Welcome to the next installment of BTM – a weekly series where we get to shine a spotlight on some of the hard-working people “Behind The Music”; the artists managers, booking agents, publicists, indie label owners, music website editors and so on.
This week’s spotlight is shining on Australian music producer/mixer/engineer extraordinaire Tristan Hoogland. Over the last few years he’s worked with some pretty big names in the industry including James Blake, Flume, Hayden James, Touch Sensitive, SG Lewis and Golden Vessel to name a few. He also recently set up camp in Los Angeles and is now working from the Future Classic studios over there.
Tell us who you are, what you do, and who you represent?
My name is Tristan Hoogland, I’m a music producer, mixer and sound engineer.
How did you get into this line of work?
Like most working in music production, I began writing and playing in bands in my younger years. I undertook a bachelor’s degree in music production at the Queensland University of Technology where I found myself spending more time autonomously residing in recording studios, fascinated by sound as a thing unto itself and the ability to blend, mangle and manipulate it in otherworldly ways. The lack of reliance required of anybody else’s schedule lured me closer again, a challenge I would struggle with often in playing in bands. My obsession with filling the university’s studio calendar would lead me to meet Pete Gardener, a good friend whom introduced me to a studio owner, Chris Neehause who both personally invested in my enthusiasm and potential by providing me with a studio to base myself where I could bring bands to produce and record. I later encountered a significant mentor in my life, Julian Knowles who I worked with closely in various creative and technical capacities at QUT’s Gasworks Studios . Here I would learn the ropes of a large recording facility and run sessions with the likes of Paul McKercher, Mick Glossop, Jason Derulo and many other revered producers and artists. This spanned over the course of about 5 years, but it was at this point that I felt my feet were firmly concreted in music production and there was no turning back.
What are some of your biggest achievements?
Working regularly with James Blake has been a major highlight. Not only is he an incredible songwriter, he’s an amazing person to listen to and I always walk away from his sessions having learnt something, music or otherwise. Working on Golden Vessel’s album, SLOWSHINE, was another project I was super proud to be part of. We mixed that over the better part of a year. Max has such a forward thinking mindset and great sense of what matters when it comes to music, and I think might be one of the best producers in Australia right now.
Tell us one thing that you would love to see change or happen that you feel would help make the music industry a better place?
I’d like to see more of an effort made to document and celebrate the contributions made by people working behind the scenes. All my friends on varying levels have some trouble securing their rightful credits on projects and getting them retrospectively applied is still quite difficult. Appropriate accreditation in 2019 is shamefully woeful, I’m still having to make a lot of effort to have my work properly listed on works, past and present. Jaxsta is improving this and their team is the first to really help in assisting music contributors have their credits published on a reliable database.
What is your favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
That I get to work on music with talented people, everyday.
What is your least favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
The difficulty in switching off.
Where do you see the future of the industry heading?
I see (or hope to see) the backend of streaming improving for artists. I think a subscription fee for such an extensive catalogue of music is great, but arguably many individuals only typically access or consume an incredibly small fraction of that, and only various amounts of that. So moving to a world where you pay only what you listen to (excluding relevant servicing fees) and for that payment to appropriately go to the rights holders seems a fairer proposition.
What do you do to unwind outside of the industry/work?
I spend a lot of time with my close friends who also happen to work in music, which may seem somewhat counterintuitive for rejuvenation, but for a lot of people music isn’t like a typical 9-to-5 job that you endure throughout the week while you hang out for the weekend – it’s a lifestyle that consumes you almost entirely. We may do things like go for a hike, grab dinner, a coffee, watch a movie, whatever is considered a typical social interaction, but for me it’s the mental and emotional unpacking of whatever’s been going on with people who know what I’m going through that helps me disconnect.