Improving audio production tools provides a great opportunity for meaningful enhancement of creative activities due to the disconnect between existing tools and the conceptual frameworks within which many people work. In our work, we focus on bridging the gap between the intentions of both amateur and professional musicians and the audio manipulation tools available through software. Rather than force nonintuitive interactions, or remove control altogether, we reframe the controls to work within the interaction paradigms identified by research done on how audio engineers and musicians communicate auditory concepts to each other: evaluative feedback, natural language, vocal imitation, and exploration. In this article, we provide an overview of our research on building audio production tools, such as mixers and equalizers, to support these kinds of interactions. We describe the learning algorithms, design approaches, and software that support these interaction paradigms in the context of music and audio production. We also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the interaction approach we describe in comparison with existing control paradigms.