb or the amount of reverb applied to it as the intro piano, and the low-end is back. This gives us this intimate, in your face and warm piano sound. The travel from the dreamy state (intro) to being in the room with you, is now complete. The piano is also much less dynamic and doesn’t have any apparent peaks as in the intro.

Notice how the image of the piano changes from the intro. In the intro, since it has so much reverb, has lost a bit of its wideness but when we get the dry piano we get the full stereo image too.

Now we are also introduced to the drums, and they sound awesome. It has been played by a real drummer, on a real drum kit (maybe Paul played it?), however, after repeated listens it feels to me that the snare has a sample underneath, perhaps an 808 or similar. The overall tone and compression of the drums are awesome. It sounds like the colour from a Fairchild or similar style of compression.

The main groove is kick, snare and hi-hat but the dynamic on the hi-hat is very interesting and has some very cool accent, making it the star together with the snare drum. Make sure you listen for it.

The vocal also comes in at this point and is obviously very well performed… it’s Paul McCartney. The vocal itself is not drained in any FX, reverb or any autotune (again, it’s Paul McCartney) as many of today's hits are. It’s mainly driven by the tone of his voice and the fact that he is a great singer. Why mess with it? Although it doesn’t feel like he is completely dry, it feels like there are some long delays/reverb, with a low-pass filter, making his vocal having this space behind him.

The bass is also introduced here, playing mostly whole notes, with a fill every time the hit the major 7 chord. It definitely sounds like the Hofner bass Paul made famous back in the 60’s. This is most apparent when he is playing that fill I just mentioned and in the choruses.

If you can get your hands on a Hofner bass, get it. They record so well. Maybe doesn’t fit with every musical style out there but you won’t be disappointed.

That’s the verse, quite simple.

Moving onto the chorus:

As mentioned above, the chorus sounds almost like a verse with a sadder feeling.

The only instruments added in the chorus are an electric guitar with a tremolo effect on the left and what sounds like a mellotron of some sort on the right. They almost play the same part, with the mellotron laying off some of the notes the guitar is playing and is instead holding them out.

The other instruments and vocal stay in the same place and space.

Egypt Station.jpg

Second Verse:

In the second verse we get back the acoustic guitar we heard in the intro, it’s very subtle but it’s there to accentuate the piano riff. Also, the electric guitar comes in and plays two chords when going to the major 7 chord. This is when he sings, “…lessons to learn, what am I doin' wrong?”

After this we go into the bridge section:

Instrument wise, what get’s added here is a synth which you can hear being pretty far back in the mix, slightly to the right and a cello on the left. We also get introduced to the backing vocals for the first time. They are also panned quite narrowed, but still leaving the centre spot for the main vocal.

Back to the third Verse:

It’s very subtle, again, but for the third verse they added a percussion, just staying behind the groove of the hi-hat, and it sounds like an egg shaker. Beyond that, it’s the same instrumentation as the second verse. They don’t play the full verse here, instead, only half then they take us back to the intro again.

Intro 2:

Same piano riff as in the intro but with the full band added and some ad libs from Paul.

Chorus 2:

Same as the previous chorus but with an added acoustic guitar.

Verse 4/Outro

Coming to end of the song here, there are no big surprises which have been the theme throughout the whole song, but we do get the shaker back again just to lift it a tiny bit.

For the outro, the drums change to a tom based groove and Timpani drums come in on every downbeat. There’s also some other percussion that sounds like some sort of a vibraslap, but it only plays twice, first downbeat of the outro and the downbeat four bars later. Works very well to bring a feeling that the song is coming to an end. The backing vocals also get re-introduced, singing, “Now what's the matter with me?” three times before the song ends with piano and acoustic guitar.


This is a song that’s built on a minimalistic approach, both in term of production and mixing. Everything is based on making the song speak and not having anything distract the listener. There are a lot of subtle things going on to give the song the depth it has, in terms of the space behind the instruments and vocals, and it’s fantastically done. By introducing various instruments, such as the shaker for the third and final verse gives the groove that lift it needs. Also, the song never gets boring because by introducing various instruments, rather than mixing tricks, gives it this feeling of something that is floating very nicely from section to section.

You never notice the mixing side of the song and it’s a masterclass of how to make a song speak for itself without any mixing trickery. Very, very difficult.

