Over the next weeks, we will be chatting with some audio professionals (Live and Studio Engineers, Record Producers, Arrangers, Mastering Engineers, Sistem Engineers); we will be asking all of them the same questions. We trust that these interviews will both inspired and informed you.
This week we start with David Langemann (Freshly Ground / Johnny Clegg)
When does it happen? When does a mix leave the realm of chaos to hit the stage of clarity?
When the emotional direction has been chosen or found, and the technical obstacles cleared out the way, i.e. muddy frequencies, overlapping musical parts, etc. Then the final stretch mix adjustments takes it to an inspirational level.
Your greatest inspiration is?
People with a story in their music. Honest and direct music.
Your top 3 production / mixing values without which you will never mix / produce?
– Go with your instincts, don’t overthink.
– Mix at quiet levels and occasional loud level too.
– Learn how to “step out of yourself” for objectivity.
Your top 3 all time albums?
– Fred Hammond, Something ‘Bout Love
– Van Halen, 1984
– The Beatles, Rubber Soul
The three most frequent mistakes “inexperience” makes?
– Not properly listening and understanding what the artist wants you to achieve for them.
– Spending too long on details such as the drum sound before achieving a good overall balance.
– Don’t allow preconceived notions of what a situation or person needs from you. Start from an open, clear place always.
The question everyone asks you?
How did I start as an engineer?
The answer is “live sound” and taking on any sound related job.
Your most memorable mistake?
Spending an hour punching in line by line for a guitar solo with producer and artist holding their collective breath only for the computer to crash without saving. Since then I save after every few moves in Pro Tools and directly after every recorded performance.
Your current influences?
Philip Tabane and Molombo
A crazy production story (studio or live)?
Working 36 hours on a deadline for German TV Christmas special. Taking 15-minute sleep breaks rolled up in the studio’s piano cover while the music editor prepared the next song for mixing.
The advice no one gave you that you would have loved to have had when you started?
On a business note, take deposits before you start working for people. The ones that have no intention of paying or don’t actually have funds will quickly disappear.
On a technical note, be yourself. Follow your strengths. If that means that your gifting is in wiring studios or managing a studio instead of being an engineer, then pursue those paths with equal passion.
What do you do to keep your productions / mixes fresh?
Listen to ALL styles of music. Ask friends for new music they can give you to listen.
Watch Pensados Place.
Your greatest ever production / mixing lesson gained?
Listen to the song from the beginning as much as possible when making arrangement changes. Context is king.
Also, make sure to get the optimal tempo for a song. Take your time to decide, testing in 1 BPM increments until you find it.
The recommendation you would love to give to any producer / engineer (especially young ones)?
The more good you put into yourself, the more good will come out in your work.
Know the technical aspects inside and out so the music can flow. Blockages and delays during recording sessions kill creativity and productivity. Prepare all aspects for recording sessions. Have fun!
Anything else you would like to add?
Work with good artists. Your recordings will naturally sound good.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be happy. The music industry can lead a person to think that career in music is the be all and end all. If you give your gifts to God and let him work through you, then your efforts are worth it.
For more info on David: https://za.linkedin.com/in/david-langemann-b3699a18