Nicholay Hovland

Mixes and Riffs | Heavy Metal

13 Reviews (13 Verified)
Nicholay Hovland on SoundBetter

Extreme metal expertise, with chart-topping acts and talented underground heroes. Mixing, composition, more.

Well met!

After more than ten years of working with every step of the musical process in all its forms, from engineering Norwegian extreme metal to writing Japanese idol metal, I am confident that I have much to offer you!

For those who need their tracks to hit harder than the competition, or songs that reach deep into the hearts of listeners in the age of inauthenticity, you have come to the right place. No matter where you are in your journey - from less than a demo to a full recorded album - I know how to take your tracks from where you are now to where you want to go. I specialize in mixing, mastering, composition and session musicianship.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.


Discogs verified credits for Nicholay Hovland
  • Isiliel
  • Isiliel


  • English
  • Norwegian

13 Reviews - 3 Repeat Clients

Endorse Nicholay Hovland
  1. Review by Fayley T.

    The production shows amazing attention to detail and great mixing sense. The sound engineer delivered high quality work with skill and professionalism. Each element is crafted intentionally for the best possible sound. Everything is balanced artfully, with clarity and great tone. It's clear a lot of care and effort was put into these recordings. The end result is very well-done and a pleasure to listen to. This is excellent work that demonstrates the engineer's talents and dedication to their cr

  2. Review by Fayley T.

    Excellent and quality!

  3. Review by Richard W.

    Nicholay delivered another complete banger - amazing song from start to finish and his communication and professionalism were always above and beyond what you could expect.

  4. Review by Richard W.

    Nicholay is a legend - amazing communication, amazing songwriting and incredibly easy to work with. Even though this song was something quite a bit different than any of the other one's we've worked on he completely knocked it out of the park and delivered a killer track. Can't recommend him enough!

  5. Review by Richard W.

    Nicholay is super easy to work with, super easy to communicate with and has created another amazing track for us. Super thankful for all his hard work! He always keeps right to schedule and goes above and beyond to make sure the track is the absolute best it can possibly be.

  6. Review by Richard W.

    Nicholay is an absolute legend. Amazing communication, super easy to work with and another song that smashes all expectations. I cannot recommend him highly enough!!

  7. Review by Richard W.

    Nicholay did an outstanding job on this track - he completely nailed the exact emotion, pace and concept we were going for. His communication is fast and professional and he's super easy to work with. Already have two new tracks I want to get started on together!

  8. Review by Kris T.

    The guys a legend - if you want a behemoth sound then use this guy! Great to work with.

  9. Review by Richard W.

    Amazing songwriter - couldn't be happier with the track he wrote for us. Nicholay asks all the right questions and really gets not just the style of the track but also the atmosphere and soul of the music down perfectly. His communication is incredibly fast and professional and he made some really great suggestions for the track that elevated it to the next level. Wholeheartedly recommended!

  10. Review by Kris T.

    Incredibly committed, talented and a nice guy to boot. I would recommend Nicholay if you want someone who loves what he does.

  11. Review by Kris T.

    Worked with Nicholay a lot recently and have thoroughly enjoyed it. He’s knowledgable and honest and his feedback has improved my project immensely! Already have further projects lined up for the near future with him.

  12. Review by Kris T.

    Absolutely awesome to work with. Has some great ideas which I’ve incorporated into the track.

  13. Review by Kris T.

    Absolutely great working with Nicholay. Laid down some monster bass for my project, already have another track for him to work on. Great delivery!

Interview with Nicholay Hovland

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: Isiliel's debut album, which I composed in entirety. There is so much talent on that record, including the idol and genius lyricist Himari Tsukishiro, the manager Ricky Wilson, and the producer Fredrik Nordström. The album was really well received, landed at top spots on itunes, resulted in hundreds of thousands of views on youtube, and I am both really proud of my contributions there, and in awe at the quality of everyone else's. I learned so much from it (and all the talented people I worked with), and renewed my youthful enthusiasm for music.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: A melodic death metal project with friends from all over Scandinavia, a personal project with my wife, and a few interesting tunes that I can't wait to see the results of.

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: I work primarily in digital because it saves a lot of time. Analog isn't always better, but there are cases where I prefer it - such as with amps, tape saturation, or specific compressors.

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: That I take every project very seriously, and that I will ultimately respect the client's wishes. I will say what I think as regards what will connect to listeners or reviewers, but the song ultimately belongs to the client.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: When the music connects, and the listeners are able to appreciate the artist's vision. I will never forget the first time I saw people on youtube covering music I've written, or seeing people sing along to it live.

  11. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  12. A: If I can make the mix sound like that of other bands. I can, but you probably don't want that, and recreating a mix takes a lot more time and money than simply getting the song the mix it needs.

