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IN THE STUDIO

Graduating at Abbey Road Studios

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Graduating at Abbey Road Studios

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What an experience! Graduating at Abbey Road Studios with my fellow Abbey Road Institute classmates from all over the world: Amsterdam, Paris, London, Melbourne, Frankfurt and Berlin. The most exciting part was being on the stage to collect my Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering in Studio Two, home of The Beatles.

It felt very exclusive, with a lot of security, groups of tourists having a guided tour, no photography down the corridor where all the famous people who have recorded there are framed on the corridor walls, and strange, after so much anticipation, to be at the most famous recording studio in the world receiving my diploma.

We had a nice introduction, filled with inspiring words from the CEO of Abbey Road Institute Luca Barassi, and the heads of each school, including Amsterdam’s director Robin Reumers. Then, we got called up one by one on stage to receive our diploma, along with an engraved tuning fork (A 440Hz). After that, it was time for the networking and celebration event in Studio One where we had more speeches (to name some: Universal Music’s COO David Sharpe & MD Abbey Road Studios Isabel Garvey) and a captivating performance by Rhys Lewis.

While I was on Abbey Road, I thought I would do the touristy thing of taking a photo walking across the street like The Beatles cover. However, little did I expect that it was busy, not only from tourists, but of traffic! So many cars were passing on a Saturday morning, it was impossible to cross. So I ended up taking an alternative:

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One year has passed surprisingly fast! To think that one year ago, I could not call myself a “music producer”, and now, besides the piece of paper, I can say I am a music producer, whose last school project was to lead a recording of a rockabilly swing band with a 13-piece brass band, and my first project out of school was to be invited to compose a track for an advertisement for a panel at ADE, the biggest electronic music festival in the world. Pretty cool!

But I know it’s just the beginning. So, watch this space!

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Producing a track with Liloe Rix for Portugal. The Summer

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Producing a track with Liloe Rix for Portugal. The Summer

My friend, singer-songwriter/artist Liloe Rix found a really nice contest: to produce a cover of Portugal. The Man’s hit song Live In The Moment and the prize would be to have your track on an advertisement of Visit Portugal’s summer promotion and also to perform live at a Portuguese festival. This was the ask:

So, Liloe made a demo arrangement with her loop machine at home, and we met up to record vocals and guitar at her home studio. This was the first time I was Liloe’s Music Producer! We recorded the vocals with her RØDE microphone and Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 interface, her electric guitar, effect pedals (including Line 6 delay, Boss octaver) and Roland SPD. At my studio, I finished it off by recording a string arrangement and mixed and mastered the track. Unfortunately, we did not win the contest, but here is our final track:

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Recording Yung Nnelg for Red Bull Music uncut

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Recording Yung Nnelg for Red Bull Music uncut

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For this Red Bull Music uncut session, Dutch rapper Yung Nnelg came to perform a medley of two songs, Diamonds & Pearls / Serena with a string quintet! I was super excited because the classical strings were right up my alley, and I’ve never recorded classical stringed instruments before. The hip hop string arrangement was composed by Alexander van Popta. It was a unique collaboration! Yung Nnelg was a sweet, wide-eyed and polite guy, and his performance was clean and tight (also interesting with live auto-tune).

The last time I was around classical musicians was probably more than 10 years ago when I still played in an orchestra. How times have changed! The guys had an iPad each instead of sheet music, and two of the players had a foot switch to turn the pages.. The guy playing violin 2 had a 6 (!) string violin and the cellist had her pick-up installed inside the foot of the bridge. It was very interesting to talk to the musicians and see how it is as a string player to make a living in these times.

(A funny thing: I actually played in a music video for Kris Berry with the viola player 5 years ago, and I remembered her because of her name, Mara! How crazy is that?)

See the video below for the released uncut session!

