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Интервью с TsunTsunProductions,

Alexander Borovykh (sound producer)

Russia is slowly but steadily conquering more place in the sun of underground. And that's not just about the growth of the number of bands or their quality. There come out some artists, employed by the bands from all over the world, and labels, which make contracts and issue such bands. We've got one more bragging right: there is a dud in Russia, whose name started to appear more and more often in thanks on band profiles in social nets and "mixing and mastering" lines in the booklets. Today I'd like to call your attention to an interview with him. Meet Alexander - a mastermind of TsunTsunProduction Studio. I decided to abandon the images in this interview so they would not distract us from the sound - just read and listen to the samples of work. I hope you'll be excited, while reading this talk, no less than me, while participating in it.

Greetings! I give you props for the time, devoted to the talk on behalf of BCWZ.

Thank you for the interest, shown to my work! I'm very much pleased this talk took place.

Tell us about your business so it would be clear even to such a dunce in sound issues like me? What do you do in the studio and how do you manage the sources people send to you? Why is it impossible to issue an album without you?

I do mixing and mastering, and something more - reamping, editing, etc. The thing is that in 90% of cases newly recorded, "raw" parties sound far not like we're used to hear in the final records - no comprehensive impression, bass, guitars and drums sound completely different.

Snap, I'd say it often happens with finished records

Well, yes. That's why it's not possible to issue an album without mixing. The material is often performed not even and in time. First, these sweeps should be fixed and mended, "brushed" - this is called editing. Sometimes I do reamping, if necessary, - this is when a guitarist records clear signal at home, for example, and I run it through the amplifier in the studio. Sometimes drums are also hyped/altered/edited. Editing is of a great importance, its due performance may significantly improve the quality of the following processing stage. In most cases, I "brush" the bass volume right according to the notes, so it would sound solid and "churning". The comes mixing - every piece is put in its place of the general sound picture in order not to hide speech of the others, to do its bit and so on. One cut here, one smear there - so the bass won't hinder guitars, the kick won't hinder the bass, guitars won't cover vocals, etc. In my case, mastering is a volume boost of the track to the standard level of modern industry; originally the volume is much lower.

"I'II make him a new pair of feet and you'll mix a cool sound hit"... Well, I can't say I understood at least 80% of what you said. Hope, our subscribers are much more hivy. Look, let's make a memories recital? Tell us, how did you start doing mixing and mastering, "as well as reamping, humanizing drum parts and other shit to make it sound fucking awesome" (quote from the official VK page - Ebogach's note)?

That's is a rather trivial story for the likes of us - from famous businessmen like Andy Sneap, on out to such local "experts" like me. I started doing it while messing about with my songs. Humanizing of midi parts, reamping and other shit arose in Kauan band that was my first music project - me and one guy made drum machine parts, computer bass, etc. I also mixed a demo for a local death-metal band. I had a vast number of projects, and all of them were One man bands with a drum machine, I also did mixing myself. I can hardly call those first attempts a "mixing" ,huh. Then there was "Illinois' Love For Carnage" demo. There must have accumulated some critical mass of this ragtag experience, and it was like light bulb moment in my head - here it is, my lifetime business, the thing I'd like to devote myself - still, it was music, but from a different perspective!

Wow, lucky you! I'm still waiting for an insight, which will let me find the business of all my life. If it's related to music - that'll be really wonderful. How do you feel? After you found yourself you started rolling the cash in?

I wish I did. Of course, I mixed the first tracks for free, 'cause I was nobody and nothing, both in the matter of credit and experience, so I appreciated any interest from the part of other musicians, while trying to suck them into working with me by all means! I'd better not tell what kind of album it was.

It's quite clear with the first album. What was the first band? I can't believe they entrusted you whole albums for mixing, there were some test runs for sure.

"Wraped Lord" with the only black metal track seems to have been the first band. Further these guys, named Pressor, issued a headfucking sludge EP, mixed by me, we're still collaborating in the sound issues.

 

And you were scorched by the cold flame from the bitter anus of a Nordic goat... I'm glad you knew the score and got in brutal. Huh! Anyways, what attracts you in dealing with the results of instruments torturing by the others? Are you a masochist?

What made me pick in the results of instruments torturing by the others? Well, that's just fucking cool. Flowing into the music, making it a part of myself, making myself a part of it, and at the same time doing that not alone. The clients' gratitude and their satisfaction with their own music and sound are my bestest award. That's a partaking. I might be said to become a band participant while mixing - though it not always happens, hehe. Anyways, I'm trying to max out as much as I can.

You're a real philosophy freak, bro. TsunTsunProductions...What Chinese bit you, when you thought out the name for your studio?

Well, that's all because of passion to the Japanese culture. TsunTsun is a manga and anime term, a state of aggression, hostility, etc. It perfectly describes most of the music I'm working with. Also, Tsuneo Imahori is my favourite Japanese guitar player, performing music of a great variety of genres.

