I recently started work as an FOH engineer. After years of the studio I felt like I needed to feel a little fear again. And fear I felt.
I was approached with the proposition to FOH for a band planning a festival tour this summer. I like the band, know the music and assisted on the production of their record a couple years back. So I thought, why not.
I wasn’t really sure what i was getting myself into but when I started google-ing the festivals they were booked to play at I started getting sweaty palms. Gigantic stages, towering line arrays, crowds reaching the end of the horizon and digital consoles of the like I didn’t even know existed. Suddenly the idea of sitting behind LowSwing’s 5316 was as comforting as a motherly embrace.
One foot in front of the other. I began asking around and letting my friends and colleagues know what I had gotten myself into. The response was overwhelmingly positive, supportive and encouraging. Everyone had advice and tips for me, numbers I could call and email address’s I could write to for help and counsel. I was even invited to join a band on one of their shows to follow their sound guy around to see what its all about. An offer I couldn’t refuse and a priceless experience.
The biggest lesson I learned was preparation. Know as much as you can about everything beforehand. And when I mean everything, I mean everything.
My first show turned out pretty amazing! Thanks to the helpful and super professional attitude of the stage team at Open’er Festival. I couldn’t have had a better first show!
Im finding the FOH experience to be a great one and I look forward to touring with Mary Komasa this autumn in Poland.
I spent most of last month working on an upcoming EP for an unknown artist that goes by the name of Brando.
The songs are cemented in text and evolved out of words, stories and metaphors. Focusing on Brando’s vocal performances, which ranged from rap, poetry and spoken word, was the key to making each song and each story come alive. With music ranging from solo piano, smooth Rhodes beats and electro synth bangers, the EP showcases Brando’s range of vocal ability.
The video I have added today is a little compilation of clips done with my phone while recording a track which features a great composer and piano player. Getting the recording of the Bösendorfer grand piano at LowSwing Studio was key to bringing this track to life. Removing the lid off the piano really brought the sound to bloom and a well placed SM57 re-amped through an AC15 brought a special energy to certain octaves.
The EP should be released early next year.
Composition: Manfred Hübler
Piano: Anna von Raison
Recorded by Florian von Keyserlingk
A while back I was lucky to work with the talented and incredibly hard working Stefan Kraatz on his new unsigned project Finn.
The singer Marlon is an honest and soft tempered soul with a great voice and personality.
Still unsigned they are already getting a lot of attention with a couple of potential indie, major and publishing deals.
Check out the teaser video below, listen to the song Spiegelbild and check out the Fritz radio Unsigned show they played last week!
When I was told that I was going to work on a five day recording with LowSwing Studios latest acquisition a, Telefunken M15 2” 16 track, I was pretty excited. Leading up to the recording though the tape machine was everything but in working condition. A cock up during calibration, which blew out a power supply 3 days before session start, shrank the possibility of the recording actually happening, drastically. Thanks to Jim, and a sacrificial offering of days worth of sleep, the M15 was good to go when the band walked through the door. Albeit, untested. Calibrated, but still untested. I felt a little safer knowing I had an Otari MX-70 1” 16 track as a back up machine just in case the M15 decided to flat line. Luckily it never came to that. And thank god, cause the first thing David, the producer for the session, said when he saw it was, “It doesn’t sound that good”. I didn’t tell him it was our backup.
Three days and three 2” reels later, all the songs were in the bag and David said, lets mix. I was a little confused, because I thought this was a Recording session. But they had other ideas. Great! I thought, Mixing, tape to tape. That’s exactly what we did. Playing back was the M15 16 track, mixed and summed on the Neve 5316 and recorded to the Telefunken M15 A ¼” master machine. A dream come true. I was as giddy as a kid in a candy shop. The band, The Mashrooms, a self-titled “Independent Rock Orchestra” were a great bunch of flamboyant and friendly Sicilians who were really happy with the results. And when it was all over and I handed over the 2” and the 1/4” tapes I couldn’t stop thinking how easy it all was. They came in, played, recorded and mixed an album in five days. And there it was, the sum of all their work in a couple cardboard boxes neatly labeled and stacked holding reels of magnetic tape, their album. Done, no going back. Beautiful.
Here are a couple of photos I took back around 2011 with my ADOX Golf Middle Format camera. Yes, Im proud of it.
Michael Wollny @ Hansa Studios
The shot above is of Michael listening back to takes for the [em] album Wasted & Wanted. That was the first time I was ever inside that Hansa studio’s, where records like David Bowie – “Heroes”, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – The Firstborn Is Dead or U2 – Achtung Baby were recorded. History was just oozing out of the walls there and their custom colored Hansa Blue SSL 4000-E is a thing of beauty.
Guy Sternberg @ LowSwing Studio
This shot of Guy was taken during a jam session in the winter of 2011 where Micheal Wollny (keys) , Tim Lefebvre (bass), Sebastian Merk (drums) and Nikolai Ziel (drums) improvised some amazing music for two days at LowSwing. I felt lucky to be a part of that. And this photo is just too damn old school not to include in this nostalgic photo post.
Tim Lefebvre @ LowSwing Studio
A ghostly outline of Tim as he rocked improvised bass lines from another planet. Awesome. Until he blew the studio fuse.. still trying to figure out how he did that..