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Chris Athens: Music Mastering & Caring For Your Fans

Joining us this week is mastering engineer Chris Athens out of Austin, Texas. You’ve most likely heard his work as he’s worked on some of the biggest records out there; including artists such as Drake, Coldplay, PVRIS, Ben Folds and Wiz Khalifa.

Chris was a senior mastering engineer at Sterling Sound, one of the world’s premier mastering facilities, before branching out on his own to start Chris Athens Masters. In this interview, Chris explains what mastering is and why it’s important, how he got started in the music industry, and what to avoid when mixing your music.

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  • Ross and Marcio try to help Chris through his caffeine comedown
  • We hear how Chris started out in the music industry and progressed to mastering
  • Chris tells us how he came to the job he wanted late in life
  • We hear how Chris always said yes to everything and felt like he was working from behind everyone else
  • We hear how Chris moving to Sterling Sound was a step back from what he was doing at Sony, but a good opportunity nonetheless
  • Chris tells us about the role of a mastering engineer and how it’s changed over the years
  • Mastering is the final creative step before manufacturing or delivery of music
  • A mastering engineer is the final trusted set of ears before an artist’s music goes out in the world
  • Chris tells us about mastering singles vs mastering an album as a whole
  • A mastering engineer helps ensure the vibe and feel is consistent across a record
  • “With an album, an artist makes an artistic statement” – Chris Athens
  • “90% of what I do is for 10% of the people” – Chris Athens
  • Chris is concerned about the artist, whereas the artist is concerned with the audience
  • “Even my PC is a Mac, so I think I’m a little confused” – Chris Athens


  • “Care about your fans and give them what they want”
  • Don’t distort your mixes! Almost everything else can be compensated for.

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