In our current series of Q&A sessions entitled “ the engineer behind the desk”, mixing Audio Pros would like to welcome Lukas Rimbach an up and coming audio engineer based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Again, what better way to introduce him than with another Q&A!
mixingAudioPros: How and when did you decide to start your career as an audio engineer, was it an easy or hard decision to make?
Lukas Rimbach: I really started producing music at the age of 13. Back then; it was all rap, beats and recording vocals etc. I had my first iMac, a cheap interface, Behringer mic and Cubase SX. I think somehow that even then my fate was sealed. At 16, I went to the SAE open house event and from that day I dreamed of studying audio engineering and working in recording studios. It took me few more years until I was able to pay for the course but during this time I was constantly visiting and working in studios and producing music. When I finally took the class, I immediately realized that this is what I wanted to do and people even said that I had a talent for it. Since then I have pursued my career and kept investing time and money into the art – it’s just a natural evolution.
mixingAudioPros: Can you give me a bit of background info about yourself? Who were your early influences, early recording studios you worked in etc?
Lukas Rimbach: My early influences where mainly the people I worked with being an artist back in the day, nothing fancy or exciting. There used to be a guy named Heiko that worked at this small recording studio. He recorded a rap artist that I frequently featured on. I found it to be very exciting watching the sound engineer at work and his techniques behind the mixing desk. There was this kind of magic to being able to alter sounds and songs that fascinated me. After finishing SAE I started to work out of a small recording studio called Mikas Mietshaus, and still work in today for both the studio and my own work as I have always been a freelancing sound engineer.
mixingAudioPros: Do you have any particular methods, techniques or preferences of note? i.e using certain gear for certain sounds?
Lukas Rimbach: I tend to use a lot of parallel processing to get my sound and love to use the UBK Fatso on Drums or percussion subgroups. It just adds that thump and weight but also some snap, its fantastic. I reach for the 1176 to slam vocals (like many other engineers!), but I often find that I use the BAE 10dc on snares because it sounds very unique and full even though the compression is very strong.
mixingAudioPros: Do you have any preferences or specific ways of working with artists when in the recording studio?
Lukas Rimbach: To be honest, when in the studio I just go with the flow. When working with vocalists I will spend time making sure that they are relaxed so as to get the best performance. A relaxed and comfortable atmosphere is mandatory to create a perfect recording. If working with a band I try to make sure the communication between the band, the band members and me is working. It is important to find good workflow and tensions need to work on or around. I think the psychological aspect of recording is overlooked and is the most critical part of the whole process. Performance is key to good recordings.
mixingAudioPros: How do you feel that the industry is adapting to “‘remote services” such as online mixing and mastering for instance?
Lukas Rimbach: Back in the days you had to book whoever was available in your area, which could be great but also could be a limitation. Nowadays there are no boundaries and I think that’s a great thing. Of course some people will prefer sitting in the room with the sound engineer and having direct control over what happens but for a lot of people online mixing is a revelation. Not just people that don’t have studios in their surroundings but also people that may profit from the variety of sound engineers available through the Internet.
mixingAudioPros: When mixing remotely for a new client what is important for you?
Lukas Rimbach: I need to know what sound they are after and hear any older material that the artist/act may have. Mainly, I receive a reference track so a rough-mix helps to see where they want the song to go and even a conversation with the artist helps. Most of the time that is more than enough to do my job right.
mixingAudioPros: I see that you are also a sound designer – when planning sounds for a brief what is important for you, do you have a standard method when approaching the clients brief?
Lukas Rimbach: As mentioned before the best method is to get to know the client’s music or project. If the sound is for a special song or maybe jingle, I need to understand and feel the message or vibe. Of course, sometimes a client will want me to emulate certain sounds, which can be easy but sometimes also very difficult since there are some great sound-designers out there. To me this is very artistic so I don’t really have a standard approach.
mixingAudioPros: How’s the local music scene in Frankfurt am Main. Any bands or current trends that you are enjoying?
Lukas Rimbach: Well the scene over here is pretty versatile. I really enjoy some of the electronic music coming from the area an there are some really cool bands also. Blessed Child is one of the most overlooked and talented artists out and it has been great to be able to work on some of his material. Also, there are a few great Rappers that I work with from time to time such as Lautstark , Krisbe, AJ, DUB and many more…
mixingAudioPros: What has been your biggest challenge so far in this industry?
Lukas Rimbach: I could talk a lot about a changing industry and shrinking budgets so being able to do what I love is great. I feel blessed that I could come this far that quick and hope that my way will continue like this.