I have 20 years experience in sound engineering and production, specialised in surround, widescreen & emotional music elements in rock and electronica. I'm in several projects selling worldwide on cd/bluray/vinyl, covering from writing to mixing and mastering. Signed with UK indie major label & worked with many important alt-rock artists.
I'm a UK based Italian producer, sound engineer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist.
I started my career in 2005 with one man studio project Nosound. In 2008 I signed to the acclaimed UK based indie major label Kscope/Snapper and moved to the UK to establish and expand my career.
I released several acclaimed albums, collaborated with prominent artists, and played important stages across Europe.
Widescreen.Studio is my company and studio (https://widescreen.studio), a recording and production space originally founded in Rome (Italy) as a place to develop my own music projects. In Italy I worked in big studios on analog consoles (MCI, Neve, SSL).
In 2009 I moved to the beautiful Norfolk region in the United Kingdom, where my studio became as well a fully featured facility for third-party music production, mixing and mastering. It also features many analog vintage and modern synthesisers and an upright piano, as a creative space for writing and arranging.
I have a growing artistic career with my own band Nosound, solo albums, the collaboration project Memories Of Machines with singer/songwriter Tim Bowness (No-Man).
With my band I'm lead singer and guitarist, and I can also play piano, synths, bass and drums. As a solo artist I do soundtrack/electronic music.
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3 ReviewsEndorse Giancarlo Erra
I've worked with Giancarlo on several projects over the last decade and a half.
I've always found him to be a conscientious, enthusiastic and sensitive collaborator, whether that be in the capacity of mixing engineer or participating musician.
As they'd say on Ebay, recommended!
I asked helped to Giancarlo Erra after studying music production in the attempt to record, mix and produce my band music. Giancarlo is one of the very few artists I know who can master the artistic process from writing to mastering. His knowledge is extensive and so is his ability to explain how to sound really good. I asked Giancarlo also to tutor me to learn using synthesizers as that was an area I neglected for a long time. Again, I was impressed by his extensive knowledge that allowed me not only to get started but to truly understand what I was going to do and why. Highly recommended!
I have worked with Giancarlo on a few projects over the last 5-10 years. I have played bass on some of his Nosound tracks and watched him skillfully engineer a session. We have also written electronic music together.
I have remixed a couple of Nosound tracks for digital release and Giancarlo's final mastering made them sound ten times better than my 'finished' mixes!
He is currently working on mixing/mastering my next (UXB) album and his input has been very helpful artistically as well as improving the tracks sonically.
I would highly recommend his services.
Interview with Giancarlo Erra
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The two most common things are remote mixing & mastering, both in stereo and surround. I usually end up working with clients also as a producer for their tracks, if they want to. Mainly shaping their sounds to modern/contemporary standards or adding new textures with my extensive synths collection.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Thom Yorke, Brian Eno, Tony Visconti, Nigel Godrich, Hans Zimmer, Olafur Arnalds, David Gilmour
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Typically I receive tracks (for mixing) or stems (for mastering), a reference mix of the track plus some other artists reference for sound. I import everything in Logic, map it all to my controllar and outs, check the levels as I like to mix with analog desk reference and like in the old days (trim/tubetech eq/comp and that's it). Once I get levels right I check all single elements for big problems to fix, and then is time for a general rough mix. If I'm also allowed to do additional production, I move to that before going back to the mix for a first final one to submit to client. That is the point when, if I have to do a surround, I start also the surround mix: distributing tracks across the channels in a music way and depending on the material, and then doing a surround mix: I often add some elements of sound design (either synths of effects) as the surround process is more open to that, but I never use any upmix tool as they usually sound rubbish like consumer amps upmix simulations. The client has a few chances to send back feedback so we can improve the final results: client always has the final word, but if something is technically wrong I always make it very clear, and I offer my own contribution to the track if needed.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio works around SSL Nucleus console and Logic X together with Ableton Live. I do have analog solid state and tube preamps, Apogee Ensemble interface/converter, KRK VXT surround setup, acoustically treated and digitally corrected room. Coles 4038 ribbon mic is my favourite. I do most of the mixing (and guitars/bass) in the box, using industry standards UAD dsp plugins, Softube, Waves, Slate Digital, Plugin Alliance, Line6, Neural DSP. For effects I do have Lexicon PCM 80 hardware and 96 software. Mastering is all done now in TC Electronic Finalizer software. For sound generation I use mostly hardware, my always evolving synths collection includes Moog One, Roland Juno 106, Korg Lambda, Korg MS10, Prophet 6, Roland RS09, Yamaha FS1R, Yamaha DX7, Korg Wavestation, Teenage Engineering OP1 and OPZ. For music writing I use mainly my Yamaha Upright B1 piano.