Midlands based live and studio producer with strong experience in the rock and indie scene.
abandon·live started out as a live event company in 2018, and we transitioned to encompass record production as founder Tycho Niessen started working as a producer for his own projects. Since then, we’ve had a wide range of clients in the studio, in addition to running frequent events throughout Birmingham.
We have long held the belief that a vast majority of talented musicians remain unsigned. From this core principle, we dedicate ourselves to working with promising musicians, with the aim of giving them a professional experience to boost them in an increasingly competitive industry.
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with Tycho Niessen
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: (Creative) freedom. If I'm working with an artist in the studio, I have a lot of freedom with whatever I do, as generally as a producer that's kind of expected of you. When I work live, there's a lot more structure to the night, but the payoff is always huge when you see a crowd reacting well to the artist. Plus I quite enjoy the setup and setdown.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Try to be open to some new ideas. Whenever I work on a new project, I always do end up finding a few things that I think will work, that generally the band hasn't thought about. 9/10 times the ideas end up being greeted positively.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: If I were on a desert island, I don't think I'd be doing much production out there. But if I were to take production gear, without a doubt I'd take the Soundcraft ui24R; it's never let me down, wouldn't put it past having an emergency life boat in it, seems to have everything else...otherwise on a more serious note, a piano and guitar would keep me from going insane for a day or two.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Has to be Two Door Cinema Club. While I do love the music they put out, I'm always immensely frustrated by how hot and cold I find it. I'd love to make it a bit 'dirtier', bring out a bit more of the rocky side that we all know they have. The odd guitar solo wouldn't go amiss.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a very exciting debut EP with new band Hit The Floor. Their debut single they release with MAS records showed a lot of promise, and the EP we've recorded is going to have some bangers, no doubt about it.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Ha, personally I prefer digital. The difference, especially from a consumers point of view, is beyond negligible. When I record with a band, I'll always favour digital over analogue if they're fine with it, as it gives me so many options down the line, not least of all if I end up working for them live, being able to pull up digital presets makes a show a lot more relaxed, as opposed to wondering if the gear at the venue can do what I want.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started actually at the opposite end of the spectrum, in bio-sciences of all places. I finished my degree, but never sought work in it as we just didn't click. I'd been doing music so much on the side anyway, that it never really felt like a job to me, and in all honesty, still doesn't.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: New clients almost always first get to see the setup where I'm currently based, which is the Birmingham Conservatoire. With 7 live rooms, we're more than capable to do anything under the sun really. When I work from home, it's all a bit more conservative. Everything comes in through a Soundcraft ui24R, which runs through a pair of Adams. I tend to record instruments in DI as much as possible and re amp them later, but also have a host of Aston mics I use (vocals and amped/acoustic instruments).
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I enjoy it so I'm never bored. Everyone gets tired of something every now and then, doesn't mean I've lost interest, probably means I've heard different variations of the same verse a thousand times in the last hour and am going a bit crazy. I always try to avoid long listening/mixing sessions, as there comes a point where what I'm doing just isn't productive, and there's no point doing a shoddy job. Reflects badly on me, and aggravates the client, neither of which I want.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Depends on the client really. If it's a client I'm interested in working with for a longer period of time (usually a local client as well as someone I like), I'm always interested to hear their plans and visions, both on the record, and on their career. If an artist is serious about making a career out of it, it always makes me feel a bit better and assured, as I know that it also gives me the chance to help develop their overall sound, as opposed to just an EP/album. If it's a one off job, I more just want to know their vision of the final product; what are they currently listening to that has inspired the sound, what are their plans with releases, etc.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Relaxed, and critically, patient. I always try to see myself as an extra member of a band whenever I work with them, it allows me to be much more invested in the work, thus far that hasn't let me down. I know from my own experience how daunting and frustrating recording in a studio can be as a musician, so there's not really any point creating an environment where an artist doesn't feel completely at ease. I've done 100+ takes of a melody before, it's a drag, but sometime it just has to be done.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I find if a song works with 3 or 4 instruments without effects, when you blow it up to full scale it's gonna be a banger. Anything that relies too heavily on other instruments or effects (especially distortion) generally is a bit weaker. Obvious exceptions include a large chunk of the U2 catalogue (I'm looking at you, Where The Streets Have No Name).
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, it's what I listen to the most, so it's what I know the best. I don't really touch heavy metal, but it depends very much on the record.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I've always been best at getting a good sound out of drums and guitar, and honest to god I have no idea why they're my forte, but they always take me the least amount of time to get right, from an initial mix to the final mastered track I never really have to tweak them further.