Brian Hazard

Brian Hazard


Feedback Ratingstar star star star star (4.9 / 5)


Brian Hazard

Title
Mastering Engineer / Recording Artist
Bio
Brian Hazard is the head mastering engineer and owner of Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, California, specializing in electronic music. His Passive Promotion blog emphasizes “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion, along with a healthy dose of mixing advice. Brian is also a recording artist with twenty years of experience promoting his ten Color Theory albums.

My hourly rate looks insanely high, but I routinely spend 15-20 minutes per submission. I offer mix consultation through my mastering company at $110/hour, and typically end up making less than that here.

No hip hop please, unless you're just looking for mix advice. I've mastered plenty over the years, but I'm no authority, and it's not a good fit for my audience.
Website
Expertise
mixing, mix engineer, piano, music production / mastering, music composition
Interests
electronic, pop, synthpop
Location
Huntington Beach, CA

Send to Brian Hazard

help

Recent Feedback

Adrian Alexander submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Staring contest — IT'S ON!

Kidding aside, this is super cool. Your voice is fantastic, and I love the style of the video. Nice use of synth and piano as well.

This may be your first video, but clearly you have experience making great music. Or else you're working with someone who does!

I don't have anything critical to say — the mix, mastering, and arrangement are great. I'm no expert in making videos but I like what I'm seeing!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

I'm happy to share this on Twitter as well, though I don't know how well it'll do among my Depeche Mode loving following.

Keep up the great work!

Brian.

Robert Dugdale submitted media.

Sadie by Rob Dugdale

Brian Hazard

You get right down to business!

The recording feels a little rough, especially the drums. They are sitting pretty far back in the mix, but maybe that's okay. The snare, and to a greater degree the toms, are muddy.

The arrangement leaves little room for the vocal, and in fact I have a hard time making out some of the words, despite the fact that the level is clearly high enough.

The alternate sections (like 1:25) are a breath of fresh air. The hard panned guitars leave room for the vocals and everything is so much clearer!

Unfortunately they jump up in perceived volume due to too much compression in mastering, which isn't ideal. They should feel smaller so there's a bump into the chorus.

I'm not sure how I feel about the strings at 2:09. They feel out of scale, way louder than they would be in a room with the other performers. On the other hand, I can hear it. 😜

The backing vocals don't sound consistently in tune, but there's not much room for them anyway.

Fwiw even if the mix were incredible, this isn't a great fit for my Depeche Mode loving following, so I likely wouldn't share it on Twitter.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along.

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Hope that kinda sorta helps!

Brian.

Will Peake submitted media.

patience by 404 not found

Brian Hazard

You're off to a great start! It reminds me of Beck. I'm not hearing the hip hop, and the only thing "space" or "psychedelic" about it in my mind is the delay on the snare.

Mix-wise it's hard to say too much about what is arguably an experimental track, but the shaker in the right channel is way too loud for my tastes. Same with the second verse pad in the left channel.

I don't know about getting an all-star group together unless you've either got a lot of money, or you've already established yourself through another project. And premieres are totally overrated. But you could try SubmitHub and see if anyone bites!

Overall I like your voice and the vibe, but it feels like half a song. Then again, the trend these days is to keep it short to match our attention spans!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Good luck with the release, and thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

Bryan McNamara submitted media.

Wake Up by SMPL

Brian Hazard

I like the piano tone and the overall melancholy vibe!

The drums seem too loud until the main groove comes in at 1:21, especially the kick. Put another way, the non-drum intro elements could come up to put them in their proper scale.

Not a huge fan of the cowbell. SNL jokes aside.

The sub bass is a bit much both from the kick and bass. The bass could probably come down a dB or two, but I like a lot of low end so I'm not offended by it. 😄

The little synth lead that comes in after the main piano vamp gets lost. Then you go into Ableton Live 4-bar loop syndrome, where a new part. I guess 8 bars. But it just kinda meanders alone until the outro.

Speaking of the outro, there's distortion on piano in right channel at end.

Overall it feels pretty raw. It's obviously unmastered, but I'm not hearing a lot of tonal or dynamic control (EQ & compression) on individual channels. Fortunately you picked a solid piano sample so the foundation is strong!

Bottom line, feels like a demo — the seed of an idea, but not a fully formed piece.

Bryan McNamara submitted media.

Dance Away by SMPL

Brian Hazard

I guess I'm hearing these out of order. Fluence fed me "Wake Up" first.

Bass (detuned 808?) seems a couple dB loud again, but otherwise the mix so far (one minute in) is good. The kick sits out front of the rest of the drums, but that's fine by me. I have a thing for quiet hats/cymbals.

The piano feels distant, almost vaporwave-y. I like it!

So again, this feels like it's all set up in Ableton session view, and you're just firing off the clips at 4 or 8 bar intervals. There are no chord changes or different sections — it's just one loop with different parts muted at different times.

Again, some cool sounds and the seed of what could be an interesting idea, but you haven't taken it anywhere yet.

Bryan McNamara submitted media.