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I always want to bring emotions to a song, or to a sound. Anything related to music for me is eventually emotions and feelings. Moving the listener and moving the writer or producer is what makes music magic for me, and is the element I always try to bring in.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is my ears. I developed a keen sense of sound, having spent years programming my own sounds, from guitars to multieffects to analog vintage or modern synthesizers. I've always been obsesses by sound and production in music, that's what can make or break an album for me. I have sounds (or music) always in my head, and then I just use the best instrument(s) I have to make that sound real. The first thing I do when I get a new instrument is delete any preset, and start experimenting with its raw nature, to learn what it sounds like and then I start sound designing with it. Same process goes for the mixing process: when I hear a voice or a part, I can see immediately a spectrograph of the frequencies, the nasty ones and the needed ones, how it should or could sound, and I then apply it always in the context of the best result for the music.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on 'widescreen music', going from post-rock to electronic. I usually prefer the down beat and lush one, but in a modern minimalist way more than drenched in reverbs or other effects. I like richness and smoothness and emotions in the most minimalist possible way. I work on both singed and instrumental music, and I also worked for a long time on extreme heavy rock bands for mixing and mastering, being my other passion (I'm lead singer and guitarist for my own band).
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Sure...if you need to expand a sound, avoid big reverbs as much as you can and use instead a sample delay L/R to space out the sound without a specific space perception (a 100 to 300 ms will do). For effects always use tape delay as it's smoother and less obvious. And use room reverb..a lot but just a bit...it can make miracles gelling tracks and distributing depth in your mix when needed.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I was lucky enough to work with some of my favourite artists (Steven Wilson, Robert Fripp). Surely I'd love to work with Thom Yorke or Olafur Arnalds, to artists that are bringing new meanings to modern electronic/contemporary music and soundtrack.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Emotional and warm.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this now for 20 years, I've done from rock to ambient to post rock to singer songwriter. I recently started as well a solo music career. My career path as I see it will bring me more studio and production work, I'll expand my solo career to several genres and I'll bring my own band to bigger stages across the World and in different music contexts, mixing rock and soundtrack and electronica.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Teenage Engineering OP1, Moog One, Sennheiser HD650, Apogee Ensemble and my Macbook!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you want to add aural lush and emotions to your music, and have it ready mixed and mastered for all physical and digital modern distribution, also in surround, that's what I can do. And I know my aural colour and skill is unique. And..please when you prepare the tracks for me disable any master bus effect! :-)
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want for your music? What are your artists or albums of reference for this work? Are you open to suggestions and contributions in terms of production? What's your favourite film and album?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That my main role in music business is the one I get more visibility from: lead singer and guitarist of my band! In reality that's very enjoyable but a small part of my music work.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Is this loud enough? Can you make it sound louder/warmer/bigger/analog? My answer is always that if something was recorded very poorly there might be problems, but I'll do all I can to make it sound 'good'.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That is creative and about feelings and sound. And at the same time it requires a lot of research, constant study and a very diligent workflow. I do have a itch for creativity and research, and I'm very emotional by nature, mostly with music as an avid listener, so my music job scratches my itch.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To make their music sound professional, warm, modern, emotional. I know when I send back my result they will not believe their ears, then they'll have a few requests back for me. I'll first probably doubt these, then I'll do them and most of the times I realise then they're mostly good, and I send back the perfect product for the client and myself.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog because at the moment is a more 'alive' (less perfect) way of delivering sound. Digital sometimes because it can do things analog cannot do.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: New solo album, new Nosound band album, mixing & mastering UXB new electronic album.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My latest produced album, as I always learn something new and the latest one must always be better than the previous one otherwise I would not publish it! Is my still to be publishes second solo album. My role was doing everything, and I'm particularly proud of that because it was all written and engineered in a completely unstructured way, mixing real string quartet with electronics, AI, guitars and vocals, recorded always live to stereo analog tape to be a unique take like the old days. It was written to not be an album, and in the end turned to be my most experimental and diverse album with the most unique sound to date.