Grammy-Winning Engineer Manny Marroquin on Working With Mac Miller, What Makes Post Malone So Unique


Surpassing cumulative gross sales of 250 million information globally, listeners may assume mixing engineer Manny Marroquin is making ready to retire after 20 years of musical excellence. Yet with a discography that boasts names like, Bruno Mars, 2Pac, John Legend and Nas and has garnered eight Grammy awards, Marroquin's final yr of musicianship places him in place for extra accolades than ever earlier than.

The Guatemala-born, Los Angeles-raised mogul is a two-time contender in one of the best engineered album, non-classical class on the 2019 Grammy Awards. Additionally, Marroquin’s work is eligible for 2 of the night's highest honors, as Post Malone's Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 "Rockstar" is up for file of the yr and his Billboard 200-crowning LP beerbongs and bentleys is nominated for album of the yr. Still, maybe the night’s most humbling recognition will arrive in reminiscence of a collaborator Marroquin thought-about "household": Mac Miller.

The late Pittsburgh MC earned his first-ever Grammy nomination posthumously, for finest rap album, along with his last album, Swimming. "For me, it’s bittersweet. … It hit lots of people arduous and me as a result of as a human being, [Mac] was a very particular particular person. As a musician, he was a really underrated artist," Marroquin defined.

Billboard linked with the chart-topping engineer to debate his contributions to upward of 40 No. 1 Billboad 200 albums, what he has en route alongside BMG, working with music's largest icons and past.

Your household moved to Los Angeles, California whenever you had been 9 years previous because of the Guatemalan Civil War. At that time, what did the American dream imply to you — was it all the time music?

It is humorous as a result of when my mother [took us] on a aircraft to LA, we had been presupposed to be right here on trip. She promised us a visit to Disneyland. So, every time a day will get arduous within the studio or something, I all the time say I’m nonetheless on trip. [Laughs] So, it will possibly't be that dangerous.

For me, it was not even concerning the American dream. It was like, “Let's obtained to Disneyland. Come on!” That was undoubtedly the American dream. I obtained into music as a result of there was all the time music round with my household. My mother sang and performed in a band with my uncles. Music was an enormous a part of our tradition and family. I began taking part in drums as I noticed my relations do, round [the age of] 12.

I actually, actually loved it. I might not say I grew up within the powerful streets of LA as a result of I’m certain there may be all the time [somewhere] harder. Still, I grew up [around] the gang tradition in LA. I feel that wasn't me. [Laughs] So, I used to be on the lookout for a means out. Music was undoubtedly the best way to keep away from sure crowds. Also, once I say music saved my life I really imagine that. [Laughs]

At current, you might be often called an eight-time GRAMMY-award profitable mixing engineer. What your avid listeners might not know is that your journey started at Enterprise Studios as a runner. Describe your hustle in the direction of turning into the person with 100 Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200.

You know, I don’t see issues that I don't take into consideration once I work on mixing. I don’t take into consideration Grammys, clearly. I don’t take into consideration the charts. I actually take it from a really primary strategy. The artist or producer involves me to work on their child. That is what I all the time say. I’m an costly babysitter. [Laughs]

Whenever they arrive, I attempt entering into their thoughts, whether or not which means speaking to them, and even the music [will] communicate for itself. I attempt to perceive what their imaginative and prescient is. It isn’t about me. [The process] isn’t about my sound or what I can deliver to the desk. It is all the time about how I can [create a moment,] whether or not it’s a music that makes you cry, dance, sing-along, or no matter that true emotion is: (a) I’m attempting to not fuck it up, and (b), I’m simply attempting to verify it feels like what they envisioned. [Laughs]

But, I by no means take into consideration a sound. That is sort of fascinating as a result of I’m coping with what most individuals understand as a technical area. I really feel it’s extra of a artistic area with technological instruments. But what we try to do is create that emotion that the artist as soon as had. So, I focus subconsciously on that. Thus, the ten thousand hours I used to take a look at [something in the studio], is what, thirty thousand now? [Laughs]

Alongside Post Malone, you had been Grammy nominated for “file of the yr” with “rockstar” and “album of the yr” for beerbongs & bentleys. Creatively, how was it collaborating in the direction of two of the Grammy's highest honors?

You know, I heard — and I’ve been working with Post for a very long time now — [but] he has a fantastic staff round him. He has Louis Bell which is his engineer/producer. Post has Frank Dukes. That is one other wonderful producer. He has an amazing A&R staff. And, I’ve been touching his music for years. So, doing this new album, I keep in mind one thing was actually particular about it.

Also, I keep in mind being in a distinct nation once I obtained a name from the A&R, Rob Stevenson. [He said,] "Hey, man! We've obtained the brand new Post album." I’ve all the time been a Post Malone fan from day one, even from "White Iverson." So, one thing felt completely different about these songs, particularly, "rockstar." The second I introduced up the faders I knew, my intestine instructed me that it simply felt proper.

In at the moment's world, I don't even know what style he’s. He is among the solely artists the place you can’t pin him down. I name it genreless music. You know? Nowadays, [people question,] “Is it hip-hop? Yes. Is it different? Yes. Is it sort of rock? Yes. Is it pop? Yes.”

