Sean Grenier – NatCave Engineer

This month our featured engineer is the incredibly talented Sean Grenier. 

Some of you may already know him in the music scene as MFJ, or MFJonez. He’s a self-made artist and self-taught engineer, but don’t let that fool you. He’s good guys. Really good. We haven’t had a single artist who wasn’t hooked after booking a session with him – at least not since I’ve been here. Maybe it’s his positive attitude, the courage he has to think outside the box and take your music to the next level, his ability to easily see the vision you have for your projects, his dedication to the artists he chooses to work with, or perhaps his obvious passion for his craft (or maybe all of the above). Who knows. But what I do know is that if you can get a session with him – you won’t be disappointed.

But don’t take my word for it…learn more about the guy from our interview. 

Jessica: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How long you’ve been in the industry?  How long have you been with NatCave?

Sean: I am from Newburgh, NY, just about an hour and a half away from NYC. I have been producing music since 2015 and started engineering at NatCave early in 2019. 

Jessica: Tell us a little bit about you, your background, and how you got started as an engineer?

Sean: Growing up in a family of farmers, I was not one who would have seen myself pursuing a career in music. It wasn’t until mid college years I would find this unknowing passion of mine. One random night, my new roommate, showed me his mini sony DJ controller. Taught me a few track blending tricks and it was all I needed. After I discovered this, I quickly adapted to the grooves and rhythms DJ’s relied on to move a crowd. Shortly after, I was the goto guy to DJ for your next college party. To me, this was fun but something seemed disconnected. Soon after I was introduced to the idea of music creation, Production. It was around 2015, just graduated from college and had no money to totally switch up my educational path but I was determined to create. Scouring the internet, I was able to find the necessary information to help teach myself how to produce. Obsessively learning and creating, I soon found my groove and decided to take this to the next level. On this venture, I was presented an opportunity with NatCave studios where I was able to refine my mixing and mastering skills to land me on a few resume building collaborations, playlists, and charts with some super influential artists. 

Jessica: How would you describe your role in your job?

Sean:  I am very detail-oriented when it comes to mixing my tracks. I really try to have control over all the elements across the frequency spectrum. I also love doing what I do and typically get excited about every track I am working on. Each artist brings a unique and individual interpretation of music that creates this sort of energy in me to understand. 

Jessica: What’s the most challenging thing about what you do?

Sean:  One of the most challenging aspects of my music production is knowing when to end my work. I find it difficult for me to end a piece of work because I can always find one thing to tweak, or alter, or even find something new to try. Nothing is ever perfect to me when it comes to music production & engineering. 

Jessica: What’s the most rewarding?

Sean:  The most rewarding part of my job is gaining the trust of the artist and really translating their work into a completed sound. Being there in the presence of creation is something many take for granted. 

Jessica: What’s a common misconception about what you do?

Sean: One misconception I receive a lot is the idea of being an artist as a producer. In a lyric dominated industry, the producer role isn’t commonly understood. Many fall short on the difference in production and audio engineering. Some find them one and the same or some just consider anything other than lyrics an engineer. 

Jessica: Can you describe the most exciting project you have ever completed?

Sean:  The most exciting project I ever completed may have been my first ever released song ‘Tell Me’. Being able to say I completed a project start to finish with near-professional level sound was one emotion I can never forget. Just being able to release something I considered radio-ready was bizarre but overly exciting. Coming from a background of zero music capability to self-teaching my self comprehensive music production was something no one would have seen coming. 

Jessica: Who is your ideal client?

Sean: I truly enjoy working with all types of artists. Each one brings a different perspective of music to the table and that’s something I crave. If I had to describe my ideal client, it would be someone who’s looking to learn, grow, and create something out of the norm. Someone who doesn’t aim to blend in with the rest. 

Jessica: What kind of projects are your favorite?

Sean:  My favorite projects to work on are typically trippy, spacious hip hop, or electronic tracks. Songs that use unique, uncommon elements. 

Jessica: What would you say is your greatest skill?

Sean:  My greatest skill would probably be my ability to listen. I have a unique ear and have been known to pull out specific details that the common person wouldn’t typically notice. I like to be very precise with my mix and create a sound that gives the listener a unique atmospheric experience.

Jessica: What qualities should any good audio/sound engineer have?

