I'm a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Eindhoven, NL with a huge passion for folk and americana music. I play pedal steel, lap steel, dobro, acoustic & electric guitar, banjo and mandolin, write and co-write songs and produce and perform my own music under the moniker Aidan & the Wild. And I love getting involved in your project as well!
I've been actively working as a musician since 2013 and have played over 450 shows and collaborated with dozens of different artists in the meantime.
My main passion lies in folk and americana music. I'm personally really into dreamy atmospheres by the likes of Ben Howard or José Gonzales, but also really love the old heroes such as John Prine and Townes van Zandt. To be honest I love stepping out of the box as well, as long as I can provide some americana atmospheres! For example I've also recorded pedalsteel for various pop songs, and even once on an instrumental dreamwave track.
I love to jump into other peoples projects to give it some more magic with any of the following instruments:
- Pedal Steel Guitar
- Lap Steel Guitar
- Square Neck Dobro (slide)
- Acoustic Guitar
- Acoustic 12-String
- Electric Guitar
I have my own studio in which I record, and can deliver the tracks as clean unedited .wav files!
While I mainly focus my commissioned work on playing instruments I'm also open to discuss songwriting or vocals.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Aidan & the Wild
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My upcoming debut album "Revelation Never Came"! It will be my first full length album. I wrote and produced it myself and played all of the stringed instruments on it. I've got a few collaborations with some of my favorite artists that I know personally on it as well, and I can't wait to release it.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm involved in a few different projects as a side man, but I'm also working on the release of my Aidan & the Wild debut album "Revelation Never Came"
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I don't! (yet)
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Definitely analog. I feel like anything you do analog leaves space for human errors and imperfections where digital does not. And I believe it's exactly those imperfections that make music "live".
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I know how important your own music is to you, so I will help you make the best version of your song until we found it.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Music is my biggest passion in life. So every minute I can spend doing what I love to earn a living makes me really grateful. I also really love how every project is unique and how every project takes you away into someone else view on music.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q "Can you play pedal steel on my song?" A "Hell yeah!"
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People thinking all I have to do is play around a bit all day and receiving money without really having to work. Sure, I absolutely love making music but it's really hard work as well. You're never really done to be honest and there are so many things you have to work on besides playing just to keep enough work coming in.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Anything that can help to give a picture of their wishes. The most common questions are which instrument(s) they're looking for and what existing songs inspire them for this work.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: My biggest advice would be to look for someone who's inherently close to your style. A metal guitarist probably won't find the right guitar part for your acoustic folk song, and a country guitarist will probably do poorly on a metal track. Even though a degree of versatility can be expected from session musicians they will still all have their own style and preferences.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A tape recorder, my Sennheiser mic, my Martin guitar, my pedal steel and an amplifier. Because that's all you'd need to write, record and produce your own music and I absolutely love the steel as a supporting instrument.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing guitar when I was 8 and singing and songwriting when I was 16. I'd always wanted to study music, but after being rejected to a few schools at 18 I decided to find my path myself, and have been working really hard on it ever since. Since then I played over 450 shows, had a few releases as Aidan & the Wild and even a debut album coming up this year, and recorded parts for dozens of others up to the point that I became a full-time musician.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I think I'm bit of an out-of-the-box thinker when it comes to making music. I think rules are stupid and music is all about the emotion and feelings that you want to convey, so that's what I mostly follow.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: As you might have expected from an earlier answer I've been a die-hard fan of Ben Howard for a long time. There's a certain honesty in everything he does that really cuts to the bone for me. If ever I could play pedal steel with this guy I wouldn't really know what else could top that.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I think the most important lesson that I've learned is that less really, REALLY, is more. When you're young and eager you're often inclined to want to show off all of your skills, but when you make an arrangement of instruments every part has is specific function and needs some space to shine in that function. So really leave that space open for the right parts to shine at the right time!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: It's mostly folk, americana and country. A lot of acoustic guitar-based music. However I also love to take americana elements ouside of the box in a more poppy context. Kind of the best-of-both worlds idea.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Besides the aforementioned broad perspective, I think being proficient in a multitude of instruments that fit into the folk/americana spectrum really helps in the search for the best parts. If for example a pedal steel might not quite fit into the song there's a lot more options to explore, and in my experience we can always find the right fit this way. And of course I'm not half bad on those instruments, haha.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Being both main artist, songwriter, producer and session musician I think I have a very broad perspective when I work on someone else's music. I know how it feels to write a song that is dear to you. And how scary it can be to put your faith in someone else to record a part that suits it. I think as a session musician this perspective really helps me to create a part that aims to serve the music, and not make it be about me. There's enough opportunity to be a show-off, haha! So when I do this work I really want to help the main artist create the best possible version of their song.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When people come to me with a song I we always start to assess together what the song could use. Sometimes people have a clear idea, but sometimes it's more open and I can suggest what instrument(s) or type of part I think would be suitable. I like to take the time to create a clear picture to be able to get as close to the wishes of the artist as possible. That often includes asking for reference tracks/ inspiration for the sound that they're looking for. When we defined what we're looking for I start recording the part(s) and send a demo mix over. In the best case this part fits exactly with what the client is looking. But if it's not we discuss any changes that can be made and I implement those in the new recording. For 95% of the time this will result in a part that fits with the clients wishes, but if it's not I will help to find the right part until we found it. When the parts are approved I deliver the raw unedited .wav files.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I've built my recording studio in the attic of my house. This is where I produce my own records as Aidan & the Wild as well, and to be honest I learned that you don't need a lot when you're on your own and don't have to record drums or complete live settings. I work with a Scarlett 2i2 2-channel interface, which I think is one of the most reliable "home-studio" options there is. My favorite microphone is my Sennheiser MD421, a dynamic mic. The use of these mic's date back all the way to the 60's and can be found in almost every professional recording studio. Probably because of it's versatility. I mainly use it to record amplifiers and vocals, and at times as a 2nd mic for acoustic instruments. My 2nd mic is an SE Electronics SE2 A, which is a condenser mic with changeable heads. I mainly use the cardiod one for recording acoustic instruments in the most natural way.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I think my real passion for folk started when I started writing songs at 16 years old and I discovered Ben Howard. I became enchanted by his unconventional open-tuning guitar style and started to explore that as well. That dreamy production style is something that I feel really connected to as well. Nowadays I listen to a lot of different styles within the folk/americana genre, but currently I'm really listening a lot to Hiss Golden Messenger and Courtney Marie Andrews. I'm also really enchanted by the groove that 70's soul music brings.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I mostly arrange and record instrumental tracks for clients. e.g. you're producing a song and looking for a pedal steel part to accompany it, I'm the guy you can ask to record it for you!