Recording, Mixing, Producer
Kevin Dietz - Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, Music Producer (Toronto, Canada)
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Interview with Kevin Dietz
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I'm a big fan of playing parts through effects, and recording effects "to tape" (...as we still say!). This can mean using guitar pedals, or heavily EQ'd/Compressed source microphones, room mics etc...but it can also mean playing through any number of great effects/reverb/delay plugins available today. Try it out - you often get a very different musical performance playing *through* and effect, rather than adding after the fact.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Pre production - hear the songs, discuss artistic vision with the artist, talk about what kind of recording process we should embark on. Recording - make it as natural, easygoing, and fun for the artist as possible! Keep the creative vibes flowing. Mixing - have all tracks organized and sorted, ready to go. Then....MIX
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Back in 2008 I spent 9 weeks with Placebo, producer David Bottrill, and engineer James Brown working on their record Battle for the Sun. Even though I was only the assistant on that record, that session still to this day stands out as one of my favourites. It was a great learning experience, very formative. I contributed a lot and played an important role in facilitating a lot of moving parts. Time moves on and now I work with artists directly in the creative phases of production. A huge reason why I have the skill set to do that is because of years of experience working on records with top-level producers, engineers, and artists, and learning the craft at that level.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: The main question is, "what kind of sound are you looking to achieve? What is your artistic vision and what ideas do you have to bring it life?" First and foremost, let's establish the artistic vision, then I can bring my ideas to table, and thoughts on how to achieve that.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Direct quote from one of my clients - "I think you're pretty adaptive. I would say your style is a mix of modern and classic. Your primary focus is capturing quality sounds from the get-go (classic). That being said, you don't let some sort of fear of modernity get in the way. You set no limitations on applying contemporary ideas/tools to reshape or make something unique (modern)."
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently working on - Five song EP with a great Pop-duo from Toronto (Tiger & Bloom); a great Indie Rock band from Barrie, Ontario (The Alpacas); lots of engineering sessions at studios around Toronto.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Certain genres/productions benefit differently from doing something in the digital domain vs analog. It's all about knowing your tools, their strengths, when/how to use them for the best possible result. I have extensive experience with both.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You have my full attention and commitment to making your music the best it can be.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I have met some of the coolest, quirkiest, and most genuine people I have ever known since starting down the path of a career in music. Ultimately, it's a people-business. What I love about this line of work is connecting on an artistic and a personal level with great artists, and the great music that comes from that interaction.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask lots of questions! Get into the details. Have a phone call/Skype and talk in person. Get a good vibe :)
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: For recording - Royer 121, U87, Neve 1073, 1176, Summit TLA100. For mixing - Universal Audio, SoundToys, & Waves plugins, summing mixer, and an SSL bus compressor.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been working in the industry professionally for 10 years. I started as an Assistant Eng. at Metalworks Studios, and worked my way up to Head Engineer of the facility. I was on staff for 7.5 years (Jan 2007-July 2014), and have been freelance for 3 years (July 2014-present).
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Daniel Lanois, Max Martin, Trent Reznor...just to see their process and get an insight into their creativity.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Pop, Indie, Blues, Alternative, Metal, Country, Jazz ...I've had a lot of experience in all of them!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I've been told I'm a very musical engineer, and I take this as a big compliment. Music first, always. My background is as a musician, and to me, the technical aspects of recording, mixing, and production are there to serve the song and the vibe. I'm also easygoing and fun to work with ;)
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I have a great ear for arrangement, which is paramount to production, but is not to be overlooked when mixing as well. I'm a very musical engineer, and just a very musical person in general. My goal is let the musicality and vibe flow through the whole process, to ultimately serve the song and help get the best performance from an artist.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My personal studio setup is an analog/digital hybrid: Universal Audio converters, Dangerous Music summing box, SSL Bus Compressor, Sonic Farm Creamer+ tube/transformer line diver. I have the option of staying digital for very clean and controlled processing, or using my analog mix bus to add a great tube/transformer/analog sound.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Some of my biggest musical/production influences are - Brendan O'Brien, Trent Reznor, Daniel Lanois, and Max Martin - all for their own very unique reasons! Some of my biggest mixing influences are Brendan O'Brien, Andy Wallace, Serban Ghenea, Rich Costey, Alan Moulder...the list could go on and on!
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording, Mixing, and Music Production and song Pre-Production - working closely with the artist to strengthen their songs, parts, and arrangements, as well as adding parts and production elements as necessary.