Sean:  Some good qualities an engineer can possess are a good ear and a good mix. Music production is tough, but, you can pretty much make any “bad song” sound good with a good mix. 

Jessica: What’s your normal schedule like? When can people book with you?

Sean:  I have a very typical schedule, I do work a full-time job in the day and usually work on music all other hours I am available. So outside of my 9-5, I am available for any bookings, mixing & mastering requests, song feedback, and artist collaborations! 

Thank you, Sean, for taking the time to answer my questions and telling the world a little more about you!



When you meet him, you’ll never believe this farm-kid-turned-artistic-genius never had any intention, dream, or passion for music in the way he does now. And the best part…not only can you feel his passion in his own music, he brings that same passionate fire to every single session he has with artists – new and established.

You should definitely check out his work and hear it, no feel it for yourself. Find him on SoundCloud, Instagram, and Facebook. Even better – book a session with him and see for yourself how he can help you manifest your dreams. I encourage you not to wait until the day you want to book a session because his time is limited!

Stay tuned! We have a few more interviews you won’t want to miss!

An Interview with Hector Rodriguez – Engineer at NatCave Studio

Hey guys – Jessica here! As promised, I’m going to be rolling out some great information for you about the studio and the people behind it.

Starting this week with an engineer spotlight!!

A good relationship with your engineer is incredibly important to the outcome of your music. You wouldn’t just go to anyone to cut your hair, or let just any person take care of your kids – you should think of your music that way too – engineers are no different. That’s why we don’t hire just any engineers.

Our engineers are incredibly attuned to the needs of the artists that seek them out. Call it intuition, call it a second sight – whatever you want to call it, they pay attention to what your vision is and they support you in creating it. We also know how important it is to choose the one that fits you, that understands you, that feels what you are creating. Get to know all of them over the next few months.

Our first engineer spotlight is on Hector Rodriguez, who is not new to the music industry.

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Hector has been in the music scene for the last 7 years. Hector graduated in 2014 from Talle de arto Sonoro in Caracas, with an Associate’s degree in audio engineering, and then moved to NY. After moving to the US, Hector graduated summa cum laude (3.9 GPA guys! That’s some serious hard work!) from Mercy College with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Industry and Technology.

Hector has been working as an audio engineer with NatCave since May of 2019 and has built a pretty solid client base since starting here. He agreed to let me interview him so you all can get to know him a little better, too.

Jessica: Tell us a little bit about you, your background, and how you got started as an audio engineer?

Hector: I have an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree in audio engineering and music industry, respectively. I started working initially in radio and live sound for bands. I still continue to do live sound on occasions.

Jessica: How would you describe your job?

Hector: It’s a great job that I love. It can be very challenging at times, but also very rewarding. I really enjoy working with artists and helping them achieve their vision for their song or project.

Jessica: What’s the most challenging thing about what you do?

Hector: Being able to do a full mix in a limited time.

Jessica: What’s the most rewarding?

Hector: Getting the track just right and have the artist love it and walk away with a big smile.

Jessica: What’s a common misconception about what you do?

Hector: That engineering is an easy process that can be done in just a couple of minutes.

Jessica: Can you describe the most exciting project you have ever completed?

Hector: I can’t say just one in particular. Recently I’ve been working with an artist that is about to launch an EP so I’m really excited to hear how it all turns out.

Jessica: Who is your ideal client?

Hector: Someone who comes prepared and understands the process of recording a song/album.

Jessica: What kind of projects are your favorite?

Hector: I love every project I work on. Especially the long ones like albums or EP’s.

Jessica: What would you say is your greatest skill?

Hector: Having an ear for what the song needs and being creative to try new things.

Jessica: What qualities should any good audio/sound engineer have?

Hector: Creativity, good people skills, knowledgeable, good hearing.

Jessica: If a potential client contacts the studio and wants to book with you – what’s your normal schedule like? When can people book with you?

Hector: Mostly weekends. I have occasional availability during the week but it varies.

Jessica: Thank you Hector for taking the time to participate in this interview with me, your time is valuable. I know our readers will appreciate getting to know a little bit more about you. We are happy you’re a part of NatCave.

I can tell you this much you guys – when you book with Hector, you won’t be disappointed.

