Words by Kinch Kinski
Photography supplied by Higher Plains
Andrei Eremin is a man in demand: mastering tracks for Chet Faker and Hiatus Kaiyote, collaborating with Milwaukee Banks and mixing for Japanese Wallpaper. Eremin sat down with Melbourne Guru and told us a little about how it all happened.
Eremin credits his success so far to “being approachable, friendly, and empathetic.”
Despite the importance of his technical knowledge and methodical approach to his craft, Eremin believes that “really people just want someone who’s approachable…and who can actually see the artist’s vision through.”
It seems to be working. At just twenty-three, Eremin is already a highly sought after producer in the Melbourne scene. He seems to attract the attention of artists with an ethos of exploration and an ear for sonic novelty.
Chet Faker and Hiatus Kaiyote obviously spring to mind, but there’s also the avant-yacht strangeness of Sex on Toast, the psychedelic Zappa-rock of Closure in Moscow and the haunting, lyrical electro-soul of Oscar Key Sung, among myriad others.
Eremin’s highly catholic taste in music and his experience on both sides of the desk mean that he has a knack for finding what a song, EP, or album needs to shine.
Oftentimes a bright musical future is presaged by a musical upbringing, but this is not the case with Eremin.
“None of my family are musical. None of my extended family are musical — I’m not sure where it came from.”
His father did dabble briefly and this gifted the young Eremin with vintage versions of Cubase and a Kawai midi-keyboard.
“I’d sneak onto dad’s computer and start programming midi — it was pretty funny,” says Eremin.
But it was starting music lessons in high school that made Eremin realise he’d found his path. “It became part of my identity, being that alternative kid who played lots of instruments.”
After high school, Eremin studied RMIT’s sound production course where his classmates included Chet Faker, Fractures (Mark Zito) and Tom Iansek from Big Scary.
Eremin has done a lot of amazing work since graduating in 2011, but by the far the biggest project to date was mastering Hiatus Kaiyote’s forthcoming album Choose Your Weapon, due next month.
“It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve ever worked on, by far. It’s a huge, 70-plus minute masterpiece,” says Eremin.
“It’s a journey and it has huge dynamics — it tells a huge story.”
Hiatus Kaiyote largely recorded and mixed Choose themselves, bringing Eremin in for the mastering stage.
Obviously Hiatus Kaiyote aren’t recording in their bedrooms, but their choice to record and mix independently does fit a trend. More and more artists are choosing to record their tracks at home before placing them in professional hands.
“It seems to be the paradigm shift. Everyone likes to record at home, save money there, and then take it to the professional.”
The trend can lead to problems though, when recordings are sub-par or when home mixes are so loud they clip. But there are some simple steps artists can take to avoid these pitfalls.
“A lot of people overlook the room you’re in. Setting yourself up to record in a big room helps loads…because there’s less room modes, less notes that stick out and less weird reflections.”
Choosing gear is also important. It’s easy to be lured by products that promise multitudes of features, but this is no guarantee of quality. You may be better off getting a product that only does a few things, but does them very well.
“RME Audio are a good example,” says Eremin.
“They have the best-sounding bedroom interfaces because they prioritise their budget and time for key things, such as the converters and pre-amps; they sound studio quality.”
Eremin also emphasises the importance of preparation before heading to the studio. When tracking turns into an arranging or song writing session it means lost time and money for artists. Likewise, if a home-produced track is so loud it constantly clips that means extra time fixing it before work can even start.
Once in the studio, Eremin maintains the song is king. Talking about one of his favourite producers – Rich Costey – he notes the same quality.
“Everything he does to mix just accentuates the song; sometimes engineers forget the fact that you’re working on a song.”
Speaking of which, Eremin has a five song EP in the works himself. His music is good enough that I wish this was a music review — his goal is to “broaden the horizons of what people accept as popular music. There’s no verses or choruses on the whole EP — I try to focus on pure intuition.”
With the new Hiatus Kaiyote album due out soon and his own EP on the horizon Eremin is gently but surely lifting off.
Yet he remains grounded in the humble approach to music that has gotten him this far.
“Everything I do here is probably, realistically, pretty superfluous; if it’s a good song it’s always gonna be a good song. I just put in the time to realise the artist’s vision, because it’s their baby and you only get one chance to release the baby.”
You can contact Eremin through firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Jackthebear.com.au for a free consultation on your music.