See the gallery below of the set up of the microphones, and the list below of the mics we used:

Vocals: Sennheiser SM7B
Violin 1: Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone
Violin 2: Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone
Viola: AKG C451
Cello: Peluso P-12
Double Bass high: AKG C451
Double Bass low: Neumann U-87

Yung Nnelg’s crew:

Producer & String Arranger: Alexander van Popta
Violin 1: Çisem Özkurt
Violin 2: Yannick Hiwat
Viola: Mara Tieles
Cello: Susanne Rosmolen
Double Bass: Thomas Pol
Videographer: Kiet Hoang

For the full article on Red Bull Studios and photos (by Arenda de Hoop) see: https://www.redbull.com/nl-nl/music/Yung-nnelg-klassieke-remix-serena-diamonds-pearls

Recording & mix engineer: Thomas van Opstal
Assistant recording engineer: Janice Wong
Video production: Keanu Haumahu  
Studio manager: Jasper Djosa

Red Bull Studios Amsterdam
Official website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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Recording Full Crate for Red Bull Music uncut

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Recording Full Crate for Red Bull Music uncut

Life is full of such weird coincidences! For my latest recording session at Red Bull Studios, we recorded producer/DJ Full Crate, who coincidentally I had been in contact with in 2011 to collaborate, but eventually never met up. 7 years later, (a social media marketing career behind me and on my way to becoming a music producer) I was to be the assistant recording engineer at his session! 

He brought his band, with whom he performed for the first time live with, and two soloists Gaidaa on latest single 'A Storm On A Summers Day' and Luke Burr from the UK on currently unreleased track 'A Fool Getting Older'. Such a vibe, and the video shows it. Everything was done to perfection, from getting the piano tuned during rehearsal, to the smoke machine, to recording as many (one-take) takes until everyone was satisfied! And the result is amazing. Crate cited Disclosure as inspiration for his live set and the addition of the live instruments and sample pads were definitely a key to the epic performance. 

See the photo gallery below for a close up of the beautiful microphones I set up ;-) Here's a quick rundown of which ones we used:

Lead vocal: Peluso P-12 tube
Full Crate vocal: Shure SM58
Backing vocals: Shure SM7B
Room choir: AKG 414 Gold
Piano back: Neumann U-87 (not shown in the photos)
Piano stereo pair: Coles 4028 ribbon
Overhead L: AKG 414
Overhead R: AKG 414
Kick in: Shure Beta 52
Kick out: AGK 414
Snare top: AKG C 451 B
Snare bottom: Sennheiser 421
High-hat: AKG C 451 B
Tom: Sennheiser 421
Floor tom: Electro-Voice RE-20
Drum room: Neumann TLM 103

Luke was filming some footage for his fans and I found myself in his YouTube video checking the headphones before the recording session! Watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQEgSSTVEkw

Full Crate's band:
Full Crate: vocals, electric bass, SPD sample pad
Piano & synths (Juno 60 & Prophet) - Alexander Klement
Drums - BangBang Sharona
Backing vocals: Aïcha Gill, Kaydee, Saïda en Ella Alexander

For the full article on Red Bull Studios and photos (by Arenda de Hoop) see: https://www.redbull.com/nl-nl/full-crate-live-sessie-red-bull-music

Recording & mix engineer: Thomas van Opstal
Assistant recording engineer: Janice Wong
Video production: Keanu Haumahu  
Studio manager: Jasper Djosa

Red Bull Studios Amsterdam
Official website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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Working at Red Bull Studios Amsterdam as Assistant Audio Engineer

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Working at Red Bull Studios Amsterdam as Assistant Audio Engineer

Proud to announce that I am now interning as Assistant Audio Engineer at Red Bull Studios in Amsterdam! (Although in this photo pretending to be the Head Engineer... oh how I wish I could brag that it was me who patched that spaghetti mess of patch cables on the SSL analog console in the background of the photo!). 

So far I have worked on an audio recording for Paa Kofi, livestream for Arp Frique, and "uncut" videos for Full Crate and Yung Nnelg. Stay tuned for my blog posts of each session, where I will give insights to which microphones we used and microphone recording techniques. 

