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Interview with Anders Aasebøe

Publisert: 20.02.11 kl. 10:59

Norwegian live sound engineer Anders Aasebøe relies exclusively on an arsenal of AKG microphones when working with some of Europe's top acts on a regular basis. With a passion for the ultimate concert experience, whether 50 or 50,000 fans are attending, Aasebøe stays true to his reputation for full and clear sound solutions to fans and musicians with AKG.

A native of Drammen, Norway, Aasebøe began his professional engineering career while attending Norsk Lydskole from 1994-1997.  After graduating, he was hired as a sound engineer at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo, Norway, while he also held a position at the Oslo live music club, Bla.  Throughout his professional career, the live sound designer has worked with Christel Alsos, Jon Balke, Beady Belle, Big Bang, Cloroform, Mathias Eick, Hanne Hukkelberg, Huntsville, John Erik Kaada, Aasund Nordstoga, Odd Nordstoge, Number Seven Deli, Jim Stark, Susanne Sundfor, Wibutee and Bertine Zetliz, among others.

Q: Anders, tell us a little bit about this period.

I had the the great pleasure learning a lot at the Norsk Lydskole. My main mentor there was Asle Karstad. He was a great teacher and influence, and I am happy to say that we became good friends as well. After I left school I worked at Det Norske Teatret. A very interesting and demanding work. Creativity at a very high level with a lot of structure around it.

Besides that job I started moonlighting at Blå around ´98 and worked there until 2006. Looking back I must say that was maybe the highest density of work one can have. It was great. Lots of Jazz and acoustic music. Many different styles and approaches - and of course people.

Q: In aftermath, what did you learn the most from this time?

Thanks, that is a good question. Of course there is a lot of technological things one learns when working, but such can be learned from a book or at school. The most important thing I learned was how to interact with the creative people and musicians involved. I really bloom when being involved in the creative process and the musicians appreciate that the most. What type of equipment one uses is not so very important, it is more the "why" and "how".

Q: Interesting. So what do you regard important? What is your mainstake?

For me a concert is a true experience. For all people in that room, might it be many or just a few - it is a very special occasion. Not repeatable so to say. My part is to help getting the audio part of the musicians message to the audience.

Q: What do you mean by that?

The musician or say the band has a an idea of what they want to get across. This of course varies from genre to genre, from band to band. The task is to understand the concept and meaning behind the artist's performance.

Q: OK, how does that fit with reproducing what has been produced in the studio?

Well, that depends on what the artists want. If that is the task, fine, but it is important to understand the differences in technical possibilities also. The easiest example is the very different miking techniques. In live sound one is mostly forced to mike very closely. This is different in a studio where musicians may stand in acoustically separated areas, or even record at different times.

I try to work with the band to make this transition clear and help them to get across what they are about.

Q: Is that possible in a one-off gig situation?

No, hardly. Therefore I prefer to work over long periods with artists. I tend to become part of the band in a way (laughs).

Q: I´d like to come back to the more technically aspects. What is important there?

I think the tools used (microphones, mixers, effects etc) need to be of high quality. Most of my work is focused on a very true and natural reproduction of the musicians sound. This doesn't work when the equipment colors or alters the result all too much.

Choosing the right tools for the job can be quite a painstaking task. However, here in Norway, and specifically with suppliers like LydRommet, it is actually quite a fun job.

All the testing and trying in the past kept me coming back to Soundcraft consoles. Mostly because of the superb sonic qualities, but also for the ease of use. I don´t want to break my head over menu structures and user interfaces that are more in the way than helpful. With the Vi consoles it's easy to keep the creativity going. All the parameters of the desk are not more than maximal two buttons away from you.

The last tours I did with Susanne Sundfør and Odd Nordstoga, I reverted to an all AKG mic set. LydRommet's open and result oriented approach gave me a good chance to try out their entire product range, and I must say I have become a real AKG fan.

Q: Great to hear. We like to help. Could you go a bit more into detail of the last tour's setup maybe?

Yes, of course. I could do it simple and fly you through my input list:

Kickdrum: AKG D112 (It's not as dark as other kickdrum mics, and that suits Erland's kick quite well).
Snare: AKG C480B with a ULS 61 capsule (Erland is playing a lot with brushes so I wanted a condencer and the C480 is a very good mic that handles a lot of SPL).
Hihat: AKG C451B.
Toms: AKG C518 (these mics have a really good mounting system. Erland's kit is from the 40's and have really high wooden rims. The C518 suits them perfectly).
Overheads: AKG C414 (75 % of the sound from the drumkit was coming from the overhead mikes. I tried to put them as close as possible to the drums without getting in the way for Erland's playing. That made the drums sound clear and nice).
Hand drum: AKG D40 (It's a working horse in a small and neat package).

The electric bass was picked up with a dbx DI and an AKG D40. The doublebass was picked up with a dbx DI and an AKG C518.

Guitars and keys:
Øyvind's and Odd's guitaramps were mic'ed with AKG C214. They have made the guitars sound bright but not too bright.

The Leslie and the amp for the rhodes were mic'ed with AKG D40.

Odd's vocal mic was mostly an AKG D5. It has a little bit more energy in the lower mids than other dynamic vocal mics, which I think is nice. For Odd's solo show I use an AKG C5. I ran it through a BSS 901 dynamic EQ.

Øyvind, Erland, Daniel, Thomas and Torjus were all using the D5 mic.

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