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Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:57 pm

The year was 1979. I had just discovered my older brothers record collection. I was enthralled by the sound of Boomtown Rats, The Undertones, Madness etc.. Especially the LP 'The fine art of Surfacing blew my mind. Fantastic and creative sounding. This stuff came from another world. It rarely got any play on national radio over here.

Now I’m Looking for Mastering Engineer.
We’ve got a punkish single ready. Now in the age of 'digital perfection'- who does stuff in the vain of that era for streaming. Maybe working with reels. I don’t know. There is that pleasing sound quality and depth that is hard to describe with words. It shines through (more or less) on YouTube audio.
Couple of fantastic examples here;

https://youtu.be/SX0gXFTquvw

https://youtu.be/JAbgrzuP25M

https://youtu.be/t1gE8X6LSb0


Thankful for good advice and tips.
Martin
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby The Elf » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:25 pm

Don't know why you would feel that mastering engineer would make such a difference. Do you really mean a 'mixing' engineer?
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:38 pm

The Elf wrote:Don't know why you would feel that mastering engineer would make such a difference. Do you really mean a 'mixing' engineer?

No.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby The Elf » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:39 pm

Then with all respect I think you're expecting too much of a mastering engineer, based on genre. Just pick someone who is competent and familiar with the new outlets for music.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:24 pm

The Elf wrote:Then with all respect I think you're expecting too much of a mastering engineer, based on genre. Just pick someone who is competent and familiar with the new outlets for music.

Maybe.
But basically what you’r saying would mean that a Mastering Engineer doesn’t make creative decisions that forms the end result much. I can’t help doubt that. A younger person probably won’t have the same frame of reference growing up doing everything with computers and in the "era of loudness". One should think that matters. Considering there are studios that still do mastering with tape machines it obviously has an appeal to many artists. I think tape sounds real good. Don’t know if mastering is too late in the process though. Our DAW mix is pretty decent.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:27 pm

A significant part of "that sound!" then and now has to do with the equipment it was recorded on. Mastering, in my view, has always been about preserving the vibe of a mix as it's translated to allow mass production to the playback media. The best mastering is utterly invisible.

I would humbly suggest thinking about the mix engineering while glancing unobtrusively at what's happening on the two bus.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Guest » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:28 pm

Dr. Van Nostrand wrote:But basically what you’r saying would mean that a Mastering Engineer doesn’t make creative decisions that forms the end result much.

No he doesn't really. I go to the same mastering engineer whether it is electronic, spoken voice or left-field classical. I gather you are in Germany, recently there was a rerelease of some Ost punk by Feeling B, so you could see who mastered those tracks.

I used to play in a new wave band and the sound is in how it's played, what sounds are used, and how it's mixed. If it has already got a punk sound the mastering engineer will bring that into focus.

You beat me to it Watchmaker.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:49 pm

Still Vibrations wrote:
Dr. Van Nostrand wrote:But basically what you’r saying would mean that a Mastering Engineer doesn’t make creative decisions that forms the end result much.

No he doesn't really. I go to the same mastering engineer whether it is electronic, spoken voice or left-field classical.

I used to play in a new wave band and the sound is in how it's played, what sounds are used, and how it's mixed. If it has already got a punk sound the mastering engineer will bring that into focus. I gather you are in Germany, there has just been a rerelease of some Ost punk so you could see who mastered those tracks.

You beat me to it Watchmaker.

Ok. I hear what you’re saying.
We’re Norwegians. Do you have a link to the Ost punk release?
Thanks
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Guest » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:55 pm

Dr. Van Nostrand wrote:
Ok. I hear what you’re saying.
We’re Norwegians. Do you have a link to the Ost punk release?
Thanks

Sorry about that, no offence intended. I will hunt out the recording on my shelfs and post the details
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Guest » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:49 pm

Dr. Van Nostrand wrote:Do you have a link to the Ost punk release?
Thanks

The CD is grün & blau by Feeling B released on https://www.motormusic.de/, however there is no longer any mention of it on their website. There is also no mention of who mastered it. Here is some information about it and maybe it was mastered by Rammstein's engineer:
http://affenknecht.com/feeling-b-grun-blau/
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:30 pm

Rammstein! Sorry, couldn't resist. For reasons unknown, I LOVE Rammstein!

One thing you also might consider Doc, is following the path Still Vibrations is taking and finding out who mastered the records you love and then try chasing them down. One huge advantage of the interwebs is remote service for engineering work.

I like these guys myself: http://polymorphrecording.com/Artist_List.html

Send them, and anyone else you run across, an email. The worst that can happen is they download a virus onto your computer...now how punk is that?

:lol:

*realizes how out of date his link is and cowers under the weight of years
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:38 pm

Had a quick listen to the song linked in your signature. There's not much wrong with it but I can hear that you've spent some time recording it. Many of the classic old school punk songs were recorded quickly which gives a certain roughness and urgency to them. Punk bands didn't have the budgets (or the inclination) to spend ages recording so they would often hire a reasonably decent studio for just a day and record maybe 3 or 4 songs.

