Wes "Wesonator" Maebe
Recording Mixing Mastering FOH
Born and raised in Belgium, Wes moved to London to start engineering in 1998, returning to live here in 2003. He's been a visiting lecturer in Audio Technology at City of Westminster College and has built a client base for freelance recording, mixing, mastering and live work.
Wes has made live recordings of The Kooks, the Buzzcocks and Cat Stevens, amongst others - including distinguished classical pianist Alfred Brendel. He's worked in some of the loveliest studios in London, including Mickie Most's RAK, Trevor Horn’s Sarm West and Mark Knopfler's private paradise, British Grove. In these studios he has recorded and mixed for artists like Plan B, Gabrielle Aplin, UB40, Alexandra Burke, Elliott Randall, Melanie C, Beverly Knight, Ellie Goulding, One Republic, Praying Mantis and New Model Army. And has had the pleasure of working with many a great producers like Garth Richardson, Elliott Randall, Dave Allen, Paul O’Duffy and Rick Nowels.
Wes has become known for productions which are polished yet edgy, glossy but with a real bite to them. It's been described as a combination of old school
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Interview with Wes "Wesonator" Maebe
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Mixing the new Rock Goddess EP.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I grew up on analog. I love analog but in today's world of silly budgets, we have to embrace both. If the budget and the time is there to do it analog then let's do it. But you do need a band that can perform together and play well. Analog is very unforgiving as a workflow. When I mix I use a combination of both. Best of both worlds.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That they'll get what they want, maybe something more than they expected and something that they can be proud of for the rest of their lives.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The variety, the passion, the music.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you do it for free. and the answer is NO. You don't call a plumber to fix something and when he's done you tell him you're not expecting to pay him for his services.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That you can make a shit song sound good with expensive equipment.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Timeframe, budget, what's your delivery platform going to be, do you have a sequence in mind, do you have everything registered with the collection agencies and do you have your ISRC codes.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Come on over, have a chat and a coffee and let's take it from there.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: An AA CM67se mic, a Meris 440 pre, an EL8-X, a Revox B77 and my Genelec 1031A MkI's.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this since 1998. I started out studying psychology and via my dad (a STUDER engineer) I ended up in this business. I started out as a classical balance engineer, via a lot of live front of house sound which I still love, and into the studio.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am currently working with Mo Michael. He's a blues folk artist and we're recording really old school. We were going to do a few songs and after three days in the studio we've done 12! They are all as good as each other. They are very organic and they touch the soul. My role with Mo is co-producer, recording, mix and mastering engineer.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Clients have described my "sound" like the bridge between old school edgy British engineering and lush American production values.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Mr. Grohl again. I love his energy, I love his songwriting. That session will kick ass!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Please keep an eye on phase. I get so many projects where the keys or the guitars are totally out of phase. It's a pain to correct afterwards. Make sure all your components are right from the beginning.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: It varies. Classical, metal, rock, pop, country, blues, jazz, funk, folk, electronica
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Making sure that all the components in the song are heard and have their own place in the stereo field.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A neutral set of ears, experience. A lot of the time I'll be working on a project in a specific style and I'll approach the mix from a different style angle. Not entirely, but certain elements of it. This tends to create a song that stands out from all the others in that genre. Artists really like that.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: This really depends on the project and what studio I'm working in.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My room at the Sonic Cuisine is a small mix/mastering room. I have all my analog gear in here. Lots of daylight, so it's a great working environment. I've also recorded guitars and vocals in here. I'm also on the in-house list of RAK Studios.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Dave Grohl, Elliott Randall, Frank Fillipetti, George Massenburg, Al Schmitt, Ed Cherney, Butch Vig ...
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: It's a mixed bag really. I'm mainly mixing for my clients. I also have a couple of loyal recording and mastering clients.