5 Questions:

With Chris Mara

Chris Mara is the founder and owner of the analog studio “Welcome To 1979” in Nashville TN, as well as owner and founder of “Mara Machines” which repairs and sells analog tape machines. He’s been engineering records in Nashville since 1999, and assisted on records as early as 1995. When he’s not recording bands, he’s out seeing bands play shows, working on analog tape machines, or buying and listening to vinyl records. More info at and

1 – What was the hardest concept for you to grasp as a developing engineer, and what helped you finally understand it?

Chris: Trusting my gut instinct on how things sound.  There’s a few milliseconds when you hear something before you start to think about what you’re hearing.  I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on trusting what I hear in those milliseconds, and making decisions based on it.

2 – How do you handle unruly clients?

Chris: I honestly don’t have any.  I think keeping the studio very clean and neat prevents people from making it a mess, and having a rate that keeps people focused on having fun while getting things done is important.  Bands drink while we record, but don’t overdo it and become unruly.

3 – What would you be lost without?

Chris: A DBX 160 VU

4 – What drives your love for the analog realm?

Chris: The workflow of an analog console and an analog tape machine.  It guides me and artists to make the right choices at the right time.  I do a lot of DAW projects, and treat those sessions in a very ‘analog’ way, which really helps the sound of a DAW.

5 – What is the most valuable lesson you had to learn the hard way?

Chris: The proper use of social media when it comes to projects I’m working on.  Short story: it’s best to get permission PRIOR to posting anything about anyone