Iron Tulip Audio

Mixer, Engineer, Producer, Dad

Iron Tulip Audio on SoundBetter

Darren van Niekerk - Mix Engineer, Recording Engineer, Producer. Guitar Player, Singer, Shaker/Tamborizer. Dad.

IronTulipAudio.com

Through Iron Tulip Audio I offer packages per song that include mixing and mastering without a cap on revisions (within reason). Mastering is facilitated by ITA via The Lacquer Channel in Toronto, ON and includes instrumentals and MFiT-certified deliverables. Please contact me to discuss details of your project as well as pricing and budgets. Editing/sample replacement/vocal tuning are extra and may be discussed prior to beginning work on your project.

I work closely with artists to ensure they get what they're looking for; keeping your opinions and vision forefront in our conversations through mixing and revisions is pinnacle. That said, I'm not afraid of a little sonic adventure. I don't compare myself to others sound-wise because I wouldn't know who I sound like these days - I try to avoid using samples unless they're sent to me, I try not to auto-tune unless it's been done or it's asked. I like things to sound more "believable" than music tends to these days. Sometimes I like to sound aggressive.

I also double as senior engineer at The Sonic Temple Recording Studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia http://www.thesonictemple.ca If you're in the area and are interested in recording services feel free to contact me as well, or check the website.

Let's make some noise.

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Darren Van Niekerk
  • Jay Clayton
  • Jerry Granelli
  • Rich Aucoin
  • Jason Campbell
  • Matt Andersen
  • Matt Mays
  • Matt Mays
  • Hey Rosetta!
  • Great Big Sea
  • Meaghan Smith
  • Meaghan Smith
  • Great Big Sea
  • Hey Rosetta!
  • Matt Mays
  • El Torpedo
  • Matt Mays
  • El Torpedo
  • Meaghan Smith
  • In-Flight Safety
  • In-Flight Safety
  • Jonny Stevens
  • Two Hours Traffic
  • Two Hours Traffic
  • Nathan Wiley
  • Nathan Wiley
  • Wintersleep
  • Wintersleep
  • k-os
  • Duane Andrews
  • David Myles
  • Matt Mays
  • Matt Mays
  • Matt Mays
  • Matt Mays
  • Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  • El Torpedo
  • Matt Mays
  • Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  • El Torpedo
  • Wintersleep
  • Crush
  • Adam Baldwin
  • Daniel Matto
  • The Daniel Matto Quintet
  • Hillsburn
  • Jerry Granelli Trio
  • Jerry Granelli Trio
  • Matt Mays
  • The Stanfields
  • Adam Baldwin
  • Alan Doyle
  • The Town Heroes
  • Alan Doyle
  • Old Blood
  • Hillsburn
  • Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  • Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  • Jerry Granelli

Interview with Iron Tulip Audio

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: Matt Mays' "When The Angels Make Contact..." This was early in my career, and I'd established a good relationship with Matt and his band starting with the remix from his first solo album on which I was a green assistant engineer. This time around I was the main mixer/engineer. The album grew from a handful of older recordings he had brought forward, we rearranged things and started layering overtop then began adding new pieces to flesh out the overall album. He imparted a great deal of trust in my engineering role, and it was ultimately a free-for-all when it came to tracking ideas... lots of different sounds, textures, moods thrown on the table and everything was up for consideration - it was for the art, for the song, and everything deserved due attention. At one point we even locked the label out of the studio and gave no updates, it was very personal what he was creating and we didn't want that compromised. We were all going through some interesting and difficult shifts personally at the time to say the least, and ultimately the emotions trickled into every track on the record... dark places were embraced and energies channeled into each decision. When it came time to mix, as much as possible we mixed from top to bottom to keep the concept and the story front and center, right up until the night we spent sequencing the final mixes and transition pieces for the mastering engineer (who happened to be Noah Mintz, currently partnered with me here for mastering services on ITA mixes). It was invigorating, and ultimately an amazing opportunity to have a studio like The Sonic Temple as an absolute playground for our collective visions. It stands as one of my most cherished albums for the way it shaped me going forward in my career.

