Ever want to make something completely unique? Something only you had the keys to? Look no further. I've worked with artists of all calibers (see description) to create the perfect harmonic environment for live performances. I aim to bring that same intensity and atmosphere of a venue performance to your recordings.
Former live engineer taking his talents to new heights... by actually recording all those mixes he spent so much time crafting. I've worked with artists varying from the local cover band all the way up to the heaviest hitters in live music today. Let me use those endless hours sat in front of house and monitor world to make your creations naturally flourish. I will work with you to perfect your piece and take it to the next level.
Don't let my years of performance and mixing experience go to waste working in IT! I am dying to work with you to create a unique artistic expression of your musical vision. I take pride in my ability to take small skeletal ideas, and flesh them out into breathing works of art.
I do also offer my talents as a songwriter, performing musician, and vocalist. I am a classically trained Bassoonist and Operatic Vocalist, however I currently specialize in heavier music production under the moniker "Mallard Peak". My sound relies on distorted gut-punch guitars, ambient electronics, and in-your-face mixing. This includes guitar/bass recording/editing/mixing and "unclean" vocals of varying genres. I also offer my services as a Drum programmer if that is something you are looking for.
No current recording credits, but live acts I have experience working with include Harms Way, Queens of the Stone Age, Post Malone, The Flaming Lips, and many more.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
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Interview with Casey Arendec
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My track, "The Crow", on Spotify is an excellent demonstration of my songwriting abilities that I have. I try to keep all of my self released pieces under 8 man-hours of work. That is 8 hours total for everything; songwriting, recording, editing, mixing, and mastering. All done just by myself, although may cats help from time to time.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently, I'm working on putting out my own tracks through Distrokid under the moniker Mallard Peak. There, I try my best to put out sounds that are familiar and recognizable in contexts that haven't really been extensively explored to my knowledge.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Cant say there is anyone on sound better that I've worked with yet, but I look forward to changing that.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Personally I like a healthy blend of the two. Each does something different better than the other. Analog is great for getting that warmth and a nice pulsing pump to your tracks, but digital affords for more room for error when recording. Ideally, blending the two together in a way to cover their weaknesses is the best practice.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to always be 100% transparent about my thoughts on a track. If a track feels something I feel like Ive heard 100 other groups do already I'll tell them. If I'm being paid to produce a track, and the track has some glaring issues with it that could bruise an ego, that ego's getting bruised.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love being able to freely jump from one train of thought to another. Working on super heavy destructive guitar riffs, and then turning 180 and diving into an ambient electronic track is a fantastic way to keep yourself on your toes. Try to never get too comfortable with a single mixing style. It will stagnate progress to both your abilities and ears.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Can you just fix it in post?" The only mistakes that can truly be fixed in post are ones that were made in post. Always get the best possible performance to work off of because it is easier to polish something that is already shiny.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Sometimes, less is more.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I'm always sure to get a brief time to discuss what they stand for most as a human being in that moment. It helps me get perspective on where a track can lead if it seemingly has no concrete direction to it. Emotional communication and thought processes directly lend themselves to the creation of novel ideas, and will influence interactions with listeners for years to come.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Think about the music you are writing, and what inspires you about the music you listen to. If the music you are writing was to emulate another already existent group, think of other unrelated artists you love to listen to, and pull broad stroke influences from that. Relying too hard on a single sound signature and influence is how the world ended up with 100 bands all sounding exactly like At The Gates, Architects, or even NOFX.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: If I'm being pragmatic, I think I would bring; -a solar generator -a small ampsim plug -a seven string guitar -a soldering iron -an SM57 -a small multitrack recorder These of course are all assuming this is gear I already own, and that cables do not count as accessories.