We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Douglas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is tricky: it’s absolutely essential to progress, but you have to know all the rules and how they work before you can break them in a way that’s predictable and desirable. This is as true with songwriting and record production as it is playing the stock market or learning a new skateboarding trick.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Making records is all I’ve ever done. I started recording in high school in Jakarta, Indonesia, went to college and got a bachelor’s in audio production, and started my career at a studio in Montréal making big shiny pop records. That pedigree of working under some of the biggest producers in the world is something that sets me apart in my work and professionalism. I learned early on to identify and manipulate the relationship between sound and emotion, and that’s a big part of my craft. Getting my own ego out the way is a huge component of that, of being able to really listen with mindfulness and not just waiting to interject ideas or opinions. I love pulling performances out of people they didn’t know they had in them, and I can’t do that if I’m worried about what’s cool or how I can impress someone or whatever. Recently I’ve been a contributing writer for Tape Op Magazine, and that’s something I’m particularly proud of. I’ve written articles covering mental health in music communities and ways we can use our talents to improve lives and add meaning to the world. The reception they’ve received and witnessing the good that can come from sharing my own experiences has been a real high point in my life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, if this were in the before-time when we could got places, I’d say (for Austin) breakfast tacos from Vera Cruz All Natural, hit up secret beach and chill, drinks at the Silver Dollar, taco salads from Mr. Natural, and catch a show at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My audio production teacher in college was a woman named Terry Becker. She was integral in my development as a studio professional, and as a person. She fought her way up through one of the most male-dominated industries there is by being a talented and graceful badass, and was an invaluable mentor and friend to me.
Other: https://tapeop.com/blog/2018/11/28/studio-etiquette-everything-your-engineer-wants-yo/ https://tapeop.com/interviews/134/working-happy/ https://tapeop.com/blog/2020/12/11/well-sucks-recording-time-covid/