Let's get your music to the next step! I work hard to give each song the right amount of depth, clarity, and punch.
I work with clients to take studio, home, and live recordings to the next level.
I've been making music with indie, rock, country, and americana artists in Nashville for over 10 years. I'm fortunate that the groups I've tracked or mixed are always looking to build their own unique sounds. Some projects record with bandmates live in the studio and some artists track each instrument individually in their home studio. Regardless of how the music was recorded I'm going to make sure that the excitement and energy of your songs will stand out.
I'm easy to communicate with and believe that working with the mix & mastering engineer should be just as fun for the artist as it is to write and record your songs!
If you have any questions or want a quote.. reach out anytime, I look forward to hearing from you.
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32 Reviews - 7 Repeat ClientsEndorse SunLion Sound
Another live acoustic performance perfectly mixed and mastered. Kept the grit of the original performance and adapted it to the sound color of an album! Super quick too!
Mix and master for a live acoustic performance track that we wanted to put in our album as an interlude. And John nailed it perfectly. He kept the live acoustic vibe and original grit and made it releasable, clean. He even enhanced it.
One more done perfectly!
Can’t wait to finish the rest of our debut album (Likelybirds) with John!
Another song, another style - yet John managed again to get the song where we wanted.
Dedicated, patient, pedagogue, skilled...
John is patient and does everything he can to reach my vision of the song - while providing learnings about mixing and recording.
Can't wait to do the rest of our album with him!
We've gone back to work with JM as he's been incredibly helpful and thoughtful with his mixing of our song. I continue to recommend him for mixing and mastering for client with needs for improving their mix quality with excellent support.
Great work with the track and a delightful first experience working with SunLion Sound. Would work with him again!
Once again, great mix. John put the song where we wanted.
This song was different from the first two, and he still manage to do a great mix.
Just like the first time: great mix and master, great working process with John, lot of advices and learnings, lot of heart in his work. True professionnal.
People keep telling me my mix are great, and it's thanks to John!
Always a pleasure to work with great professionals.
Thanks so much
Top level production once again. Thank you so.much.
Great mix/master engineer. Great human being.
John mixed and mastered our first single. And it's perfect. He brought our song exactly where we wanted.
Communication were perfect. He took time to understand what I wanted, he's very patient.
He also provided me with a lot of knowledge.
Thank you again! I will make my whole album mix and master by John!
Top level mixing and top level person as well. If you want a great mix then look no further. I'll be back many times more.
An exceptionally talented mix engineer. He delivered on every level and I will be back many times more.
Thanks so much
This is the second song we have mixed with John; As per the first song. John took all our recommendations and did his magic to land a great mix. Super professional, reliable, knowable, and top communication!
Turnaround time is quick, Great communication, couldn't ask for a better guy to work with.
John mixed and mastered our first single, and he brought it to another level! He is talented, professional, communicative, and patient. He put the time and effort into making a great mix, and we really appreciate that as a band. Will definitely work with him again.
I came back to John Michael almost a year after he'd finished a song for me and he was quickly able to pull up the old project and make some edits for me. Looking forward to working with him again!
John Michael did a great job interpreting my notes and quickly got a mix back to me which was more than worth the money. I'll definitely be working with him again!