  13. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  14. A: Speaking as a Norwegian, that a well-produced record - even in black metal - is somehow "untrue". That's like saying a beer is "untrue" if you aren't eating barley or wheat straight from the fields like a grazing animal; you want your steak cooked - often to medium-rare. "Well-produced" doesn't mean "sterilized" or poppy, it means that a lot of effort is spent making the sound coming from the speakers reflect your intention, which might very well be the feeling of icy shrieks across frostbitten mountains.

  15. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  16. A: Why do you want to work with me? What kind of result do you want? What do you want your music to feel like? What kind of listener are you trying to reach?

  17. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  18. A: Make sure that they give you the time of day and carefully consider what you and your music needs. Make sure that they understand that nobody knows your music better than you, and even if they did, it's your music. But if you want your music to reach listeners or get nice reviews, you should probably consider their advice.

  19. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  20. A: Computer, interface, VSX headset, guitar, SM57.

  21. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  22. A: I've been doing music stuff since I was 10 (born in '95). I played in bands from 14-19. I started producing my own music around 16, others when I was 18, and from there, I've just been surrounded by cool opportunities. My first really interesting gig was working with Sylvia Massy for some local bands. Not long afterwards I was a hired gun in Earshot and Conclave for a while under Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdalen (Enslaved). There I got the chance to meet and work with Gaahl, Tom Cato, Immortal, and many more. Over the past few years, I've written a lot of music professionally. One of them is Isiliel's debut album, for which I played the release concert in Tokyo. I've done a lot of remote mixing and production, recently for Evocation.

  23. Q: How would you describe your style?

  24. A: Punchy, authentic and atmospheric. The greatest variation is in temperature; searing hot or icy cold.

  25. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  26. A: You, because if you've found my page, your music is probably exactly the kind that I like working with. I'd also really like to work with Jesper Strömblad and Devin Townsend.

  27. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  28. A: People vastly underestimate the psychological aspects of music. People don't hear frequencies and notes; they feel music. Do whatever makes the music feel good; it doesn't matter how "professional" it is if there's no feeling there.

  29. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  30. A: All the extreme metal variants - melodic death, black, etc. I typically specialize in what people call the "nordic sound", including the Gothenburg sound (associated with Fredrik Nordström), the Finnish sound (associated with Peter Tägtgren) and the Norwegian sound (black metal).

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. A: Probably vision, seeing (or hearing) the whole. Both songwriting and mixing are different aspects of that, and a good mix is what complements the song.

  33. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  34. A: Aside from making sure that my particular role is fulfilled to a professional degree, the softer aspects include vision, feel, emotion, and all that cloudy stuff. These are probably what I've spent the most energy trying to understand, and I find that they are what separates OK music from great music.

  35. Q: What's your typical work process?

  36. A: Whatever the job is, I prefer to first and foremost understand what it is that the client wants, and I prefer to immerse myself in their references to understand what makes it tick. For mixing, I prefer to have all the files for all the tracks lined up in the same project. I spend a session arranging everything and doing the broad strokes of the mix. Subsequent sessions I prefer to keep short with frequent breaks in order to keep my ears fresh. For songwriting, particularly melodic music, I like to go on walks while making notes of ideas that pop up without forcing them. The rest of the work is generally realizing this vision.

  37. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  38. A: I'm surrounded by amps, speakers, instruments, and more gear than I'll ever need. I mix in-the-box and occasionally route my signal through analog gear for very specific purposes.

  39. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  40. A: Starting out, I was mostly inspired by bands I looked up to, like In Flames, Death and Wintersun. After a while, I realized that the common denominators between my favorite bands were the producers; Fredrik Nordström, Peter Tägtgren, Jens Bogren, etc. Gaining more and more great opportunities, I got to meet and work with the producers behind the bands, and these ended up having a tremendous impact on my approach. When I got to work with Immortal, that had a huge impact on my approach to songwriting. When I got to work with Fredrik Nordström for the Isiliel project, that forever changed my approach to mixing and production. Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdalen (Enslaved) were my music production teachers, and I worked a bit in their studio, so that naturally influenced me a lot.

  41. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  42. A: I mostly write or mix metal music. As I frequently communicate and try to understand the needs of the music, I'm often tasked with big-picture production work as well.

  43. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  44. A: My friend, Kristian Brynjulfsen, is great at authentic old Norse instruments, viking-esque techniques and music. He is also a complete expert on black metal.

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I was the only person involved in this production

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GenresSounds Like
  • In Flames
  • Immortal
  • Death
Gear Highlights
  • Peavey 6505
  • Marshall VS8100
  • HM-2
  • Moccamaster coffee machine
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