GRAMMY Nominated Mix Engineer | DOLBY Atmos Certified.
Mike “Pizza” Piazza is a former staff engineer of KMA Studios in Times Square, NY. Currently freelancing in Nashville, TN, he has become an in-demand mixer. His work as both a recording engineer and a mixer has earned him a GRAMMY nomination. Although starting in the pop and urban world, Mike has expanded his range of genres over the years, working with everything from Jazz to EDM.
Currently Mike is taking on both stereo and Dolby Atmos projects. His room is built around ATC speakers and has a full 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos system for mixing.
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3 ReviewsEndorse Mike "Pizza" Piazza
Mike goes the extra mile to bring your tracks to life
I have had the pleasure of working with Pizza on multiple occasions, and he is always a joy to work with. He's very professional and takes the extra time necessary to make everything top notch. There's no need to worry about quality when working with this man.
I've worked with Mike Piazza on various label projects for the past 4 years and have never been disappointed. Great engineer and mixer-always has helpful suggestions and promptly returns revisions even when the initial mix ended up being the way to go. I highly recommend and will continue to use him
Interview with Mike "Pizza" Piazza
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Everyday is different.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How did you do that? - I pulled out what was good and got rid of what was bad.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Communication is key. Generally after the first song or two, I'll have a professional relationship with you which will allow me to understand what you're looking for quicker. I use the rough mix as a guide but nothing is more important than hearing how a song makes you feel.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Mac Pro (with my plugins), ATC SCM25A's, Auratones, UAD Cards, Herman Miller Aeron
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started my career at KMA Studios in Times Square, which brought in some of the greatest names in music. My time here not only gave me credits with the amazing artists, but also an extremely valuable learning experience. During my early (sleep at the studio for a week days) I had the opportunity to assist and apprentice some of the industries best engineers, getting the real world experience that would eventually shape my workflow and engineering techniques I use today. I moved between New York and LA until eventually settling in Nashville. I've become one of the "other guys," specializing in a lot of pop and hiphop music in a predominantly Country Music city. My work has become mainly mixing these days. All in all I've been in the business for 11 years.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Life. Energy. Excitement. Width. Fill in the blank for whatever the song needs. Some songs need a lot, some need very little. Ultimately it comes down to the feeling and emotion of each record and making sure those are brought out as much as possible.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Audrey Nuna's "a liquid breakfast" album. I had the pleasure of mixing the entire project an am very proud of how those records turned out. Also working with Audrey is a great experience. She has a very clear picture of how she wants the mixes to sound, and I find it makes everyone better in the process.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Check out Mike "Pizza" Piazza
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I have a hybrid setup so I can sum through analog and use analog bus compression if needed. It depends on the song, turn around time, details on the project, will you need a ton of stems fairly quickly? I think the "sound" of (or lack-of) digital has improved to the point to where there is no debate between analog vs digital. Digital is basically a blank canvas that allows us to form any sonic shape we want. Having a knowledge of how analog sounds has allowed me to recreate that sound quickly in the box if that's even the goal. Some songs sound better through my analog equipment, but many sound better summing in the box. I find myself using the analog stuff much less these days.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I bring the song to life as you hear it. It's your baby, not mine, and I do whatever it takes to make sure you leave with what you hear in your head.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: "Mixing fixes everything!" A mixer is only as good as the files she/he gets. The thought of "fixing it in the mix" is still used too much. Remember the recording, arrangement and production are the most important factors to how good a mix comes out. I'll do my best to fix something that is wrong but don't expect us (mixers) to save the day every time!
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I do a lot of pop/hip-hop/r&b. I'm currently in Nashville so modern country is not unfamiliar to me as well.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My mix room revolves around my ATC SCM 25a Pro's and NS10 studio monitors. I also have a set of PMC Result6's the check mixes on if needed. I'm currently using a hybrid summing workflow that's available if I think it fits the project. I'm running everything off of a Mac Pro with several UAD cards and more plugins that I ever use. They're really just there to have incase projects are sent over with them on. If I'm summing analog I go out 16 channels to my Tonelux OTB 16 summing mixer. It's a very clean box with custom Tonelux opamps and transformers that can be driven hard if needed. Before capturing the mix back in Pro Tools I have an Audioscape Bus Comp to add punch to the mix. It's one of the best SSL style compressors I've used. Analog summing isn't for every project, many modern productions sound fantastic all in the box, but I'm happy to use it if a clients requests.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Many different projects, both major and independent.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Turn around time? Do you have a rough mix or something else I should be listening to? Tell me, in general, about this record- your feelings, thoughts, process, anything that could help me understand and listen to it from the same perspective you're hearing it.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I've worked with a lot of amazingly talented artists. Honestly what get's me excited today is getting music from somebody who hasn't had their chance yet but has something special.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Less is generally better.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Knowing when not to do something.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I always listen to the rough mix first to try and get into the producer and artist's heads. It's important for me to get a sense of what they were trying to do. I don't try and reinvent the wheel if something sounds good. I'll spend a day or two (or three) on a mix and send over to the client once I think it represents what I'm trying to do. I prefer to get input with the client as this is a collaboration. It's great if I nail it on V1, but I also like the input.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My peers (other engineers) in the industry. I also love what a lot of young producers are doing. Lots of these kids don't have formal training in the studio world and are pushing the boundaries with experimenting. Turning knobs until it sounds cool has become a thing again and we're hearing it in how productions are these days. As a mixer my workflow is always adapting to the productions I get to mix, and input from producers is always evolving. Lots of younger producers give direction that is so outside of the box that it makes me rethink the way I mix. It's great for music!
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.