Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
In 2016 I worked on a record as a recording engineer, mixer and mastering engineer. So I was really involved all the time. The singer of the band produced it very creatively and made me rethink a lot of things. I got a whole new perspective on the recording and mixing process. We made decision I would never have made alone, we tried out really unconventional techniques and some strange makeshift instruments. And we didn't use reference tracks at all, nor did we even care about what labels or the bands audience will think of the results.
And now in the beginning of 2017, shortly after finishing the record, the band got an amazing record deal with one of Germany's biggest independent labels. Without even asking for it. They got recommended by someone, the A&R listened to the record, absolutely loved it and signed them on the same day. Can't wait for the release date! As soon as it's out, I will of course update that answer with band and record details. ;-)
Analog or digital and why?
Both. Depending on the desired workflow and results you have to decide what is best for you. After all, it's just tools.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I promise that I will always do the best I can to satisfy my clients and to help them reach their goals with their music. And I will always respect their art, be aware of what their music means to them and therefore try to serve their songs.
What do you like most about your job?
I make records and work with amazing artists full-time. What's not to like about that?
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Between Earth & Sky. I just love their energy and of course Greg Bennick's lyrics and I think I could make their songs sound just as energetic, punchy and and hard-hitting, as they should sound.
Can you share one music production tip?
Always serve the song and let the gear be just the tools for that. Learn as much as you can about the gear you're using and use it carefuly! Understanding how your tools work, what to do with them and when to use them gets you way further than purchasing new gear. So, only apply that processing when necessary! Never touch a knob or fader unless you exactly know why you're doing it and what you're aiming for!
What's your strongest skill?
My strongest skill probably is my keen sense of hearing, feeling and understanding the music as well as the client's and/or artist's intention. I can adapt to different situations very quickly, which enables me to make the right decisions and to deal with almost any kind of material pretty confidently.
What do you bring to a song?
The least I can bring to a song is an enhancement of it's original vibe, making it sound just like the artist intended it, but "better".
Depending on the material and the client's idea and vision I can make things sound punchier, deeper, wider, bigger, fatter, warmer, more Hi-Fi, dirtier, more "vintage" sounding, whatever suits your song or record.
And of course I can get creative and try to improve your arrangement, composition or performance, if you want me to and let me do this.
Tell us about your studio setup.
I think, that the most important parts of any setup are your brain and ears, but in the right hands good gear can definitely make a difference. So here you go:
My studio has a small live room, an ambience chamber next to the live room and a control room. All rooms have controlled, optimized acoustics and the sound of the live room can be adjusted from very dry to very lively using variable acoustic modules and the chamber next to it.
In the control room I'm running a hybrid setup, meaning I use the best of both the analog and the digital domain. I work on a Mac Pro with Cubase and mix with both plugins and outboard gear. AD/DA conversion is performed by an Antelope Audio Orion 32 that is connected via MADI to a RME HDSPe FX PCIe interface. For monitoring I use a pair of ADAM A77X, various smaller systems and quality headphones.
I use microphones by: Neumann, Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, Heil Sound, Audix, Oktava, sE Electronics, amm...
I use preamps by: Lake People, SSL, Thermionic Culture, Warm Audio, Presonus
I use outboard gear by: Thermionic Culture, Empirical Labs, Tegeler Audio Manufaktur, ART, Warm Audio
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Inspiring artists: Converge, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, Have Heart, Kurt Ballou, Greg Bennick, Dave Grohl, Fugazi, Nirvana, Audioslave, Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters and many many more...
Inspiring producers/engineers: Kurt Ballou, Steve Albini, Chris Lord-Alge, Butch Vig, Jay Maas, Andrew Scheps, amm...
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
The biggest misconception is to think that I can make poorly recorded tracks or crappy performances sound awesome. I can improve almost everything, but it always takes a good song, performed by a good musician, recorded carefully in an adequate environment to really produce something great that will get the listeners attention. We're engineers and artists, not magicians!
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Listen to their work and, just as important, find someone you trust and who you think is easy and fun to work with. The connection and communication between the artist and the engineer can make or break a production experience.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Neumann U87 (very good, flat sounding allround mic), Thermionic Culture Rooster (valve preamp with EQ and distortion section), Empirical Labs Distressor (very versatile compressor), a Computer with Cubase, any good converter
What type of music do you usually work on?
I do a lot of band-based projects with real, acoustic instruments and I do quite a lot of Hip Hop and Rap. I don't do edm, house, techno, dubstep and stuff like that very often.
My favourite genres: Heavy music (Hardcore, Punk, Metal, Stoner, etc.), all kinds of Rock music, Hip Hop
What's your typical work process?
First I talk to the client and try to find out as much as I can about him/her, his/her vision, talent, intention, budget and expectations. Then I calculate the time and effort necessary to satisfy the client and deliver the best results possible. I'm always willing to assist and coach the client befor the actual session to help him/her get the best out of his/her abilities and make the session a more relaxed and fun experience, leading to better results.
When the actual tracking-/mixing-/whatever-session starts, I don't follow a certain plan, but will try to make the right decisions and use the right gear and techniques for each project individually.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Most of the time I do tracking and mixing for bands and solo artists. Sometimes it's just engineering, sometimes it's also creative producing. This depends on how much the client wants me to participate in the creative process. I work in my own studio as well as in other studios, whatever place is best for the tracking/mixing sessions and the clients budget.
I also do some budget mastering in my own (mixing-)studio, but I always recommend to hire a dedicated mastering engineer in a dedicated mastering studio.
I do a lot of band-based projects with real, acoustic instruments. I don't do edm, house, techno, dubstep and stuff like that very often.
My specialities are:
- tracking drums, bass, guitars, vocals and whole live bands
- reamping guitars and bass
- favourite genres: Heavy music (Hardcore, Punk, Metal, Stoner, etc.), all kinds of Rock music