Studio Profile: Interview with Jacob “Biz” Morris

Jacob “Biz” Morris is a multi-platinum and Grammy Award-winning mixing engineer. For the last decade, Biz has represented independent Atlanta hip-hop label Reach Records, as a Vice President and Head of Studio. 

Morris has recently embarked on an exciting new chapter in his career by launching “GetMxd,” a cutting-edge company aimed at providing top-tier mixing and mastering services for independent artists at an affordable price. At the GRAMMY Awards 2024, two projects which used MXD’s mixing and mastering services took home awards; Lecrae’s album ‘Church Clothes 4’ and his collaboration with Tasha Cobbs Leonard’s,‘Your Power’. 

Based in the US, Biz set up Atlanta’s first Dolby Atmos-enabled studio with Reach and is currently building a new state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos production space for MXD. Biz set up MXD so that artists operating outside of the majors can access affordable spatial production. He and his team personally mix and master each track, having helped hundreds of artists realise their music’s potential.

How long have you been running and why was your space set up?

I’ve been head audio engineer at Reach Records for the last eleven years, primarily operating out of the four studios we built in 2016. I recently finished my home studio in January and have been mixing out of it a few days a week on days when I’m not at the Reach studios. 

Who helped you build, tune or upgrade your home space?

The studio was designed by Haverstick Design, and a local business in Atlanta built it. I have Focal monitors tuned with a new audio interface, Trinnov Nova.

What artists, presenters or other creators pass through your doors?

The studio at Reach Records is where artist visits are frequent – the space is available for our roster (e.g. Andy Mineo, Hulvey, Limoblaze and Lecrae) primarily, but have also had others including Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin.

For my new space, I wanted a space that was at home where my kids could come in or be around while I was working. Some new songs I mixed in here include ‘Skin and Bones’ by David Kushner, ‘I Still Believe’ by Lecrae, and ‘UP!’ by Forrest Frank and Connor Price. 

What’s your USP as a studio based on feedback from artists and completed sessions? 

Because we are a “team”, or a larger entity, our USP is we have the unique capability to handle artists’ songs with a careful, personal touch, whilst executing it all in a streamlined and efficient manner. We deliver unbeatable attention to detail through an intuitive and responsive user interface – my new MXD platform, which connects grassroots artists with industry-leading mixing and mastering services at an affordable price.  

Who’s on the team?

I’m lucky to have a fantastic team with me at MXD. I’ve been working with Connor Back since he first joined Reach Records as an intern in 2018. He’s been with MXD through every step of the way, and is now one of our head mixing and mastering engineers. As our list of clients grew, we also brought in Zach Johnson, who plays a vital role in keeping our admin in check. He’s a really valuable member of the team – he’s now moving into mixing Dolby Atmos as his specialty.

How do you stay stay up to date in your home studio and Reach?

What I’ve had to do is figure out a way to stay current with sound/equipment, but also facilitate a streamline workflow that will allow for working on a lot of music and not spend a tonne of time troubleshooting. One example is working in my Atmos room at Reach Records, which uses Dante, the digital audio network.

How would you describe the overall vibe of your home studio? What’s the balance between creating a great sound vs a great vibe – can they exist hand in hand without compromise?

Vibe is super important in a studio. The environment informs how you feel, and how you feel informs your work, as well as the music it churns out. My home studio has a very open feeling. I wanted a lot of windows for natural light and Gavin from Haverstick Designs made this a reality. I chose all white stretch material from FabricWall, which makes the space feel open, light, and breezy. This is really important for me whilst working in an industry that can often feel busy and clustered.

How do you feel about remote collaboration in your studio with apps such as Audiomovers, do you embrace it or does it change the magic in the room?

I love remote collaboration, but some people feel differently, believing in-person collaboration is the way to get the best result. While I agree in-person is often fun and gets the job done, remote sessions can often allow for more flexibility with less pressure. Audio streaming allows us to execute an idea whilst in the spur of the moment. An artist can be anywhere and suddenly make changes to their mix, with their mixing engineer responding to it virtually in real time. In that sense, remote collaboration can be an incredibly powerful and efficient tool.

Can you share a list of the gear you have and the room types and dimensions?

In my room, I have an Apple Mac Studio with a Trinnov Nova and Focal monitors. I also have my studio at Reach Records with more gear if needed. For years, I used a lot of outboard gear, and still do sometimes, but I have really enjoyed the simple set up I use at home. I am currently working on a new mix bus chain and will be installing it in both rooms.

Talk us through your rooms and why they are designed in the way they are?

My home studio is very open and bright with natural light. The rooms at Reach all have different vibes. This allows our artists to gravitate to specific singular spaces, or even oscillate between rooms to keep the environment dynamic. We also created a few rooms that have multiple work spaces inside of them, which allows for hosting writing and production camps.

What’s your dream recording project or client?

This is a hard one. Last year was a big year for me as an audio engineer. I certainly wouldn’t pass on mixing John Mayer if given the chance!