And as a side story, how cool is this: after I posted about my internship on Instagram, @the_wimn (The Women's International Music Network) Instagram account reposted my picture on their Instagram story to congratulate me! I thought that was pretty encouraging. They are a network who promote females in the music industry because women are a minority in the business. I would be happy to inspire more younger girls to follow a career in music!

 

 

 

More about Red Bull Studios Amsterdam:
Website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Q-Factory Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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Recording Arp Frique for Red Bull Music Live Stream

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Recording Arp Frique for Red Bull Music Live Stream

For my very first session at Red Bull Studios as Assistant Recording Engineer, I had to set up the microphones for Arp Frique, a band that had soooo many members and I was lucky that I had Rinus, another engineer there to guide me :-) So many cables, so many different kinds of mic stands and microphones.. my head was definitely getting overloaded!

Photo above: the sound check, the day before the live stream.

Photo below: the mess in the live room!

The next evening, I couldn’t be there at the live stream itself, but managed to watch it live from Facebook, which got 100k views!

Re-live the session and watch below:

Or if you prefer to give YouTubea few more views, click here.

Here's the list of mics and pre-amps we used:
Room L: Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone
Room R: Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphone
Flute: Zender | Blue
Voc 1 M: Sennheiser SM58 | 1073LB
Voc 2 AB: Sennheiser SM7B | GR-1
Voc 3 Niels: Sennheiser SM7B | GR-2
SH2000: J48 | D4
Perc OH L: AKG C414 | 710-1
Perc OH R: AKG 414 | 710-2
Conga L: Sennheiser MD421
Conga R: Sennheiser MD421
Timb L: Sennheiser MD421 Bottom
Timb R: Sennheiser MD421 Bottom
GTR: Sennheiser MD421U | API-2
Bass DI: Avalon (4) | LA610 |
OH: Neumann U67 | Neve-1
Kick: Sennheiser Beta 52 | API-1
Snare top: AKG C414 | Neve-2
Snare bot: Sennheiser SM57
HH: AKG 451
Tom 1: Sennheiser e904
Tom 2: Sennheiser e904
Floor: Sennheiser MD421
Voc 4 Bass: Sennheiser SM7B | GR-3
Voc 5 Ld Vox: Sennheiser SM7B
Voc Jasper: Sennheiser SM58
ARP: JDI | 710-3
Solina: JDI | 710-4
Sampler: L JDI
Sampler: R JDI

Recording & mix engineer: Thomas van Opstal
Assistant recording engineers: Rinus van Diemen, Janice Wong
Studio manager: Jasper Djosa

Red Bull Studios Amsterdam
Official website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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Visiting Jesse Smit's Godan Handpan workshop

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Visiting Jesse Smit's Godan Handpan workshop

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After visiting Gadung handpan maker in Hilversum, next on my list was to visit Godan handpans, made by Dutchman Jesse Smits in Den Haag. 

One evening, before rehearsal with band Left Alive, I went with Sjoerd (bassist) to visit Jesse and the Godan workshop. Located in the old headquarters of the airforce military defence, the building is home to many creatives, start-ups, music groups, builders, anything goes!

First we went up to his music studio, and wow, what a musician's playground it was! Full of instruments and recording gear. There we were accompanied by his girl and we met Marcel from Di-Rect who shares the studio with Jesse. 

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Then we went to the Godan workshop, where Jesse makes his handpans. He has his oven and tools there (and toy remote control car that he plays with when he's waiting for the handpans in the oven). He said that he is part of a European group of handpan makers who have a cooperative and he uses Shellopan shells from France. 

I got to play some of his exotic scale handpans and in his workshop he even had one with I think 13(?) tones. Jesse loves to experiment and told us he loves to work with musicians who want something different from a handpan, because he gets bored of making the standard ones. He has a "happy" sounding (major scale) handpan for playing between making all the minor scale handpans. 