Ambiances by SMPL

Brian Hazard

Alright, third time's a charm, right? 👍🏻

That open hi-hat on the downbeat reminds me of Rihanna "Umbrella".

Love the reverberation around the piano, and the way the drums are pushed to the back. The bass sits nicely in this one.

Timmy 😂

This definitely wins for most interesting chord progression. There's no sense of really moving to a new section, because it all stays close to the tonal center, but it feels a lot less repetitive than the other two.

I was surprised to hear it cut out so quickly when we were just getting started.

I'd say this is the most realized of the three. While it still feels more like a piano doodle than a completed track, there's some sense of forward progression, through the Timmy sample and the arpeggio and then it sits there for a bit, then teeters and falls off a cliff. 😜

The piano chord at 2:25 jumps out of the texture, reminding me that you could definitely use some (more?) compression!

Bottom line, your whole SoundCloud page looks like a production diary or musical dream journal. Either you need a story to tie all those bits together, or you need to start doing the hard work of fleshing those ideas into complete tracks.

Hope that kinda sorta helps! While I don't think anything is ready for sharing yet, I did enjoy spending some Sunday afternoon time with these.

Brian.

submitted media.

Fly in the Ointment by Bart Moore

Brian Hazard

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I like it! If you hadn't included the lyrics, I would've understood about 50% of the words.

I thought the guitar was a little too present from the beginning, but the vocal is even moreso. The overall effect is a bit edgy and fatiguing. The performance is solid though!

Oh hey, it's over 😂. It felt like you were working towards a chorus, but it never arrived.

Going for a second listen, yeah, a little more warmth and a little less shaker would go a long way.

It feels a bit like a novelty song, which I've had said about my songs before in a rather dismissive way, so I'm not sure that helps.

So instead of novelty, it's more like the soundtrack to a movie I haven't seen, with all sorts of specific concrete imagery, which is of course welcome and encouraged — but it leaves me feeling like an outsider who didn't get the joke. Or maybe it's just stream-of-consciousness, and there's nothing to "get."

Anyway, there's a lot to like here, and your originality shines through. It's not a great fit for my Depeche-loving audience, though I appreciate your sharing it with me!

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Perfidia by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

I always have to turn down my speakers for your tracks! As I've mentioned before, the mastering feels way too aggressive for the genre. But now I'm just nagging... 😜

You've got quite a range! And you can roll your r's nicely 💪🏻.

Love the way the arrangement builds, and all those vocal touches are spectacular.

I'm a little confused though — you say all the vocals are yours, but then it says "live performance"? Clearly this isn't live.

Wow, you took it up yet another notch at the end. It sounds positively huge!

Happy to share of course. I hope this is the one that catches on! 🤞🏻

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Love the story intro! Really sets the tone.

The piano sounds warm and the sax sultry. And your voice sounds wonderful, as usual!

The horns and guitar really fill out the arrangement nicely. Talk about a quality cover! You've made it your own.

Sooner or later, one of these videos has to tickle YouTube's algorithm the right way. Maybe this will be the one that gets the attention it deserves!

I'm of course happy to share it. I'll queue it up for tomorrow!

Brian.

Becca Fox submitted media.

Journey Back (Work In Progress) by Gentleman Brawlers

Brian Hazard

More like Gentleman Ballers, amiright? 😂

... sorry.

I'm hearing 70s funk! Except... now that snare is kinda EDM, which takes me to a different place. The vocal still kind of fits the retro Diana Ross thing. Really digging the vocals. And the cool chord progression! Challenging but not overwhelming.

Honestly, I don't listen to music for pleasure much. I blame podcasts. So my references are limited. I'm thinking Jamiroquai meets Daft Punk. It also reminds me of Röyksopp + Robyn. And a little bit of Disney Electrical Parade, Switched on Bach.

Hmm... the arrangement came all the way back around and now I feel like I'm hearing the beginning again. And then a weird coda and we're out. Not so sure about the structure.

Bottom line, I approve! This is sleek and stylish, and doesn't sound quite like anything else I can put my finger on. I look forward to hearing how it all comes together!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Samir Moussa submitted media.

Samir Moussa by Sweet Champagne

Brian Hazard

Wow, this is loud! Especially for the style. I don't know if that's YouTube's fault or if it's just mastered super aggressively.

The song is quite simple. One repeating melody for the verse and another for the chorus. I'm okay with it in the verse, but the repeated chorus line feels repetitive. I do like when the two are superimposed!

The vocal is passable but there are definitely pitch issues, but the bigger issue is the recording. It's a beautiful arrangement, but it feels really overcompressed.

I also appreciate the straightforwardness of the structure. You don't drag anything out or linger too long in any one section (other than perhaps the built-in repetition of the chorus).

In my opinion, the weakest link is the recording. Perhaps next time consider hiring a professional, or if this was mixed and mastered by a professional, find another one! The song and performance are quaint and charming, though I don't know who your audience is or how to reach them. Maybe you can find some appropriate Spotify playlists and pitch to those curators directly.

