We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Denton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Matt, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I started Ragged Birds Music as a publishing company when I started producing my own music. Technically, it still is, since I use the name as the publisher name for any music I put out.

At some point I noticed that my circle of music contacts were constantly coming to me for mix advice and production advice, and I realized people were literally telling me where I should pivot, to the strengths I already have. It’s like I was swimming upstream and people were telling me I was going the wrong way.

So I took a year to learn as much as I could about managing a small business and pivoted it into what it is now, an online mixing, mastering and music production business. I’ve been really happy with the work and the direction I’ve gone in. I’ve learned so much about business, client relationships, and the process of mixing and production that I wish I’d done it sooner.

What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a remote mix engineer, which means musicians send me their music files and I mix them into radio-ready, streaming-ready finished songs. I also master them, which means that if mixing is like baking a cake from its ingredients, then mastering like frosting the cake so it’s ready to present to the world.

My clients are independent musicians. I understand the needs of independent musicians because I’ve been one myself for a decade. I don’t think of clients as customers, but as partners and collaborators. We work together to bring the song into its final form in a way that is hopefully pleasantly surprising to the musicians. During the pandemic in 2020 I added the ability to do live remote mix sessions, so when we get to the point where we’re doing fine-tuning, we can do it live over the internet and they can hear what I’m doing on their end in real time, it’s very cool.

As for the business itself — while producing and mixing music come relatively easy to me, the business side does not, so when I started to really hone in what I did in my business, I took the better part of a year to work on my business and develop practices and procedures that help it run smoothly. I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective so I can focus more energy on clients and serve them better.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Tough question, there’s so much to do and see in the Bay Area! For a trip of a few days or more I’d definitely want to hit some of my favorite spots in the city like Land’s End and the Sutro Bath ruins, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and if the weather’s nice, a day trip out to Point Reyes for a hike or some canoeing is great.

Haight Street is one of my favorite spots for people watching and hanging out, we’d play pinball at Free Gold Watch and have wings and drinks at Kezar, then hit Amoeba records and walk up Haight and see what’s up. Maybe cruise over to Clement Street and get lost in Green Apple Books for a while.

A mural walk and some killer Mexican food in the Mission is a must, plus a visit to the Ferry Building and a walk on the Embarcadero is a good way to walk off some of that great San Francisco food.

At night I’d definitely want to go see some live music at Bender’s, Thee Parkside, or Bottom of the Hill, then a last late night stop at Tommy’s Joynt to finish it off.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shoutout to Brian Hood and Chris Graham of the Six Figure Creative Podcast, where I learned how to be a better entrepreneur and a better member of the audio community. I’d also like to give a shout to my good friend Alex Winters, who is great at calling me out and keeping me on the right path. Lastly, to Clementine from Zepparella, who told me years ago that the point of making music was to keep making music.

Website: https://raggedbirdsmusic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raggedbirdsmusic/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raggedbirdsmusic/

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