Now, let me know what you think. Did I miss anything super obvious? Do you want to read more of these? Let me know in the comments below and give me any song suggestions that you would have a mix analysis of!

How To Find Artists To Work With

Finding artists to work with can be tricky, especially at the beginning of your career. Not only is it at the start of your career but work can be very dependent on where you live in the world.

Perhaps you live in a small town with only a handful of bands and artists? Or all the bands you know are broke?

In which case, your only chance of finding people to work with is online. Of course, it's possible but a lot harder than building relationships in "real life", so to speak.

Even if you do meet a lot of musicians and you do live in a big city with a lot of music around you, it can be hard to find people to work with. This can be due to the fact that many artists use their home studio and are happy with turning out mediocre sounding music, therefore, are not very keen on spending money on you. Also, to be honest, they most likely don't have the money to pay for studio time. 

So, no matter which situation you are in, it can be difficult. 

What's the solution?


Well, there's no one solution to the problem, however, there are a few things you can do in each of the two situations to increase your work. 

Let's start with if your only chance to find artists to work with is online.

Having your only presence online, on a website, means that you need to show people who come to your site that people love your work and how amazing you made their music sound. I see so many mixing sites online that's all about the mixing engineer and what he can do, rather than what he can do for YOU i.e., the artist. You want to avoid this as much as you can, make it all about the people you have served and ask past clients if you can get a testimonial from them. 

Now, you also need a portfolio of your previous work and this is where the problem usually lays. As I said in the beginning, maybe you live in a small town with no bands,so it's very difficult to find artists to work for, let alone build a portfolio? There's probably a thousand tips online, but one tip, which I will credit to Graham Cochrane of The Recording Revolution, is where you contact a band or artists that you have found online (through Soundcloud or Bandcamp) and approach them with an email saying, 

“Hi, my name is [insert name]”

”I love your music and I really loved your latest EP [insert EP name]. The track [Insert track name] was really great with all the [insert superlative].”

”The reason I’m writing to you is that I’m currently working on updating my portfolio and would like to offer you a free mix (recording, etc.) No charge and if you are happy it feel free to use it on your next release or as a bonus song for your fans, which is a great way of making your fans happy.” 

”Also, with your permission, I’d love to use the mix (recording, etc.) in my portfolio.”

”Let me know what you think”

This is a great way of approaching an artist or band. You are offering them great value by giving them something for free, which they can use to make their fans happy, and you can add a song to your portfolio.

Win-win situation.

Now, what do you do if you live in a big city, such as Los Angeles, London or New York and are still struggling to find bands to record?

I live in London and my experience with going out to gigs and talking to bands, although very important when I first moved here, doesn't really lead to any real business/income after I left university. Many bands who play in pubs and smaller places usually don't have the money to spend on recording their music in a studio or get it professionally mixed. Of course, I'm sure there are bands that are willing but they are few and far between. 



That's why I stopped doing this and instead focused on what worked and what brought me an income, for example, getting jobs at recording studios, doing live sound, play in cover bands, library/sync music, etc. This still lets me grow my clientele of artists and bands whilst working with music. 

If you want to make a living solely on recording and mixing bands, you have to be prepared to play the long game. I talk more about this in the guide, How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Engineer. It might feel lame, but it's the truth and what most of us are experiencing.  

I still go to networking events and meet artists and bands, but I know that by doing it consistently, over time, is what will eventually turn in to an income.

Now, what are your experience with finding artists and bands to work with? What have you struggled with specifically? Is there anything that is difficult at the moment? Let me know in the comments and I'll help you to the best of my ability!

Why Isn’t The Recording Industry Promoting Creativity As Tech Companies?

It's common knowledge how Google, Facebook, Apple and other tech companies treat their employees, with free food, meditation rooms, nap breaks, etc. Of course, they have to work hard and be productive to use these benefits but the workplace/employer understands that in order to get the best out of their employee they need to nurture their talent, i.e., their creativity. 

The tech industry is demanding but it also understands that in order to thrive and innovate you need to care for your employees and use their talent to achieve this. I'm sure many of them work 12-hour days, have deadlines to meet, pressure from managers, etc., (just like the music industry) but are also allowed time to pursue their own projects and be creative. Yes, these companies can spend billions and billions on research which the recording business doesn't have, however, using this mentality is how companies like these keep innovating and finding other income streams.


