Interview with Marc McClusky
Marc McClusky is a multi-platinum award-winning producer and mix engineer, known for his work with bands and artists including Motion City Soundtrack, Weezer, Letlive, Bad Religion, Lude, Everclear and many more.
How and when did you get started?
I was into music at a very young age. I started writing my own music when I was around 13. I wanted to hear that music so I started putting a boom box in the garage where my band practised to record us. I would move it around the room until I was capturing a good balance of the band. That taught me a lot about how much the right "mic" placement and the right performance matter more than anything else.
What have you been working on lately (that you can divulge)?
I just finished up an EP for a band called Milk who are fucking rad! I also just finished mixing Justin from Motion City Soundtrack new solo album. It has a very very cool 90's vibe to it. We are very proud of the sound of that record.
If you were the age that you originally started today, and you had to start again from scratch, how would you approach things?
I wouldn't change a thing. Recording is a bit too easy today and younger people don't really know how to do it properly. I feel like if you take away all the samples and VI's there would be this moment where people would realize that music is a performance, a moment in time, and how you capture that moment can build your sound, your identity which will give you longevity, personality and the ability to become remarkable. The most amazing things aren’t supposed to be easy. For me, if something feels routine I’ll find something to give me a problem to solve. I basically allow myself to mess up so I can create something new by having something unexpected.
What is the most important part of a song for you?
The relationship to every other part.
What is your favorite project that you've worked on?
I love them all. Everything from the major label records down to local band EP's they are all a ton of fun.
Who is an artist you would like to work with but haven't been able to yet?
Everyone that hasn't contacted me. I love creating music with people.
Are you a big plugin user? If so, name some of your favorites!
What is one thing that you can't get your sound without? Hardware, software or whatever else.
In order: 1. Song 2. Performance 3. Instruments 4. Mics 5. Pres. Everything after that is secondary just fixing what you fucked up or character building like a movie!
Who are some of your favorite producers & engineers today?
The kids who are so passionate about what they want to create they spend the time to get it right. Thats exciting!
What advice would you give to those new to the game?
First, have an idea. If you don't know what you are making, how are you going to make it? Second, learn patience.
Outside of your day job, what music have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to a lot of NOFX, Alan Silvestri, and Less Than Jake.
Thanks to Marc for taking the time to answer our questions. You can check out some of his work in the Spotify playlist below, or watch his video on drum mixing from MixCon 2018.