Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?
I grew up in Munich, Germany. My passion for audio started with a RME Fireface 800 and a cheap condenser mic that my dad bought for me when I was 15 years old. I just began to record my band and took it from there. My first professional steps were my training as music producer and manager after I finished high school. Having studied musicology for one year, I moved to Berlin to study Tonmeister at HFF Potsdam, where I'm currently finishing my bachelor thesis.
Additionally, I work as a freelancing mixer, producer and songwriter of popular, jazz and film music and am currently signed to BMG Rights Management.
Are you a musician yourself? What instruments do you play and in what musical context?
Yes, I'm a classically trained piano player. In my bands however I usually play the guitar and sing.
Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it?
The song is called “Wir Laufen” by Benito & Kestin, my main project as a musician at the moment. It's a pop, hip- hop song with an acoustic vibe and part of the album “Tausend Farben” which will be released later this year. As I also wrote, produced and mixed the album it's hard to tell, but from the writing process to the final mixes it took about three onths for the whole record I guess.
What were your most significant, funny or inspiring experiences as an audio engineer?
Oh, there are many. First of all, music is what inspires me most! Then it's probably the great masters of our craft. Even though I met only a few personally so far, I've read and watched many interviews and I’m inspired by their attitude towards music and mixing.
Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake in a production and what did you do to redeem the situation?
Mistakes happen, but I learn from them and get better. From time to time I lose sight of the big picture and get stuck into details, I have to work on that.
What’s your advice for engineers who are just starting out?
Just go out there and work as much as possible, ask bands if they want to work with you and do what you love. It will eventually lead to success. Also, stay curious, be honest and respect the work of other engineers.
And the most important thing: Train your ears and take care of them!
Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment?
It changes all the time. At the moment, it might be Metric Halo ChannelStrip's EQ, also Valhalla Room, which I use a lot (thanks to Jonathan Feurich who told me about it). Outboard, probably the Tubetech CL-1B and I really do like theColes 4038, Neumann U47 and Gefell M 1030.
What is your favourite recording or production?
That's a tough one. Ryan Lewis did a great production of Macklemore's record (The Heist), as did Steffen Wilmking onCasper's XOXO. I also love the sound of OK Kid's self-titled debut record, produced and mixed by Sven Ludwig, and the more experimental approach of Earl Sweatshirt's, Jay-Z's and Kanye's new albums (Doris, Magna Carta Holy Grail and Yeezus, respectively) - especially the mixes by Jaycen Joshua on those.
What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful audio engineer?
I like the AES conventions a lot! They give me the chance to get to know people, like Simon Franglen and George Massenburg. Their experience helps and inspires me to become a better audio engineer.
Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!
Rome was great, I got to meet lots of interesting people! My favourite experiences were Simon Franglen's tutorial on music production for film, and getting honest feedback from the judges on my mix.
What is your favourite frequency?
If I had to choose: 60Hz, 4 and 5kHz!
What do you do when you’re not in the studio or doing anything music related?
That rarely happens!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still working as a producer/mixer, for me it just doesn't feel like a job!
Could you provide us with some closing comments?
Thanks a lot for the interview and I hope I can make it to New York in October!
Benedikt's submission is going to be released as part of an album later this year and therefore cannot be presented publicly just yet. However, you can download the current single "Immer Weiter" of the same album by Benito & Kestin on iTunes and watch the official music video here.
Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013