I knew eggs come out of butts anime! When did you realize you were in demand? Recall the day when you reached the rock stardom

Honestly, this day hasn't come yet. But I can say that demand has appeared recently, within the last six months - today I have a work schedule for August and September. In August I'll work on minimum two albums and one EP + various splits and promos (about 6 tracks). I have to work pretty much to gain a real demand, I'm trying to work hard for the name of it every day, as much as I can.

How much?

Sometimes I stay awake till four-five o'clock, I'm sucked down and I really want to please my clients with quality and speed, I hope that's gonna promote the demand in the nearest future.

Take care, don't burn out. Haha! I found it on TsunTsunproductions profile that you work only with bands you like. What a fuck, dude? You've got a line of willing guys behind the door, from which you may lazily select, or you are absorbed by the state of creative impotency, taking you away from work on the material because of creepy music?

I can't say that I've got a line from which I filter out a pile of unworthy ones. Sure, there is a line, but I'd call it operational, that's just a schedule of planned works. But there were cases when I rejected the band due to low quality of source masters.

"There were cases"? That means - exceptions from the rules? Or you just cut potential clients referring to the lack of time, occupied by watching a new anime series?

Honestly, in general, I really like 90% of the bands that come to me. Well, at least they don't make me sick, haha. It's quite clear, if the musician committed something to the music or not. If not - there won't be any work in any case due to any reason. If the players work like dickens, put their hearts and souls in their music, then I'll work on it, even if I'm not quite interested (if I heard it somewhere else, for example). I almost don't listen to such kind of music I work with. So there are some other criteria of the band evaluation.

Wow! These days more and more people related to brutal don't listen to it. A real mystery. Any additional services people may count on in your studio?

That depends on the degree of my "absorption" into the client's music. If I appreciate it, then I make my own suggestions to the band on arrangement improving, it suggest to "rerecord" here and "remake" there.

Well, that's your field. Can you, for example, create a technical guitar solo, add some plastic drums or play sweeps for the whole album?

Sometimes I do records, but very seldom. In most cases I related such works to my bestest ones, even if they don't bring much profit and fame, haha. By the way, I can make drums sound so good that you can hardly pick them out from the real, haha.

Then get the next question about relations with the band during the work on their music. Are you mostly guided by the personal taste and opinion or do you strictly follow the band's requirements when working on source masters?

That depends on the players, their vision.

And if the views differ dramatically, do you persuade and tell the clients they suck and understand nothing?

If the views differ, I'll never tell them they suck and understand nothing in any form. In some cases I'll try to delicately express my puny opinion, put forward compromise, or issue completely different and new sound version that would better fit the client's needs and cure all difficulties. This is thin ice. In conclusion I'd just say that I DO WHAT THE CLIENT WANTS. It never goes further than soft expression of my opinion. No crossing the line. This is a business approach.

Holy shit! You should stay diplomatic even in brutal death? What a disappointment... I know you made two samples of promo-tracks mixing for Epicardiectomy. Share your feelings about the work with them - these guys are of significant importance in slamming.

Epicardiectomy are musicians with a very special vision of their music, they always have what to say about changes, and that's great; collaboration with them is a useful experience, and I'm proud, they can trust me to work on their materials. We work in close tandem.

Apart from Epicardiectomy there is a jillion bands of different type, which albums you mixed. Spit it out: are you ashamed of any?

I feel ashamed for my early works, though, in fact, there is nothing to be ashamed of the times, when I had no experience. Well, hating of what you mixed a year ago is a usual thing for the likes of me. I'd say it's essential. I just won't tell what I feel ashamed for in order not to hurt anyone - in the end, we all liked it when we did it, right? Let it stay a light spot in our memory.

Why are you so well-conditioned and remain unprovoked? Where are the flows of flagellation and piles of dirt from the past? Ok, let's leave the scandals, intrigues and clearing-ups for the yellow pages. Tell us, what works are you justifiably proud of?

I feel proud for the sound of the Japanese hardcore band "Public Menace" single, named "For My Territory". I still like this sound and this song. Apart from the sound, I'm proud of the kind of people I worked with - such persons like Konstantin from Defeated Sanity, Ycio Orsanigo from Vomit The Soul and Sergey Nosorog from Fleshbomb, Epicardiectomy In the list of clients make me glad and make me feel confident about the future, haha. If I was told 5 years ago that I'd mix Fleshbomb album in 2013, I'd never believe it. By the way, Fleshbomb is a crown jewel of my "collection".

If I was told 5 years ago that Fleshmob will start recording a new album only in 2013, I'd shit a brick for both joy and sorrow. I understand you, dude. I always wonder how much the final result differs from the source masters.

It is different in different cases.

