Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I am very proud of the latest release of duct hearts. It is their first long player and they released it via many labels all over the globe on CD and LP.
All in all the critiques are very positive, the band is satisfied and I had the best production time ever being heavily involved in pre-production, recording, editing, mixing and mastering.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
There are so many class A engineers, right? Keep looking for Andrew Scheps, Dave Pensado, Randy Staub (not sure if they are here but they are great).
Analog or digital and why?
Hybrid! Everyone likes imperfection. Analogue creates imperfection. Digital is cold and too perfect but gives room to be creative without worrying to los quality.
Personally, I listen to a lot of LPs and tape cassettes. So I am trying to recreate this listening experience in the digital domain...as far as possible.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
You will sound better than ever before.
What do you like most about your job?
Creating something meaningful for one person or even many is too greatest meaning to me.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
Actually, they never ask something specifically. I usually ask them and they answer in the mixing stage.
Before customers finalze their recordings or rough mixes, they might ask how to deliver the digital recording sessions. I will answer to print effects they are confident about as well as printing multi-miked guitars (if the phase alignment is good).
But really, most of the time the customer tells me what to do and I follow or suggest another route.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Having nice gear, plugins and a Mac does it all and everything can be fixed in the mix.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What is your mission and vision being creative and creating music?
What do you want to express and what do you want the listener to feel?
Of course, also how did you record and how do you want it to be processed too?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Be open to temporarily accept one more member to your project or band.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Analogue stays, digital goes ->
1. A power generator which can be fired with hydrogen
2. Electric Bass Guitar
3. Electric Guitar
4. Acoustic Guitar
5. Some Powemixer to plug everything into it and enjoy everyday's sunset.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Currently I am a freelance audio engineer & producer. I started to record music around 1999 on tape and then into the box.
I was involved into live mixing for more than 10 years in my old hometown area’s music scene. Constantly getting hired for being known as a reliable, gentle to the equipment and kind to the performers live mixing engineer.
In parallel I developed my recording and mixing skills from 2000 on with private and local projects out of my basement.
Being involved into a band as singer and guitarist helped to make connections to other bands and get involved into their recording projects.
From there many opportunities arouse and since more than two years I am educating myself with new techniques and train my ears to be of better service than before.
These days I also finished the certified Berklee college of music "the art of music production" & "the technology of music production" courses.
Well, during daytime I have another job. I graduated in computer science and I am active mainly as a consultant.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Of course I would like to work again with all the fabulous artists I did work with before.
If I had a wish to work with then it would be an commercially unknown band. Yet known in the live or underground scene where you can feel the magic between the musicians. Working with such a band and helping them to reach the next level would be my favourite choice.
Can you share one music production tip?
If you are about to record a heavy distorted guitar, make sure to decrease the input gain on the amp half the way down you usually have it set to. For example, you or the guitarist plays on a gain setting of 8, convince him to try setting it to 4. It is a hard job to do so as it will most likely not sound or feel right at the moment. But when you are about to listen to the guitar in the mix, it opens up more clearly, defined, rich in tone and easier to treat for the mixer. Give it a try!
What type of music do you usually work on?
A lot of time is spent to work on my own ideas. A combination of singer-songwriter and hard rock. That’s my meditation.
Client wise I work on genres with names like „alternative thrash metal“, „cafe punk“, „Mid 90's Emotional Core“, „music inspired by postrock, sludge, a little hardcore & the good mid 90s stuff“, „folk & acoustic“, „classical ensemble“ and „russian pop“.
What's your strongest skill?
From a business perspective it is managing the artist or band to get things done and to keep focus.
From a technical perspective it would be mixing in the box with knwoledge of live mixing and plugging in outboard when required;-)
From a personal perspective it would be enthusiasm for listening to music & for learning more and more about music production
What do you bring to a song?
I want to know about the artists intention overall. His attitude, what motivates and drives him. And then I want to know what the song is about. Sometimes you can feel, assume and read between the lines. Some artists do not disclose what or who the song is about because it is sometimes very personal. That is ok. Still I try to grab their intention and emphasize the recording in the mixing stage. So the song will come to live even more.
What's your typical work process?
When an artists hands me over a session of recorded files we first talk about the mission and vision. They why and how it should be in the end. What drives the artist, what made him record that song or album and where does he want it to be when released. Not only from a sonic perspective, but also from a sensual, political and relationship standpoint. What is he trying to say with the record?
From that point on, we talk about each song and its internal balances. Defining the most important voices/instruments and the dynamics. With this information, I decide which workflow and basic mixing setup to implement. Modern or Vintage. That defines which kind of virtual mixing desk will I use to paint the sonic canvas.
Well from there I found a template which I will use for all the songs provided and start checking the technical things like phase alignment of multi-miked sources like a drumkit. From there, I create the basic balance between all instruments and voices. Finally the creative part starts and after that is finished, I will provide a print to the client for feedback. After receiving all the feedback and adjusting the mixes, I will print them and hand them over to the mastering for the final polishing.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Since starting to record and mix in 2000 I am kinda mixing in the box. These days, I reduced the studio setup to be transportable for location recordings and mixing at the same time. Basically, the central unit is an UA Apollo twin interface playing out to Yamaha HS5s or Eve Audio Monitors for Stereo monitoring or a single Auratone clone for Mono monitoring. The UA Apollo interface is supported by a UA Satellite Quad extension to process my analogue style plugins. For recording, I just hook up an Octopre preamp for some more recording channels in combination with some further preamps on hand. All the signals go into and are processed in a Macbook Pro. For flavour, mix-printing or mastering purposes an 80s Tascam 112 master cassette deck is hooked into the signal chain.
If it comes to recording, I own a humble collection of microphones for each purpose including drum recording and small ensemble recording.
Since I came to Seoul in 2014 with just two suitcases I pretty much like to keep it this way:
"The Absence of Limitations is the Enemy of Art"
• Orson Welles
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
The Beatles and everyone involved into the recording process quite influence me. To create such a sound with limited technical capabilities in the 1960s requires good musicians and sensitive people on the recording side to come up with such masterpieces as e.g. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band still is to me.
Bruce Swedian is an influencer too. Reading his book, listening to his productions and imagining his workflow and love for detail are somehow with me in the mixing process.
Ultimately, thanks to Mike Senior, everyday I am getting better thanks to his articles, books and heart to educate everyone interested in getting a good sounding record.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
If I do a mixing job, bands usually already get in touch in the pre-production phase to receive some advise how to setup and record to have a proper output for the mixing stage. Sometimes I may judge shootouts for microphones, instruments and amps to use and also give general feedback about the arrangements.
Before I start mixing, the band and I already will have created a balance sheet to set the most important voice of each song in each part. Then I will start mixing and get feedback along the way to satisfy not only me but the band.
What are you working on at the moment?
A track that feels and sounds like a Red Hot Chili Peppers song from 2003.
Just beautiful for its energy.
How would you describe your style?
Silky, punchy and warm with a finishing royal touch.
Full of the strive for details and perfection.