I create dynamic, spacious, high-quality mixes from the world-class Evergroove Studio located in Evergreen, Colorado. I love to help musicians realize their dreams and create a final product that everyone can be proud of. I also play bass, and can help you get a great bass part for your next project!
I have been writing and recording music for close to ten years, and have recently started working as a Freelance Audio Engineer with Evergroove Studio. Although I specialize in dynamic metal, post rock, and hip hop, I am confident and capable of producing a phenomenal finished product in any genre that you can be proud to release. "The vibe" is crucial to me. I am not in this for a hobby, this is my career, and I am not comfortable with settling for anything less than fantastic. Let's work together today!
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
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Interview with Ethan Kotel
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The aforementioned EP by Glass Cases was a ton of fun to work on, and came out really well. I produced, recorded, and mixed it, and it was a blast finding fun approaches to maximizing the size and power of the various real, sampled, and MIDI elements of the tracks into a large and organic finished product.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I recently finished up producing, recording, and mixing an EP for Fort Collins-based pop-trio, Glass Cases, entitled "Where is Foreword?" available on streaming services everywhere!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Brad Smalling of Evergroove Studio is my confidante and compatriot, and I highly recommend him for anything he offers.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Analog and digital both have CLEAR advantages and disadvantages, and no tool should be left out of the arsenal. Personally, I often run MIDI instruments out through hardware, and then back in, to provide color and life that artificial instruments are missing, for a beautiful hybrid approach.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will make your music bigger. From guitar tones to drums, my goal is always the biggest, punchiest, and most spacious product that we can create.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I work with music all day, every day, what's not to love? Seriously, I never hear a song I hate, and getting to spend my days working for amazing people on amazing music is all I could ever ask for.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Is this something we can fix in the mix?" The answer is no. Let's fix it now, and then we won't have to worry about it! "Fixing it at the source" is my most cherished philosophy, and it leads to better albums, 10 times out of 10.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That this job is sexy. People think being a producer is just hanging out in the studio and making records and having fun. In reality, it's sitting in front of a computer listening to one snare hit three thousand times, sculpting it until it's the perfect snare, then moving on to three thousand tom hits. If you're not interested in it, it's not particularly fun or interesting to watch.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How often do you practice? What's your easiest song? Have you practiced your easiest song less than your hardest? (if so, practice your easiest stuff more, it's always what get's messed up). What is your writing process? What do these songs mean to you?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Let's have fun! The studio doesn't need to be a stressful experience; rather, it should be a place where you can focus on your music, attune yourself to the emotional content laden within it, and connect with your best performance. The best way to do that, of course, is to be prepared, well-rehearsed, well-rested, and ready to go before you get to the studio. Mixing-wise, know what you're looking for. If you have a clear idea of what the finished product should sound like, let me know, and let's collaborate to get you to your goals. There are no bad vibes with me, ever.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Woof, what a question. I would need my macbook, interface, MIDI controller, guitar, and bass. With those pieces of gear, I could write music forever (unfortunately, only with programmed drums), and explore millions of musical directions. The lack of food seems like a bigger problem, though...
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been working with music since I was 11 years old, when I started to learn guitar, and have been recording since I was 14, when I bought my first mic and stuck it in front of my amp in my basement. While I spent a long time performing, and building a name in several bands around Denver, I realized that one, two, or even three bands would never be enough for me. I started building a client list and putting production back on the front-burner, and by 2018, I joined Evergroove Studio to provide high quality recording, mixing, and mastering from one of the best rooms in Colorado.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Dynamic. I am obsessed with finding the most space in your mix that I can, so that when everything is playing, you know it. Things only get as big as possible by being as small as possible first, and accentuating your natural dynamic changes as a band, translating them into an aggressive, modern style, is my favorite way to spend a day.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Set and Setting. Two drummers, crushing guitars, long songs, post-metal, it's all of my favorite things in one, and would be a really fun challenge.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: FIX IT AT THE SOURCE. Never settle for a guitar tone that's "pretty good, but it'll clean up in the mix." You should be walking out of the studio after recording excited about EVERYTHING you heard; because, that way, the mix will only make it better.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on pretty much every genre on a weekly basis, though my true loves are for the heaviest genres; that is, metal and anything that involves distortion. However, I love many genres, and find myself most excited to work with post-metal, emo, and hip-hop artists.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I specialize in translating your passion into your music. While YOU know the emotional content behind your songs - the stories, the hidden meanings - the delivery of this content can be marred by a poor recording, a lackluster mix. By working with me, you can ensure that your emotion will carry through the speakers, from conception to release, without being marred by the ego that some engineers adopt with their projects - forcing their own vision onto your music. My goal is not to inflict my influence onto your track, but rather to use my skills and knowledge to help you create the truest form of your music, to allow your audience to hear what you heard when you dreamt the song, every time they listen.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: In a word: diversity. I listen to every genre on the map and have experience working with them all, from rap to emo to deathcore to post-metal to indie-folk. With a slate of real-world knowledge fed by experience performing with, booking, recording, and mixing dozens of bands over a decade, I can add a fresh, outsider's perspective to your sound, and push your music in directions you've never thought of.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I work consistently; that is, I sit down at a job, and I stand up when it's over. By practicing proper techniques for reducing ear-fatigue and strain, well-measured breaks, and employing industry-standard best practices, I can ensure a quick turnaround while maintaining the high standard of work that I have build my name around.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work out of the phenomenal Evergroove Studio in Evergreen, Colorado, a fully-appointed, commercial recording, mixing, and mastering setup. With a set of Tannoy System 15 DMT-mkii's in a Wes Lachot-designed room, I can hear EVERYTHING, and ensure that your mixes will translate accurately, no matter where they're played. With a world-class selection of microphones, preamps, outboard gear, plugins, orchestral libraries, drum samples, and more, I have the gear necessary to nail your sound, no matter the genre.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I grew up on classic rock, and gravitated towards the "out there" production style of the early Pink Floyd and Cream albums, which first opened my eyes to the myriad ways music can be translated through mixing. As I evolved and started performing, I found myself paying more attention to the weight and impact that every instrument has: from the pure emotional power of SRV's playing to the message-laden delivery of Kendrick Lamar and The Hotelier. I listen to EVERY genre, and draw influence from all of it. I want to make every record as heavy as a deathcore album, as spacious as a post-rock album. There's room in every genre for innovation, and my mission is to find it.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I specialize in working closely with my clients to craft the most honest and emotional end product possible. From fine-tuning guitar and bass tones to providing theory-based knowledge, I am always in the studio, 7 days a week, working with someone to create music they can be proud of for the rest of their life.