I'm a mixing engineer, and I'm a producer based in Tileyard Studios, London. Possibly, only one of the two on the same project. I believe in specialization, so I'll do the best at what I do, and recommend you the right people for the rest. You can find a Spotify playlist with released songs mixed by me in SoundCloud link section.
Coming from classical music performance and a progressive rock band, I moved to the other side of the glass when I realized that my main passion and talent is in helping talented people achieving their vision. I have learnt the craft being in the studio with Alan Moulder, Flood, Fab Dupont, Michael Wagner, Ricky Damian, Tommaso Colliva.
My main promise is that don't let people walk away without being truly happy with the result. I learned to do that and how to do that from the best.
I'm a freelance based in Tileyard Studios, London.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
Interview with Alessandro Favero | Fauve
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing is what I do the most. I also produce, engineer and occasionally co-write with the writers in my team. I also offer mastering services for lower-budget products, because I know not all the tracks can afford the top mastering studios.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Fab Dupont and Alan Moulder, Multi-grammy-award winners, are huge inspirations for me. Their school is the one of "make feel something, or it's a failure". I worked with both of them and had the chance to see what that means and how it is achieved. The reason why I think there is a difference between mixing and being a mixing engineer is that the latter brings a whole philosophy with it, a very deep understanding of how sounds can convey emotions if treated the right way. Check out Alan Moulder's works: his mixes and productions never leave you indifferent, and you can't tell what year they were made. Because he focuses on emotions, and only touches trends without being distracted by them.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: In order to keep the prices affordable, I have a studio at home that I have access to 24/7, and I have access to a commercial studio a few days a week (based on need) with analog processors and state-of-the-art monitoring system and acoustics. Every engineer is passionate about something, whether it's analog equipment, or plugins, or high-tech processors; What I really care about is monitoring. As long as I can hear well, I know I can make great mixes.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I have an old-school approach of mixing. I usually just take what the clients give me and try to make the most out of it to enhance the emotional content of it while making it sound as good as possible. I don't mind talking to people about the process of exporting and sending the tracks, explaining what I do or how, so that they can understand the bigger picture and work with me, and also be able to make useful suggestions. Like many mixing engineers, I have a Pro Tools setup that is almost fixed, as if it were an analog studio with a desk and outboard. This allows me to be very fast in reaching for the right tool at the right time, without having to worry about building the workflow of the session as I go. This is why I always start by preparing the session without listening to the song. When everything is ready, I start creating a balance and detecting areas for improvement, while listening to the whole song. I want the idea of the song to remain fresh and whole for as long as possible, before I lose perspective by listening to a song for too long (I know you know what I'm talking about!). That's why I like to be fast. In a few hours I usually have everything in place for a general really good vibe, and I can start spending hours on details until I make it perfect. Before getting to the details, I generally send the mix to the client to make sure I represented their vision. If not, I can go back until I get it right. Those don't count as revisions of course. Revisions start after I send the first mix that I personally think is complete. Because of this process of involving the client early on, I usually get asked just one or two revisions, if any.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A really good overall, high quality sound. But after that, I'm doing everything I can to enhance the emotions the artist is looking to communicate.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Understanding people and understanding music. That, together with good years that can usually detect technical issues that most of my clients cannot really detect. When they say "There's something wrong, but I don't know what" I usually can tell what it is and point it out for them.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I mainly work on polished productions that need to keep the polished feel but also need an extra edge to them (Nothing But Thieves style). I also enjoy making a three-piece rock band sound huge (Led Zeppelin style). With that approach, I can work on rock music, from the seventies-style to the modern Muse-style productions, as well as pop music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: One of the latest things I understood: we tend to think that a song represents who and what we are during the whole production process, which could be months, or even years sometimes, from when we first started producing it. The truth is that we change constantly, every day we are a bit different than the day before. So the song represents who we were during the few minutes or hours when we conceived it. Try to be true to that representation even if you keep working on it. Otherwise, you will start changing it endlessly, and you will never be happy because you do not feel 100% in that very moment. And of course it doesn't, because you have changed slightly in the meantime. You will have another song to represent who you are now, don't worry. Trust your first instincts. Go with them, work fast thinking about emotions, not approval. Because that is what your listeners will value the most (if you don't believe it, think about the biggest names of music, and think how much they compromised). To quote David Bowie: "All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it.".