So, why isn't the recording industry promoting creativity the same way these tech companies do?

Why does the recording industry work their employees 12-14 hours a day?

Is it all down to money?

If you think about it, isn't it everyone's goal to nurture talent, grow your business and innovate, even if you can't spend billions into research?

I understand that having a recording, mixing or mastering studio is tough, the money is less than it used to be and the only way to survive is to keep working (working more hours that is). However, isn't this the moment where we need to innovate the most and find new ways of making money?

This becomes less and less possible if you or your employees are working 70+ hours/week and are not allowed time to innovate and be creative. Maybe allowing you and your staff 10 hours/week that can be spent on your own projects and pursuing other income streams that can be beneficial for the studio.

Maybe even have a meditation room, and planning in time that should be spent meditating per week isn't such a bad idea for your business. It might not be a quick fix for your studio but long term I think you will see a huge difference in the quality of work.


Having been in a fair amount of studios myself, I haven't seen much, if any, of this mentality. The common rule we work under is, "There's no money but we have to work 14-hour days".

Shouldn't we stop and ask ourselves, "Why?"

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results

Is this the trap we have fallen for in the industry? Maybe. However, there's still time to get out of this bubble and start nurturing creativity and start innovating!

Furthermore, Tony Robbins, in his book “Awaken The Giant Within”, he mentions that the most powerful way to motivate people at work, or life in general, is through personal development. By helping your employees grow and expand personally will make them want to contribute more. 

Now, that’s a win-win situation. 

Shouldn't the music business be the leading industry in how to nurture creativity? Why is the tech industry light years ahead of us? Let me know in the comments below and let's take creativity back!

How To Deal With Payments And My Weirdest Experience So Far

As many of you know, being freelancers, is the pain of dealing with payments, as in negotiating your fee, deposits, sending invoices, chasing invoices, it can all be very frustrating. 

There are many times when it's all very straightforward but sometimes you get into some complications and that's what this article will focus on as well as how to avoid them in the future.

The Story

To set the scene, it was a very common situation, a client hired me for some work over a longer period of time and we had agreed on a fee but we hadn't discussed the matter of a deposit.

Deposits are something that's very common to ask for, especially if it's work that stretches over a longer period of time because it gives you, the freelancer who got hired, a sense of security. It means that even if something happens along the way, let's say the client runs out of money by the end of the project, or they didn't sell enough tickets for the show, or any other excuse they can think of, you still got paid for the work you were hired to do. It will also help you cover any expenses along the way.

Back to the conversation. We had a meeting over Skype and I brought up the matter of a deposit and requested 50% up front. This was all fine and I even got offered to get fully paid straight away. 

I'm not sure I would suggest paying everything up front (as a client) because it takes away some security from the client and they end up risking the same things we do if we don't get a deposit.

However, we agreed on that I would get fully paid just before the project started.

So, happy days....right?

The 360-degree-turnaround

A few days later when we spoke again, it was like our previous conversation had never happened.

This time around I was asked why I should get paid before the project had even started and that you usually pay someone when the work is done. 

Sure, valid points. But why wasn't this brought up during our first conversation? And if it was I could have explained why it's common to request a deposit and all that.

It was a complete 360-degree turnaround from, yes I'll pay you everything beforehand to I don't want to pay you until our work is done. 

After going back and forth and trying to remind the person of our last conversation and what we had agreed on, we agreed on the more common set-up, half before and the other half when we are done with the work. 

Great, we reached a deal that worked for both of us.

However, it actually doesn't end there. A few days later I got a message saying that I will get paid in full and that the payment should come in the next few days. 

Was this a 360-degree turnaround from the 360-degree turnaround?

Lesson Learned

So, what's the lesson to take away from this? 

Always put things in writing.

This way you can go back and "prove" what has been agreed on instead of having to rely on he said - she said mess. If you do have a meeting, either in person or over Skype, you can politely suggest that you will just put this in an email so we know what we have agreed on. 

This is something that will help you sort out any misunderstandings that can come along the way because it's all there, in clear writing. 

Now, let me know if you have any stories of weird situations with payments in the comments below. 

Mixing With One Set Of Plugins

Do you obsess over plugins? Do you always feel like you need new plugins to achieve the sound you have in your head? Do you spend more time trying new plugins than actually mixing music?

