Sitting down us with and sipping on a cuppa coffee, Austin Seltzer tells us more about his LA state of mind and all those achievable expectations. Mixing it up and showing love for those who have helped him along the journey, we find a self-aware soul who believes in the power of AI.
Q. We appreciate your time. Please let us know where you’re based today and what is your favorite meal in the whole world.
A. Thanks for having me! I am based out of Los Angeles, CA, and I honestly have to say that my favorite meal in the world is the one I haven’t had yet. I feel like I really live my life in a way that always seeks something better or more enjoyable, especially in food and coffee. I want to be on a lifelong adventure to find new things that interest me. That said, I am a massive sucker for buffalo wings (Ye Rustic Inn) and an unmatched bowl of ramen (any of the Tsujita spots).
Q. You seem to have such a genuine connection with so many incredible artists. Please tell us more about who you enjoy working with and the vision for the music you mix.
A. One of my favorite things in life is connecting with people on a much deeper level. I like to have artists and creatives over to the studio to have a coffee and chat about life, their inspirations, aspirations, and everything in between. I feel like the people I can connect with at this level are the ones I end up doing the best work for, and we tend to continue to work with each other. Art is all about vulnerability. If we can be vulnerable in a conversation, I know that we will also be able to be vulnerable while working on art together. I believe this is why I genuinely connect with the artists I work with.
I have a very clear vision for the music I mix. I go into the process with the idea that I will let the music tell me exactly what it wants to be on the first listen-through, and then I spend the rest of my time on the mix trying to reach that goal. I don’t generally listen to the reference track more than once. I understand exactly what the track wants to be from that listen-through, and I trust my instincts and the song’s production, story, and rough mix to get me there. My ultimate goal is to have my mix elevate the track to a level where the artist and their team feel like the track is everything they wanted it to be and that the listener continues to come back to listen again and again.
Q. You have an upcoming music business podcast on the way. How did this start, and what are your hopes for the future?
A. I do! The idea for my podcast has been in my mind for years now. As much as I wanted to start it years back, I needed to elevate my mixing platform to a point where it could sustain life and reach the guests I would like to have on. The premise of the podcast is to have prolific guests who have reached a level of success in the music business where they can reflect with me on their past so listeners can get a glimpse into their psyche, mindset, some of the pitfalls and wins they have had along the way, and other informative insights into what it takes to be successful in the music business.
My hope for this podcast’s future is to release weekly episodes while continuing to elevate the production quality, questions, and listener base to allow me to bring on more prominent guests while maintaining my primary career and passion – mixing incredible music.
Q. When did you first know if you wanted to be a mixing and mastering engineer?
A. I first knew I wanted to be a mixing engineer while writing and producing music with my buddy Jason Smith back in Dallas, TX. Even though I was in the band in middle and high school, I never learned to properly play an instrument that could play chords. I played the Bassoon, a wildly cool sounding instrument, but one that could only play a single note. While producing music with Jason, I realized quickly that my strengths weren’t in the actual writing of music but more in understanding the sonics and how sound could fit together to make a complete picture, or in this case, a well-produced and great-sounding song. I would study mixing techniques daily from as many internet places as possible. It wasn’t easy to find great information when I was learning. YouTube was entirely just misinformation or about learning to mix using analog hardware, which I didn’t have access to at the time. It was much more about trial and error.
Q. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard a song you’ve mixed?
A. Cinematic and energetic. I have a knack for making the music I mix sound larger than life. When I say cinematic, that’s what I mean. I can make the music feel like it wraps around you and is more 3D than the demo. While some may say that is the point of mixing, what I am describing is more than just elevating a track – It’s part of my secret sauce. It might come from my immense love of video games and their ability to immerse you in a world. I also think it has to do with years of creating music for this world called Azurelah with Jason Smith – a world in which we were telling a story through music and concept art. I always aim to captivate the listener in an immersive way – no Atmos required.
Q. Finally, what hopes do you have for the future of humanity?
A. I think, at this point, it goes without being said that Artificial Intelligence will take most jobs in the next ten years. This week, most tech headlines are about 10,000+ people being laid off from Google, Microsoft, etc. All those job salaries and more money are being put into Artificial Intelligence research and development. I hope we can somehow figure out some form of Universal Basic Income that works to compensate for the displaced jobs that AI will create. Massive corporations will be able to lower their overhead tremendously; simultaneously, they will be able to churn products out faster and more efficiently, doubling down on how many workers are displaced. Since there is no way to stop this from happening, I believe the US government and other countries’ governments must figure out a way of compensating all humans, or else we will have a catastrophic economic meltdown.
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Interview by Llewelyn Screen