  3. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  4. A: Analogue because it sounds GREAT, and I can push it further/harder. It's unpredictable when I start saturating things and pushing things, and it starts to breathe like it's alive. Digital because it's easy to deliver, it's easy to keep up with the world we've created, and it sounds pretty damn good now. It's also easy to take a detour and create new weird sounds/ideas that the analogue world wouldn't have allowed you try. They both have a home now.

  5. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  6. A: Be fearless. Especially in this day of digital production when the undo-button may reign supreme, let shit fly when you feel it. The worst a client can say is no/they don't like it. As long as you're working WITH the artist and you can justify your approach, everything can be met with respect and it will only add up to an experience. If it works, great; if not then laugh and let it go. We are all just a moment in time, so make it count and stay interesting.

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: I'll offer suggestions, I'll throw in ideas. But I'll work my ass off to make you happy.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: I love working with music from the inside out, and I love working with the people in it. The interaction with artists has as much a lasting effect on me personally as the music itself, and you feel like you've made a friend when your done. It becomes a life experience.

  11. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  12. A: Give a solid listen to my mix examples and decide if it feels right. That should go for anyone hiring anyone! There are a lot of genres there to dig into so hopefully it will give you a good impression of "me".

  13. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  14. A: My Yamaha NS-10s (with an appropriate amp - can that be one thing??),

  15. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  16. A: I started out as a bedroom guitar player, obsessed with Def Leppard, The Tea Party, Led Zeppelin and '90's rock. I followed a girl East and since I thought I wasn't good enough to go to school as a musician, she suggested I try going to school for engineering. Thus started my love affair with the studio. I graduated NSCC's Recording Arts Program in 2003, got a work placement at the recently opened Sonic Temple Recording Studio in Halifax, NS and worked my way up the old fashioned way from runner, to Pro Tools op, to Assistant Engineer to house Engineer. I'm still there part-time and it's awesome. But the girl I followed became my wife and gave me 4 beautiful kids, so I became a stay-at-home-Dad which meant I needed a studio at home. A friend in the band The Stanfields/Groundswell Music pushed me and helped me get it off the ground. Enter "Iron Tulip Audio".

  17. Q: How would you describe your style?

  18. A: I like it tight, but a bit loose. I like to go how I feel it. I don't like to get too meticulous in editing little infractions in timing and pitch. We're not perfect - we're perfectly imperfect, and our art as an expression of our deepest selves should be free to express this. But I'm not afraid to make a band "do it again". I'd rather you slay it than I cut it.

  19. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  20. A: You. Because you're interesting.

  21. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  22. A: Generally speaking, rock and it's many subgenres tend to be my bread and butter. Hard rock, punk, soft rock, psychedelic rock, metal and the like. I've also ventured into country, folk/singer-songwriter, some classical and plenty of jazz over the years. All with the strong focus on "keeping it real".

  23. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  24. A: I think I work hard to amplify the energy that I feel in the track. I like to make things larger-than-life in many respects, so I usually try to let my heart find the emotion that speaks to me, then turn it up. I'm not afraid to go on an adventure when my gut tells me to do so, but I'm also ferociously determined to see the client pleased with the mix treatment in the end.

  25. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  26. A: I'm a firm believer in the necessity of analogue processing, although in the mix I've moved quite in-the-box to keep up with the world. I keep a small rack of analogue compressors/goodies to add color and vibe where I want to dress things up a bit. I also use numerous guitar pedals, with a particular love for distortion/fuzz/overdrive textures. I don't like things too clean.

  27. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  28. A: Locally I record, edit, produce, mix & facilitate mastering through my company Iron Tulip Audio. For those out of the way I'm able to accept sessions/mulititrack audio files for mixing and mastering via internet transfer.

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"Light" by The Stanfields

I was the Mix Engineer in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • The Stanfields
  • Matt Mays
  • The Town Heroes
Gear Highlights
  • Avid Pro Tools
  • SoundToys
  • UAD
  • Waves
  • Yamaha
  • Genelec
  • Radial Engineering
  • Palmer
  • Dizengoff
  • Tech 21 NYC
  • Kush Audio
More Photos
More Samples
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Happy to discuss rates directly. Please contact for a personal quote.