Andy Sneap

author PP date 09/08/06

Andy Sneap lives in the deepest, darkest Derbyshire UK, and is the Grammy winning producer, mastering, and mixing engineer. He set up his Backstage Studios in 1994 and worked with Nevermore, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Machine Head, Exodus, Kreator, Testament, Killswitch Engage, Spiritual Beggars, Bullet for my Valentine, Caliban, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, etc. Andy Sneap is one of the most important producers in the music industry. His work on Opeth's Deliverance was the winner of a Swedish Grammy in 2002 and in 2005 Killswitch Engage's The End Of Heartache was nominated for a US Grammy. There is no more introduction needed, the living legend speaks himself... I read on your website that you described 2005 as nothing but a blast. It sure was a very busy year for you. In the first days of 2006, you worked on Exit Ten's debut album and Arch Enemy's DVD, now you are working on 36 Crazyfists' new album, and in the schedule there are many things to come such as Kreator's live, Candlemass' EP, Stuck Mojo's new album. It seems that 2006 will be even busier for you, what do you think?

Yeah it's looking really busy, the start of the year usually is actually. It can be quite seasonal because everyone is aiming for the same deadlines, last year was chaos because everyone had a cut off point because of Ozzfest, Sounds of the Underground and Gigantour. So I'm kinda expecting that again this year. Your name is getting bigger and bigger in the music buisness. There is no doubt that you are doing your job perfectly, but I don't think that it is only the "job qualities" that makes you so precious. That must also be releated to your attitude. So how can we imagine Andy Sneap in the studio, as an icon producer or a friend of the band or both?

I don't know. I get on well with all the bands, that's probably due to having the same mentality but also a good work ethic. I was young when I got into the music industry so I'm not "that" old now. I guess we have a lot in common and the fact I've done the band thing helps. Is there anything special you do after starting the production of an album? Maybe listening to nothing for a week or listening to the mile stone albums of this genre, etc?

No, I just get stuck in, trying to keep and eye on schedule and just doing the best I can. As I said before, your name is getting bigger in the music business, that means more and more bands/ record companies will want to work with you. I don't think that you accept all the offers, so what kind of things/ specialities must a band have to have their production/ mixing/ mastering done in the Backstage Studios?

I get so many bands contacting me now and I have to be choosy about who I work with. I only do projects where I feel I can add something or hear something within the music I can relate to. It's not a case of doing every popular band possible and I don't think it would be fair to work with a band that I wasn't into. Everything seems to be going on so well with a great acceleration since 1994, the year you set up the studio. Don't you ever have hard times, I mean some moments that you are on the edge to go on or not?

I'll be totally burnt out after an album so it's good to have a bit of time off. Usually we don't even take a day off in the week, working 12/14 hr days. That gets really exhausting, mind numbing infact. A few days off can make a world of difference. I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't in this line of work but I do get fed up with it, but that's only natural. What do you think of the "loudness race" between the albums recorded in last couple of years? It seems that "louder sound" and the "technical developments" is getting more important day by day. Don't you think that it is also a little bit dangerous for music?

Yes, that's why I don't kill things when I master. In one of your interviews, I read your saying that "By the end of a full production I'm usually dead to the world and certainly no fun to be around for a good few days afterwards." Actually it is something i can guess, i mean after working that hard in the project and being too much inside. But the thing is, how about listening to the album after finishing it or being ready to read the reviews about that album?

I don't listen to an album after I've finished it. I draw the line, knowing I've done the best I can and move onto the next project.

About 3 months later I'll have a listen and usually I'm pretty happy with things. You have been in music business for such a long time, Sabbat days included. I think answering the question "What are the things that change a lot or does not change" will be really boring for you. So what I am going to ask you is; What are the things that you are happy with its changing and the things you regret its changing?

My hair line is changing haha, but I'm happy with the way technology is changing. The way recording has come on is incredible, in such a short period of time we've moved on leaps and bounds with computers. The things we can do now with Pro Tools are so creative, I can't imagine doing an album without it. Being a well known producer, working with many different musicians from many different countries from many types of music. After all that are you still able to listen to music as a fan? I mean can you still listen to a record even if the recording/ production sucks, without finding any faults?

No, I always pull albums apart, even ones I've done. I can enjoy it as a fan still but its usually older albums by the classic bands from when I was younger. You know what its like, music makes such an impact on your life when you are young so it always takes you back. Thank you very much for your time, Andy! The interview is a great pleasure for me. Any last comments to end the interview?

Thanks for the kind comments, this is the first interview where someone has stated I've been in the music business for such a long time haha guess I better get used to that one ;o)

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