Like this guy's comment: "’s so easy to get distracted with plugins and get nothing done." 


"...I’ve noticed they’re many [plugins] so you end up looking and searching all the way and wasting time..."

Can you recognise that feeling?

Playing around with plugins can be fun, but don't let it be the main thing you practise, especially if you are starting out. Then you need to focus on developing your ears and mix as much music you can, regardless of which plugins you use. It's after a while when you have developed a certain palette with your current plugins that you can go ahead and develop more "flavours". 

Recently, I decided to only use one set of plugins and my reason for this was threefold: 

1: To emulate as if I was mixing on a console with an EQ and a compressor on each channel strip. I wouldn't constantly reach for a different hardware unit for each channel (even if they were available)

2: To learn one set of plugins well, getting to know their tone and developing a palette of flavours I could use for future mixes. 

My Plugin-List. Fairly small, no?

My Plugin-List. Fairly small, no?

3: Spend less time messing about with different plugins (my plugins list is actually kind of small)

How can this thinking improve your mixes? 

First of all, it will save you time which can be spent improving your mixes. 

And as stated before, this will let you develop a flavour palette which you can use in the future and you will know which plugin to use if something needs a bit more of a certain tone. This is harder to develop and memorise if you are constantly trying and buying different plugins. 

You can make faster decisions if something works or not because you don't have a 100 compressors to choose from.  

Experiment with how they are sounding if you distort them, of course, you can do this with all your plugins, but limiting the number of plugins you are using will let you absorb the sound and internalise it much more profoundly. 

Having a reason to use a plugin and not just putting it on there because you think you need to. By knowing the sound of your plugins, it will give you a better purpose to why you want to use it.

Obviously, you also save money, which you can spend on other stuff for your studio. Such as microphones, acoustic treatment and whatever else you prefer. 

You don't have to limit your plugins to only use the stock plugins, use whichever brand you like. I decided to only use the Slate Mix Rack and the other compressors available in that subscription, so it's not a ton of plugins but more than enough to learn and internalise. 

Let me know which set of plugins you will use in the comments below. 


Beat Procrastination And Become More Productive


How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Sound Engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- Find Opportunities And Work
- Success And Failure

And Much More

Being a freelancer can be tough, not just because you have to rely on yourself to find work but also because no one is forcing you to work. If you also have a mindset of "I'll do it later", you might get nothing done.

In other words, you like to procrastinate. 


By being your own boss you can decide your own hours and you don't have to go up as early or even take part of the rush hour, it's a great life. However, if you want to be able to keep living that life you also need to do great work and not waste time.

Procrastination is something we all love and hate at the same time. It's great to just relax and not do the painful task of dealing with work. However, at the same time, it's also painful not to do the tasks we actually need to do, ending up being stressed because we have piled up too much work and now it feels like we have a mountain in front of us. 

Life would have been easier if we just did it straight away, right? 

How can you beat procrastination and become more productive? 

Let's say you want to make 4 EP's this year, or you want to pitch your music to publishers, or go out and see more local bands to build your network. Or you might want to do all of these different things.

Exciting right? 


How can you achieve all your goals and not be beaten by your own laziness? To be honest, if you want to achieve your goals you need to put in the work. Not saying you have to do 14 hour days (like many people in this business do), but you need to be organised. 

By being organised you are on a great path of beating procrastination. 

Let's say you have a goal of being more consistent with putting out more music. It can sound like a huge task, maybe even overwhelming to some. 

However, if you start with your end goal in mind and break it down into smaller parts, it might seem less overwhelming. Furthermore, take these smaller parts and write down in your calendar which days you will complete each small task. All of a sudden, your end goals starts to feel achievable and not too hard to accomplish. 

This allows you to be calm because you can see simple, small but achievable tasks rather than a huge mountain of your end goal/s. 


I do this every Sunday before the new week start. I write down what I need to do to accomplish all my work and in the end my goal/s. It's small but consistent work you need to do to accomplish your goals. 

And you know what the great thing about this is, you will have time to relax, watch Netflix or play video games (my favourite game at the moment is Metal Gear Solid 5. Which is yours?). It's a win-win situation. 

