Cisco Ryder Gilliland

Mixing and Mastering Engineer

3 Reviews
Cisco Ryder Gilliland on SoundBetter

Grammy-nominated producer and engineer offers mixing and mastering for any genre.

My goal is to put all my skills to work to convey the feel and emotion of each song, whether it's a dance track or a country ballad.

I have 15+ years experience as a producer and engineer and have played drums professionally for 30+ years. My listening passions are hip hop, pop, and electronica. I have recorded and mixed a range of genres, but much of my professional work has been with independent singer-song writers. (I live in Austin, Texas, so no surprise!)

Mixing is one of favorite pursuits. I lean into the unique strengths of each song or project to bring them fully to life. I view mixing is an art similar to that of painting: The sound is a canvas; the instruments, melodies, and beats are brushstrokes.

Mastering, on the other hand, is about optimizing audio across every platform. It's a technical process that is immensely rewarding.

I am dedicated to ensuring that each artist I work with is happy with the process and and with the final results. I will work with you to achieve that end.

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.


Discogs verified credits for Cisco Gilliland
  • Ramblin' Deano And Ice Cold Singles
  • Various
  • ST 37
  • Mo McMorrow
  • Ramblin' Deano And Ice Cold Singles
  • Eliza Gilkyson

3 Reviews

Endorse Cisco Ryder Gilliland
  1. Review by Stephen H.

    Cisco produced and mixed (and mastered) two albums for me, and is outstanding at what he does. His 'ear' is first rate, and he can capture what makes a song unique and powerful. We hear the same sounds - and he is always respectful of the artist yet aware of how the finished product will sound. I am getting ready to use him again and can't imagine working with anyone else on any of the aspects of recording, mixing and mastering.

  2. Review by Dean Schlabowske
    by Dean Schlabowske

    In working with Cisco during my time living in Austin and beyond, I have come to feel that he has all of the most important qualities in an engineer. First, the ability to capture great basic sounds. Second, the experience to know when the performance is great, or to try another take. Finally, when it comes to mixing and mastering, he was great at achieving my goal, sounding like you're in the room watching a great band. As a musician who's listened intently to the finer details of production for 40 years, Cisco's talent, knowledge and care are obvious.

  3. Review by Eliza Gilkyson
    by Eliza Gilkyson

    I’ve been working with Cisco Gilliland on various recording projects since 2012, and highly recommend his services as a producer and recording, mixing and mastering engineer.
    He has a great set of ears and the ability to listen and interpret what his clients need. He’s a joy to work with and extra committed to getting you the end result you are looking for.
    Eliza Gilkyson
    2 x Grammy nominated folksinger/songwriter/producer

Interview with Cisco Ryder Gilliland

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: I produced and engineered the Grammy-nominated album The Nocturne Diaries for Eliza Gilkyson. That was a turning point in my abilities to capture and shape sounds the way I heard them in my head.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: My next project is producing six songs that are covers of a band called The Blue Nile. This is my third project with the client and he had covered one song on the previous album and loved it so much he decided to dedicate a whole mini-album to covers! I'll set up the studio where we'll track drums, bass, guitar and a string quartet, which will be very exciting. Then I'll mix and master for CD and streaming releases.

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: I haven't used SoundBetter for my projects but I did look at mastering engineers years ago and found many people that I would recommend. Hopefully, you'll pick me, though!

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Both! Analog is wonderful and there is an evocative mystery to it. Some of the best digital gear is designed to emulate it, which is commendable, but honestly usually falls short. If money was no object, I would definitely lust after some analog gear. That being said, I've also sold some of my analog equipment because the digital workflow was simply better for me. And we are entering a new era of digital. It has finally evolved to places that can supersede or at least co-exist with the best in analog. Take the UA Apollo I use: it has a hybrid interface of hardware inputs and software inserts. It's amazing! Side note: often projects that were "analog" end up digital along the way. There are only a handful of boutique studios that could possibly stay analog (and they'd have to be able to manufacture their own vinyl albums in most cases). I think that's pretty cool but certainly no guarantee that it's better than a digital workflow.

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: I will listen to you and we will work together every step of the way. I value every project and don't carry an "amateur" vs "pro" mentality.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: That's easy. It doesn't feel like a job most of the time but a creative process with a finished product. That's very rewarding.

  13. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  14. A: I think there's a big focus on having the best gear, plugins, etc... whereas I would choose a great mixing engineer that only had the stock plugins from his DAW every time.

  15. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  16. A: Who are some of your influences and why? Where do you intend to place this music and who is your ideal audience?

  17. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  18. A: Don't be cheap, it'll usually bum you out at the end. Don't think you have to pay the most to get the best results, though. You want someone who charges enough to care and see it through but also doesn't have interns who do most of the heavy lifting (trade secret!).

