Ariel Borujow As a former employee of Puff Daddy’s “Daddy’s House”, Ariel has recorded, mixed, and produced for some of the biggest names in the business with a roster that includes everyone from TI, 8ball & MJG, Carl Thomas, Just Blaze, to Ras Kass and Jin. As one of the most sought after engineers in the music industry with his new production team Westward Productions, Ariel takes time out of his 24/7 schedule to emphasis the importance of “mixing” is to our WHO?MAG readers. Check this out…
Interview by Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: How did you first get into music? ARIEL: I first got into music at the age of 6 when I first started playing the guitar. From then on I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until high school that I knew that I wanted to play a major role behind the scenes and help shape albums.
WHO?MAG: What made you get into engineering? ARIEL: To be honest with you, I was always one of these kids that had a good equalizer and always EQ’d my albums if I didn’t feel like they sounded good to my ear. Plus I was always curious into how records were made.
WHO?MAG: What is your secret to a “good mix?” ARIEL: I believe the secret to a “good mix” is just capturing the right vibe for a record. When I mix, I usually start off by pushing all the faders up and listening to the song down entirely. From there, I solo all the individual tracks to hear the elements. From there I just go with what “feels” right.
WHO?MAG: How do you feel about the hip-hop scene today? ARIEL: I believe that artists are not concentrating on making “albums” but just individual records. But I don’t blame them. I blame the industry as a whole for that. I think there should be more “concept” albums.
WHO?MAG: What do you feel are the key factors keeping the music industry today? ARIEL: To be honest, that a very hard question to answer cause there are many factors.
WHO?MAG: How important is the final mix of a product? ARIEL: A final mix can make or break a record.
WHO?MAG: What are the main attributes an artists needs to know when in a recording session? ARIEL: From my experience, I’ve seen a lot of artists come into the studio and go through their budgets because they invite their crew and spend a couple of hours playing songs and what not, but what they don’t realize is that the clock is ticking and the studio and engineer are getting paid. Use the studio time productively and make sure you get the most out of it. All that other stuff you can do on your own time and your budgets won’t suffer.
WHO?MAG: Besides engineering, what other aspects of music are you involved with? ARIEL: I also produce. I’ve recently done a bunch of songs with Jin and I finished producing a rock album with a very talented band called Fn-Co. This is our second album together and I placed some stuff for TV (ESPN, MTV, Speed Channel).
WHO?MAG: Who are some of your clients that you personally feel are the next to blow up? ARIEL: Well there are a couple. For starters, I think Jin is going to get his due very soon and he’ll be around for a long time. Also my dude Poison Pen who recently signed to Duckdown and my good friends T-weaponz. Definitely look out for DJ Bedtyme 357 who is Remy Ma’s official DJ. I have been working on his mixtapes for the last year or so and he is also nominated for 3 Justo Mixtape awards. I also got anamazing rap artist Kel Spencer about to blow who is one of the most accomplished ghostwriters in the game. He has ghostwritten for Will Smith, Nick Cannon, MC Lyte and currently writing for Universal artist Young B as well as many others. Definitely look out for him. Also, I have an artist signed to my company, “Westward Productions”, by the name of “City” who is out of Columbus Ohio. I’ve been developing him for a number of years now, so look out for him.
WHO?MAG: What’s next for Ariel? ARIEL: Well for starters I just finished working on Ras Kass’s new mixtape which should be out possibly by the time people read this. It is incredible and working with him was an amazing experience, his whole attitude in the studio and how professional he is. Jin will be dropping an EP soon, which there is some production on there by me and my partner (Team Westward), DJ Static, and Playboy Chi. And there will be tons more mixing to do which never ends. It’s a 7 day a week job!
To contact Ariel for any professional mixing or recording, either email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or through myspace at www.myspace.com/westwardproductions