Ben Etter is an indie producer and mixer with credits by Deerhunter, Hazel English, Washed Out, Cate Le Bon, The Big Moon, Magic Gang and Kaiser Chiefs a.o.
"I want records to feel a little bit dangerous, like we're allowing ourselves to do things in ways that some might not consider correct or proper. Celebrating imperfection and idiosyncrasies leads us to the true identity of an artist. Once I have a vision for where a record wants to go, I just get on board, take whatever risks necessary to preserve that identity and refuse to water it down with conventional "best" practices. Some of my favorite captures and mixing moves in the studio have been serendipitous. The key is to create an environment where these things can happen."
Originally from Bern, Switzerland, Ben Etter migrated to Atlanta, GA to focus completely on making records after spending many years as a recording and touring artist himself. Very much a child of the 90's, his work has been tied to the decade less in style than in approach. The attitude of independent artists at the time created an environment in which making records was, perhaps due to technical and time limitations, unencumbered by fear or overthinking and instead driven by fierce confidence in the material and artistic vision. In an age of unprecedented access and scrutiny in music production, this is the kind of mentality Ben brings to every session. This is reflected in his creative, often experimental recording and mixing approach - rendering exciting and sometimes unexpected results.
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- St. Pe
- worlds greatest dad
- Kaiser Chiefs
- Franz Ferdinand
- Dan Croll
- Hazel English
- Japanese Wallpaper
- Cate le bon
- Washed Out
- The Big Moon
- The Magic Gang
- cut copy
- Slum Sociable
- Wild Moccasins
- VHS Collection
- Jeans For Jesus
- Belle and Sebastian
- Small Reactions
- Albin Lee Meldau
- Shock Machine
- Jack River
- Royal Canoe
- The Souls
- Goodbye Fairbanks
- Maximo Park
16 Reviews - 2 Repeat ClientsEndorse Ben Etter
I spent a lot of time searching SB for the right producer. I went with Ben expecting a great sound & production ideas, and came out with much more than that. Though we had to work remotely, he made that experience a breeze. We had a great chat to start things off and go over the goals for the song, & his lines of communication remained open throughout our creative process. Ben unleashed a confidence in me as an artist. I would highly recommend working with him!
Ben is AMAZING. He helped us edit, mix, and master our track. He's super quick and is great with feedback and communication. He was really able to take our song to the next level. He brought so much to our track and the song is better than we could've imagined. Would definitely work with Ben again!
I sent Ben a track that with a lot of parts that needed some real work to come together. He got everything to gel and work seamlessly. Could not be happier with his work, communication, and professionalism. Thank you Ben!
Always a pleasure. Ben is a patient listener and excellent collaboration partner. He has a distinct sound and a lot of experience to offer.
Working with Ben was so seamless and inspiring. He was so communicative, really attentive to vision and such a joy to work with!!! Had a great time making this sick song together, hope to work with you again, thanks a ton Ben!
Ben is awesome! His mix totally took my song to the next level. Great and quick communication as well. I'd recommend him in a heartbeat to anyone looking for someone to work magic on their material.
This was my first experience with such a collaboration and it was just perfect. The song gained a new dimension, definitely.
Great communication, agility, creativity. Already finishing some new tracks come back. Thanks Ben, talk soon!
Ben has been absolutely fantastic throughout the process (mixing +mastering); he is extremely easy to communicate with, is endlessly patient, has amazing ears and the skills with the tools to back it up! I didn't think my song could sound so good! Ben's the man; I'll be back to him for my next song for sure! Wholeheartedly recommended!
Ben is a great mixer! I wasn’t sure how my song was going to work but Ben made it happen. His use of analog equipment really puts the finishing touches on your piece. He is super good at communication and understanding the artist. Can’t wait to do more with him!
Extraordinary. Ben’s sound is precise, distinctive and emotional. He is a patient and competent collaborator, that is truly interested in the music - not just the job. Happy to work again with him next time.
Ben worked quickly and gave me a track that sounded incredible. Working with an indie rock sound, he took my original vision and made it sound better than I ever could. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to others or to work with him again.
Patient and understanding with my ideas and also very efficient. Would definitely work with him again!
