Professional mixing engineer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Recent credits include: TheFinestTree, Alectrona, DefineSoul, Saint Jimmy, ROFA. On top of that still active playing as professional session drummer for various artist in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
I focus on mixing & mastering but also have an extensive background in production. As an artist and producer myself, i understand what it's like to have someone else mess with your art, and I respect that by really trying to be on the same page as you and understanding what you're trying to accomplish. And as an audio engineer, it's my duty to take your beautifully produced songs to their full potential sonically which ultimately hit people emotionally.
I started very young working in many studios in Indonesia, and in 2015 i started building my own studio in which now i do majority of my work
I have a passion for the mixing process and nothing leave my studio without me being 100% satisfied with the result and i take a lot of pride in every mix that I work on.
I do not use presets or any sorts of mixing and mastering AI assistant, I give individual attention that the song deserve.
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Interview with Finno Hidayat
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Having the ability to shape & control a music to sound the way you want it to sound. It's very exciting and addicting for me.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't stare at your screen to see how much you are turning the knob . I'm an audio engineer, not a photo editor. So i my ears. If it sounds good, it sounds good. Even if that means i'm maxing something out or taking it out completely. I don't want what i see limit what
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing, Mastering, Vocal Tuning, Recording Engineer
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise that i will be very honest to them about their songs. And i will do my best to take their songs to the full potential.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. I still love analog preamps and analog summing though, which i do a lot. I started in 2008 when the world was already digital. Only big expensive studios have giant consoles and an army of outboard gears. I mostly worked in a medium scale studio which only had couple of essential outboard compressors and EQs. So that what i'm used to and know best. I have had opportunities to work fully analog, and to be honest, i came to conclusion that i like to have better control in how clean or how analog something is. If something is to sound very analog, i want it to be intentional. I think digital is more versatile and controllable in that way.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm one of the go to mixers for a major label called Aquarius Musikindo, so i mix good portions of their stuff. I'm also working closely with some Indie labels like Jogja Homecoming, Frogstone Records, NRG records and a few more. And also individual clients, like you !
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: It would be a song called Bahagia Bersama by an Indonesian band called Bariskata. The first version of it, as i think by now they've released several versions of that song for soundtracks and films. It was my first ever mix. It's all over the place when i listen to it now, but that's okay. Even if i listen to my current mixes again sometimes in the future, maybe i will laugh and want to change a lot of things in it. But i take that as a sign that i'm growing and improving. The moment i stop seeing my own mistakes, that's the moment i need to start asking myself whether i'm getting better or not.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: that mixing can turn garbage to gold
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Apart from the standard questions like the vision of the song, the emotions, etc. I like to ask them whether they do mixing as well or not. I want to know if they came to me because they don't know how to mix, or because they want their songs to be mixed by a fresh pair of ears. From there i know what kind of conversation i want to have with them. If they don't mix then i would just dig down into the message of the song, emotions and that kind of stuff and try to translate that. But if they also mix or at least familiar with it meaning i can also have a deeper conversation about the technical aspects.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Obviously do a good recording because mixing is only as good as the recording. And do a rough mix. Get it as close as you can to what you want. Even if it's just a balancing, do it. From my experience the closer the rough mix to what they want, the faster i can comprehend their taste, the overall balance of the song that they want, their panning preferences, certain elements of the song they want to emphasize, etc. Listening to rough mix for me is like reading their minds.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: wouldn't even think about mixing probably. So a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, a hammock, cold beer, a joint and i'm good.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started in music as a session drummer. And i still am. Drumming is my sanity. Never had a band, just session. That's the way i like it from the get go. That made me going in & out of studios a lot for sessions and i just fascinated by the engineering side of it. I was amazed by how much good engineering, mixing, and mastering can make can make such a huge difference. I started focusing on learning and pursuing career in audio engineering in 2008.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Versatile. I can be very natural but i can also be very manipulative.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: There's an artist name Tommy Ljunberg (not sure if that's the right spelling). Really love his music and i'm really into that kind of stuff. I would love to have an opportunity to mix his stuff.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Pop, Indie Pop, R&B, Soul, Pop-Rock, Country, New Wave. I do a lot of indie stuff as well
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Because i'm also a drummer, i really love to mix drums. And i spent most of my early engineering years really trying to perfect it to always get the drum sound that i want for the song. So i think i'm really strong at that and it has been the reason most of my clients came to me.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Apart from the technical side i make sure i emphasise whatever feelings and emotions the songs suppose pass on to the listener
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I lay down the session, I put my extremely-techincal-non-artistic-hat on, and i play the rough mix for the first time without trying to listen to the song if that make sense. I'll stop and go, focusing on identifying if there's any more clean up and prep that i have to do. Including if it's a big project i'll see if can comp stuff to get it to more manageable size. And when that's done, i change my hat to mind reader hat and play that rough mix again this time to really listen to the song and try to read their minds. I do this as many times as needed until i'm digging it. And then i deactivate the rough mix and put my artistic mixing hat on. I don't go back and forth to their rough mix to a-b because by this time i usually already have it in my head and i don't want to set a boundary for myself. During the mixing process i usually just listen to their rough mix a couple of times, somewhere half way through to check what i've done so far (including if i've gone too far) and at the end.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: - I'm monitoring using Yamaha HS 8 with 8S Sub as primary and Adam A7X as secondary. I also have a pair of iLoud Micro Monitors that i love to check my mixes on. - SSL 2+ Audio Interface - SSL Fusion Master Processor & Dangerous 2-BUS+ for analog summing - UAD Apollo X6 AD/DA converter - Plugins: Waves, Slate Digital, UAD, SSL Native, Soundtoys, Sonnox, SPL, FabFilter, iZotope, Valhalla, Brainworx and many more
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Bob Clearmountain, Al Schmit, Dave Pensado, Chris Lord-Alge, Serban Ghenea, Michael Brauer, Ad Wallace, Butch Vig