Artist of the Month: James Fixx, recording and mixing

PRAISE FOR LITTLE-KNOWN MAJOR — According to Fixx, “There’s the creative, musical side that’s very nuanced and artistic, and the technical side, which is really applying the artistic side to the use of gear and software.” (Annah Duffey)


James Fixx (’18) will be the fourth student at Hope College to complete a recording arts composite major.

Up until the fall of 2015, only  one small recording studio existed, in the basement of Dimnent  Memorial Chapel.

With the help of many hardworking individuals, including  the current director of recording arts, Drew Elliot, a larger studio was set up in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, room 134.

That studio has since created a greater space for audio  recordings, the necessary room for high-tech equipment and the full capability of a recording arts composite major.

Fixx found his way to Hope from Oberlin, Ohio, with credit  to the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), as his mom  has been part of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s staff.

Prior to his arrival, he reflected, “Seeing the way that the music department worked and that  you could be involved in choirs without having to be a music major was a draw, because I didn’t think that I would end up  being a music major.”

However four years later, as a student leader for 12th Street Harmony, an avid member of  Chapel Choir and a proud recording arts composite major,  Fixx could not imagine his educational journey any other way.

Ever since early high school,  Fixx held an interest in recording and producing.

Frequently he would write his own electronic music on Garage  Band, which he has since continued in a much more involved  fashion. “Scarpainting,” his artist  name, can be located on Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music  and other music streaming platforms.

“It was pretty much by word of mouth that I found out the possibility of being a recording arts major.”

After discovering this opportunity, Fixx jumped in immediately, taking all of the music and  recording classes he possibly could.

“I like that I do a ton of music and a ton of recording, and that they really do overlap, because  everyone in my recording classes is also a musician.”

Other students are involved  in choir ensembles, band ensembles or chapel band. Fixx  and his classmates truly radiate passion for their work in every sense of the subject.

Now, as a senior, Fixx has  time to reflect on his experiences, while also looking toward the  future, as all seniors do.

“I’d say my biggest takeaway is that you will get a lot out of becoming part of a community at Hope…I’ve met quite literally all of my friends through Chapel Choir. The other thing I would say that kind of goes hand in hand with [community] is: don’t stretch yourself too thin. There’s a big temptation culturally now  to be a double or triple major and have absolutely no time.”

In the future, you would likely  run across Fixx in a similar professional atmosphere to the one  he cultivates at Hope right now.

“My ultimate goal would be  to own and operate my own recording studio and do tracking  and mixing there.”

To do so, he plans on bouncing between different studios,  taking unpaid work and building up a portfolio.

At the end of the day, though,  Fixx said, “I’d like to just be involved in recording music and  see where that takes me.”

Do you have an interest or  passion for recording and mixing too? Don’t know where to  start with your interest?

Fixx commented, “I would say sign up for Recording Arts I…That is the class that will help  you figure out if that’s something you want to do. It starts  you at the very beginning, like how sound works.”

As the interview drew to a close, Fixx pointedly added, “Tell your friends that Hope College  has a super legit recording situation, because there’s a whole lot  of people on campus who have no idea about it.”

There is your cue: spread the word like a fire mixtape.


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