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Life & Work with Brandon Allshouse

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Allshouse.

Hi Brandon, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Steel House Mastering started as curiosity and a love for music. I started this journey as a guitarist and like many others that follow the same path, eventually got curious about getting some recording gear to write music and ideas with. I’d buy a small recording interface, mess around with it for a while, usually get frustrated with the learning curve, and then eventually resell it. I repeated this process several times throughout many years.

After a while, the tech side of recording began to make sense and I started developing some actual skills with it, reading and investing a lot of time and resources into the craft. Books, internet forums, and youtube videos became my daily digest in my quest for information and growth.

I mostly began the recording side of things working with a bunch of singer-songwriters as my makeshift studio at the time was small and I didn’t have a lot of gear needed for full band productions. Things eventually progressed to where I transitioned most of my time to just mixing for bands and not having to worry about having artists over to record.

As is often the case with those that do audio mixing, you are often asked to master the record as well. I kept getting positive feedback on the masters I did and decided to pour my time and resources into being a great mastering engineer instead of someone who does a little bit of a few different things. Can I record? Yes, Can I mix? Sure.

There are a lot of people that offer “everything” and in a world full of that I decided it would be wiser to niche down and specialize in something I really enjoy. Now when people hear my name they know that I’m the guy that masters kickass records.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are always challenges in the creative industry. We all get hit with imposter syndrome and think we aren’t good enough. We constantly second-guess ourselves. The music industry itself can be one of constantly measuring your worth and ability against someone else. For example, music engineers are bombarded with gear and music software advertisements promising this will be the next best thing to take your music to the next level. When you are new to the game and you see others with studios full of expensive equipment and software, we start to attribute that to their success. While there is some merit to having the proper equipment to get professional results, sorting out what’s hyperbole and what’s necessary can be a daunting task to anyone new to the field.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, business dried up for weeks with not a single job hitting my desk which created a truly unpredictable time. Once people realized they suddenly had a bunch of free time, a lot of records and songs were created in this time. All that said and surprisingly enough, 2020 ended up becoming one of the busiest years I had, with every year after becoming busier.  I have faced a lot of rejection and failures to get where I am today. As someone once said, “The path of success is paved with failures”.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Audio engineering, specifically mastering, is a mysterious thing to a lot of people, even other audio engineers who don’t do it. To those outside the audio community, Mastering is like a final quality control check of someone’s music before going out to distribution.

We routinely check for errors that may have been made, such as pop and click noises, any bad edits that may have slipped by, and even excessive distortion that could have been caused by a number of issues. It’s our job to then help clean this up and/or advise the mix engineer on fixing these issues on their end.

Once that is taken care of (and sometimes there are no big issues like these), we can proceed to tonal balancing, making the mix sound the best it can, and when needed, bringing the volume of the track up to the desired level in order to compete with other releases.

I generally work on a lot of pop productions with a decent amount of indie, singer-songwriter, and rock sprinkled in. It’s fulfilling work for me and I very much enjoy getting to listen to a lot of new music and helping artists capture their final vision for the song.

Steel House Mastering will always be about providing artists and producers with a great experience. I’ve known far too many artists to say they had a disappointing experience with other engineers and I never want to be associated with that. We all work very hard and I want to show people that I truly care about their goals and vision for their music.

Some of my proudest achievements have been working on a track produced by Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park), ISSA Female International Artist of the Year Jimena Arroyo in mastering most of her album, and a track mastered here that was mentioned in Rolling Stone. Thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had thus far and for those that may come in the future.

What do you think about happiness?
My wife Laura, coffee, music, cooking, and cycling. All of these things are things in my life I’m passionate about and pour a lot of time and resources into. They keep me sane and healthy, make me laugh, and maybe even cry. Without any one of these, my life would be very different.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Brandon Hart

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