We caught up with the incredibly talented Lotte van den Berg, producer and drummer of LUNA PINES. Hear what she has to say on all things music and production.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to a lot of really clever electronic music at the moment, especially artists like Jadu Heart who are on Mura Masa’s label and are just incredible producers and songwriters; their EP Wanderflower is one of the best things to come out of last year. Other than that, I’ve just downloaded M83’s entire back-catalogue who I’ve been a massive fan of for ages but recently I’ve really gotten into their early records. Pale Waves’ debut single ‘There’s A Honey’ just came out and that’s pretty addictive too.
What is the difference between a producer and a sound engineer and which role do you prefer?
In my eyes, a producer is there to create the best version of an artists’ vision, whilst a sound engineer is there to make sure that the process all runs smoothly and sounds the best it can. I personally prefer the producer role more, as I love creating loads of different styles of music with people. I also really enjoy the post-production process too though, although it can be a very frustrating one at times.
How do you know when a track is finished?
Usually I build the ideas I have, then arrange them into a song and leave it for a few days. That way I can see if they’re sticking in my head as great ideas. Then I listen to it all the way through and see if it needs anything more, and add things from there. If I’m working on someone else’s song, I’ll just keep going until they’re completely happy. I’ve become quite conscious of overcrowding tracks, so I try and make every part stand out and count on its own. Mixing usually takes a while, as I want it to sound perfect so I’ll keep doing it until it sounds great on loads of different speakers and headphones. The last song I did with my band Luna Pines for example had 22 mixes with small alterations, but if I don’t get it right it will just drive me crazy!
Who are your favourite producers and why?
I’m usually drawn to producers who have perfected a specific signature sound that comes through in different ways on all the different artists they produce. I’d say Mike Crossey (who did Wolf Alice and The 1975’s last albums) is a definite favourite of mine; I love how he brings a sharp and clean sound to his production, but then he can also produce heavier rock bands like The Gaslight Anthem and just make his sound work with it. I also love Mike Sapone, because of how lo-fi and dirty he can make things sound on albums like Brand New’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. I heard he even used real explosions and recorded them for that tune ‘Limousine’ on there. He did a Mansions album too, and the vocal production was very unique and important to the sound. I really liked J. Cole’s last album as well, and he did the majority of the production on that which I thought was really outstanding work.
What are your 5 favourite albums of 2016-2017?
Probably my favourite one from last year was the debut from Australia’s Camp Cope, mainly because I think those three girls are the best thing to happen in that genre for ages, and they’ve done tonnes of stuff for women in music – the album is also amazing. The 1975’s last album was also really good; I loved the way they basically made a really cool 80’s album, and I don’t see many bands doing it quite like that nowadays. James Blake’s last album has to be on there too, that was just ridiculously good. Also Bon Iver’s 22, A Million was really cool. I like how original his sound was on that, you can tell he doesn’t overthink things; he just does whatever he wants. I’ve also been obsessed with this instrumental post rock/ambient band called Hammock for ages now, and their last album Everything and Nothing was a definite favourite from last year.
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Words and feature image by Megan Roe