Metal Gear

Metal Gear

There's a quote from Ramit Sethi, a leading figure in finance and business, he said this in one of his emails and I think he is making a very good point about not doing anything and just procrastinating: 

Did I actually get anything meaningful done? Did I do anything I'll remember in 10 years? Will I even remember this stuff next week? I think most of us have the haunting suspicion that we're wasting a lot of time playing games that are engineered to claw our attention, only to look back and realize...we haven't actually been living life.” 

Think about that.

Below you can see an example of how a week can look in my world. This is designed so that I can be as organised as I can and progress towards my goals. What this does is that it allows me to see all the different parts I need to do, and when to do them, to accomplish my end goal/s. Which is, making 4 EP's, continue to interview great people, do live sound, find publishers et cetera.


  • 10 am - 6 pm: Writing session
    A session focused on writing new material. Get it down to tape (Pro Tools). No need to be critical on what's good or bad

  • 7 pm - 8 pm: Find producers/engineer/artists and their contact details to contact them about doing an interview. Send out reminder emails to previous contacts


  • 10 am - 6 pm: Writing session
    Same as previous day

  • 7 pm - 8 pm: Prepare stage plot for this summers tour


  • 10 am - 6 pm: Mixing previous recordings

  • 7 pm - 8 pm: Research interviewee, write down questions.


  • 10 am - 12 am: Research publishing companies to pitch to

  • 6 pm - 11 pm: Live gig


  • 10 am - 22 am: Live gig


  • Relax (Play Metal Gear, Netflix etc)


Let me know in the comments if you will be implementing this or if you are using another technique that allows you to be as productive as you can.

How To Use The Same Riff For Multiple Musical Sections


How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Sound Engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- How To Find Opportunities And Work
- Success And Failure

And Much More

If you are a making your own music, or you are in a band or producing other artists, you might have encountered a point in time during your writing session where you go: "Don't know what should happen next. Another new section, or back to chorus or bridge again maybe?". 

I know, I've been there, it can be frustrating not be able to continue and complete the song that went so well until you ran out of ideas. 

This is where this little trick comes in handy. 

Reuse a riff

Might sound obvious, but it works really well. For example, reuse your intro section but change everything around it. For example, take your intro riff or chord progression but make a new drumbeat for it, add some synths, maybe another melody on top. Just like that, you got a new section without having to scratch your brain for hours trying to come up with a new part. 

Let me show you some real-life suggestions where artists have done this: 

Recognise this riff? Go back to 40 seconds in and listen.

It's the exact same riff as during the verses but with a new drumbeat and some reversed guitars added. A great way to utilise the same riff to create something new.

Check this track by The Mars Volta. Here they used basically three riffs throughout 7 min. They used one riff for Intro/Verses/Post-Chorus and one riff for the Outro. Same concept of reusing a riff but changing everything around it to make it feel like a completely new section.

Another great example is after your second chorus, instead of going to a completely new bridge part before your last chorus, go back to the intro riff but make it a "breakdown" section. Again, reuse your intro part or whichever part you prefer, either if that's a riff or chord progression, and have the drums just keeping 8th notes on the hihat and some longer synth/piano chords behind. Works like a charm. 

Below you can listen to this technique being implemented.

What you will hear is one riff idea used to create three different parts with the examples described above. 

You can also use this technique to have your verses evolve throughout the song, like The Mars Volta track, rather than being the same throughout.

Hope this can spark some ideas for you songwriting sessions. 

Let me know in the comments if this technique helped you or if you have your own ideas you like to share.


Facing The Fear Of Releasing Your Own Music (And How To Make More)


How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Sound Engineer

Learn How To:
- Get Your Foot In The Door
- Find Opportunities And Work
- Success And Failure

And Much More

One of the most fascinating fears and frustrations when working with music, either if you are an independent artist who works in your home studio or you are in a band making music, is that everyone wants to be recognised and show the world what you can do and how amazing your music is. However, many of us are so terrified of what the public might say about our music that we don’t release anything unless, in your mind, it’s perfect. A goal which is unreachable for many of you because you are always tweaking those knobs and therefore never complete your songs. This makes it impossible for you to achieve your goals and harder to grow as a musician/producer/mixer etc. 

Have a look at these quotes for example: 

One of my major problems is perfecting my tracks. I have been stuck in a rut for too long mixing and mastering my music. But never releasing music

I’d say I struggle the most at just putting myself out there before I feel like it’s perfect. Asking people to listen to the music I’ve spent hundreds of hours on is terrifying sometimes. Asking them to support me by buying it is tough..”