Fantastic answer! Haha! Well, for example, Iron Maiden sends to you their material for mixing, and you make a Devourment out of it. Is that possible?

If the source master is recorder super-perfectly, all I need is to place it in the pattern. Well, at least there is no need to make a Devourment from Iron Maiden indeed. But sometimes I have to sweat over the source masters for all nights long to make them better. At least to "drag out" the level, more or less suitable for mixing. The better a definite stage of work is performed, the better and easier the next stage will be. Guitar amplifier with good sound, well-taken with a good microphone, to which a good guitar with good sound pickup and strings is connected, which a fucking wicked guitarist is playing, will sound good, and it won't be necessary to mangle this sound with twenty plugins and so on. Moreover, everything depends on the sound the band wants to have - maximum live and fuck the wrinkles, or corrected to a dot.

What's the difference?

In case of any success-core the sound is highly modified. Such bands never bother to RECORD drums even if the y have a drummer - just because the industry standard of such genre can be achieved much faster and cheaper with midi drums.

Once we've come to discuss such matters, let's sink in them up to the keester. Name the sample albums in the part of mixing. Anyone is worth being guided by, in your opinion?

Machine Head - Blackening, later Exodus, Devildriver - well, that's a golden pool of uncle Sneap. I also like some albums by producer Jason Suecof from Audiohammer. Albums of Chimaira and Job For a Cowboy bands, for example. Among ultra-brutal releases I fancy fresh meet by Defeated Sanity, Deeds Of Flesh, I like a debut album by 7 H. Target. Cannibal Corpse - Gore Obsessed. Dying Fetus - Killing On Adrenaline. And the most perishing flesh for me is Cryptopsy - Whisper Supremacy. It's really asskicking.

Indeed: not by brutal alone. Do you promote your studio or that's solely buzz marketing?

Yeah, first I did promotion. In order to start word of mouth. One should work for the credit, so it would work for you then - this is a formula for success in any business. Buzz marketing is our everything. Satisfied clients are the best advertising. For the last 6 months I've noticed that bands started to come to me by THEMSELVES. The secret lies in the following - you should work, work and work. Find any ways to provide yourself with work up to the maximum, and to work much to deliver high-quality results. I started from mailout of offers to the bands, a so-called "direct sales". I almost don't do it now - mixing takes all of my time.

Everything's clear: to work in order to work much to have a chance to work much more. Hehe. I suggest holding a contest among the players, who believe in miracles and magic. Can you list the weirdest requirements placed by the clients to you (preferably the clients failed due to those very requirements)

Well. once I was asked to do something with the track, in which all parties were recorded at the rehearsal room with one microphone (probably even with a voice recorder). But this is the only thing I can remember from "impossible" requests of my clients. Of 'course, nothing could come out of this.

Haha! When we were students we recorded a song from the repertoire of Yegor Letov with a walkman earphone drunk in the hostel. I didn't know my neighbor sent it to you for mixing. Tell us, is it difficult to start doing such work? For example, if I chuck my job of an ink-slinger and start doing mixing and mastering, how much cash do I need to invest into equipment?

There can be a zillion of ways. In order to START doing this you just need to make a decision. Well, you may spend about 200 bucks for some consumer-grade thingies.

Well, anyway you'll need investments further? The skills are being improved as far as demands are growing - is operational budget increasing?

I still use a low-key hardware. Hardly could my budget exceed 50 thousand rubles - a PC, soundcard, studio acoustic equipment, software. I've recently purchased Peavey 6505+ Amp head and a couple of gadgets to it - that costs approximately the same. I've got a development of the office space in plans, that'll take some cash too. In very deed I think that there is sense to start low and go slow, and it'll be quite obvious in the work process - you way will come up inside you.

How many sleepless hours do I have to spend for "coming up"?

Mixing is a practical aspect. I think the number of sleepless nights/days spent working plays the key role in this case. Jawboning of expensive equipment, boasting of it left and right and producing shit with it won't take a rocket scientist. There's a great risk that such investments may "burn out".

Alexander, please, tell, do you need any special education for such kind of work, or is it enough to bump the head while training?

Education is a too individual issue. I'm a self-trained, and those people, whose work I really respect, are self-trained as well. I even don't know those who were taught to sound engineering, probably, that's a gap in my education, haha. Frankly speaking, I believe that sound engineers with special education are often employed by large studios, which could be built long before their birth. As for me, my studio is MY business, where I can be my own master - this is one of a number of reasons I'm doing it. I don't need to show my diploma to anyone. The clients need to see the only thing - my PORTFOLIO. Well they should also feel respect, tact, response and hospitality. So I cannot judge if education can be a good boost in this work. This is just not my cup of tea. All I can say is that neither expensive equipment, nor education are NOT REQUIRED to BEGIN this work - PROVEN IN PRACTICE. Other issues depend on a certain person.