  19. Q: How would you describe your style?

  20. A: Artistic in mixing and scientific in mastering. I've always felt 50/50 on the "left brain vs right brain" spectrum. There's a great book called appropriately "The Art of the Mix," which I relate to where he describes how each album is a journey.

  21. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  22. A: So many! James Mercer of The Shins, because he always tries something different for each record, yet it's still very centered on melody and lyrics. Courtney Barnett because I love her writing and because I thought she made an album that wasn't as good as it could have been and I could have helped, ha ha. Mac DeMarco because he obviously doesn't work with people usually so it would be a new experience and I think he would benefit. Maybe Donald Glover because he has such eclectic albums and they pulse with emotion.

  23. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  24. A: As a mixing engineer, I find the heart of the song and make it shine. That may or may not be the vocal or a riff. Sometimes, it can be the bass line that really sends a song. Each case is different.

  25. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  26. A: I bring 30 plus years of experience as an artist who always had an ear for the "big picture." As a member of many bands, I've learned that mixing can suffer from the "too many cooks" syndrome. It's best to work solo or with the principal artist/producer than the whole group. Everyone one wants their part to be louder!

  27. Q: What's your typical work process?

  28. A: For mixing, I'll listen to a rough mix or a pre-master with as little info as possible. It's important to listen for the overall feeling first. Next, I'll read all the notes and influences suggested by the client and start a more analytical evaluation of each song. Once I have the tracks loaded up, I'm trying to nail down what the dominant sound is if for each section, be it verse, chorus, bridge or solo. That guides me on how to feature that because there may be times where it shouldn't be as prominent. Next, it's often doing some clean up, removing harsh frequencies, weird noises, etc. I often, but not exclusively, will listen to the bass and drums together and make sure that they are working well together, rhythmically and tonally. If the song was already nearly there, I probably won't do a lot more. At that point, it's mostly about placing each track in a sonic field, light EQ, and using compression where it's warranted. Sometimes, reverb or delay is just the ticket, but this is where less is often more. It's easy to get carried away and end up with something that doesn't have the original spark and becomes dull or tiring. Finally,

  29. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  30. A: Can you make it louder? Ha ha. That's always been a struggle since I first recorded in the 90s. My answer is "yes but..." because sometimes all it takes is a little perspective to see that louder might not be better.

  31. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  32. A: My Gretsch drum kit, Manley tube mic, Grado headphones, UA Apollo, and Korg Minilogue. A masterpiece awaits!

  33. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  34. A: I started playing drums in bands at age 19. I'd usually have two or three bands going and it was often a garage or indie style. I ended up touring with a singer-songwriter, playing at international festivals, and occasionally on the bill with some big names. After my second child, I slowed down and began focusing on producing. I still play drums with a couple bands in Austin.

  35. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  36. A: Often it's better to remove than to add.

  37. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  38. A: Indie, singer-songwriter, and occasionally dance pop.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I use Universal Audio's Apollo hardware and have many of their best plugins, which I think can't be beat (yet). Cubase is my DAW of choice but I also use Logic Pro. I mix to a D-Box Dangerous Music summing and monitoring box and listen on high-end monitors, Avantones, NHT Pros, Grado headphones, and my factory car stereo (the stress test!) Custom Gretsch drum kit, with older Zildjian cymbals. Hand drums, cajones, various percussion items

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: Brian Eno is probably my favorite producer. For contemporary pop artists, I love the music and the sounds of Gorillaz, Beck and Phoenix. For songwriters, I love Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit and Think... Eleanor Friedberger's Personal Record, and Elliot Smith's XO.

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: I produce and record singer-songwriters primarily. Often, I'm the drummer for the project and may also add keyboards and guitars. I will usually mix and master their songs as well.

Eliza Gilkyson - Peace in Our Hearts

I was the Mixing Engineer, Drummer, Producer in this production

Terms Of Service

Two revisions per mix or master. More can be discussed and negotiated.
At least two alternative drum / percussion tracks if desired.
Up to two weeks turnaround but usually much sooner.

GenresSounds Like
  • Lucinda Williams
  • John Prine
  • David Byrne
Gear Highlights
  • Dangerous Music Monitoring and Summing
  • UA hardware and software
  • Manley
  • JZ
  • Rode
  • Shure
  • AKG microphones
  • Cubase
  • Logic Pro
  • FL Studio
  • multiple speaker systems
More Photos
  • Intro OfferAug 23, 2023

    Hi, I'm new to the SoundBetter platform so I don't have any clients through the portal yet. So for a limited time, I will mix and/or master one song for free.

    This offer will go away as soon as I have a few clients so act quickly!