Expressive sound with character
25 Years of experience from the underground clubs of Germany and Belgium to the hype of Brooklyn and Manhattan, I play mostly tenor sax but also soprano, clarinet and bass clarinet, flute and I got engineering experience, treating sound with electronics, playing with samplers, old synths, futuristic apps doing hip-hop beats, edm tracks and instrumental wonders.
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Interview with Paul Meurens
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I learned with studio guys in NYC, learned to make each line a hook, to deliver quickly and sanely in one of the most cut-throat environment. Lately I've been playing and recording with the great Page Hamilton from Helmet bringing guitar recording but also just creation of sound to a whole new level. Also I love the album to Pimp a butterfly, it sets for me a new standard in expressiveness, and the mix of electronics and jazz is the best I heard as it decades of sound by combining the good old acoustic with the most modern HD productions.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Pro Tools HD, some good German mikes and few but well chosen effects
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Before I record a part, I need to be able to hum it so that I become so familiar with the melody that I can breathe it through, which is necessary on saxophone. Of course I am a fan of the first take but I always do the extra one, for good luck. Once all my tracks are recorded I start by adjusting some volumes. I usually leave the effects up to the client unless requested.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Life! I love electro but it always sounds better with air.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'd like to say creating melodies but in NY we'd just say making up parts.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Pop, world music, electro, jazz, it's a vast territory
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Put the horns louder in your mix, instead of turning them down EQ them, and try fades in and out
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Deadmau5, but I'll settle for Bjork
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Awesomely sculptural
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: You can contact me if you have a question. If you want me to start a part right on the first beat provide a click or some kind of precount. If you're not sure I can make a whole song from scratch, or sync music to an existing video
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you prefer alto, tenor or flute as a main voice?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: In the 80's the saxophone was ruined with too much effects, and affect, too many hair in the wind.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long will this take? Depending on your needs (and my availability) 1 to 7 days.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Hell I'm a musician, I just love it.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I deliver a sound that will make you go Oh Yeah. I moved to New York to get that sound, the supersonic saxophone, fast and mind blowing.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I wasn't convinced by digital until I started working at 24 bits / 96 khz. I still have a really good tape recorder but I rarely use it because of obvious synchronization issues.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Typically I receive a song file which is either instrumental or complete, the parts I'm supposed to play may be already played but a synth, or hummed by the singer or producer, they may also just leave a blank space on the rythm track with a time indication for the beginning and ending of a solo or part. Whether I add just one line of sax or a whole section of woodwinds ( I like to double the flute and harmonize the sax), I send back files with a rough mix, a sync point and each parts in high quality audio.