Gear reviews

Interview with Flemming Rasmussen, Sweet Silence Studios Denmark (Metallica, Blind Guardian… )

Before we start: all photos copyright by Flemming Rasmussen

 

Interviewer: George Necola for blog.georgenecola.com/gearslutz.com
Interview-partner: Flemming Rasmussen, Sweet Silence Studios
Interview format: Email
Interview date: January 2011

 

 

Introduction :

Flemming Rasmussen is located in Denmark. One of the very few owners of a Trident A-range. He did classic albums with Metallica, Blind Guardian, Richie Blackmore. He is fit with desks, tapemachines and protools.

 

George : I have been a big fan of your work since I first listend to Blind Guardian – Imagination from the other side. The album had an interesting « sound-scape ». I recall it is  very non-transparent in the lowend and that sort of « creamy » highend. Could you give us some details about this session?

FR: It was a huge session with the drumrecordings and most of the dubs done in Sweet Silence in Copenhagen. It is recorded on 32-Track Prodigi tape and a 24 track synced, and in some track even with a ProTolls rig in sync. We used up all the 144 inputs on the Neve VR on a few of the tracks.

The general sound idea was to make it as „Grand“ as possible with a lot of ambience on the drumtracks and the guitar track, and layers and layers of vocals and guitars, and I think it turned out pretty damn good 

The whole drum/bass foundation was massive and that was what we aimed for, and then the guitars, keys and and vocal were pretty huge sounding, but still with space for their individual parts.

We had all read „Lord of the rings“, so we were trying to create that strange blend off Metal and Midieval music.

It’s one of the albums I’m really proud off.

 

George: Could you tell us a bit more about Blind Guardian? I saw them several times live and they have a very „friendly and positive“ attitude. Is this the same you experienced in the studio? What kind of setup did they use in the studio?

FR: Yes Blind Guardian were and still are a bunch off great guys, and we became close friends for 10 years or so. I still consider them my friends, but we havn’t seen eah other for a while. Work You know

George: Later I found out, that you did Metallica master of puppets, ride the lighting and and justice for all. I saw a copy online, where you scanned the album-worksheets, like amp settings and such. I am more interested in the background. Why did Metallica start to working with you?

 FR: I did an album with Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow called „Difficult to Cure“, and Metallica had heard it and really liked the way it sounded, so when they set out to do „Ride the Lightning“, they contacted me to hear if I was interested to work with them. I said Yes ofcause even though I did not know the excisted till they aproached me.

George: What was the most difficult thing working with Metallica?

FR: The amount of time and effort we put into making the albums. It was a hard and long process to do albums with Metallica, cause we all wanted it to bet he best thing we’d ever done.

George: I recently checked your new studio page. I didn’t get where it is located (obviously in Denmark) and how „large/small“ the space is. Could you tell us some more details about your current working place (maybe include a photo).

FR : The studio is aprox 300 square meters and apart from the controlroom there are 3 recording areas. 1 Big room and 2 smaller. All newly renovated, and a huge amount off outboard and microphones to complete an 48 channel In/Out ProTools hooked up to a 48 channel SSL Duality desk.

It a really nice place with some good sounding rooms.

George : You are one of the 13 Trident A-range owners. How and maybe why did you buy that board back then ?

FR : When we started Sweet Silence Studios in 1976, my partner came from a studio where he had gotten them to buy a Trident A-Range. Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, etc , etc) was working there doing a Danish rockband, and he was intrumental in getting the first A-Range to Denmark. So when we got the Sweet Silence A-Range, it was the second in Denamrk !!!!

George : Could you describe the sound of the A-range ? I saw on the old SSS-page that you had/have an NEVE VR as well. Maybe compared to the VR ?

FR : The Neve console was very clean and transperent, and naturel sounding, wich was very nice for most music, the A-Range has a kind of bite to the sound, that I really like,  so when You turn the fader up You already have puch and edge, It’s like You get a little extra when You use the A-Range.

I LOVE IT.

George : What is your favourite gear you worked with ?

