2% Rising: Meet mastering engineer Elaine Rasnake

Audio Media International is delighted to present the latest in an ongoing series of engineer and producer interviews as part of our partnership with 2% Rising. Here, we catch up with Philadelphia-based mastering engineer Elaine Rasnake.

Launched by artist and producer Rookes and mastering engineer and AMI columnist Katie Tavini, 2% Rising was founded in response to the widely reported statistic that female producers only make up two per cent of the industry. The hub, which is currently over 380 members strong (and still growing), is intended to serve as a safe space for women and gender minority producers to converse, share opportunities, ask questions and network. Sound designer Suze Cooper recently joined Rookes and Tavini as one of the group’s core staff members.

The partnership between AMI and 2% Rising sees us post monthly spotlights on some of the most exciting new talent from the network, while providing regular updates on its latest developments and activities.

Here, Rasnake discusses her route into the industry and her ambitions for the future…

What’s your name?
Elaine Rasnake.

Can you confirm what pronouns you prefer?

Can you tell us where you’re based and what you do in the pro music and audio industry?
I’m based in Philadelphia, PA USA and I am the lead mastering engineer and owner of Daughterboard Audio. I’m also a musician in the band Best Hit TV as well as my own solo project, Elaine Rasnake.

How did you come to work in music and audio production?
I’ve been playing music since I was a kid and I ended up studying audio production and classical voice at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. After graduating, I built a cozy home studio in my parent’s basement and produced two albums solely as a means of creating a portfolio of my audio work in hopes of bringing in new clients. 

After years of touring with my solo music project, making friends from gigs and within the local DIY music community, I finally had a few people reach out to see if I could record, mix, and master their music. Everything else just snowballed from there.

What’s been the job you’ve most enjoyed in your career so far?
Mastering, 1,000 per cent. I used to do everything on the audio production checklist before I ended up falling in love with mastering. I recently mastered an album for the Brooklyn, NY based musician Foxanne and it was one of those jobs where once the work was done, I didn’t want to stop because I was having such a good time listening to the music.

Of which achievement do you feel proudest?
When I started college, I knew absolutely nothing about audio production and was in a class of 14 guys who were all in bands and had prior audio knowledge. By the end, only tow or three of them graduated with me and I was able to inspire more female and non-binary students to join the audio production track along the way. I am so proud to say that I was the first woman to graduate with an audio degree from Bloomsburg University.

What’s been the most difficult or challenging aspect of your job?
The down time and my own brain. When I’m waiting for new jobs to come in, the imposter syndrome feeling really loves to chime in and worry about whether or not this will be the last client I ever get. I’ve worked on tackling this by writing down the feedback I get from my clients to remind myself of how my work makes such a positive impact on their life.

What do you want to focus on in the future?
I want to continue focusing on building my Daughterboard Audio business and supporting my community. I’m still in the early stages of everything and I want to make sure that while I look for new clients and learn new things, I am doing everything I can to give back to my community and help support the DIY music scene, especially during this COVID quarantine time where everything is still shut down.

How do you feel the pro music and audio industry has changed (or not!) since you started to now?
There are a lot more women and non-binary folks doing their own audio production or actively looking for non-cis male engineers to work with them. I have also been finding so many amazing LGBTQIA+ musicians openly making music now which is absolutely incredible to see and hear.

Have you ever been star-struck by anyone you’ve worked with?
I haven’t worked with anyone yet that has made me feel star-stuck. However, I joined and became the moderator of an audio mastering group on Facebook and Bob Katz helped me with my room setup and we are now Facebook friends. I’m still in awe just thinking about it.

Which artists and producers are you listening to right now?
Caroline Polachek, Christine and the Queens, Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens, Oso Oso and this week I have been non-stop listening to the Billboard Top 100 songs from the ‘90s.

What do you feel that being a member of 2% Rising has given you?
Being a member of 2% Rising has given me a chance to meet so many wonderful people who really care for this community. I love being around others who are driven to educate and help others achieve their goals in such a male dominated field. It’s a wonderful network to be a part of and I’m so happy it exists. 

Website: https://daughterboardaudio.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daughterboardaudio/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daughterboardaudio/
Solo Project: https://elainerasnake.bandcamp.com/
Best Hit TV: https://besthittv.bandcamp.com/