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been studying music since I don't know when, and eventually went to college to study recording. While in college I worked security at a venue catching crowd surfers and worked my way up to becoming a house engineer. I spent a few years doing this for acts of all sizes, and eventually decided to try my hand at technician work for a large scale company (Disney). unfortunately the pandemic hit, and I have been working in AV IT ever since taking on freelance recording/mixing/editing on the side.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I find myself leaning towards more sardonic and sinister soundscapes in my writing. I try to give each of my tracks an almost cynical edge, almost like they're self aware.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I want to work with open minded experimental artists that aren't afraid to give a track some space to breathe and then jump down your throat. I feel like there are some really good rappers out there that would fit well with that kind of mentality.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Low end response is present on so many things you would just assume are "High" end (like cymbals). Put a low cut on the things that you wouldn't normally want any kind of bass frequencies in to clean up the overall low end of a mix. Those small things add up and can lead to a muddy low end if you're not careful.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Usually I work on drop tune metal/hardcore type tracks, but I really like to approach that sort of songwriting with an electronic composers attitude. This allows me to step away from the in your face guitars/vocals to build in some fun soundscapes and transitions that you wouldn't normally find in the genre,
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is my ability to analyze, identify, and eliminate inefficiencies in a system or process. I try my hardest to get the best result over the path of least resistance. Some of the most memorable and recognizable tracks utilize the most straightforward time tested techniques.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I think as far outside the box as I can get, without abandoning standards and practices. I am always looking for new and exciting was to bring track to the next level, even if it takes something completely ridiculous that goes against gut instinct. I will play devils advocate to just even see where a track could be taken.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When first given a track to work on I will listen a few times giving the track my full attention. Once I get a feel for what I have been given I will be sure that the client and I have communicated and mutually understand their desires/needs/improvements for the track. From there, I will always be entirely transparent about what I believe the track may need, and express what I can do to address those needs in timely fashion.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Currently using a home studio setup with a split focus on guitar recordings and electronic song creation. Current DAW of choice is Reaper with Waves, FabFilter, and Isotope suites. See below gear list: Interface: -Tascam 16x08 Monitors: -Presonus Eris E5 XT -ATH AD700x -Various in ears (Current favorite is KZ ZS10 Pros, but I will even do a late stage passthrough of the mix in cheap dollar stores sets to ensure even listening experience across playback experiences). Software: -Huge Terabyte+ library of both free and paid plugin suites. If there is a specific plugin that is requested check with me to see if it is something I already have or can potentially add to my ever expanding library. -Sample packs of all kinds of varying sounds, Feel free to send me more! (I'm a bit of a data hoarder like that) Synth: -Korg Microkorg Guitars: -1987 Fender Stratocaster MIM (SSS- EMG S series), 6 string/Standard tuning -2003 Ibanez Gio GAX70 (HH- Stock Setup), 6 string/Standard tuning -2015 ESP LTD EC-256 (HH- Seymour Duncan Blackout set) 6string/Drop tunings -2017 Jackson JS22-7 (HH- Lundgren Black Heaven set) 7 string/Drop tunings -2020 Agile Intrepid 828 pro (HH- Lundgren Black Heaven set) 8 string/Drop tunings -2010 Ovation Applause AE128 acoustic/electric (internal pickup) 6 string/Standard tuning Basses: -1972 Fender Precision (all original parts), 4 string/Standard tuning -1983 Fender Musicmaster (all original parts), 4 string/Standard tuning -2019 Jackson JS3QV (Stock setup), 5 string/Drop tuning Amps: -Orange MicroDark -Guitar Rig 5 -Neural DSP plugins Drums: -All programmed with Slate drums and TR-808 samples
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I've spent a lot of my time studying and listening across a huge variance of genres trying to pull the tricks/licks/song structures that I think are fun into my own sound signature. At my roots I'm a punk kid that was raised on 90's Third Wave Ska and Pop Punk, but I take a lot of inspiration from the Progressive Metalcore/Deathcore scenes of the 2000s and 2010s. Recently I've been listening to a lot of 80's Japanese Mall Pop. That may not initially sound like it meshes with heavy guitar driven music, but they surprisingly share a lot of fun little quirks and utilize similar techniques that can make a track stand apart from the rest.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: In the past I was mainly a live engineer, but these days I mix and help produce strong energetic tracks for clients.