Interview with SunLion Sound
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm mostly doing mixing/mastering these days but one project I'm proud of was at a studio called the Castle, which is just south of Nashville. I got to have a creative engineering role with a friend's band that focused on the guitar sounds of the record. I brought my equipment and was able to help select the guitar, pedals, cab, mic, etc. for most of the tunes. The band recorded all together but with the drums in a separate room. I was in control of the pedalboard in realtime during the performance, adjusting the settings of the overdrive, tremolo, delay, and reverb during the songs.. sometimes to wild affect. While doing something unusually bizarre mid-take I'd often glance up into the control room to see smiling and two thumbs up from my friend producing. When ended up with several layers of guitar, not all of which made it onto the record but during mixing there were plenty of inspired options to choose from. It was fun because I was able to specilize my skills and I like creative approaches to recording and mixing that feel like practical innovation.. rather than trying to reinvent the wheel just to do something unique.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, why not!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: In addition to mixing and mastering I'm trying out some new software for mixing/mastering. One of my goals is to be fluent in at least three DAWs since there are strengths and weaknesses to all of them when it comes to workflow, genre, mixing vs mastering.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Duncan at The Voltage Exchange is an excellent Mastering Engineer. Plenty of clients like to have their work mixed and mastered separately and Duncan has reliably provided great masters for clients I've worked with.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: If you have a vision for your music I can help your song get to where it needs to be.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like helping a song translate.. if a song is happy, sad, angry, or beat driven I want to create a mix/master that translates that emotion 100% with listeners.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The question I get the most is, "what is your vision for this song?" My answer always depends on a few things.. how happy is the artist with the rough mix? If the song is 90% ready to go then I primarily just need to enhance what's there but if the mix is just 75% ready then there's more opportunity to be creative and experiment. The second approach requires a great deal of trust and collaboration with the band. They have to trust that you'll be willing to dial things up a few more notches or bring it back down when things have gone a little too far.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Hmmm... the biggest misconception is that more gear equals better results. I've slimmed down my approach so that I'm faster and more focused.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started as a guitar player in a band and I've been doing this since 2007.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I've been fortunate to record in some of the best studios in town and yes.. I love all the vintage gear, who doesn't? With that said I am now mostly in the box these days. It's a hybrid setup which is clean, efficient, and gear that helps bring out great vibes. When I get in the zone I can move pretty fast and creativity can fade when you have too many options. With that said I still do plenty of reamping when a track needs an extra quality or texture.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I've always been inspired by the production and textures of Dave Fridman (Tame Impala, MGMT, Flaming Lips). He helps the artist he works with to capture a depth and weight to their songs while maintaining a colorful, almost psychedelic midrange. The other guy I follow closely is Andrew Scheps. As a mix engineer his techniques are incredibly modern but come from a deep experience of analog equipment. His way of parallel processing and the "all in the box" approach to mixing has been educational to say the least. Both Dave and Andrew bring a creativity to their craft that is consistent in that it is always evolving and maintains an out-of-left-field method. Of course both of these guys knew the mold before deciding to break it in specific ways. Some engineers excel in the creativity of their approach but lack on the side of practicality, these two are examples of professionals that have managed to achieve both.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are your goals? Where do you want this material to be heard.. streaming, radio, cd? Of the songs you're sending over which one is your favorite? Are you relatively happy with the rough mixes or do the songs still need some work to be fully developed? What artists or bands have a sound that inspire you and this record?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Work with me and I'll give you my undivided attention in achieving the sound you're after.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My short-list of equipment would include my iMac, UAD octo, hard drive, speakers, and roland space echo.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Inspired.. I go to bed thinking about music and I wake up with whatever song I was working on last stuck in my head.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Build from the bottom up. Nine times out of ten I'll start with the drums but some songs have a vocal track that calls out to me in a way that needs to be mixed first so that everything else fits around it cohesively.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Spoon or a band like the Strokes would be amazing to work with. Tones and textures are just as important to the finished product as the lyrics and story. Any band that can get my imagination going sonically and lyrically has me hooked.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't track your songs too hot! If the files I get are overcooked and clipping when it comes to me it requires a more creative approach to getting a good finished product. Other than that I tell people to take chances and go for the sound you're looking for on the way in.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: My experience has mostly been with the rock & americana genres here in Nashville. There's a style of music that bridges that gap that could be all electric or all acoustic.. but usually somewhere in between. It's not unusual here to see a song with a traditional rock lineup (guitar, bass, drums, vocal) and the next track on an album has piano and acoustic guitar.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Home studio recordings for bands that are looking to get their songs on the radio or be pitched to label.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Getting energy and immediacy of songs to translate.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Clarity. When I listen to the demo of a song I'm taking notes on what I want the finished product to sound like.