Ive been in the industry for over 6 years with a sound engineering bachelor degree from Oxford Brookes UK. I also run a UK label and personal studio based in London UK. When I get to work on a track for a client, as much as it is technical, the feel and emotion I try to capture has much more value to me than anything else.
Since I've been producing Hip Hop, Dubstep, House and Reggae Dub since 2009, one of my main strengths, is the bass in my tracks. Getting the low end to sit well in my tracks and at the same time making it sound huge, has been an obsession since I started.
This obsession led me to make the tracks Im known for; "Redsea" and "Freedom". These tracks got me to play at Outlook Festival in Croatia in September 2014 and inspired me to join a label, that I co-own, that focuses on UK bass music called "Indigo Movement". Junodownload: "Label co-owner Bluez ensures their statement of intent is felt from the off with "Freedom". A surging sense of treacle-bass sludges out of the system over dramatic drums, it sets the tone.."
My latest work was a hip hop album that I produced and mixed for a Greek duo named "Nympha Fausti". A preview is shown on the right called "Pop".
At university in Oxford UK, for my final paper, I created an original sample pack which consisted of raw recordings with special effects for percussive purposes. In that year I learnt how to, design new sounds, repair damaged recordings and build an organised and cohesive sound library.
- Analogue Professional Mixing and Mastering services.
- Audio Repair
- Podcast/Dialogue Editing
- Post Production
- Compositions and Music Production.
Bonus:The library will be available for FREE in September 2015!
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Interview with Theo Koustas
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I try and understand the vision that the client has, just from the music I receive, the conversation we have and their musical references. Furthermore, If I get stems for a mix-down, I usually organise the stems in groups, colour code and name each track before I start a mix, so my work flow can be fluid and fast when looking through a sea of tracks. I then send them through my desk for analogue summing, volume balancing and equing. For production I usually start from a hard hitting beat and baseline and go on from there!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I purchased an Allen & Heath desk, an analogue hybrid which enables me to get the both worlds of analogue and digital processing in my studio. In addition I have an analogue tape delay and spring reverb called ROLAND RE-201 which is the holy grail of analogue tape delays which I will take to my grave. Furthermore, I have a UAD card which gives me an ample amount of high end plugin choices that are considered to be some of the best in the world. Moreover, I have my trusty Adam A77X monitors, that have saved many of my latest mixes! Lastly I run on a Mac mini late 2012(16GB Ram, 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7) that has 2 SSD hard drives for time efficiency.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I would say most of the work I do is mixing and mastering. I also do a lot of vocal treatment work for hip hop artists. And lastly, I produce music for rappers/singers.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I am at their service, I believe there has to be no ego involved when serving a client in the music business. Im there to capture their vision and feel of what they're trying to achieve.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Im working on my own debut album at the moment. Which will be done by the end of the year. Im collaborating more with live musicians, which is quite new to me. Having musicians in the room can really be inspiring, as it forces you to perform and react with each other on the spot. As for being alone, it can be quite easy to just give up on an idea for a project or even the whole project.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The general process of the whole job. I do it because its a labor of love. "He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest". Dylan Thomas
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That because Im Greek, Im lazy! Greece is 3rd in the international ranking of most hours worked per year!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Look for honesty and natural/human delivery when reading their profile or communicating with the provider.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Mac, Komplete 10, RE-201, UAD apollo, and a boat.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: On return tracks, treat them as much as you can for them to fit in the track. For instance, on a reverb return track, I usually notch out around 2-3 dB from the mid range in order for the vocal to sit in that frequency range while still maintaining a big reverb. Reducing the bitrate and distorting the chain can also emulate old hardware reverbs and delays!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! They both have their pros and cons, but I feel that using both is very powerful! Digital is perfect for recalling projects, audio editing and automation. Its basically more time efficient than analog. However, analog brings the emotion and character to tracks that the digital world hasn't perfected just yet, in my humble opinion!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Producing and mixing electronic music and treating hip hop vocals I would say is my strongest skill. But still learning as we all do in this business!
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Id like to think I bring musicality and emotion to a song rather than a technical feel. It sounds a bit cliche, but there is a lot of music that sounds the same because of how people approach their mixdowns and productions. They try and follow rules and techniques, when music is all about the feel and emotion. Rules are meant to be broken!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Musicians like J Dilla, Mala and Augustos Pablo inspire and motivate me. Their morals, ethics and way of life truly inspired me to follow them as guides for my musical journey.