Ben is an excellent and experienced collaborator. He’s been highly encouraging and patient as I worked through the different directions I wanted to explore with an idea. His production knowledge is vast, has great instincts, and is unafraid to explore new territory.
I reached out to Ben through his website after doing research online. His response was instant and friendly- I quickly realized that I hit the jackpot as Ben is a true pro. I was extremely happy with the results but I also appreciated the process, the way he communicates around the music and the vision he has for it. He's elaborate, coherent, very creative. Since he was in Atlanta and me in NYC, it was crucial for us to have clear communication between us. He made that whole process easy, positive, quick and successful.
Can't recommend him enough!
Our band has worked with ben on two records, and we couldn’t be happier with our finished products. He Is a consummate professional, a very hard worker, and a good friend to have manning the board in the studio. He is encouraging to the artists and wildly creative, and I would and do recommend him to any of my musical friends in Atlanta and abroad.
Mike with New Bedlam
I didn't know how truly lucky I was when Ben approached us (Nikki & the Phantom Callers) about recording an album with him. He's very easy and fun to work with, has great production instincts, and so knowledgeable; it brought out the best in all of us. This is the happiest I've ever been with a recording experience, as well as the final product.
Interview with Ben Etter
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Deerhunter's "Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared". I came on in the final third of the making of this record as a engineer/producer and, ultimately, mixer. I was lucky to be working with a group of such gifted and daring creative people who pushed me further than anyone else had before. I'd never worked in a less structured studio process and that record would not have come to fruition any other way. Totally eliminating boundaries opened the door to a whole different dimension in the band's vocabulary for the record - it was liberating. I was just doing my best to keep up with the pace of the session, facilitate ideas and help lace them up in the end, and this is what my role should be!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, depending on availability and sensibility. Gear rarely determines outcome, but rather the process to get there.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am a product of the 90's, so I came up hearing a lot of independent music that feels raw and unapologetic. Whatever the style, whether I'm dealing with a 4-piece rock band or an electronic artist, I still crave and push for that quality in every piece of music I work on.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Only as much as it needs. I approach each project with the goal to understand the true, honest identity of the artist I'm working with and roll with that. For some projects, I need to stay out of the way and showcase the raw energy of the band, for other artists I need to create more of a journey.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Whether it's recording or mixing, I like to be prepared and get all the technical basics set up ahead of time. This allows me to unleash everyone’s full creativity later on in the process. I want to minimize friction between an idea and its realization and stay as flexible as possible.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Callum Barter and Larry Crane are both great people and excellent professionals.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I've worn most hats you can wear in a studio. Producer, engineer (often both at the same time!), and mixer. Recently I have been most excited and focused on mixing.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Pay attention to the happy accidents. Does the guitar amp you're trying to record sound great through the drum overheads that you left unmuted by mistake? Cut it!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I came up as a touring artist and fell in love with the studio world from that side of the glass. The transition came naturally to me. I quickly progressed from an intern sweeping floors at now defunct Glow In The Dark Studios, to staff engineer and studio manager at Ben H. Allen's Maze Studios in Atlanta, which is still my home base as an independent engineer today, almost 10 years later.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Probably mixing several records at the same time!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I do most of my work out of Maze Studios in Atlanta, GA, which is packed with great gear and toys. I also have a lean, but mean private mixing and production facility. In practice, the two flow together and I love oscillating between these spaces. This setup also keeps me nimble and able to adjust to most budgets.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Know what your vision is and how far you're willing to take it. If all you need is a properly blended, "punchy" mix that otherwise sounds just like your demo or rough, some providers (and their rates!) are suited better to that than others.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Different shades of independent rock, sometimes more electronic, sometimes more organic.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will live and die by your record just as much as you do, maybe more.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to do something that I truly love and see purpose in everyday. It comes with a lot of challenges and sacrifices, but that ensures that I will only do this for as long as I truly love it. Also, I get to bring my dog to work!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Chris Walla is a producer who first made me realize how artistic the recording process can be and how instrumental it is in shaping how we perceive and connect with artists. I have also been lucky to have had incredible mentors throughout my career (Jason Kingsland, Ben Allen, Matt Goldman, Bradford Cox), who continue to inspire me.