Sound engineer and production manager Brandon Blackwell – who has toured with the likes of Lizzo, A$AP Rocky, Camila Cabello and more – reveals how he got his first big break in live sound, his approach when it comes to mixing vocals, and why he doesn’t leave the house without his JH Audio Jolenes.
Over the last few months, Blackwell has been tremendously busy freelancing for audio giants Clair Global and Eighth Day Sound, yet this didn’t stop Headliner prising him away from his mixing desk for a chat over Zoom recently…
“It’s a blessing to be honest,” Blackwell says of his recent activity. “I toured relentlessly for seven years, and then considered whether I wanted to go back out on the road ever again.
"But just one gig made me realise I couldn’t let it go. The pandemic made me re-fall in love with my career, and has probably made me take it more seriously.”
Since completing his studies at Full Sail University in Florida, Blackwell has grabbed every opportunity by the horns; some of his early gigs saw him working on shows for the likes of Ne-Yo and TLC.
And when it comes to mixing – at front of house for example – the main core of his mix is based off of the original record, “because that’s what fans know,” he shares. “My approach to mixing is that the record is the cake. The live elements are the icing, and then I just slot the vocals in there somewhere as decoration – not too loud, not too crazy.