Regardless, it's not a good fit for my Depeche-loving following, so I'm not apt to share this one. Hopefully my comments offer some helpful guidance for the future.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Pandoras Shadow submitted media.

Friends like these by Pandoras shadow

Brian Hazard

That was fun! I like how the video starts by hinting at a story. The singer has a lot of charisma and character, which serves to hold my interest throughout.

In fact, I thought the singer was just an actress or friend of the band until her vocal came in. I was expected a growly dude, so good on you for defying expectations!

That said, I'm not convinced the Disney-esque pure vocal tone complements the music, which has a boomy room quality that makes it sound like it was recorded in a garage and not a proper studio.

The "nah nah" stuff reminds me of J. Geils. Definitely hooky.

All in all, I'm not sure what to make of this! It's certainly unique, but the video and recording aren't quite up to professional standards.

Regardless, it's not a fit for my Depeche-loving following. I'm not sure what your audience is to be honest! Have you tried ReverbNation Crowd Review or Drooble Reviews Marketplace? Maybe running the song through one or both could help you dial in your targeting.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Oblivion by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Hi Natalie! I can't think Oblivion without thinking Elder Scrolls. You probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Clearly I haven't heard the original.

Lovely strings. Vocal seems quite loud. Something odd happening pitch-wise at 0:40.

Ooh I really like the way this builds, and the blue notes in the melody, which you execute soulfully!

In the melisma at 1:54, it feels like one of those notes should be a half-step higher! Anyhoo...

Wow it's gotten a lot louder by 2:33. The vocal level feels about right now, whereas up to this point it was clearly too high. I know I have to automate the level, and even the compressor threshold, to rise and fall with the rest of the arrangement.

Really beautiful singing at the climax!

I'll definitely share this! Right now in fact...

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Such a spacious mix! I love how the guitar makes it feel so wide. The tambourine is about 10 dB too loud for my tastes though, and overwhelms my ears.

Impressed as always with your vocal performance, and the songwriting. The feel-good vibe is contagious. I bet you had a lot of fun hanging at the beach for a day to film the video!

Wow, I thought it was going to go for another 30 seconds at least. You could've stretched out the ending with some ad libs, but I guess I'll survive. 😜

Happy to share it on Twitter! Thanks as always for sharing it with me.

submitted media.

Brian Hazard

That voice! 👍🏻

Fantastic vocal performance! Wow.

That said, the vocals are way too loud in the mix. All of them, not just the lead. I can barely hear the bass. It's really pronounced when the vocal drops out and returns at 1:35.

I suspect you could do a lot more with the arrangement. It feels super truncated. The overall vibe is like a Calvin Harris or David Guetta vocal feature, but the music is totally shortchanged to highlight the vocal, which I don't think you can get away with in pop EDM.

So it's not quite shareworthy for me at this point, but it's got a ton of potential! I'd focus on making a musical bed that's strong enough to stand on it's own, and then insert the vocal about 3 dB lower and compare to similar mixes. Maybe Zedd would also be a good reference.

Hope that helps! I really like what you're doing.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

submitted media.

Unreliable by Asymmetrical

Brian Hazard

Super catchy! Love the distinctive vocal style, and the guitar hook (especially over the moving bassline in the second verse).

I mostly listen to electronic, but to my ears, this falls somewhere between Smashing Pumpkins and Jimmy Eat World.

Great structure! It backs off right when it needs to and builds right back up.

Technically, I've got nothing. The mix and master sound as fantastic as they could through YouTube's encoding.

Oh hey, there's a click at 2:12. 🤔

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Even though it's not a perfect fit for my Depeche-loving following, it's got enough of a retro feel that I think we'll get some traction. I'll go ahead and share it! Thanks for sharing it with me.

Kat submitted media.

Serendipity by Kat

Brian Hazard

Hope you had a great Christmas Kat!

Great vibe and sultry vocals! Reminds me of Fiona Apple.

That little guitar break really does sound like infinity, and I particularly like the otherworldly backing vocals in the following verse.

Thanks for including the lyrics! I definitely wouldn't have decoded some of the words (like "ridiculous") but I love the stylings even if they affect intelligibility.

Mix-wise, the vocal feels just a bit too up front, but it's always hard to judge through SoundCloud's encoding. It's a pretty sparse arrangement to begin with.

I'm happy to share this with my followers on Twitter, and I think I'll use your description because it really sums things up nicely! Thanks for sharing it with me.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

The Christmas Song by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Man, Desmond can get up there! You two sound great together. I wish he were a little louder in some of the harmonies, especially in the coda.

I've spent the past few hours reviewing different sampled pianos, and this isn't one of the better ones, but once it's in the mix it sounds great, especially with the brushes from the drums to conceal the details.

I wonder if Desmond's spoken intro for you could be a dealbreaker in some contexts. It's certainly cringeworthy from my kids perspective - I can say that for sure! I thought it was kind of cute, but maybe a bit too out front.

