Professional Tracking and mixing sound engineer, both live and studio
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Interview with Calvin Blignaut
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: We are gonna change the face of South African music, Can't say more now cause its still confidential
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on a very special project for international release...gonna change the face of SA Music
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Thats a tricky one...I've been recording for 25 years now, so when I started all we had was analogue..I still record analogue if I'm looking for that big Drum sound, and big guitar sound. I love analogue Pre's and EQ's, not that I'm a fan of EQ. I prefer to use compression and get it right in the recording stage. I love outboard analogue pre's and compressors, they just seem to give the mix a signature sound and colour. I wont track vocals without a UAD LA610 somewhere in the chain. I dont mind mixing in the box or breaking out to an analogue mixer, its very dependant on the genre of music though! I dont mind using Plug Ins cause most of them sound pretty good! I still prefer a good outboard reverb and compressor though
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: They will get the best quality at an affordable price
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Working with people and being creative
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How much??
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People think that you can record any rubbish and then fix it in the mix. move the microphone, change the sound source...If its still not right...change the player!! (That one causes a bit of negativity)
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Where would they like to go with the project? in other words begin with the end in mind...Where would you like your songs to be played? in a stadium or a intimate jazz club with good acoustics...and then write record and produce them that way.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: make sure you know your songs, or know how to play them well
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A good mike, nice vintage Neumann U87, some great Pre amps, I like the UAD and Neve Brands, A Neve or ssl analogue desk, good old Studer tape machine for tracking and prob PtoTools or Logic for mixing
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Ive been doing this for 25 years now, worked in studios and in live enviroment
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love to work with anyone that is creative and can take direction without taking it as a personal insult!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: You can't fix it in the mix, Get it right to start with
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I mainly work on country and rock music. Also quite a bit of local culture african music
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: The strongest skill is probably getting the right sound down for the mix, and getting the righ performance out of the artist. Mainly being able to hear how the recorded sound is gonna sit in the final mix
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My process mostly involves getting the right sound into a recording. Move the mikes or change the source is my top priority!! Begin with the end in mind! You cannot "fix it in the mix"!!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have 2 studios, one analogue and one digital. Both run ProTools. The analogue studio has a nice live room and great preamps, eg, UAD, NEVE, API, TL Audio, Focusrite etc
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My greatest inspiration is Fab Dupont, I like his way of working because its very much the same way that I work. I believe in getting the sound right first, I use very little if any EQ
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mostly we track songs and mix them for clients, Both live bands and audio post production.