FR: Trident A-Range, Lyrec Tape-machines, Urei 1176, Shure and Neumann mic’s, Klark Graf EQ’s, Neve 33609C comopressor

George: if it comes down to tracking, how do you track Drums? (microphones used, technique used)

FR : It varies, but would look something like this :

BD : AKG D-112/ Neumann U-67/ SubKick

Snare : SM-56/ B&K 4011

Toms : Senheisser 421/Electrovoice RE-20

HH : Shure SM-81

OH : Neumann KM-84

Room : B&K 4006/Neumann U-87

George: … and the guitars?

FR : Shure SM-7/Neumann U-87/B&K 4006.

George : any special approach on recording vocals ?

FR : I use a Telefunken U-47 into a Tube preamp and then TLA EQ’s and Urei 1176 and Tube-Tech Compressor’s

George : …the bass ?

FR : any DI straight out of the Bass, and on the amp I use Neumann U-89 & Electrovoice RE-20

George : your thoughts on Reamping ?

FR : Never gotten into it, but the suff I’ve mixed that has been reamped sounds great, but I only have a few amps, so I let the people who cares about what kind of amps You use, to do the reamping.

I basicly dont care what amps has been used, as long as the sound is great.

George : your thoughts on analog vs. Digital or In the box mixing vs. Out of the box mixing? (Summing unit, console).

FR : I love analog, but find myself using it less and less, but will start using 24-track again shortly, and then tranfer it to ProTolls, so U get the best of both worlds.

I prefer to use a desk for summing, but have mixed quite a lot in the box

George : Is there a favorite loudspeaker you use for mixing ?

FR : Dynaudio Air 20

George : Do you prefer to mix loud or at low volumes ? Either way, the question would reamin as why you prefer loud or soft volumes.

FR : I make souds VERY loud, and then I mix very low volume mostly on NS-10’s

George : what is the project you currently work on ?

FR : A few. Just finished an album with Norwegian ThrashMetal Band Tantara. And is now doing Drumtrack with Danish Rockband ViolMace.

George : is there an artist or engineer who left a permanent impression on you?

FR : Yes. Roy Thomas Baker is a fantastic sound-creator, and I really like most of the stuff he’s produced. And Bob Clearmountain for his great sound. Everything he does sounds great.

George : We all learned from someone, somewhere. Is there a guy you want to mention who teached you the nuts and bolts of recording and or mixing? Maybe a funny story from your start as an engineer?

FR: My mentor Freddy Hansson, who was the Godfather of Danish recording, learned me a lot.

Let’s save the stories till I’m out of the buisness 

George: your view on the current state of the music industry?

FR : I think it’s disgracefull that people expect music to be a thing You get for free.

But the record companies was too slow to act on the mp3 revolution, so I dont have an answer to the problems.

George : what do you think about Spotify and other modern « streaming » services ?

FR: Just another bunch of Nerds stealing money from the musicians.

Some more shorties for you:

Studio-acoustics are….

FR :Very expensive.

My favourite album is…

FR: Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street

My favourite microphone is..

Fr : Shure SM-7

My favourite compressor is…

Fr ; Urei 1176

My favourite eq is….

FR : Trident A-Range EQ !!!!

My favourite mixing/recording/mastering-engineer is…

FR: Bob Clearmountain

 

Thank you for the inverview!

George

Flemming Rasmussen can be contacted via his website:

http://www.fwrproduction.com/

3 Responses to “Interview with Flemming Rasmussen, Sweet Silence Studios Denmark (Metallica, Blind Guardian… )”

  1. Hejsan Flemming, you forgot to brag about all the stuff you did in DK!!! With a nice report on the Trident desk and mikes for specific uses, you nailed it. One crazy question would be “have you ever tried Shoeps”? Crazy lo-fi mikes from late 50s / early 60s can also be useful.

  2. Brandon says:

    This was a great read! Very informative, and this man has created some legendary albums.

    Very cool to see a big-shot endorse the SM7 too, one of the best mics!

  3. duke says:

    Thank you for the great interview, but there are many spelling errors. Looking forward to reading more on your blog!!!

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