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.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
ReviewsEndorse Tycho Niessen
Interview with Tycho Niessen
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.
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).