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love to work with Jack White. He just doesn't care about anything else than getting the songs in his head out to the public, because he has a burning need to do that. And you can tell from his productions that he is very talented, and he has a sound identity that aligns with mine.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Impolite. The reason why I say that is that I like when music has a bit of a "middle finger" quality to it. I overdrive signals and use distortion units a lot. Usually many of them, but all of them just a bit, in order to get an edge to my sound overall the song.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing with a band. I used to write all the parts, and I got into modern progressive rock (Porcupine Tree style). I was 15 at the time and I couldn't find a drummer that could play the parts as they were too complex (Why couldn't I be just a regular 15 years old boy and play ACDC?). So I started recording and programming drums just to hear the songs come to life. Because of that, I developed some recording skills and other bands started asking for my help to record their songs. I soon realized that I was cut out for working on other people's music more than on my own, and I started interning in a commercial studio in Italy. After that, I went to New York to another commercial studio, where I saw Fab Dupont and other great producers at work. I then went back to Europe and soon moved to London, where I worked as an assistant for Ricky Damian, at Mark Ronson's Zelig Studios, and Tommaso Colliva, which at the time was working on a record by Afterhours, that went to the top of the charts, and Muse. In London I also had the opportunity to be side by side with Alan Moulder when he was mixing The Killers, right after he mixed Queens Of The Stone Age, which was produced by Mark Ronson. After that I went freelance and landed at Tileyard Studios, London.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1) My computer, which is powerful enough to make pretty much anything I need to and still be out of the way of creativity; 2) A great-sounding room (can you bring that to a desert island?) 3) A great set of speakers 4) A Lauten Atlantis microphone (2 as a stereo pair would be great) 5) My plugin collection. If I had only one collection it would probably be Plugin Alliance. I will toss one of them for a coffee machine, though.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure that you know whether you know what you are looking for or not. If you do know what you are looking for, make sure the engineer gets it. If you don't, make sure the engineer cares.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Their deadlines, if they have any, and to try to be clear and reasonable during communication about the whole process. Also, although depending on their understanding of the subject, to talk to me about what they hear more than to tell me what to do. I don't mean that I do not take suggestions, I mean that it is part of my job to understand what makes you hear or feel something the way it does, and to know how to fix it. I might also ask them if they are in London, because in that case they might want to come mix with me towards the end of the process, so that we can sort the details together (and chatting to musicians is always nice).
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That mixing is not a discipline as deep as playing an instrument, or writing, or psychology. It is as deep, it takes many, many years to master, and there are so many layers of understanding of the subject that cannot be seen unless you really get into it. And as I, even though I have some knowledge of psychology, would never be able to give proper therapy to help someone with mental illness, someone who has some knowledge of a DAW and EQs and compression may not see all I see. The risk is still to ruin the patient.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Should I take the processing I already did out, when I send you the multitrack?" My answer is usually that if those processors are key to the song, like distortion, some weird delays, parallel extreme processing, extreme EQs, then leave it in. If, on the other hand, you put a few EQs here and there to make it sound slightly better, or filtered something because there was a rumble on the electric guitars, then take it out. What I'm doing here is separate the production stage from the mixing stage, which is not an easy thing to do, especially nowadays. Anything that makes your song have its identity, keep it, it's your product, and it must be part of the song. Even better, it must be there the first time I hear the song so that I understand what it is. You're a creative, be creative. If something sounds utterly wrong, I will tell you and you can re-send me just that one track without processing.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The feeling of helping people make their music come to life. In a world of people you can't trust, I like my clients to know I will not let them down, and I am there to help. That doesn't mean I don't fight sometimes, if I strongly believe something is better for the song.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That they will be satisfied and happy with the result because I care.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog is the dream, digital is reality. Analog is great because it creates a workflow that unleashes your creativity and imposes limitations that trigger our human ability of creative problem solving. It is not really compatible with nowadays budgets, though, because it is a heavier process. You can realistically work at one project at a time, and you can't have as many units of the same processor as you want. That means you have to choose which track gets what processor and that's it. Digital is great because it removes all the limitations, it's fast, it's easier to try things out, and it's really flexible. It can be very efficient. Unless we are talking just about the sound of a hardware unit compared to its plugin counterpart, that is. In that case, if you're asking, you haven't heard UAD or Acustica Audio plugins. And even if you have and still prefer the analog after you recognize it in a blind test (surely possible, but by how much?), the price, the flexibility and the speed that a digital system can give you is unbeatable. Especially nowadays, when projects need to be much much quicker (because they can, everyone expect them to be). That said, my dream record would be 100% analog, tape included, no computer involved whatsoever.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Francesca Di Biasi is a great singer, and a great songwriter. We have worked together quite a lot, and I know she is impressively good at what she does, as well as reliable and a really nice person.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Right now I am working on a couple of mixing projects which are under Non-Disclosure Agreements, so I can't mention them. I am developing artists with my production team, Ennó, and I am working as a freelance engineer/producer. I am also writing articles for my new blog that will start soon.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One that is very close to my heart would be Su Nastro, by Tequila For Kids. I produced and mixed the record. They were around 18 years old, and I was 22. The first time I heard them live I was so impressed that I almost forced them to let me record their song, as live as possible, as I felt that the best production for them would be to capture what they were on stage. We spent two days in the studio and recorded 9 songs, 2 takes each and we kept the best. I only had 11 inputs available, so I tracked the whole band with those.