If I was looking to do something like that I'd probably get in contact with Pat Collier who was involved in the punk scene back in 1977 and has built up a decent track record as a producer ever since. He has a decent studio in North London and I've mastered some of his recent mixes which were extremely good - lots of energy and a great sound.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:04 pm

Still Vibrations wrote:
Dr. Van Nostrand wrote:
Ok. I hear what you’re saying.
We’re Norwegians. Do you have a link to the Ost punk release?
Thanks

Sorry about that, no offence intended. I will hunt out the recording on my shelfs and post the details

None taken :-)
Thank you very much for that info. It's probably a good idea to have a engineer that likes punk in the first place.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:13 pm

Watchmaker wrote:Rammstein! Sorry, couldn't resist. For reasons unknown, I LOVE Rammstein!

One thing you also might consider Doc, is following the path Still Vibrations is taking and finding out who mastered the records you love and then try chasing them down. One huge advantage of the interwebs is remote service for engineering work.

I like these guys myself: http://polymorphrecording.com/Artist_List.html

Send them, and anyone else you run across, an email. The worst that can happen is they download a virus onto your computer...now how punk is that?

:lol:

*realizes how out of date his link is and cowers under the weight of years

Thanks. Yeah I agree about everything but the virus part ;-) Thanks for the link.
I've just sent Moses Schneider a little mail. Gotta Love die Wurst :lol:
https://www.soundonsound.com/people/mos ... -character
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:35 pm

James Perrett wrote:Had a quick listen to the song linked in your signature. There's not much wrong with it but I can hear that you've spent some time recording it. Many of the classic old school punk songs were recorded quickly which gives a certain roughness and urgency to them. Punk bands didn't have the budgets (or the inclination) to spend ages recording so they would often hire a reasonably decent studio for just a day and record maybe 3 or 4 songs.

If I was looking to do something like that I'd probably get in contact with Pat Collier who was involved in the punk scene back in 1977 and has built up a decent track record as a producer ever since. He has a decent studio in North London and I've mastered some of his recent mixes which were extremely good - lots of energy and a great sound.

That sounds interesting. I will def check him out. And you too :-) What punk songs did you master..Can i hear them somewhere? (BTW, all of your clients list on your website are dead)

Our new single is very fast and if it is one thing we've got going for us it's energy, and a bit of fun. The link in my signature is a few years old now. Actually that was a rather shooting from the hip affair. One evening in a cheap "studio". Sounds ok after a bit of post production. But I like this new one better and thought it would be fun to get it mastered properly to see if it get's a bit of a pleasing lift listening back. It's recorded in a pro studio, but mixed in the box. Call me silly, but I beleive I can hear it.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:41 pm

Dr. Van Nostrand wrote:That sounds interesting. I will def check him out. And you too :-) What punk songs did you master..Can i hear them somewhere? (BTW, all of your clients list on your website are dead)

I'm afraid I'm not so good at keeping the website current. :oops: I'll PM you with some info.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby robin746 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:46 pm

Mutt Lange's production work on The Fine Art of Surfacing is a thing of beauty. Loved it on release and love it still. But it's also down to the dense arrangements and songwriting skill of the band, who were at the top of their form. Luckily I saw them on this tour.

The compact disk masters suck unfortunately. Brick wall at its worst.

But I agree with the others. You're not going to get "that sound" with mastering.

Your song seems to have the basics in place but the mix is a bit lifeless. Undertones are indeed a better reference point plus you have that punked-out rockabilly feeling working for you.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby CS70 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:59 pm

Good to have a fellow Norwegian resident :-)

As other have said, mastering (done properly) has little to do with the sound of a record. Don't know where you got the idea, but it's wrong.

The sound is in the arrangement, the mix, and even before - especially for punk - in the performance and the recording.

Now for punk is especially so: forget mastering, it's all about performance and energy and a recording engineer able and willing to capture it, coupled with a recording room which sounds the way you like. If you get the stuff to sound the way in the room you're 70% there, the rest is the recording guy, so if you want "that" sound your first port of call is to find a studio or a recording location that has it.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Dr. Van Nostrand » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:08 am

robin746 wrote:Mutt Lange's production work on The Fine Art of Surfacing is a thing of beauty. Loved it on release and love it still. But it's also down to the dense arrangements and songwriting skill of the band, who were at the top of their form. Luckily I saw them on this tour.

The compact disk masters suck unfortunately. Brick wall at its worst.

But I agree with the others. You're not going to get "that sound" with mastering.

Your song seems to have the basics in place but the mix is a bit lifeless. Undertones are indeed a better reference point plus you have that punked-out rockabilly feeling working for you.

Yeah that album is fantastic. My first true facsination for a band. I loved those playful songs. The synths and vocal effects. You really don't get much of that full on creativity these days. I suspect mixing is a big part of that album. Mutt Lange has done some great work.

I agree that the old song I've got linked it's a bit lifeless. It quickly gets boring, but like I said it was cheap and quickly done. This new song is better and more gnarly. The Undertones is indeed a better reference for audio. But I dig that skinny guitar on Looking After No. 1.
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Re: Looking for old school Punk/New Wave mastering engineer

Postby Urthlupe » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:34 am

Martin Glover (‘Youth’ from Killing Joke etc) is involved on a project I’m working on right now. He has a production biog as long as your arm and a venerable history in the slightly later UK punk scene.

You could try him?

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