I struggle with output in general! I let school and work get in the way of doing much music production–so, in turn, I don’t put out either imperfect material or simple content

Can you recognise yourself in these fears and frustrations? Are you stopping yourself from releasing your music because you spend too many hours trying to perfect something or do you find that work or school get in the way? 

Fortunately, this is something you can overcome, and when you do you won’t only realise that there is nothing to be scared of but you can actually start to release more music than you have done in the past, even if you have other commitments in your life.  

What are the benefits of getting rid of these fears and start to produce music? 

Growing your fans base. At the moment you might not have a big fan base yet, you are still establishing yourself. By releasing more music often than less you will have a better chance of growing your fan base. You will more often than not pop up with new music and stay present longer in their minds. Remember, The Beatles released new singles quite often at the start of the careers and when they were more established they slowed down and could then release “perfect” music. 

Also, which might be the most important part, if you are stuck trying to perfect your tracks is that you will stop growing and stop becoming better. By releasing your music you will get feedback, will people like this or not, what are they saying? This might be hard at times to hear but this is how you grow. Your own perspective of the music will change, you might think that what I did here or there on that song could have been better (which means you are becoming better). But remember, you won’t get this feedback or perspective until you let your music go. It’s after this that you will be able to become a better musician, songwriter, mixer or producer. This is really important, and this is how you eventually become a master at what you do and consequently grow a bigger fan base. 

How can you get rid of your fear? 

There are many tricks and tips on how to deal with fear, and maybe you have a great way already, but I want to mention Tim Ferriss's “Fear Setting”. This is a great way of defining your fears and understanding what the benefits are by actually doing what is holding you back. It’s a great tool and it has helped me a lot when it comes to my career. I’m going to link the full blog post and Ted talk by Tim Ferris but three key points and exercises that worked well for me was: 

1. Define Your Fear. For example, if your fear is that people will laugh at your music, mixes etc., write down exactly what comes into your head, no filter. Just get it all out. Define your nightmare.

2. What steps could you take to repair the damage if, for example, people did laugh at your music or thought it was awful? Chances are that the impact is not as bad as you think they are. 

3. What is the outcomes or benefits of actually doing what is holding you back? What would be beneficial to actually starting to release your music? 

Tim Ferris full blog post on the topic: 

Or watch his Ted Talk on the same subject here:

How To Release More Music

I hope by this stage that you have a better understanding of your fears and understand the benefits of releasing your music and not be held back by fear or “perfection”. Now I want to share my tricks and techniques that work for me that has led me to release more music than ever before. These techniques can hopefully help you if you have commitments to work or school that is holding you back.  

What is this secret sauce I’m using? 

Organisation and discipline. 

Sounds boring to you? The truth is nothing beats hard work and by having my week planned out and the discipline to follow it makes a tremendous difference. I’m not talking about working 12 + hours a day. I’m talking about working smart and having planned my time ahead to make music so I don’t have to get distracted by the other million things that are happening around me (Or on the Internet). This get’s me much more productive and makes me achieve the goals I set out to do. 

Another thing which is important is to set deadlines for yourself, and if you can, make it public. I know Graham Cochrane has many good points on this and he is correct. By having a set time to do a task you are more likely to get it finished by that time rather than saying “Oh, I’ll finish this EP in 6 months”. Saying that it will probably take you that long, but giving yourself a shorter deadline can massively increase the number of EP’s you put out a year. 

The hardest part might not be to organise your week but to actually follow it. That’s where you need discipline, and that’s just being determined enough to sit down, write music, or mix it, even though you feel tired and you just want to browse Youtube. 

Check out Graham Cochrane’s blog about the importance of deadlines here:

Ramit Sethi, a leading figure in money and business, said this in one of his emails and I think he is making a very good point about not doing anything and just procrastinating: 

Did I actually get anything meaningful done? Did I do anything I'll remember in 10 years? Will I even remember this stuff next week? I think most of us have the haunting suspicion that we're wasting a lot of time playing games that are engineered to claw our attention, only to look back and realize...we haven't actually been living life.” 

Think about this the next time you are struggling to sit down and write or mix your music. It’s all up to you. Take the opportunity and do something meaningful. 

Let me know if you have any great ideas to overcoming fear and make more music in the comments below!