Organic is the key in the era of digital music consumption. I use mostly analogue effects and outboard to get that "real" sound and also a little bit of digital processing for the modern edge.
Zarven Kara is the head sound engineer, producer and manager of Reel to Reel Studios and has worked in most facets of the music industry throughout Europe and Australia. He cut his teeth working throught GermanyGermany as a session guitarist, composer and producer and gaining valuable insight and experience inside some of Germany’s finest studios.
I love the sound of real gear. Real reverbs, real compressors, real tubes, things that you can turn and touch. Thats what gives that organic sound. Mostly I love my tube spring reverb which is unbeatable on vocals for getting that depth.
Finding an engineer that you can trust and can develop a good working relationship, within your budget can mean the difference between a successful career and the end of one.
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Interview with Zarven Kara
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Bricasti M7 everyday of the week. 5 of them ;)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Ive been producing music for around 10 years now. In a former life I toured as an Avant Guard jazz guitarist and composer.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Stevie Wonder!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. 1 for colour the other for practicality and recall.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't over compress. Use subtle distortions and hit the mix bus harder to glue things together. And automation!!!!
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mostly I worked on acoustically recorded music but styles vary from pop to indie to rock and acoustic jazz.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on pop, indie and rock music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Patience ;)
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A fresh set of ears. I think that's always the biggest advantage of using a mixing and/or mastering engineer. A clean slate. Im also a performing musician and writer so I can usually get a quick idea of where the artist is coming from.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: The studio is a hybrid set up, centred around a custom built passive mix master summing mixer. I mix in the box and take the stems out and continue mixing through the outboard gear. Passive eq's are a big part of the sound I like.