Musician/producer Niko Stoessl shares his views
An article with Niko Stoessl
Being a producer/musician and running a studio, there are a lot of aspects to be considered before taking on a project. Talent alone is definitely not enough. An act also needs, a strong vision and some kind of infrastructure/fanbase. It costs money to run a studio and budgets are tight these days, so often the only way to take on projects is to be somehow included in the sales and performance revenues and writing royalties. That’s a high risk though because you never know if the project will be a success. It takes years of work, promoting and performing to break even financially.
I ran a commercial studio for a long time and gave it up last year in order to have more headroom for projects that require development. I have so many friends with great studios that I can use, and that way I support them without the responsibilities involved in running my own place. Of course I still have all my gear and a nice working space, but I’m far more flexible this way
Let Me Down, by Opien, Niko Stoessl and Christian Eigner in 2013
A lot of people have their own studio setups now. I see more and more musicians building their own places to record and produce. Cheap gear makes it possible but with the blessing also comes the curse. They might have the vision but often not the experience or the skills to bring their productions to a level that satisfies them or even cut the industry standards. Acquiring these skills takes many years and before you know it you don´t make music anymore!
There’s a lot of stuff out there, loads of good acts and many of bad ones. The Internet/social media gives everybody a chance, one might think, to promote themselves. Truth is that it actually makes it harder for many people to know what to do with their music because the “old” structures don’t really exist, respectively don’t work anymore like they used to. Having said all this, I also wanna point out how exciting these times are right now and how much I love all these new opportunities. It’s just that one can get easily lost in them.
Superlastic (Too Bad), with Bourne, Alex Bourne and Niko Stoessl
One big problem is that people need to realize that recorded music is not a “free product” that produces itself and that it can be consumed without being paid for. I think that everything’s getting better though and that the music business will restructure itself again eventually, creating new sources of income for musicians who are willing to move forward.
I play guitar, create beat and sound effect programmings, and play some drums and bass. I like combining all kinds of raw and analogue elements, and use my skills as an engineer/producer to morph them into something new which keeps me excited. Usually artists approach me with their vision and I work on it with them, starting by playing most of the music instrumentation guitars, programmings or synths myself. Sometimes, depending on the project, I book session players.
If I need drums for example I am blessed with the best! So for me there’s no need to use prerecorded stuff. As a matter of fact, if there’s something I really don’t like, it´s productions based on presets/loops etc.
For example, with drummer Christian Eigner on our recordings for Opien, all the drum sounds are created from his very own drums, all the signals are organic. Some might be heavily processed but the source material is always a real instrument, everything is played, arranged and edited in a way that represents the vision. I’m very much into electronic sounds as well, and for me, music is creating, so create! If you want a loop, record it, process it, cut it –whatever, but do it yourself and stay true to your vision. In my mind, that’s art.
Grau EP 2014
Niko Stoessl is from Austria, and currently lives in Berlin, where he until
recently ran Birthmark Studio Berlin. He is a musician, his main
instrument the guitar. He has among other things played guitar and sang
backing vocals on Dave Gahan´s solo album “Hourglass”. He has also
worked with artists Motoboy and Crystal Castles.
He recorded his first album at the age of 16 and has since been involved in many other projects as a composer/producer, out of which Opien and Bourne, two of his current undertakings, are in further development, while his new project Grau is about to release its first EP.
LISTEN HERE and
For further information on Birthmark Studio take a look HERE.