Anyway, despite my distaste for Christmas music in general, you've done a wonderful job here, and I'm happy to share it!

Brian.

Jared Simmons submitted media.

Daydream by Vipid

Brian Hazard

Your ocean sounds suspiciously like tape hiss Jared! 😜

This is really nice and chill. I especially like the way you integrated the bass and guitar into the mix. It doesn't build much or have a clear sense of destination, but I guess that's part of why it feels so relaxed. It feels like the sort of arrangement you could trigger entirely from session view in Ableton Live.

I don't have any complaints or constructive criticism about the mix or mastering. It's all pretty straightforward and works well to my ears! As best one can tell through SoundCloud's encoding anyway. MAYBE the snare feels a touch up front.

Alright, two listens through and I don't have much else to say! I'm happy to share it with my followers on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.



G P submitted media.

Brian Hazard

The video got off to a rocky start, but... 😂

The violin is wonderful and provides some much needed character to an otherwise bland arrangement. That said, it can't save the song from feeling repetitive. It's just three chords, the same melodic line over and over, and no real chorus or build to anything. It starts as it ends, and doesn't really go anywhere in between.

The vocal quality is mostly fine, but it feels a bit pushed, occasionally resulting in pitch problems - especially the trailing note of the phrase, which doesn't always work with the chord even when it's in tune.

The lyrics are vague and unspecific. You might argue that they're universal, but it doesn't feel like we're talking about real people here. Specific details and concrete imagery would go a long way towards an emotional connection with the listener. Even just some sensory details (cold sweat, sound of laughter, fading darkness, grinding of stone, etc).

I totally thought the rocks said "elfin" at the end, as in "of elves." And then I realized it was "el fin." Doh!

So I don't think it's quite at the level it would need to be for a share, but I do appreciate your sharing it with me! Hopefully you find the feedback helpful for your next song.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (it would be nice to have them all in one place)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Brian.

submitted media.

Tell Me by Haywyre

Brian Hazard

First off, I'm super jealous you're on AWAL! They turned me down. Bastards. 😜

Always a treat to see someone who can actually play! And who can use extended harmony fluidly. I'm guessing this is your actual live setup.

I love everything about this, especially the piano solo! This is going to make me sound super old, but it reminds me of Joe Jackson in the 80s.

Slick production, great groove, and the vocals are soooo funky.

I'm scratching my head to come up with something productive to say, but I'm at a loss. You've earned a new fan!

I'm happy to share it with my following on Twitter. In fact, I'll do it right now. Thanks for sharing it with me! I'm excited to hear what's next.

Brian.

Suniel Fox submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Perfectly melancholy. The brass is spectacular!

The opening verse vocals feel a touch dry, maybe a little loud, and there were a couple spots where I felt uncomfortable with the intonation. Once it hits the chorus, it's great.

When the groove comes in, it doesn't feel quite as heavy as it should. Definitely part of my issue is that the high-frequency point on the kick is way too pronounced. Also, the kick feels too loud relative to the snare. Maybe they could meet in the middle.

The second verse vocals are wet enough, but there are still minor pitch problems. And a major one at "remind." It's 90% there but doesn't quite sound pro.

Yeah, the drop at 4:00 again doesn't satisfy the way I think it should. The drums just don't settle back into the mix. I'm looking for a deeper kick, a meatier snare, and less brash hats — a little more sophistication.

Suggestions aside, it's a great track and I'd be happy to share it when the time comes! Feel free to email me at colortheory@colortheory.com when you have a link I can share. 

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Keep up the great work!

Brian.

submitted media.

Thinly Veiled by Soundxscape

Brian Hazard

I'm not sure what the genre is either! Trip hop? Synthwave? Lofi hip hop?

It's a nice little groove for sure, though it feels a little too loose. It's like the shuffle is uneven to the point of being almost random at times. I love that it doesn't feel overly quantized, but a little tighter would be an improvement IMHO.

I'm wondering why your SoundCloud tracks are titled session 1 and session 2. To me, it makes it sound like they may be demos, and people may feel less inclined to listen to demos.

The bass is borderline too loud but otherwise the mix is fine. Nothing in the mastering stands out to me, which is probably a good thing.

As for the composition itself, it's just a four-bar loop without much sense of build. It just kind of rolls along. But hey, you tagged it ambient — that works.

It's a tough sell, but I'll go ahead and share it with my following on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

submitted media.

Party Life on Maui by Gera El Ruso - Kosmos Studios Maui

Brian Hazard

Hey Gera!

I can totally relate to what you're saying about obscurity versus your desire to promote, but there's no way around it — you have to promote! A good benchmark is splitting your time 50/50 between creation and promotion. There's no reason you can't apply the same creativity you exhibit in your music, to your promotional efforts. Have fun with it! (okay it's not always fun, but it can be sometimes)

You may or may not have seen I have a music promotion blog devoted to "set it and forget it" promotion: http://passivepromotion.com. There are plenty of things you can try there for less than the cost of the latest UAD plugin. 😜

While I don't like to think of competing against other musicians, we're all at least competing for peoples' attention against other forms of media.

