Q&A about Mastering your music with Toronto based company, Mojito Mastering

MB: What is Mastering?

Mastering is the final process of the record production process.  It’s the point where all the individual songs are put together to make a complete album.  It’s at this stage where we would be doing the final adjustments of tone, volume and dynamics to make all the songs sound like they belong together.  We would also be adjusting these elements to make the songs fit well against competing tracks.

MB: Why is it so important for the finishing process on a song/album?

People expect a certain standard of quality….even today with so many DIY records.  If an artist is looking to get their music noticed…especially by industry professionals (labels, radio programmers, TV and film music supervisors, festival organizers, etc.), it’s imperative that their music sounds professional.  Most industry pros I know won’t listen to more than a few seconds of a song if it sounds bad.

MB: How can it make a song/album up to industry standards?

Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve!  But basically…I’d be doing very small adjustments to tone and dynamics to bring a song up to that level.  We ask all our clients to provide us with reference songs when we master their records (i.e. songs they’d like their music to sound like).  So, I’m constantly referencing those tracks while mastering to make sure that my clients songs will fit well if they’re placed in the same playlist.

MB: How much can a band expect to spend on mastering an album?

It can vary immensely…anywhere from free to thousands of dollars.  The top dogs in the States…the Bob Ludwig’s, Ted Jensen’s, etc…. can fetch around $5000 per record!  Here in Canada, the average is about $1000-2000 per record.  We charge $100/song….so the average record ends up being around $1000.

BUT…..we recently decided to offer something new.  We started realizing that there are many artists out there who have very little or no money to spend on mastering.  Why?  Because many artists are now distributing their music online for free (which we encourage)!  So, we wanted to offer a service that was inline with this new direction the industry is taking.  We now offer a free mastering service.  The quality of the mastering is no different from our full rate.  The differences are that there’s a longer turnaround and we do the mastering unattended.  For those who would like to be at the session in person or who need their tracks turned around quicker, we still offer our full rate.

MB: How long does it approximately take to master one song?

Typically the first song with an artist takes about an hour.  After that, it usually takes about half an hour per song.  Of course, we sometimes receive really tricky mixes…those can often take a few hours to master.

MB: What artist has your studio worked with?

Recently, we’ve had the pleasure of doing sessions with The Elwins, Luke Lalonde (from the Born Ruffians), Maylee Todd and Dr. Ew.  Coming up shortly, we’re really excited to working on Josh Van Tassel’s new record.  His first record was one of my favourites from last year.  We’re trilled to be a part of this one.

MB: What are your studio’s long term goals?

What every studio aspires to….world domination!  No seriously…we’d like to be the place where artists turn to when they need the highest quality mastering…regardless of price.

We’ve also got a lot of video series projects on the go (like our Mojito Sessions series, video here: https://vimeo.com/38300699), so we’d like to continue to develop and grow that side of things.  We actually have a lot of video projects in development right now that should be launching in the next couple of months.

We’re also looking into ways in which we can help our artist’s develop their career.  We don’t want our relationships with our artists to be one sided….if we can help our artists make a living…we’ll do it!

MB: Do you have any advice for up coming artists?

Yes…..if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, don’t spend it doing a half-assed full length record.  Take that money and turn it into an amazing single!  And make an awesome video to accompany it.  One really great track will do way more for your career than a below average record.

You need to slowly build up your following on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Instead of putting out a full length once every two years….release a new track online every 2 months or so.  That way you’ll be able to build and maintain interest with your fan base.  Once you’ve built an loyal fan base….THEN release a full length CD.  That way you’ll know there’ll actually be people out there who’ll buy it.

A big thanks to Chris Doble (Studio Manager) and Reuben Ghose (Chief Mastering Engineer) for helping with this Q&A. Hope you all enjoyed.

For more information or to book your session today visit: http://www.mojitomastering.com

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