Recording Engineer / Mixing Engineer / Producer for many years.
Ken 'Pooch' Van Druten has been a Producer / Engineer / Live Sound Engineer for 28 years. He graduated from Berklee College of Music, Magna Cum Laude, and is the recipient of the Music Technology Division Engineering Scholar award - given to one outstanding engineer a year by Berklee staff. His first work as a Producer / Engineer in Los Angeles gained him three Grammy nominations, and a multitude of Platinum and Gold records.
For the last 20 years he has worked as a Front of House Live Sound Engineer for the likes of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, KISS, Kid Rock, Linkin Park, Guns & Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, Slash, System of a Down, Rob Zombie, Limp Bizkit, Jay Z, Ted Nugent, Seal, Pantera, Jane’s Addiction, Eminem, and many more.
He has won the Tourguide magazine Top Dog FOH engineer of the year award an amazing 6 times, and is a two time winner of the FOH magazine Parnelli FOH engineer of the year award.
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Interview with Kenneth "Pooch" Van Druten
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How long have you been doing this? Who recorded the tracks? Using what gear?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask Questions. Make sure I see what vision you have for your music.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Metal, Pop, Rap, Country
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I am primarily a FOH live sound engineer, but most of my clients ask me to mix live recordings. I spent four years mixing every live show that Linkin Park played for web release. Over 200 shows were released including a 5.1 DVD release called Live at Milton Keynes.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am inspired by talented players and technicians. I started my working career in LA working as an assistant engineer for some of the most talented engineers and producers of the early 90's.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I primarily mix in the box. I have an HD pro tools rig connected to a Waves SoundGrid network to offload processing of plugins. Several hundred plugins including all that Waves has to offer, plus other manufacturers.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I do most of my editing and tuning without being in "mix mode", that way I can concentrate on how the overall track sounds like without worrying about fixing mistakes.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Years of experience on how to help a song become a hit.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I have a sense of balance that will make your track shine.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Stereo space and EQ within the space are key. No two frequencies can share space. Finding the right space for everything is key to success.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Tears for Fears. All of their records have amazing space and balance. Dave Bascombe is a badass.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Old School dynamics updated for the sound of today.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Graduated Berklee College of Music in '92. Moved to Los Angeles and worked as a producer/engineer for five years. Started working as a live sound FOH engineer and now combine all three recording/producing/mixing in all that I do.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Neve 8078 console, Studer A800 analog tape machine, pro Tools HDX rig, Waves Soundgrid, lots of plugin choices.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I can fix a bad song. If it's a bad song, no amount of "shinning" will fix it.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Will I do it for cheaper? No. I am worth it. You come to me BECAUSE I'm a bit more expensive. The results speak for themselves.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love working, communicating, and collaborating with talented people.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise you will love what I do for you, or you don't pay.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I love the sound of Analog, but the sound of today is digital, and I am mixing for the sound of today.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently mixing Iron Maiden on the Legacy of the Beast tour.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One of my favorite gigs was mixing Kiss Alive IV. 60 piece Melbourne symphony orchestra and the rock band KISS.