Wow! Meet ‘Matthew Weiss’ Personal Mixing Engineer for Akon

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Meet Matthew Weiss (born in Philadelphia) who has engineered different albums and hundreds of B-sides with Akon. He has also worked with numerous creatives such as; Rick Ross, Swae Lee, SisQo’, Jeremih, Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Nicky Minaj, Becky G, Dizzee Rascal, Anitta, Farruko, Ozuna and so on.

Matthew once partnered with Kanye West’s engineer ‘Andrew Dawson’ to run a commercial recording facility, amidst other chain of events that has earned him the ability to speak and interpret the sonic language of moving faders like the back of his palm

We feel so honoured to have you as a guest on our weekly series dubbed; “ODDYSCOPE” featuring industry heavyweights, influential figures, and creatives.

Q. Tell us about yourself and your musical background.

My family is made up of artists and musicians. I started making music in high school, and studied music composition in college.

Q. Which other Mixing and/or Mastering Engineers do you see as a source of inspiration and why?

Eric Racy, Langston Masingale, Denise Barbarita, Andrew Dawson, Chris Athens. These are the people that I’ve relied on for guidance over the years. I’m also inspired by people like Ricardo Quintero and Christian Quinonez; engineers who are younger than me but bringing in a new and better generation of engineering. They’re coming up in the hardest times to be an audio engineer and owning it.

Q. What makes you different from every other mixing engineer out there?

We’re all inherently different, we all have our own styles. I’m a big fan of perfect imperfections, and that influences the way I handle reverb, distortion, dynamic manipulation. I’m also not afraid to do whatever a record takes – I might change drums and add background vocals, I might do nothing at all. I keep my eyes on the result.

Q. What is the most difficult problem you’ve encountered during mixing and what did you do to conquer those trying times?

The most challenging problem to handle is poor recordings, production or arrangement. It’s not that I don’t know how to handle these things, I do. But there are specific ways in which this stuff works, and it might not match the client’s expectations, and that’s where things get difficult. In mixing you can really only make something the best of what it is.

Q. Assuming a 10 years old kid asked you to advise him on the best way and/or approach to nail a very dynamic mix, what will be your response?

A very dynamic mix is actually easier to handle than a very flat mix. You want dynamics. Embrace it. In Afrobeats, for example, I’ll get a lot of records where the percussion is programmed in Fruity Loops without any regards to the dynamic. So every hit is coming in at exactly the same level. But if you look at Afrobeat, Highlife, Fuji music, it’s all extremely dynamic. And that’s why it works. This big bed of percussion all comes together because the players have a dynamic interaction. The better producers know this, but many newer producers don’t. So I end up having to sculpt the dynamics myself. That’s much more challenging.

Q. Tell us about the role you played on the project that got you a Grammy nom’?

I did overdub recording for Bunny Sigler on The Othello Project.

Akon, Matthew Weiss (OddyScope)

Q. As a recordist and mixer for multi-platinum artist such as “Akon” …how did you guys connect? …and what’s it like working with him?

We connected through Hiro Oshima, who’s now Sr A&R/VP of Konvict. He’s an old school A&R, who just loves finding new talent, and building teams. I was doing a lot of writing and production camps at my studio in North Hollywood. One of his artists was there, that’s how we met. Hiro wanted me on the team.
Working with Kon is really easy. It’s almost oddly easy. It’s like I worked the first ten years of my professional life doing the hardest work in the world. He just knows his voice so well we get everything near perfect right at the tracking phase. There’s almost no editing. We literally never do playlists, I never have to go back through takes. So I move to mixing very fast, which is the fun part. And Kon is very clear about what he wants to hear so the revisions are minimal as well. Confident artists are always easy to work with.

Meet Matthew @WeissSound, personal recordist and mixing engineer for multi-platinum recording artist @Akon. Click To Tweet

Q. How do you balance the business side of audio engineering and the creative aspect?

I get help. Hiro manages me now, so a lot of the time he is hitting the pavement. I try to stay out of the money talks and landing gigs as much as possible so I can be focused on the creative side of things. But I’ve also been doing this a long time so certain business things like managing my books is just second nature to me at this point.

Q. There’s a new development in the industry with regards to Audio Engineers earning royalties/percentage for additional contribution to a project, which is totally outside the scope of mixing and/or mastering. What’s your take on this?

Taking royalties on a record is not really unprecedented. It’s actually pretty common place when you look at the most in demand engineers. You can’t book Serban, Jaycen, Manny, etc without giving a couple points. You can come with a budget of $5k+ a record and they’ll turn it down. As an engineer I don’t really want the point to justify things outside of the traditional scope of mixing and mastering. Those lines are already blurred anyway. I want a point because of what I do as an engineer. I’m creatively influencing the sound of the record.

Q. One of the most challenging aspect of mixing is getting the low-end to translate over variety of playback systems, How should an aspiring audio engineer solve the dark art behind Kicks, 808 and Bass?

Unfortunately, the only real solution to that is to have really good low end monitoring, and to learn your monitoring so you can predict how it translates. There’s a product called Slate VSX that emulates a variety of playback environments, I highly recommend that because the controlled studio emulations have great low end, and then you can switch over to emulation of a car or a club and immediately get a new context for your low end in an uncontrolled environment.

Team ‘Oddy Jay’ wishes you all the best with love from Lagos, Nigeria

Dear Subscribers, feel free to leave a comment or nominate creatives you’d love to see featured on ‘OddyScope’ via the comment section below.

Instagram – @WeissSound
Management – HirOshima@konvict.io

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