Daniel Bergstrand is a household name when it comes to metal production he has worked with bands such as In Flames, Behemoth, Meshuggah, Dimmu Borgir, Soilwork, Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townsend, Darkane, Scarve, Dark Funeral, Decapitated, Raised Fist and many more. He works out of his now legendary Dug Out Studios in Uppsala, Sweden. Daniel has also produced several drum libraries & EZMix Packs for Toontrack. We reached Daniel and spoke about being lucky, missing charm of productions, what kind of gear makes him go bananas, getting things right at the source, today’s music mediums and much more!
1. What was the thing that got you into Music Production?
Massive luck I guess, I was around the age of 15 and we got the chance to record a demo at a “real” studio and all that gear and the things that was possible to do with´m completely blew me away. I asked the owner of the studio if I could hang around a bit after we were done just to see him work on other sessions and maybe get to learn something during the way and luckily he was ok with that, he was even ok with letting me stay there at night to try out things by myself…so luck is an understatement. One thing led to another and later on I got hired and worked full time at that studio and a few years later I got the chance to buy it.
2. What’s your stance on the digital vs analog battle?
I´m a huge fan of the analog world of course and prefer that but a hybrid works fine too, and a big plus is that it speeds up the process which is pretty sweet nowadays with cut-down budgets and all.
3. Do you think one day software, emulation-hardware etc will surpass the real thing?
I seriously doubt that, it´s like vinyls, tapes, CD´s…we wanna collect physical items and so far I haven’t heard a software beating the real deal. I don´t think one will surpass the other cause there are plug-ins (working tools) out there that is just outstanding.
4. How do you see the current Music Production scene? The pros the cons, what we might be missing/what we could improve?
I kind of miss the charm a bit in music/productions nowadays, most of the bands in certain genres and their albums sounds more or less the same in my opinion. What we need is bands/artists that sort of lead the way and dear to try out new things and approaches. The optimal thing would be if bands tracked live more often….but that means rehearsing, preparation which seems to be hard for some strange reason hehe.
5. What’s the latest piece of gear (hardware/software) that made you go bananas?
Well, I go bananas every time I fire up Izotope RX, same with setting up the EHR-M Ehrlund microphone and same goes with parallel bussing my DBX128 on drums & vocals.
I´ve been having a home made tube sort of pre-amp laying around in the studio for about 10 years with “been said” Fairchild components that’s been broken, that piece recently got repaired and it has the warmth and flavor I been searching for during quite some time.
6. Let’s say we could get the brightest of the brightest and smartest of the smartest to come up with a piece of gear (software/hardware) and it could eliminate one annoying thing, what would it be (could be audio or anything, physically impossible or possible)?
Can anyone please invent a tom-bleed adjuster. I love the bleed-frequencies, it should be kept but I always manually lower it between 10-15 db. Alternating samples/painting volume curves to make every tom fill sound natural (even in solo mode) kind of eats up some time.
7. If you could give one piece of advice to a young starting home-studio producer, what would it be?
Invest in a good sounding mic and aim for the best takes directly instead of trying to rescue it later on, record in a good sounding room, try to have clean sessions and close doors during the way….make up your mind and delete the alternatives.
8. What is your view on the current state of the average music listener/available mediums that a listener can listen to music?
Don´t really know what to say, at the same time as I like that it´s easy to get a hold of an album thru certain mediums I think it´s sad due to that it´s not as much value in the product as before. I think many can relate to this scenario when you had to choose between the two records you wanted to buy because you couldn’t afford both and ran home and sat whole day listening to the record and explored the artwork and studied the lyrics thoroughly.