I imply you would say "sure" to all of them. So that’s thrilling for me. If you take a look at my discography, I don’t simply do both R&B or Pop. I do hip-hop, rock, and truly, I are likely to do some little bit of all the things. So, that’s virtually like a great artist for somebody like myself — the place I can deliver my different information into the studio. I carry a pop sensibility, too, so it will possibly compete with the Ariana Grande's of the world. And, it additionally had this cool hip-hop aspect to it. That is my background, mixing hip-hop.

It was a match made in heaven once I actually went deep into the album. [I said,] "Oh, that is one thing that I had not heard earlier than." I’ve heard parts of it in different individuals's music, however not suddenly. The unimaginable factor is that [creating with Post Malone] just isn’t pressured. It is natural.

Particularly, how does it really feel to be a contender in 2019 for "finest rap album" with Mac Miller’s Swimming, amongst different nominations?

Yeah, that could be a powerful one. That nomination is a very powerful one. Mac and I obtained to spend so much of time within the studio. I obtained to know Mac nicely, personally, and creatively. So, once I heard the information [of him passing] as you’ll be able to think about, it was past devastating. It was like dropping a member of the family.

I’m certain should you ask anyone that knew him and even examine him, I feel everyone feels that very same means. Unfortunately, we acknowledge stuff like this when [someone] is now not with us. He walked in a room, and there was simply this gentle [that let you know] he walked in. If you had been having a nasty day, he would make your day a lot better. He undoubtedly had a expertise that we can’t even describe.

So, for me, it’s bittersweet, as a result of once we had been doing the album, it [became] a really musical album. People who didn’t know Mac had no thought, he was a really inventive man. Even earlier than I labored with him, I didn’t understand he was that musical.

His musical journey actually exhibits. This album proves that. I hope that this album obtained nominated due to its' high quality. I keep in mind engaged on it considering, "Wow! This is such an incredible hip-hop album." The indisputable fact that it obtained nominated is nice, however I hope individuals hearken to what it truly is.

So, that was powerful. I miss the man. It hit me and hit lots of people arduous as a result of as a human being, he was a very particular particular person. As a musician, he was a really underrated artist. He ought to have been a lot, a lot; I don't know… larger. Yes, he ought to have been rather a lot larger than what he was on the time — primarily based on how proficient he actually was.

Your discography is overwhelming. Among your 14 No. 1’s on the Billboard Hot 100, from this, are there three classes that had been exceptionally memorable?

That is like asking, "So, you might have ten children — which one is your favourite?" [Laughs] That is like unattainable to reply. You know there are particular [scenarios]. Gosh! I have no idea if I’ve a solution to that, as a result of I actually attempt to say that I respect each artist, whether or not I like them personally or not. I really feel just like the vitality you place out is the vitality you get.

Thankfully, I might have a boring e-book if I ever determined to jot down one. My experiences, ninety-five % of them have been tremendous constructive. When you get individuals with the identical widespread aim, I really feel like ninety % of the time it’s drama-free.

It is collaborative in a productive means. It is extra good than it’s dangerous. So, if I named three, it could be unfair to the others that had been equally as keyed up. So, it’s bizarre. It is difficult to choose three classes that stand out. I can consider 100 simply now. [Laughs]

Earlier this yr, you partnered along with your longtime collaborator Malay to launch Britannia Row Recordings with BMG. What can we anticipate from you on this function?

This new function is type of [starting a new] label with my good pal Malay. In soccer, there was a play the place [we] known as, "slash." [The player] would do something that the coach wanted him to do. [Laughs] I really feel like my function at BMG is a "slash." Obviously, I combine stuff.

Still, I additionally oversee A&R. Malay might have questions on songs, sounds, or course. So, I’m performing as an A&R. I’m serving as an govt. It is a place that I used to be not in a position to make earlier than so far as budgetary causes or artistic causes.

Sometimes I’m a co-producer. Sometimes I join songwriters with different producers. There are different instances I’m on the lookout for new artists. So, it’s actually what I envisioned if I ever obtained a label — to signal stuff that we’re pleased with. We push stuff that we care about, and never solely musically, however as individuals, too. Hopefully, we can assist some careers get to a different degree.

My infrastructure at Larrabee [Studios] permits us to try this. At Larrabee, now we have a complete of seven studios. Some of the [new] stuff, for instance, Johnnyswim, is a good band. We simply completed the album. We are dropping the one subsequent week. It was created, recorded, combined, mastered, and produced all in-house.

Also, I’m engaged on a restaurant venue live performance that’s proper subsequent to Larrabee Studios. Now, not solely will we have the ability to create from starting to finish. They will have the ability to carry out. We can seize the dwell efficiency and put it on vinyl. That was all the time a dream of mine, to have the flexibility to create issues like that — primarily based on issues that I actually like and wish to be part of.

With accumulative gross sales approaching 250 million information, what do you’re feeling is left to perform in music?

For myself, having my music venue that [will] hopefully [be] open this summer season. I feel, additionally, serving to on the dwell sound [with artists]. I wish to discover that world the place dwell recordings are important and necessary — particularly sooner or later.

I wish to maintain mixing information. That remains to be [exciting]. It doesn’t matter if the information I’ve labored on have bought [an upward of] 5, 5 million, or 500 million. I nonetheless actually take pleasure in that course of. Also, establishing work with the label — I wish to maintain constructing catalogs.

[I intend to] proceed the gathering of artists that we’re all pleased with. So, these are the issues that I’m actually specializing in sooner or later. Keep mixing. Hopefully, my venue will probably be profitable, and we are able to maintain signing artists that may make an influence.