Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Collin McLoughlin of eMastered

(Collin McLoughlin has been making waves for years and here at EDMTunes, we’ve been so pleased to bring his meteoric rise to you. We sat down with him to get details on the new venture he’s working on called eMastered. This service is going to be crucial for all you up and coming producers who don’t have stacks to pay a professional sound engineer to master your new hotness.)

eMastered - Collin McLoughlin - EDMTunes

1. Where have you been?! We’ve been missing your dope production, mixing and performance skills since your Fetty Wap cover?
I appreciate the kind words! I’ve been still working on a lot of pop writing and producing for other artists, but in the last year or so eMastered has taken up the bulk of my time. It’s something i’m incredibly excited about and passionate about (along with Fetty Wap covers).

2. Was there a specific moment when you knew eMastered would be a thing, or did it come together slowly and gradually over days, weeks or months?
eMastered is something that we’ve been developing for about three years. My co-founder Smith brought the initial idea to me 3 years back to make a website that could master people’s music, and I immediately realized how powerful and useful that would be. We spent the next three years expanding that vision and turning it into the web application eMastered, which now allows users to master their audio over our website application within seconds with instant mastering.

3. What is mastering, for those readers of ours who don’t know?
Mastering is a process that must be applied to all audio released into the world, but it is difficult to perform properly. It’s expensive, requires immense knowledge of musical techniques and is time consuming. Many musicians simply cant afford professional mastering, and are therefore forced to release poorly mastered music which significantly reduces the apparent quality of their recordings. I was one of these musicians early on in my career, so I completely understood how useful a tool like this would be for allowing people to get their music across with better quality.

4. Who would you say would get the most out of the services eMastered provides?
Musicians or audio creators who want their music to sound its best, but haven’t yet developed the experience needed to make high quality mastered recordings will get the most out of eMastered. Youtube cover creators, high school or college band musicians making demos, or hip hop producers working on their newest mixtape are all examples of people we’ve heard from that are using and benefitting from eMastered and what it means. We’ve also gotten some incredible feedback from the professional community as well, with Grammy winning producers like Tae Beast (Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”) and EDM Grammy Winning Producer CID to publicly support our engine and what we’re doing. We’re so excited to have a diverse community of creators using our service, and we love hearing the products they make with eMastered.

5. Some producers and sound engineers might be concerned you’re putting them out of a job, do you think that’s the case?
To me eMastered is made for the person who doesn’t have the money available to pay a professional engineer. We are offering newer musicians an opportunity they don’t currently have, and I think that is exciting because over time it likely will turn musicians that use our service into artists who down the line will be paying for professional mastering as their careers grow. A mastering engine can never replace a brilliant sound engineer, and we have incredible appreciation and admiration for professional engineers. To us this is creating a new audience for mastering rather than replacing one that currently exists.

6. Do you have any thoughts on how the startup community and the dance music community will continue to grow together/apart in LA?
Many of the new valuable technologies are built off of augmenting what people already want. Snapchat is flourishing because it allows people share experiences and information (something that is at the core of who humans are in my opinion) in a fun, quick and painless way. Spotify allows users to share music, discover new sounds and compile playlists of their favorite songs from a near endless supply of music, while music festivals allow us to experience the songs we know and love in a unique way unlike any other concert experience. I think this trend will continue, and there has been a lot of discussion in Silicon Valley about how the next generation of unicorn tech companies will be based around highlighting the experiences millennials love and crave. Entrepreneur and Investor Tristan Polluck wrote a fascinating blog post on this highlighting specifically how this relates to Vice-related industries (https://medium.com/@writerpollock/silicon-vice-how-sex-drugs-and-rock-n-roll-are-creating-the-next-big-tech-companies-9a30b7e64e60#—0-174.vjuxykl73)

7. For the technically minded, can you give us a peak under the hood as to how the instant process works?
Without going too deeply into the secret sauce eMastered is the combination of AI and the analysis of thousands of hit songs. You can think of it as a high end mastering toolkit, with a variety of tools at its disposal to use in given situations to make a specific song sound its best. The mastering process it creates is unique to each song mastered, and is based on how eMastered determines that particular piece of audio can be improved to sound its best.

8. Speaking more broadly, any tips for at home producers about how to finish tracks to make them perfect candidates for mastering?
The most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid clipping. Make sure your master channel is never hitting 0 dB, and ideally aim to have the master channel hitting between -3 and -6 dB. Try and export the audio at the highest possible format both in terms of bit depth and sample rate (a good number to aim for is 48 kHz sample rate and 32 bit depth) which will provide eMastered with the highest quality audio from which to work with. Additionally do your best to remove unnecessary frequencies from the individual tracks in a session before bouncing your unmastered file, as removing these frequencies will provide a cleaner product for eMastered to work with and will provide better results.

9. What does the future hold for Collin? Besides eMastered, will we ever get another hip hop guitar cover or deep mix?
Music is something that always has and always will inspire me. I still work on music in my free time, and hope to go back to it more consistently someday as well. For now eMastered is the focus, but hip hop remixes are never out of the question!

10. If you could go back to the beginning, before you started producing yourself, what is the one thing you wish you knew then that you know now?
I wish i’d learned to really understand production before venturing out to create an original sound. A producer friend taught me more recently that when starting out as a producer the best practice is to try to completely emulate another song as a remake, down to the mixing as well. Learning to do so with decent accuracy will give you all the tools you need to produce anything, and then you can venture off to use your own original production chops.

Bonus! 11. What does 2016 hold for eMastered? Parties? Soundcloud mixes? Partnerships?
At the moment we’re focused on making sure our music creators that use eMastered are getting what they need from our product. We’re incredibly involved in our user’s experiences artistically, and we really enjoy helping them make their music sound the best it can. Partnerships and parties are definitely on the docket for the future as well however!