As for the song, it's passable but I personally think the singing is a net negative (sorry!). You've got the production chops, so why not collaborate with a talented vocalist who can bring their audience along for the ride? You can start with relatively unknown singers and work your way up. Just be sure not to Autotune them like that! But seriously, you have to have a good ear and some Melodyne skills to make a vocal work while still sounding natural. That's an art unto itself.

On the songwriting front, I wasn't really clear what the song was about, but it didn't seem like the topic was party life. That struck me as a semi-sarcastic comment about your own struggles. Why are your ears popping btw? That doesn't sound healthy! Be sure to monitor at 85 dB SPL and take lots of breaks! 👍🏻

The genre was unclear to me as well. If you can find a dedicated niche, and others making music within that niche, you'll have at least a small built-in audience.

This isn't quite up to the level where I feel comfortable sharing it with my followers, but close! 

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Thanks for sharing it with me, and good luck!

Jody Booth submitted media.

Lonesome On'ry And Mean by Jody Booth

Brian Hazard

You have a magnificent voice Jody! Country really isn't my thing, but I can still appreciate a great performance.

The bands sounds tight and the violin really fills out the arrangement nicely. Clearly you put on a great show!

You didn't ask for help promoting your submission, which is probably for the best in this case. As good as it is, it's not a good fit for my Depeche Mode loving following. I mostly work with electronic music.

I'm not sure what specific feedback I can offer beyond admiring the performance. The video is what it is, a shot from the audience. The song is great of course, which is why you chose to cover it, so I can't give any songwriting advice. The mix is pretty good for a live show, but again, out of your control.

So I guess all I can say is, keep up the good work!

Brian.

ashley smith submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Great artwork! And the track is doing stellar on SoundCloud! 🎉

How did you get 32K spins on this one, but only 242 on your previous release? 

I'm getting a "I Keep Forgettin" vibe, with a hint of "Africa". In the synthwave scene, it reminds me of Duett.

You were worried that you were doing Fluence wrong, but this is great. Some people just write "new single" and don't provide any guidance or idea of where they're coming from.

The vocal samples are fantastic! And the horns. Wow, many moods here! Maybe too many ideas for one track? I dunno.

I don't really hear the telephone connection musically, but it's an interesting title.

All in all, a really chill groove and great mood piece. I didn't catch any really strong hooks, and couldn't sing the melody back to you, but that doesn't necessarily bother me!

I do wonder if the track would do better if you cut out about 20% of the musical ideas, and length, to form something a little tighter and more cohesive, with a clear structure. A radio edit perhaps? 🤔

Regardless, I'm happy to share this. I hope it gets you a few more well-deserved plays!

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Someone to Watch over Me by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Lovely artwork again!

The pitch correction jumps out at me on the fifth note. Maybe it's because I've been doing a lot of vocal editing lately! It's tough when the vocal is so exposed.

Ooh, those strings are wonderful. Love the direction this is taking!

I know I say this a lot, but the mastering strikes me as really aggressive, especially for the genre. The dynamics feel overly constrained, with the "quiet" parts feeling too loud and the "huge" parts feeling reined in.

The exception is the ending, which works as-is. It makes me lean in just a little bit. Good stuff.

Happy to share it! Keep 'em coming Natalie! 👍🏻

Brian.

Taha submitted media.

Upside Down by T-Nugg the Phoenix

Brian Hazard

Sounds kinda familiar! 😂

Mastering is super aggressive! I had to turn it down quite a bit. More importantly, the "quiet" sections sound as loud or louder than the "loud" sections.

I'm having a hard time understanding the words, I think because the synth pad is so heavy in the low mids. If you cleared some room around 200 Hz, the vocals would be more intelligible.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along.

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

I'll go ahead and share this because of the Stranger Things connection! Thanks for sharing it with me.

fran lebowitz submitted media.

On He Goes by Huxley Rittman

Brian Hazard

"Paul Simony" is pretty on the mark! It actually reminds me a bit of a band I liked in the 80s called The Housemartins. But maybe my memory is off.

The mix is solid, and the arrangement builds throughout to hold my interest. Your voice is charming and inviting.

The song is nice too, though I'm not really hearing a clear hook.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

It's not a particularly good fit for my electronic music loving audience, but I'll go ahead and share it on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

Juliet Varnedoe submitted media.

Juliet Varnedoe Jazz Band by Juliet Varnedoe

Brian Hazard

Your voice is lovely Juliet! The recording and performances are all great.

As for the video, I think the actual performance footage is the strong point. The house footage with the old school film effect, not as much. I'm getting a strong Mary Poppins vibe. The video sync is clearly off in the entire section starting at 0.48.

I don't have much insight into promoting straight ahead jazz. I will say that it's important you really grab the viewer in the first 15 seconds of the video, which I don't suspect is happening in most cases.

Fwiw I never make "real" music videos because I know they will be amateur. I just don't have the budget or experience to compete with the big boys in that arena. Instead, I put static cover art on YouTube with the audio, and over time they rack up thousands of views.

