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!