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Talkback: Shuta Shinoda

Talkback

Engineer Shuta Shinoda discovered his knack for sound while in London as a 19 year‑old, having initially come to the city from Tokyo to study English. Returning to Japan for a brief spell to work in Tokyo’s now‑closed Sunrise Studio, it wasn’t long before he was back in the UK studying audio engineering at SAE. “I always wanted to come back to London again,” he says. “It’s just much more fun!”

Now Shinoda is based at London’s highly respected Hackney Road Studios, where he has been since 2010. There he has engineered acclaimed albums for the likes of Hot Chip, Ghostpoet and Anna Meredith — who you may remember singing Shinoda’s praises in our feature on her album FIBS. Here, Shinoda takes us through the importance of maintaining momentum through a session, why you should always have good monitors, and his fondness for Bruce Swedien’s work on ‘Billie Jean’.

At the moment I can’t stop listening to

I don’t really have one song at the moment. But an album I’ve enjoyed recently is Bonobo’s new album. That doesn’t mean I can’t stop listening to it! But I like it a lot. It’s really got a nice flow from beginning to end. As a whole album, it’s complete. It’s so relaxing, listening to it from top to bottom.

Since I’m recording music day‑to‑day, I don’t really listen to music that sounds bad, to be honest. Otherwise I feel I’m lowering my hearing skill. I just don’t want to hear shit‑sounding recordings all the time and for my threshold to get lower. I want to keep listening to a high quality of recording and production so that I know what’s good and what’s bad. If you just listen to OK‑sounding images, you can’t really tell the difference between what’s good and what’s bad, you know?

When listening to music, my habit is to listen really deeply, carefully. Analysing what’s really happening. That’s what I enjoy about listening to music. Good‑quality music. Also, the possibility of discovering new techniques; I can try and guess what technique they used to get that drum sound, or whatever.

The project I’m most proud...

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