My audience is mostly electronic music fans, so this definitely isn't a good fit for my social media following. Sorry I can't do more to help!

Bottom line, I think everything is there musically, but you need a hook or story to get any traction out there. Why this song? Why now? What makes your performance so unique? Think like a publicist - how would he or she pitch this to the press?

Goetz Oestlind submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Lovely and impassioned! It's been awhile since I was immersed in classical music, but parts remind me of my favorite composer, Brahms.

Your Instagram link didn't work for me, but your website is wonderful. My fans have asked me for sheet music many times over the years, so I wanted to see how you do it — very well!

This isn't the type of thing I normally share, and not a perfect fit for my electronic music loving audience, but with my piano background, I think I can get away with it. Thanks for sharing it with me!

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Steps by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Wow, it's mastered really loud for a ballad! Let's see if the bigger sections remain unscathed...

Eh, no. They're pretty scathed, unnecessarily so. This is louder than most dance tracks! The big sections sound contained, when they could sound expansive with a couple more dB of dynamic range.

Enough about the mastering though. I really like the song, and your voice!

I'm not sure what the soundtrack twist is. My initial thought was that it sounded like a musical!

I was expecting a more drawn out arrangement, but I can appreciate that it doesn't overstay its welcome.

Congratulations on a fantastic track! It should have really broad appeal, unlike some of your more targeted recent efforts. I'm happy to share it, though I don't have anything particularly snappy to say about it. So...

And here's a couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions (pretty sure I've mentioned these before):

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Thanks Natalie!

Michael Schwartz submitted media.

DOWNHILL by The Tale

Brian Hazard

Sorry for the delay! I'm just wrapping up an album, hoping to start taking pre-orders tomorrow.

I'm getting a Clash vibe? Gang of Four? I'm mostly an electronic guy.

The mix is pretty raw, which is okay for the genre. Balances are pretty much there. The fill at 1:00 had me listening multiple times. At first I thought it was missing a 32nd note, but it just starts rushed. I guess? There are a few spots where the performance feels a little less tight than I'd prefer (like the fill at 2:36). 

Vocally there are pitch issues, which again you can mostly get away with, but a few questionable notes up front could be disqualifying for some listeners ("down" in "downhill" goes pretty sharp, for example).

I like the lyrics! I'm surprised you get so much mileage out of so few words. "You agree to my surprise" is just great.

To me, this sounds like the kind of thing a band comes up with in a jam session. There's a cool groove and it just kind of repeats. Sure, there's a chorus, but it doesn't feel that different from the rest, and there's no real hook to sink your teeth in. I've just heard it three times, and if someone asked me to sing it back, I couldn't.

So maybe not a "hit single," but a cool track nonetheless. Regardless, it's not really something I can push out to my Depeche-loving following.

Hope that's helpful! I appreciate your sharing it with me! -Brian.

Mr Jack submitted media.

Ambition by Mr Jack

Brian Hazard

Sorry it's taken me so long! Just wrapping up an album and I'm hoping to launch pre-orders tomorrow.

I'm getting a hip hop/country Santana vibe 😜. Not very helpful, huh? But it's definitely a unique blend of styles, which I believe works in your favor.

With that in mind, you can probably get away with pitching to several different genres and see which one(s) stick. Maybe on SubmitHub and/or directly to playlist curators on Spotify.

The lyrics are pretty indirect and seem to promise a message that you never deliver, but you've got some great lines like "Kicked you in the Monday". With the song ending so soon, it feels like you're missing the chorus altogether.

Production-wise, the mix is mostly balanced, though the bass and snare are a bit too out front. The vocal sounds completely raw, and there are minor pitch problems. Unfortunately, some are right off the bat and may disqualify the track within seconds for a large percentage of listeners.

You could definitely benefit from professional mastering, but the vocal tone and levels need to be addressed first. There's too much low mids in most of the vocal tones, and I'm not hearing much if any compression.

There's definitely a lot of potential here! It's just a matter of carving out your niche and developing your production skills a bit more. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Mike Chung submitted media.

Lion At Rico by SUNSLINGER

Brian Hazard

So sorry to keep you waiting! I've been wrapping up an album, and finally stopped to catch my breath.

The intro reminds me of "Poker Face" - ha!

Okay, sorry again. 😜

Thanks so much for including the lyrics! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have understood some of them.

The main pulsing pad is a little too warm and dynamic, and the vocal could be more controlled, but you have a very distinctive voice! It's hard to place the accent.

I also really enjoy the lyrics. They don't make a ton of sense literally but the emotion carries through.

I'm hearing synthpop, but not so much the drummer influence, other than the trap-ish hats I suppose. I was expecting something more... virtuosic?

Overall the mix feels a bit rough, and as I mentioned before, warm (i.e. muddy). But that rawness is a virtue to some I suppose.

I'm happy to share this! You mentioned release dates in your description, but I guess you got impatient because the EP is already on Spotify. Hopefully we can get you a few more listens!

