Somewhere in the 90ties I started my own company: Aalbers Media Productions (also known as @MP). This way basically everyone was able to hire me (for recording / mixing / producing), as long as it has got something to do with music.
Nowadays I am specialized in mixing, although I also do my share of recording and producing. Being in the studio mixing great music was a dream come true.
Music is about energy and passion. Songs need a well trained ear to evolve in an exciting and moving mixture to get a thick and organic sound. In your face and straightforward.
I am always looking for new ways to extend my experience and the experience of those that I work with. The process is all about the song and the creation of the sounds. That is where we excel and where I aim to be. Always.
My credits encompass a wide range of genres, and include Coldplay, Live, Angie Stone, Muse, Bertolf, Anneke van Giersbergen, Miss Montreal, Queens of the StoneAge, Van Dik Hout, Franz Ferdinand, The Gathering, Counting Crows and more. Click here for my discography.
In the beginning of my career I did a lot of live recordings / mixes. Especially for Radio & TV. I used to record between 100 and 150 shows a year.
Nowadays I am more of a studio-cat, although I still do some live recordings.
For mixing I prefer a high class analogue mixing-desk in combination with Pro Tools HD.
I have access to a lot of top-notch musicians. We can hire them to perform on your songs for strings, brass, piano, drums, guitars, bass, male or female voice and other (unusual) instruments.
If you need your music transcribed or arranged for a variety of instruments, we can arrange that too! I even know people who can make (and/or program) great orchestral arrangements.
How I work
- Well the best (& most honest) answer would be: "it depends on the situation". I am not a one-style person, I try to adapt to the situation, and do what's necessary. That may sound like I am some sort of chameleon, but that's not true either. The truth lies somewhere in between the one-trick-pony and the chameleon ;-)
"If you can limit your choices so that every decision supports a specific production goal,
that's what makes great records."
- When you would categorize producers; you would find the 'total control guys' on one side (think; the people behind Britney Spears, they do everything except the singing). And the 'guru-producer' (think; Rick Rubin) on the other side. My style of producing is more like Rubin's, although he doesn't touch gear, and isn't present all the time (while I am for most projects). What I am referring to is that I am someone who's more focussed on the energy and atmosphere of a performance than on a no-mistakes-take. I am working real hard on sounds and arrangements. I will help to make it better and try to get honest and exciting performances out of musicians.
- I will find out what’s good about the band and help to get it out. Also, songs are a big deal for me. I’m clearly involved in what it sounds like. I’m unlike all the members of the band, who all have their own personal agenda, and everyone is concerned about their own part. I’m the guy that doesn’t care about that. I’ll make sure that the whole thing is as good as it can be. Some might say that I am less about the details, but that's not true; it depends on which details ;-) I am there for the overview. For the whole picture.
- I don’t feel that my job is done once the music is finished (Well sometimes it is). It can also be my job to be involved in other aspects of what a band does. Depending on the band, I’m sometimes involved in decisions concerning artwork, videos and marketing approaches. Not as an extra band-member, but more as an extern advisor. I am very involved.
- I often make records faster than a lot of other people. It usually has to do with how prepared we are in advance and with budgets of course. I've done albums in just a couple of days. But it’s the pre-production time that can make a difference. It is always preferred to get as much work done as possible before hitting the studio, although that’s not always an option.
- Rubin once said: "I work like a sculptor; chipping away what you don’t want. It’s not an accident. You already know what the sculpture is, but you have to do all that work of chipping the stone away, and that’s not the fun part. The fun part is knowing what it is. But no one else gets to know what it is unless you do the work." I relate to that very much.
- Sometimes it's best to stay out of the way though. I do not put my effort into changing everything around. Most of the time I don't. I would rather make sure to capture the right energy of a good song on tape, than try to turn a mediocore song into something better.
- When I work with a band I just tell them everything I think. It's not to criticize what they do, it's not that I am always right, but I think it's my job to do that. Even when we are fighting over things; it's still a collaborative effort.
- So now you might understand what I meant with "it depends". If you talk to people I worked with you might get different stories on how we approached their songs. But hopefully they agree on the fact that I worked really hard WITH them to make the record sound good.
- My favorite mixing engineers (I like most of their work) are: Michael Brauer, Brendan O'Brien, Tom Lord-Alge, Chris Lord-Alge, Andy Wallace and Toby Wright.
- I can tell you how I work technically, and that I use a lot of (vintage) analogue gear. But I think the technical part of it should not be an aspect in judging a mixer, since it's all about how well it translates in real life. It's all about how it sounds.
- Let me give an example of something that happened to me very often. A colleague walks into a mixing session, listens to my mix and comments that it sounds good. Then he walks over to my flight cases and starts to look at some of my outboard equipment. He notices something 'out of the book' and comments: "Hey! This thing is not set up properly!". What I am trying to point out: For me mixing is all about the the song. Making the song work and doing whatever necessary to the sound to make it work. (Even if that means abusing equipment).
- I can adapt myself to different styles of mixing, although I am (almost) always an ‘in-your-face mixer’ with a distinct analogue sound. (Thick & Organic)