Mastering engineer Jett Galindo embarked on her career once she graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music with a degree in music production and engineering. She’s worked under legendary late mastering engineer Doug Sax as well as engineering powerhouse Susan Rogers, who helped craft Prince’s Purple Rain and Sign o’ the Times. Her credits include records by Green Day, Randy Travis and a number of soundtracks such as La La Land and Blade Runner 2049.
Galindo stands out immediately for reasons beyond her talent. The most obvious is that she’s a woman in a field virtually owned by men. But she also masters for vinyl, a skill that even many older, more experienced engineers lack. That talent was honed under the tutelage of Sax and she continues to refine it among colleagues Eric Boulanger and Robert Hadley. “Everything I learned about vinyl started with Doug,” she explains. “We even cut straight from tape direct to vinyl, not going through any DACs. Vinyl has very unique demands. You can only learn it by working on it for years.”
An interesting vinyl-cutting experience she recalls is when she worked on the master for Green Day’s 2016 record Revolution Radio. The band attended the sessions from start to finish. “Every time they finished a track, we’d cut a seven-inch vinyl disk so they could take it home and hear it,” Galindo recollects. “There are cool modifications to our cutting lathe and we’re able to show non-engineers how to operate it. Billie Joe [Armstrong] actually cut his own record.”
As a woman in the industry, Galindo faces challenges that most men scarcely realize exist. Indeed, her first internship nearly failed to materialize once the person slated to train her at a commercial Philippines studio learned that she was a woman. “At the last minute, the head engineer found out that ‘Jett Galindo’ was a girl,” she recalls. “He tried to back out but it was too late. He had to push through with it. I think this applies to a lot of women entering a male-dominated field. We have to push harder just to prove we’re meant to be there.” Consequently, she urges women interested in mastering to explore as many of the audio engineering fields as possible. She’s also active in SoundGirls, an LA-based community of women in audio, which she also recommends.
Soundtracks comprise much of Galindo’s work. Accordingly, she’s learned several key lessons about mastering them. “They get mixed down when you’re watching the film,” she says. “It’s not played back at full level. It’s right underneath and part of the whole storytelling process. When it gets to the mastering stage, I’ve found that there’s a pattern of dynamics being a priority. In terms of loudness, it’s not as loud as other genres and we’re not fighting for level.”
Galindo works at LA mastering house The Bakery, which is housed at Sony Pictures Studios. There she masters under its founder Eric Boulanger, who was featured in Music Connection’s 2017 Masters of Mastering roundtable. Recently she’s mastered for Katharine McPhee, Barbra Streisand and several Epitaph Records punk bands. Video game records––many of which have been released on vinyl––form much of her upcoming work, particularly with video game music label Materia Collective.
Contact Galindo via thebakery.la/jett-galindo