Thanks for sharing this with me, and sorry again about the delay! Usually I get it done within a few days.

Brian.

Wai Lana submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Let me start by saying I'm happy to share this! It's a really fun video and noteworthy for several reasons. And of course a great message.

That said, the production and songwriting, and even the mix, are sort of... campy? Cheesy? The vocal is very loud in the mix and your accent is endearing, but sometimes it's hard to understand the words.

The choreography is fun, and again, sort of funny.

All I'm saying is I really like it! But maybe not always for the reasons intended.

But I will definitely share it and I think others will enjoy it too. Your message certainly shines through regardless, and it might not in a more polished package.

Thank you for sharing it with me!

Will Peake submitted media.

The Cutting Room Floor by Will Peake

Brian Hazard

Nice to meet you Will!

My first thought, as a mastering engineer, is that this doesn't sound mastered! I like dynamics as much as the next guy, but it's about 6 dB quieter than most stuff you'll hear on SoundCloud.

By the way, what is SoundCloud style production? 🤔

I like the bass-heavy arrangement and can hear the various stylistic influences you cite. You've got a distinctive sound!

Oh wow, that ended before I thought it would. Okay, second spin.

Vocal-wise, the second note is super sharp so right off the bat your singing ability is called into question. After that it's actually mostly on, but not exactly tight. The vocals could use more compression IMHO to keep them from falling too far under the mix.

I don't think this one is quite ready to share yet, but I like where you're going with it! Thanks for sharing it with me.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

William Kolter submitted media.

Bull Gator by The Electric Mud

Brian Hazard

You guys sound great, and I love the video! It really captures the energy of the performance and would be a great vehicle to book gigs.

The song itself doesn't do a whole lot for me, but I don't listen to a lot of rock or blues. Choruses that just sit on one note and repeat aren't my thing. I do like the tempo change in the outro though!

Mixing/mastering sounds solid. What I'm missing is a story, or even simply biographical info. You haven't answered the toughest question, which is why should anyone click through and listen to this?

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

I'll go ahead and check out your other submission and share one of them, though I'm not sure we'll see a whole lot of action without an elevator pitch!

Brian.

William Kolter submitted media.

J Train by The Electric Mud

Brian Hazard

Ah, here we go: Black Sabbath meets Allman Brothers. I can use that to share the other track, which I think will go over better because the video is great.

This one sounds great too, but again it sort of sits on one groove for most of the time. There's some movement in the middle (chorus?) but no real hook, lyrically or melodically, that I can detect.

So bottom line, great performances, great performers, amazing singer! The songs themselves seem to me to be the primary grounds for improvement. These wouldn't hold up at all in an acoustic setting, just piano or guitar and voice. Even a synth-head like myself can fall in love with guitar stuff if the melodies are strong enough (I listened to quite a bit of Metallica in their heyday).

Hope that kinda sorta helps for the future! For now, I'll share Bull Gator on Twitter and cross my fingers that we get some traction!

Brian.

David DeRose submitted media.

Challenge by David DeRose

Brian Hazard

Glad you're back! I love the visuals here and the new name.

Cool vocoder action! You've really crafted yourself a unique and tasty sound here. It's like a darker Owl City. 😜

I can't really help with Spotify, as my only playlist is synthwave-based. I'm guessing you've tried pitching on SubmitHub? That's always my first stop. And you can try to find playlisters individually. And then there are services like Playlist Push. I cover them all on my blog: http://passivepromotion.com

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

I'll go ahead and share it on Twitter, though I'm not sure I can come up with hooky elevator pitch. I guess the darker Owl City comment is enough to incite some curiosity.

I really love what you're doing here, and look forward to more! We're really similar in our piano backgrounds. I know I tend to underutilize the piano, and maybe you're coming at this from the opposite direction.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Gracias A La Vida by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

So sorry for the delay Natalie! I was on vacation, then came down with a nasty stomach bug.

I love the dry immediacy of your voice here, and again your Spanish is beautiful (to me, who can understand maybe half the words).

The arrangement is wonderful, and the pacing is great. Really, no complaints on a technical level. I suppose it's mastered a little aggressively for the style, but that can be forgiven. And it's hard to tell through SoundCloud.

Again, it's really tough for me to pitch this without an angle or hook. I'll make an exception and try tweeting it out since it's you and all, but I'm not optimistic that it'll do well.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Remedios by Natalie Bancroft 4 Manouche

Brian Hazard

Your Spanish sounds great to me!

You didn't mix it, but the solo vocal feels really forward in the mix, like a musical. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it leaves a hole in the instrumental and "la la li la li" sections.

I'm really impressed with this, but I don't think my sharing it would do you any good. To me and 99% of of my followers, it's "collaboration with <unknown>, mixed by <unknown> and <unknown>. I don't know who they are, why you collaborated, what the lyrics mean, what the song is about, or anything meaningful that might get people to click through and listen.

