With close to 30 years of professional experience, thirteen Grammy Awards, four TEC Awards, and over a thousand single and album credits to his name; John Hanes is a name recognized in the offices and A&R suites of record companies as the right-hand man of mixer Serban Ghenea. He is also a talented mixer in his own right.
Interview from JAXSTA:
I started with a pretty typical early-1990s Los Angeles career path. I studied Recording Arts at USC and started working in a couple of LA studios as an intern, then as an assistant engineer. My big break was getting introduced to Teddy Riley in 1993. He was coming off the success of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album and was forming the band BLACKstreet. He needed some new engineering staff at his studio, Future Records, in Virginia Beach, VA; so I packed up everything I owned, signed my car over to my roommate, and moved to Virginia Beach. This is also where I met Serban Ghenea. He was hired about the same time by Teddy, and we became fast friends.
We worked with so many top producers and artists in Teddy’s world that I think I became immune to the celebrity and learned how to just grind and work. At the end of the day these celebrities are regular people with an exciting and interesting job and life, but when we are working on a project, the concentration is on music, business, and quality. Who is in the room isn’t so important because every artist and every producer should get the same professional treatment.
I think it was here that I learned that a recording or a mix is not finished until the producer and artist are both satisfied. We have carried that philosophy onward ever since. We will keep working on a mix until they say it is done. If the artist wants to try something else, we’ll try it. The job is to make their vision, their internal thought of a song, come to life for them. If you can do that you rarely lose a client.
I think that that philosophy, along with a strong work ethic, attention to detail and, of course, mixing talent, continues to draw new producers and new artists into our world.
I think that most of the path was falling into various situations and making the most of them. I have always been interested in music and in technology, so I think that I was mostly inspired to stick with it by fear of failing and not knowing when or how to quit.
Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic sweeping every award at the GRAMMYs and at TEC was so amazing; I’m not sure anything can live up to that. We worked so hard on that album, it was such a special project to work on and it really felt like a collaboration with Charles Moniz, who recorded everything, Bruno, his producers, and Serban doing the mixing.