Want my job? with Wynter Prior, producer, mix engineer and founder of Sphynx Studios

Working within music can be hard, as the work often comes with a lack of stability. In this interview, Metal music producer Wynter Prior from Sphynx studios explains how he managed to build a career for himself in an incredibly competitive industry.

Want my job? with Wynter Prior, producer, mix engineer and founder of Sphynx Studios

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi! My Name is Wynter and I'm a Producer / Mix Engineer at Sphynx Studios. I started Sphynx Studios during my time at BIMM Brighton, when I realised that simply being a university student wasn't enough to get your foot in the industry, if you want your dream job you have to go out and grab it! 

I’m lucky enough to have over 100 clients and testimonials from some great bands such as Dead by April, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Bloodshot Dawn and Our Hollow Our Home to name a few.

What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day.

My day starts at around 6am, and after a cup of coffee I’m off to the gym. This sounds trivial, but I think that fitness is so great for keeping your brain motivated and free of fog. It really helps give me the mental energy required to do great work!

I get home at around 8 and then schedule my day with my planner. This helps me to clearly jot down everything it is that I need to get done, so I don’t forget important tasks. I then start work by checking emails and any client requests. It’s important to stay on top of communication with your clients in order to keep them happy and satisfied with your service.

After emails I will usually delve right into mixing or any other miscellaneous editing jobs that have been requested by clients. I take a break every hour for 15 minutes to refresh my hearing and keep my ears from being fatigued and then I usually finish at around 5pm.

What’s great about your job?

I absolutely love working with musicians. I find that it’s such an inspiring and creative process and I've made some great friends along the way. It’s also great having full flexibility over your work schedule.

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?

I occasionally struggle with workload. It’s very easy to say yes in regards to booking too much work and spreading yourself too thin. This means not only are you under a lot of pressure to get a lot of work done in a short time, but you also don’t have the mental capacity or time to dedicate yourself to projects to give them the attention they deserve. I have recently put a cap on how much I do at one time and this helps me focus better on the task at hand.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one highlight, but the most recent one that really made me appreciate my job was working with the Scottish metal band Hand of Kalliach, who are an extremely lovely husband and wife duo. While they may not be the most ‘famous’ out of the jobs I’ve done, how they communicated and their attitude towards my work made every second extremely enjoyable.

What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?

I essentially wanted to become a world famous guitarist, that was my dream as a kid. I put everything I had into practicing guitar and wanted to be a part of a great band. I followed this dream until about a month before I was set to move to Brighton and attend university (to study guitar) where I had actually fallen out of love with playing and realised that it’s a lot tougher to make a full time career out of being a musician. While it’s certainly possible, I didn’t have the drive to make a career in performing. I instead was absolutely infatuated with recording music and mixing it. I changed course at university and the rest is history!

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Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

Without a doubt the biggest challenge in my career was Covid-19. Since finishing university, I have never worked a regular job and have always mixed music full time. While it’s been a struggle financially sometimes, nothing compared to the financial panic that occurred during the first few months of the pandemic. I lost over £10,000 in bookings throughout that year and had to completely adapt my business model in order to pay my bills. But low and behold, where there is a will, there's a way, and I managed to keep my business afloat and come out MUCH stronger!

Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?

Absolutely. I think the industry is massively moving away from actually recording music in big budget recording studios. Most of my income comes from mixing records that have been recorded on a cheap interface with a laptop. As long as you’re a good musician, recording from home is becoming more and more of a viable option!

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to a 16-year-old you. What do you say?

Join the gym and get into fitness earlier rather than later little dude! Also learn to not doubt yourself and take everything in your stride. You’re not always going to be able to please everyone, and not everyone is going to like your work – but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Music is very opinionated and subjective. You can’t please all of your clients and occasionally you will have some negative experiences but keep strong and keep your head up!

Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?

You can do it! You don’t have to go to university either! I would say that perhaps 90% of my knowledge in mixing records has come from my own trial and error, and actually digging into mixing work. Your first few mixes are going to suck, then over time they will suck less and less until one day someone will say, “hey your work stands up to major label releases”, and then you know you don’t suck anymore!

You can find Sphynx Studios’ website here.

Header Image Credit: Sphynx Studios

Author

Ash Edmonds

Ash Edmonds Kickstart

A graduate of Music Journalism from BIMM Brighton – where he now lives – Ash has been writing about everything creative for the past few years. An avid audiophile, he spends a lot of his time searching streaming platforms, record stores and live shows trying to find his next musical obsession.

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