What's your typical work process?
It always start with collecting information about the project and getting to know the people behind it. I quite often work for clients overseas and Skype is a great way to meet and have a good chat before we start a cooperation. If possible I ask for reference mixes to find out which direction we a going musically and sound-wise.
When mixing, I ask the client to send the audiofiles. After I checked if everything is ready to mix, the client pays 50% of the fee. Then I start working on the mix. Most of the time I send mp3's with the result but it is also possible to set-up a streaming link to discuss the mix when listening in realtime. I tend to send a mix-0 in an early stage: a first impression to find out if I am heading in the right direction. After that I work on a mix-1. Most mixes need a few tweaks or experiments before we end up with a final master mix. I send the master mixes, including instrumentals and or stems, after I received the second payment.
What type of music do you usually work on?
I have worked on very different types of music, from dance to classical and from jazz to metal. Lately I try to keep it a little more focused: music with a groove and with (at least a few) real instruments. So from jazz to stoner rock. Next to that: I have specialized in film and trailer music.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
British mixer Cameron Craig is very good for sure. Blake Eiseman is a great mixing engineer too.
Analog or digital and why?
...mm...both have there advantages. Digital is quick, easy and there is so much "equipment" to choose from. Analog has an easier and sometimes more attractive workflow for me. So both.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I do the best I can. That is all I can do. Again, I strongly believe that cooperation and dedication is the best way to achieve optimum results for the music or song and reach an audience.I am always willing to support my clients in promoting their music.
What do you like most about your job?
Making music sound great. That's the thing for me.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
"Can you help me with my project?" - Okay, tell me about yourself and your project.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That it is easy! It is very hard to explain that sometimes even quite simple recordings take time and effort to make them sound the best. It is not just the time you are sitting behind the board; it takes years and a lot work to get enough experience to become confident and good in what you do.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
In short: "So what brought you here?" I think it is important to get to know each other so I ask questions about the current project and earlier projects, about their goals, wishes, ideas etc.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
The most important thing is communication. You have to able to work with each other and when you don't feel that someone else understands what you want or forgets to ask the right questions, you should probably look further.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Guitar, sennheiser 441, U67, Neve 1073 preamp & macbook.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I have been working in music for over 20 years. As studio engineer and live engineer. There was always music in our home so it was no surprise my career would be in music. I found out that you are a kind of conductor sitting behind a mixing board. So I studied music recording and production at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and after that a few years Philosophy or Art and Culture.
My first job was at Philips Classics. Half way the nineties the cd-market collapsed and I started to work as a live-sound engineer for pop, rock and jazz bands. Since 10 years I am back in the studio working on many different projects.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Last year I mixed the orchestral score for Disney's Muppets Most Wanted spot for the Super Bowl. 110.000.000 people listening to my mix: great!
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Phew....hard question. There are so manyl: The Black Keys for their to-the-point and the same time sophisticated music and sound. Bombay Bicycle Club for their great songs, Aphex Twin for his integrity and musicality, Quincy Jones, for his musical knowledge in general, James Horner for his orchestral and arrangement skills. And many more.
Can you share one music production tip?
I mentioned that I like to work on complex music, but my tip would be: do not make it too complicated. Use everything you need, make it as big and complex as you want but don't get lost.
What's your strongest skill?
I think my strongest skill is mixing complex music. Building a mix with many different elements is not easy but that is what I enjoy very much; finding a good place for every detail.
Next to that I think I am easy to work with. My main goal is to find the best sound for the song and the artist.
What do you bring to a song?
Well, that depends very much on the song and the client! Some music is based on a strong tradition and then there could be less room to create a different perspective. Some people have a quite strict idea about the sound they are after, others want me to follow my own ideas.
That said, I do have a tendency to stick with the recorded sound, just tweaking here and there, and then create and interweave different acoustic environments. I guess that's because I started my career as a classical recording engineer.
Tell us about your studio setup.
When projects don’t need the big-studio approach or when a project lacks sufficient budget for a large studio, I mix “in-the-box” or with a hybrid setup in my personal studio. I use some analog gear a.o. Great British Spring Reverb, Roland Space Echo and Revox tape recorders to add some old school flavor when needed.
An excellent possibility for many projects with limited budget is to combine the advantages of setting up mixes in-the-box and the attractive extra’s of a big studio. I regularly work in the Legacy Studio, a large Dutch studio facility with an extraordinary collection of vintage microphones and amazing outboard, ICON D-control and 5.1 monitoring.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
There are so many great musicians, composers and music professionals I could mention a lot of names, but it is very simple: I am inspired by music. As mentioned earlier, the recording process is a collaborative endeavour. All great performances are the result of collaboration. Aren't we all standing on the shoulders of giants? But I think I should at least mention Lasse Martin, swedish producer and engineer. I very much like his work.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I divide my time between recording and mixing. For me the variety between both jobs and different styles of music appeals to me very much. As a recording and mix engineer my main goal is to work on a sound that fits the song and the artist best.
I tend to view the recording process as a collaborative endeavor and very much enjoy cooperating with producers, musicians, composers and writers. I think, an engineer must be able to manage equipment and know techniques to bring together different ideas and realize one definitive arrangement.
So the main thing I do for clients is best described as "listening": when preparing a project, communicating with the client and being responsible for the sound.