A talent will find a way everywhere, right? At any minute your speech may cheer up the beginners, and you'll face the competition. In the meantime I have a question for the help of novice players. What are the typical mistakes of recording you often face in your work? Well, no shit, the help won't be help if you don't suggest how to avoid such mistakes.

These are basic matters - use new strings, do crossfade, when you pick the party from pieces, do mono recording, keep tab on the signal so it would not distort because of too high input volume (either turn it down on the card, or on the instrument, or get away from the microphone a bit), do not use native or game-playing sound cards. Tune the instruments thoroughly, including drums! Use the click! Sift through the correctness of temps, so there would be no mess - it a great deal to make up a fucked out track, not composed by you. In general, the better way to avoid mistakes is to ask me by e-mail or on Facebook (or VK). This issue contains TOO much specialized information for such interview.

Wash your hands and... boody. Sorry, I couldn't' help saying that. Let's see, there is just one step from ears to eyes, you might know it. Why and when did you fall into the sea of promo-, lyric- and other video?

About a year ago I made a lyric-video for the Japanese chaotic-metal band Neuerwind as a surprise - we are good friends despite of some difficulties of language bar. I think it's a kinda sub-hobby, one more way to touch the music. These video are often simple, I don't think I can become a robust video-maker soon.

Why?

I have no time and great wish to devote myself to it - and nothing gonna work without devotion - I'm not genius, and I get the result in the long run of hard work.

Modesty beseems a sound engineer well. Your opinion towards the current state of affairs with sound production of bands? What do you relate to the dominance of plastic in the sound of many modern bands?

This is a very subjective question. The dominance of plastic can be related to a he dominance of default music, mixed by default, and which, hence, cannot be produced with "heart", cause such music is COMPOSED without it. Though I don't consider that drums replacement means heartlessness of music, at first blush. Generally we're speaking about merch-core bands, myspace-bands and vkontakte-metal. Shitty production has always happened to be, both now and always.

Generally, the situation turned better, worse or stayed at the same level?

Nothing has worsened or improved indeed, just everything's changed. I'd never judge, what's better - Iron Maiden -"Somewhere In Time" or 7 H. Target - "Fast-Slow Demolition". I like these work both due to production and music, but there are decades between them. Talents are always shining with all colours of the rainbow. An at all times commonness will dispense tons of one-hit wonders and pushed crap, which must be sold as quick as possible in order to print more pants and bags with logos.

Fuck the past - what are the trends and wrinkles in these issues?

It's not quite clear about the trends and wrinkles. If we take a general picture, we will come to conclusion that replaced drums and tuned vox run the show. But at the same time Defeated Sanity band, which, in my opinion, is a top-leader of brutal-battlefield, presents us upmost real, natural and organic sound. Who knows what's gonna be in tomorrow? We'll see who's gonna be a trend-setter!

The answer's quite clear: TsunTsun! Hahaha! Though I truly wish that'd happen to you, by the way. The question not related to your activity. What releases are you waiting for now?

Nothing special. I've not been listening to the music for a long period - in dribs and drabs, randomly. I'd like to listen to 7 H. Target - "0.00 Apocalypse", if talking about brutal. The music of my interest is far beyond brutal death.

Okay, if not brutal and not in future, but other music from the past. What then?

I like  "My Song Your Song" album by j-pop band Ikimono Gakari (Japan). I can also say that Devin Townsend is a genius, and his albums and concepts are the image of ideal, I'd like to get close to as a musician, composing music.

Fuck, who these people are? Is there anything to talk about? Uhm, my imagination seem to run low, the fountain of eloquence seem to dry up and verbal diarrhea has stopped. Thank you for patience, answers and wasted time. Any good wishes to our readers?

Listen to more good and various music and....don't let a soundman take a change on you! One should be able to listen to good music even if it's recorded with a voice recorder in the back room. Music, first of all, is a person and their soul, but not consecutive compression and side-chain. Thank you very much for the interview, it was a real pleasure to answer your questions!

Fuck, amen!

Вопросы—Ebogach

Обсуждение

ZHEK, 2013-07-13 05:28:10
NEUER WIND понравились, даже не смотря на противный бэковый скрим.
Коля Мэл, 2013-07-13 03:24:09
чо эта за суньсунь, звезда рока какая то что ли ебать?
forstrat, 2013-07-12 15:37:04
что то у интервьюиромого Александра всё очень похоже одно на другое выходит. Всё же, есть сенс в том, чтобы работать со звукачём, который всеяден в своих предпочтениях, и работает с коллективами от посы и фолька до брутала - не вылазит накатанность.
chemgerr, 2013-07-12 08:49:21
в первую очередь респект Александру за фирмовый звук Epicardiectomy - без него мог бы упустить этих слэм-нигазз, хаха) Ну и Богачу как всегда за труды)
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