Jul 1, 2021
Ep. 045: Matthew Rifino - Sound Mixer, TODAY Show
When Matthew Rifino picked up an acoustic guitar at 5, a 30 year love affair with music began. 3 years later, he convinced his grandfather to buy him a four-track cassette recorder and Matthew would sit for hours recording and overdubbing. He started recording his first band at their first rehearsal and honed his basic recording chops by trial and error. Matthew and his friends threw themselves into the NJ Hardcore and Punk scene of the mid 90's. Forming an indie label and throwing shows, Matthew wanted to be immersed in the music community.
Channel surfing after school, Matthew stumbled upon a show being filmed at a recording studio only one town over from his house! He showed up at their door and told them he wanted to learn how to record. Matthew lucked out and the owner Tee DiMura took him under his wing. It was an old school 16 track analog 70's studio with floor to ceiling shag carpet and the smell of cigarettes in the air. Matthew spent all four years of high school afternoons learning as much as he could about recording and mixing.
It was Avatar Studios (The Power Station) that gave Matthew his first real taste of what it’s like working with big names in the music industry. At 19-years-old, he scored a 3 month unpaid internship that turned into 4 years on staff at this legendary facility. Everyday, Matthew was in awe while learning from Grammy winning engineers and producers. Al Schmidt, Jack Joseph Puig, Michael Brauer, Jason Corsaro, Neil Dorfsman, and Rich Costey were some the greats he got to watch perform their craft. The years he spent at Avatar still influenced the rest of his life.
After 4 years, he wanted to make the move to freelance. Matthew had a couple of indie records lined up and then by a chance meeting he got a gig mixing monitors for the NBC Today Show. He had never mixed anything live before but got thrown right into the fire on his first show mixing Elvis Costello. At the same time with an inherent gravitational pull towards his recording studio roots he signed on as a staff engineer at Granite Alps Studios in NJ and later as Chief Engineer at Fenix Studios in Staten Island, NY. During that time, Matthew worked with Living Colour, James Blood Ulmer, Bernard Purdie (Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Hall and Oates), Wu Tang Clan, Wyclef Jean plus lots of independent rock and pop artists. While at Fenix, he also had the opportunity to mix jingles for television, radio, as well as tracks that would end up in major motion pictures.
At just 27, Matthew took on the role of Broadcast Music Mixer for the NBC TODAY SHOW. Mixing the 5.1 Surround Sound on air-mixes that millions watch daily along with millions of streams on the net. During his time at NBC, Matthew has worked with a cornucopia of artists such as Adele, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, Robert Plant, Fleetwood Mac, Lady Gaga, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift, John Mellencamp, among many others.
After a few years away from the record business to focus on television, he could not resist the urge to get back into the studio. Having recently completed his personal mix room "Stone House Studios”, Matthew has started mixing records again. His goal is to be able to deliver high quality mixes to all his clients.
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