What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That anyone can not only play the violin, but knows how to record it! Recording a violin is not easy. Knowing your mic,software, and how your playing has to fit with the mix is really, really important. Knowing about levels, 24bit against 16 bit, noise levels (or, in my case a totally clean signal!).. all these things are really important and a lot of people seem to think that if you play well you can make a good enough sound to go on their record. duh! The violin must be recorded correctly, first!
Tell us about your studio setup.
I have used all the DAWs, Cubase, Sonar, Logic etc etc... recently I changed from Ableton Live 9 to Reaper. This was forced upon me! I was gigging in Ethiopia and my laptop crashed. I had to borrow a laptop. It was a Mac. And I had to continue my internet work! The only program that allowed me to do that right away was Reaper. No huge expensive install, and it did everything I needed.
When I got back home I started to learn Reaper. Man, I am amazed at what one can do with this software. For me, the quality of the sound is utmost and Reaper allows me to record the way I hear the music. Perfectly. Fast. Rendering is fast and extremely flexible, something I also need.
Then, I use mainly a DPA 4099v for the violin. I have and can use large diaphragm mics, but the sound of the DPA with the way I know how to play makes a sound that is real easy to fit into a mix. I love this mic!
I now also use an LUFS meter so I can deliver iTunes etc ready mixes if desired. :-)
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I play more or less anything, within reason, and will refuse work that I don't think is up to scratch. I have played most genres and it works like this: I receive an mp3 and a request to add violin. Sometimes the customer sends only the mp3, other times a pdf of the score, and or a midi file with the notes. If I have the notes I will read them. If not I memorize or transcribe and then play.
Yet other times I am requested to "just do my thing." This is what I really love to do. Just improvise to music. That is where the magic happens!
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
That last one, the Nolcturne. The composer send a request, including a pdf of the violin score. I "knew" he would order so I started to practice the (difficult) piece.
Thirty minutes later I got the order, and had already practiced the piece. I still love to listen to it. Excellent violinistic writing and great music. I also then improvised whole sections,which he loved, and he is working on a second version of his music, with my improvs in there too!
What are you working on at the moment?
I have a violin promo video to make, to sell a violin for a company in Singapore.
I just finished recording "Nocture for Violin and Drone" by a Swedish composer. Great stuff!
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Analog or digital and why?
Digital. Silly question why. You cannot get past electronics.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Quality. Music that fits theirs. Great violin playing.
What do you like most about your job?
The freedom! Playing so many different types of music. Learning new music every day. A total education.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
They ask me (IF they ask) why am I so expensive compared to "others".
I tell them: go listen to the others. Then come back to me. :-)
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
I refer to my previous answers.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Be specific. Don't tell me "play like an angel here." Tell me you want this part sounding agressive, calm, beautiful, like a sunrise on top of a mountain when you are alone in the world. Tell me where and for how long, exactly as you can.
Then, trust me.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
violin, laptop with Reaper installed (or on a USB stick!!), DPA mic, soundcard, a box with endless electricity!!
Good to go! (the laptop would have all of Spectrasonics installed, Trilian, Omnisphere and RMX)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started at age 10. Entered the Royal Academy on a scholarship at age 14. Left there at 18 having gigged in the best orchestras as an "extra", led orchestras in Germany, Scotland, etc, toured the world as a classical violinist.
I then stopped that, programmed computers in Switzerland (all the time making my own music) then started playing jazz violin.
I toured with my own jazz band for years, all the time being asked to play this, play that.
I joined a gypsy jazz band as violinist in France and toured with them.
The many, many requests did not stop, so, and so, that is what I do now. I get to make really diverse music with great people. Wonderful!
How would you describe your style?
My style is your style.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Ha! I would LOVE to record with the French artist Lara Fabian. Her voice is amazing on many, many videos. And the songs she sings "Je suis Malade" comes to mind. :-)
Can you share one music production tip?
Let the punishment fit the crime, as they say. Listen to the music, listen to the customer's wish, and play/record accordingly. The cusomer is, in this case, mostly, right!
What type of music do you usually work on?
Any style, seriously!
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill? I love music, I love the violin, I love recording the violin, hearing that beautiful sound and people going "wow!"
What do you bring to a song?
I bring passion, vast musical experience, great technical skill, a desire for perfection (nothing leaves me without me being satisfied enough to put my name to it).
I bring a love for music and knowledge of HOW to record a violin to get the best sound for the mix. This is gold!
What's your typical work process?
Listen, then record. It is that simple! Sometimes, depending on the song, I will just hit record and play along as I listen for the first time. If the music is well written one can hear where it is going to go and improvising is easy. These are some of the best "takes" when the magic arrives.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I am inspired by anyone who plays well and makes that "special" sound on their instrument.