Since he is mostly only available on the weekends and weekends are our most popular times, it is very difficult to get in with him last minute. If I could offer you one piece of advice to get some studio time with him, it would be to book in advance. If you want to book a session with him, I encourage you to visit our website and request a session today!

Thanks all for now! Look for interviews with Sean and Nat, the other 2 engineers at NatCave – coming soon!!

Changing for the better…

Change isn’t easy, we know…but in this case it’s definitely for the best

We were all forced to make some pretty significant changes, to protect ourselves and one another. The studio was shut down for three solid months. It felt like an eternity. We learned a lot from that time though, and in the end we are grateful that we had to take a step back and regroup. 

Since opening back up, we have realized that many of you have been busy as well. The phone has been ringing day and night with artists eager to get in with one of our engineers because you guys have been incredibly productive during this time. We’ve worked on some really exciting projects and posted many of them on our FB and Instagram pages. Go check them out if you haven’t. 

Now…about those changes.

 

We’ve hired a studio assistant, Jessica. She manages the day to day routine of the studio and will almost always be the one communicating with you when you have questions, want to book a session, or need something from the engineers. If you need anything, you can contact her at studio@natcave.com. She is managing the phone (calls and text messages), social media pages, website, booking, newsletters and promotions. Many of you know that you can request sessions online through My Studio Sessions. That hasn’t changed – we still encourage you to do so and remind you not to wait until the day you want a session. 

We are doing some updates to the physical space! We’re getting new carpet and furniture, among other things. We’re refreshing the studio energy to match your creative energy. Book a session and come in to check it out. 

We’ve also made some virtual changes. We updated the website and will be making further updates to include interviews with our current engineers, and bio information. We will be sending out regular newsletters via email. We are in the process of creating a special that you won’t want to miss. If you’re interested in staying up to date and possibly cashing in on that special, you should make sure you are on that list

We are considering featuring some of our artists in future newsletters. You have put in a lot of time in our studio, and as thanks for that, we’d love to interview for an artist spotlight. If you’re interested in being featured, email us at studio@natcave.com

We’ve realized that we need a few more engineers. In the coming weeks you will see advertisements for engineers on our social accounts, and likely in other places. We are looking for two or three more engineers to add to our list. If you know a great engineer who may be interested in working with us, have them email us at studio@natcave.com with some samples of their work. 

All for now, but stay tuned – there is so much more to come!

Staying Safe in the Studio

We want you to know that we are taking COVID seriously. While we are still uncertain about how this will affect us (and you) in the future, we do know that we feel confident that opening up is the right thing to do.

What we’re doing to keep you safe…

Things are running a little differently around here, but not much. 

First and foremost, we are asking you to follow the same guidelines the CDC is before entering into public spaces. We ask that you do not book a session if you have recently recovered from COVID (within the last 14 days), or if someone you have been around has been diagnosed within the last 14 days. We also ask that you do not book a session with us if you are feeling ill, have a fever, or think you may have a fever. We thank you for following these requests. 

You know we are a small studio. For some of you, that’s exactly why you choose us. Choosing a small studio means you get directed one on one attention and the ability to have your engineer and all of the staff remember you and your projects. This also means that since we are in a smaller space social distancing can be a challenge.

With that in mind, we are limiting the number of people in the studio during each session to four people total. 

That means that after the engineer, and you, no more than 2 friends can join you. Any other guests are welcome to hang out outside the studio – we are just limiting the number of people we allow inside the studio. We will update this policy as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.

We are not currently requiring you to wear masks, but please feel free to do so. We leave it to the discretion of the engineers as to whether or not they will wear a mask. 

We are working diligently to completely sanitize the studio. Each engineer is responsible for completely sanitizing all of the equipment, and all surfaces, including the booth (including the mic, popper stopper, and headphones). We are reserving one hour in between each session to make sure we do a thorough job. This also means that we are booking less sessions – be sure to book yours in advance to make sure we can accommodate you. 

You will see cans of lysol, alcohol based sanitizer and cleaning products, and soap – everywhere. Please use them. Please wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave. It keeps us all safe, and helps us stay open and able to serve you – our artists. 

We’ve missed you guys while we’ve been forced to shut down, but we are SO ready to work with you on all the projects you’ve had plenty of time to dream up.