The amount of content coming out of Upstate NY is growing by the day. This is in large part due to the artists consistently putting in work and grinding to create dope songs. However in most cases, a lot of this wouldn’t be possible without the dope engineers in the Upstate Area who are working with artists and charging an affordable rate to help support the culture.
Many of these engineers do their work quietly in the background. Some of course include personal tags as a way to help spread awareness on their brand. Beyond that, many engineers are left in the dark.
Upstate Aesthetic hopes to provide a platform for not just artists and producers, but engineers as well. This week we had a discussion with local Binghamton engineer Douglas Maddi to get a little background information on him and what he does. Maddi is a 29 year old engineer who was born and raised in Binghamton New York. Coming from a large family and being the second oldest Maddi had a lot of responsibility within in household growing up.
“I was born and raised in Binghamton New York I grew up downtown Binghamton on Pine Street where I lived for at least 26 years I come from a mixed family my father being Italian and my mother Black and Cuban we were blessed with a family of 7 so I had enough siblings to tend for being the second oldest. growing up wasn’t bad I feel like we got into a Rhythm as a family We enjoyed what we had we enjoyed each other I never felt The need to have more or want more”
Despite coming from a household full of family members Maddi still had a sense of independence. Following his time in high school he had a desire to venture out and figure out who he was.
“ I always felt the need to want to be myself wherever I was after I graduated high school I left Home to find myself and what I liked or wanted out of life”
While on this search to find himself Maddi remembered something that had always been a constant throughout his life. No matter if things were good or bad he could always look to music for solace.
“Growing up I fell in love with dance early in life and that’s all I did was dance and listen to music and after a while as I got older I realize that anytime I struggled in life any time something happens in life good or bad I always reverted back to music it was always something that made me felt good it made me feel like I had a place somewhere it almost leveled me out”
It was this good feeling as well as Maddi’s desire to leave home and find himself that lead him to a place many from Binghamton have ties to for one reason or another. New York City. “around 2010 I moved out to New York City where I stayed for seven years and I went to school at the institute of audio research and learn how to record mix and master music into live sound For big venues. “
Maddi’s time at the institute of Audio Research in Manhattan gave him hands on experience alongside industry engineers to help him gain essential knowledge that can’t be taught on a website like YouTube. “The institute of audio research in Manhattan is a Vocational school with no teachers just audio engineers who are in the industry and are teaching you what they do in the industry everyday it couldn’t get any better than that” The time Maddi spent in NYC helped him learn and gain experience under engineers at major studios in the city. This experience and ability to interact with people who have really started to master their craft pushed Maddi to always keep growing and learning.
“My influences come from doing so much time of interning and working at major studios in New York City learning the patience of some of the top engineers and gaining experience first had made me want to be better and on a level with them”
Maddi has worked to grow and thrive as an audio engineer. At times it can be difficult for some who are new to making music to really understand the difference between what an engineer does compared to a producer. He explained that he feels an Audio Engineer is a pretty defined term.
“An Audio engineer knows how to run the whole studio we record the sound in and also set up studio and recording equipment. An engineer's main job is to use the technical skills to bring the producer's and artist's vision to fruition”
Whereas a producer is a little bit more of an open term and can mean a variety of things.
“A producer and I feel the term is used loosely can range from making the beat to arranging the song lyrics and or beat sometimes the producer and singer or songwriter choose how they want the song to sound and the engineers deliver that idea”
Over the last eight years Maddi has learned how to take a producer or artists idea and bring it to life in his own way. After working with a variety of internships and with industry engineers he began to realize what he needed to do to begin his own path. “At this point now in 2019 I’ve been doing music for a little over eight years now from doing several different internships I learned that I just needed to build my own studio and I need to learn how I like to mix how I like things the sound” He took this realization and brought it to life but it wasn’t something he was able to do overnight. After creating a work space for himself and finding people to work with Maddi had to settle down and find his sound. “So I did so I turn my whole basement into a recording studio and I started getting clients by reaching out to some of my friends who did music people who i went to school with so we could all learn together and I ended up compiling a bunch of music I didn’t know how to mix because I didn’t know how I wanted it to sound and I sat with it for months learning my plugins and what I wanted”
His best advice to engineers who are starting out is to be selective in the hardware you are working with. The hardware for creating music is almost always expensive and this is why it’s even more important for engineers to take their time and test what they are working with to find something they are comfortable with using.
“find a DAW that works for you every DAW has a free trial version write one song and record it on each one and see which one works for you”
Maddi’s hard work and growth continued in 2018 when he worked alongside Binghamton r&b heavyweight Matthew Cornwell on the creation of his latest project ‘ICARUS’. Since moving back to Binghamton from New York City his work with other artists in Binghamton continues to grow as well. Maddi strives to create a unique studio experience for every individual he works with.
“I currently work closely with Matthew Cornwell him and I did his whole album together called “ICARUS” which is currently out on all platforms for streaming I have also worked with almost every artist in the area at one point or another since I have moved back Binghamton”
Since moving back Maddi’s focus hasn’t solely been on music either. Recently it has been announced that he would be handling the engineer work on the Plugged In podcast. This is a major move for Plugged In to secure the services of a more than competent engineer and a new frontier for Maddi entirely. “I love a challenge when it come to new frontiers of audio work I’m learning a lot from Rahkiya and the plugged in podcast team while helping anyway I can when it all gets started if I enjoy it I will most definitely look into being more involved in radio” Maddi is always working. The Plugged In podcast returns in April and Maddi continues hard at work with local Binghamton artists as well. “Matthew and I are always working so keep an eye and ear out. I’m also working with an artist “Say So Black” from the area we are compiling music and videos for a new sound in the rap scene. And all 81 north artist I work with are dropping music soon Chino Bandz Dommy and Nikki the great” If you’re interested in working with Douglas Maddi for any engineering work in the future you can reach him via Instagram at ovomaddi.