I mean, a lot of your stuff is a tough sell for my audience, but usually I can come up with a hook of some sort (like that gorgeous artwork).

And believe me, I know how tough it is to come up with a "why" for a song. Honestly, I kind of hate it. But if I can't be bothered to explain why I created something, why should people bother to listen to it? I'm struggling but like to think I'm getting better.

Regardless, I'm always impressed with your voice, and the range of projects you take on!

Ricardo Temporao submitted media.

THE NOTHING HERE LYRIC VIDEO by BRUTUS BEGINS

Brian Hazard

I really like these lyrics! I'm guessing that like me, you care more about how the words make you feel, than what they mean. The first two lines kinda give it away, since smoke doesn't have a mouth and all... 😅

Really cool video too. It's got a slick retro vibe with the aerobics and synth bass, but it's not just cheesy nostalgia.

Vocals are distinctively lovely as well, particularly in the chorus. They just want to float away into the ether (like smoke? 😩)

Anyway, I really like everything about this and am happy to share it with my following on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Next time it would help if you could include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Micah Elloh submitted media.

GIVE ME MORE - Single by Micah Elloh

Brian Hazard

Congratulations on your first release Micah!

Love your voice. The Melodyne/autotune stands out in spots but I don't think that's inappropriate for the style. The background high lines toward the end are particularly wonderful.

This is mastered really aggressively! Don't get me wrong — it's totally pro, but it would be safe to pull it back a dB or two and you'll still at least as loud as everything else. Anything more than -9 LUFS is overkill IMHO. Not that it necessarily sounds bad, but I think a little more openness in the sound would be a good thing.

Anyway, that's a done deal but the first thing I noticed as a mastering engineer!

As for the song, super catchy! The harmonies, builds, and overall energy flow really well. 

I'm happy to share it with my followers, and appreciate your sharing it with me! I'm going to go ahead and share SoundCloud through Twitter, because I know from experience that if I share your link, very few people will click through. At least with SoundCloud we'll get some plays, and people can click through to your profile to learn more.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Xavier submitted media.

All The Times by X A V I E R

Brian Hazard

You have a lovely voice, and I think it's a nice song, but I could tell in the first 10 seconds that the recording quality would be a dealbreaker.

I haven't heard this level of squash in years. It's hypercompressed more than an LA radio station, to the point where it sounds like a mistake. I mean, you can hear the mix duck under the vocal like a car dealership voiceover, and the in-your-face cymbals suggest hearing loss.

I'm not kidding — I had to double-check playing back another source to make sure something wasn't messed up in my monitoring chain.

I can't comment on the underlying mix, because I can't hear it. But it sounds like you have a network to hook up with a professional mastering engineer that you can trust. Get him or her a clean mixdown with no processing on the master bus, and go from there.

In case I didn't state it clearly enough, you're shooting yourself in the foot with your self-mastering. The recording is nowhere close to professional standards. This is a "do not pass go, do not collect $200" issue.

Sorry to be so brutally honest, but you're a pro, and hopefully that's what you want from me. Feel free to run the song by me again once the kinks are worked out!

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Mine by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

I absolutely love the artwork! It suits the music too. The piano and vocal effects have an underwater feel. Or maybe that's because I saw the artwork first. 😅

Other than switching back and forth from major to minor on a dime, it doesn't seem particularly experimental. Which is fine, of course! That's just to say it feels accessible to me.

This isn't helpful, but the lyric and artwork call to mind Ursula from The Little Mermaid. A much better looking Ursula! 😂

Wow, this sure is mastered aggressively for the style! But the mix holds up okay under the pressure. Love the sudden ending.

Great job on this! I'm happy to share it. I wish we had a witty elevator pitch for social media, but I'll try to think of something...

submitted media.

On The Sun (Demo) by LamoSic

Brian Hazard

Thanks for sending this my way! When I saw "demo" I figured you just wanted mix advice. But then you say it's going into distribution. 🤔

I like the vocals and lyrics, and the performance (especially the drums), but the arrangement feels really repetitive, like hip hop over the same four-bar loop.

Production-wise, the whole mix feels way overcompressed and bass-heavy. The bass, kick, and to a lesser degree, snare, are all really loud relative to the single guitar, which feels lonely and unbalanced out in left field (literally 😂).

So I guess it really does sound like a demo. A promising one, but not ready for public consumption IMHO. At the very, very least you should lay down another take of the guitar and pan it opposite. That'll go a long way to thickening up your sound.

I'm not sure this is a great fit for my electronic-loving audience, but at this point I can't share it regardless. I don't know if you've seen my music promotion blog (http://passivepromotion.com), but I suggest trying Crowd Review to get a feel for what others think.

Honestly I think you'd be best of cancelling the release, and then releasing a track at a time, course-correcting as you go. If you release this as-is, it's not going to get listened to, and you won't have a compelling story to get people to listen in the first place. At least with a single song, you can give a little backstory, build and email list, and figure out what works.

I doubt you'll do that, but for what it's worth, that's my honest-to-goodness best advice for you.