“Even with his traditional studio background, as a record producer, Niel is bringing a whole new level of sound and feeling to our modern metal landscape. His work is so fresh and powerful” – Sebastian Muench @Napalm Records (head of Artist Development – Europe)
Winner "Best Music Producer 2018" in the New Zealand Music Awards, Niel de Jong (Hammerhead) has been working in the recording industry for over 25 years. His career started when things were still recorded to Studer tape machines and evolved through the digital revolution working with Audiofile, Synclavier and Pro-tools. He has many years experience in music mastering and post production sound mixing for film and television. He now mixes and masters music in Presonus Studio One.
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Interview with Hammerhead
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Alien Weaponry debut album Tū. Won many awards and was voted Among best albums if 2018 my many critics
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Alien Weaponry second album
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog till it's in the DAW then stay digital "for God sake"
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I won't be nude
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I can do it in the nude
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you make it louder ... Yes but it also needs to be dynamic.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I am Hagrid from Harry Potter
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your timeframe and vision for your project?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Talk and go with your gut.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Water distiller, fishing net, fishing rod, sharp knife, nice accoustic guitar in waterproof case ;-)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Niel de Jong (Hammerhead) has been working in the recording industry for over 25 years. His career started when things were still recorded to Studer tape machines and evolved through the digital revolution working with Audiofile, Synclavier and Pro-tools. He has many years experience in music mastering and post production sound mixing for film and television. He now mixes and masters music in Presonus Studio One.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Jinjer, Gojira, I think both these bands have an energy that modern metal needs right now.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It's all about what ingredients you start with. Good sounds and good mic placement are king. No amount of mixing fuckery can make up for a poor recording.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly heavy Metal in it's many sub genres.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: “Hailing from New Zealand, Niel De Jong (Hammerhead) has been blessed with a very special gift, an astonishing ear for sound!! I have been privileged enough to witness Niel’s incredible skills behind the Front of House desk for Alien Weaponry across Europe, from club show rooms, to arenas and stadiums, and some of the largest outdoor festivals across the world, Niel nails the sound every single time, with ease, and a calmness I have rarely witnessed… a true super star and totally at home behind any desk, in any situation!” – Sharon Richards @K2 (touring agents for Iron Maiden, Metallica, Anthrax)
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: “Niel makes a club sound like a stadium! Alien Weaponry may be compared to “early Metallica” live, but they sound as good as the current Metallica does now!” – Scott Sokol @Pinnacle Entertainment (touring agent for Slayer, Gojira, Ministry, Alien Weaponry, Oasis, former manager Pantera)
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to be involved right through the whole process of a project, from pre production to mastering and even tour and do FOH sound for some of my clients.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a digital mastering suite and mix studio in Waipu New Zealand. State of the art Presonus 32s digital console and Studio One.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Alien Weaponry, Sylvia Massey, Pantera, Gojira, Arch Enemy.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Music Producer, Mastering Engineer, Mix Engineer