Rising Stars: Tristan Hackney

Audio Pro International’s focus on the best of the industry’s up-and-coming audio technicians continues this week with the latest addition to our Rising Stars section.

This week we chat to engineer and producer Tristan Hackney…

Where did you study?
I’ve been floating around studios from quite a young age, watching people work and getting stuck in. Pinewood Studios, Phill Brown and The CRC being the most influential. I also went to SAE in London, which filled the holes I had in my theoretical understanding. I owe the vast majority of my understanding of music and sound to the engineers and producers I worked with back then.

Which band/project are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished engineering a session with These New Puritans at The Way Studio (my hub) which was great. Been working with Noel Gallagher recently, which should see some light next year. Had Mark Ronson / Katy B’s Olympics song in the studio, but apart from that I’m keeping busy with all the work Miloco keeping throwing my way.

Where are you based at the moment?
I’m based in London, which has a great wealth of studios to choose from. I’m freelance as an engineer/producer but have a great relationship with The Way Studio in East London, which I also manage. We have a beautiful Vintage Custom Neve 8078 and a great sounding tracking space. It’s a phenomenal studio to be a part of and has always been my ‘go-to’ studio.

Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?
Got to be our Vintage Neve. It’s a 40-channel 1081 type bad boy desk from an era of Neve genius and I can’t get enough of it. On mix down you can get it to 72 channels and its split configuration is perfect for mixing through subgroups and doing some clever bussing. It takes nothing to maintain and always sounds great.

Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?
I’m a big believer in tracking with EQ and compression when it’s needed. If it sounds good, put it down to tape, you might not have chance to use that equipment again if you’re between studios.

I love the curves of Neve EQ. If there’s any EQ surgery needed I usually patch in a GML 8200, which is also great for slight master bus EQ going into compression on the 2TRK. For vocals I generally reach for a 1178/76, which has Neve EQ running into it. When mixing I usually have three stereo compressors strapped across three pairs of group busses. For example, one for drums and bass, another for Guitars and Keys etc and the last one for vocals. This way I can glue groups of instruments together with the rhythm of different types of compressors before they hit the master bus. Depending on the project, I love putting a mix down to tape, but it has become a luxury these days.

What is your console of choice?
If I was putting together another studio I would probably have a really nice Neve summing desk and keep all the outboard a mixture of Neve, API and SSL preamps and compressors. I love the sounds of all of these desks so why not have a hybrid of all of them!

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?
I would be a privilege to work with Tool; they are fantastic musicians and are currently working on a new album, which I would love to be a part of. Failing that, I’d love to tour with Bonobo; he has a great approach to mixing different instruments together and I can’t rate his album Black Sands enough. Mr Bonobo, if your reading get in touch!


To get involved in our Rising Stars column, whether you are an engineer who is new to the industry and would like to be featured, or an experienced engineer who would like to nominate a particular student/apprentice, please contact Audio Pro International editor Daniel Gumble on daniel.gumble@intentmedia.co.uk or 01992 535646.

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