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Thanks Jesse for a fun tour of where the magic happens! 

More about the Godan handpan: http://www.godan.nl/

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Visiting Jorik de Beer's Gadung handpan workshop

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Visiting Jorik de Beer's Gadung handpan workshop

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One day I searched the Internet of all the handpan makers based in The Netherlands and started to make a list of who to visit. I reached out to Jorik de Beer, maker of Gadung handpands, and he invited me to his workshop in Hilversum. I was happy! 

He had a very humble workshop amongst a row of other builders in a suburban street in Hilversum. It was really amazing that he hand-built his equipment and you could see his dedicated to his art. He makes handpans as a side-job, and by day he is a sound engineer at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. 

If you're looking for a C# Amara handpan, contact Jorik. I was very impressed by the sustain and clarity of the tones on these. 

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The best surprise of the day was that I got to play an original PanArt Hang! I don't remember which generation it was, but I think it is was an 'Integral' model. It was pretty old and was rusting a bit. Jorik said that the previous owner had played it outdoors (maybe at the beach?) and its condition deteriorated, so that's a bit sad. 

More about Gadung handpans: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/gadunginstruments/

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Visiting Red Bull Studios Amsterdam

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Visiting Red Bull Studios Amsterdam

Yay, on my first day of school at the Abbey Road Institute, we had a tour of the Q factory and we got to see the Red Bull Studios! I have so much respect for Red Bull as a brand. I think it's incredible that they have their main product and sponsorships with action sport events, but have a totally credible and culturally relevant music department as well. Can't wait to find out more about what they do and one day get to work with them! 

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Recording on Liloe Rix's single Breathe

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Recording on Liloe Rix's single Breathe

One night of jamming at my good friend Liloe Rix's place, led to me recording on her latest single 'Breathe', released today. Check it out below! 

 Above: me on the recording day, at Liloe's home studio!

Above: me on the recording day, at Liloe's home studio!

Music and Lyrics by: Liloe Rix
Production: Renan Bakker, Sofia Dragt & Liloe Rix
Recordings: Renan Bakker
Mixing: Renan Bakker
Mastering: Statinski Mastering
Cello and Bass: Janice Wong
Guitar: Liloe Rix

More about Liloe Rix:
http://www.liloerix.com
https://www.facebook.com/liloerix 
https://twitter.com/liloerix 
http://instagram.com/liloerix 
https://soundcloud.com/liloerix

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Recording THE FOX's Through Your Eyes

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Recording THE FOX's Through Your Eyes

My girls in THE FOX recorded a new version of Through Your Eyes in an Amsterdam boat! By day it is a boat for private cruises and catered events (see: Rederij 't Smidtje), and by night you will find a little secret. In the basement is the recording studio of Tijn de Smidt - who by day is a carpenter! 

From left-right: Mischa Koch (drummer), Mirjam von Bannisseht (bass), Janice Wong (me on guitar), Celine Prins (keys, singing). 

Stay tuned for the final track!

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Recording on The Caterpillar Wish Soundtrack

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Recording on The Caterpillar Wish Soundtrack

Recording on an Australian Feature Film, The Caterpillar Wish! I was pretty honoured, because the cello would play the theme to the movie.

When I arrived at the Supersonic Recordings studio in Melbourne, award winning and renowned composer Burkhard Dallwitz played me how the song went with the sampled instruments. I told him "but the cello sounds perfect, why would you want me?" He replied: "it's almost too perfect, a real cello sounds more real." Oh ok. So you're saying I play badly which is good???

 Recording in the studio with Burkhard Dallwitz

Recording in the studio with Burkhard Dallwitz

Watch the trailer (and listen out for the cello theme) below or here:

Read more about the making of The Caterpillar Wish soundtrack on Burkhard's website here.

To read Margaret & David's review and watch the trailer again, click here.

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