Jacob Hansen

author PP date 09/08/06

Jacob Hansen's musical background goes back to 1985 where at the age of 15 he started to jam with a friend. 1990 is the year he first met the mixing desk and has been a producer, mastering and mixing engineer since that day. After producing many local bands, the rumors about him spread, and soon bands would be either traveling or getting Jacob to twiddle the knobs at other studios. He has worked with Mercenary, Communic, Hatesphere, Rob Rock, Maroon, Volbeat and many others so far. The success of the albums he worked on and his natural ear for the sound is taking his name among the best producers worldwide. Now i better stop and you better go on reading to learn more about Jacob Hansen, the creator of the magnificant sound from the underground.

RF.Net: Starting from the very beginning I see from your history that you had many jobs including booker, record shop owner, A&R guy, graphic lay outer, and you also have a background as a musician. So what made you decide to switch to behind the mixing desk?

Jacob: It was just a natural progression. All things in the music business interests me. I wanted to try all kinds of things. I started as a musician, and after a couple of years I opened up a recordshop. This lasted for 5 years, and it was really hard to make a living with the bad earnings on CDs. While I ran the recordshop, I started a small recordcompany to help out bands in the underground. This also seemed to be very hard making money, and even getting the money back spent on the releases, as I wanted quality from the beginning. I produced some albums myself, and this naturally lead into becoming a full-time engineer/producer.

RF.Net: You have been doing this job since 1990. And taking you back to these very first days, can you remember your feelings when taking charge of the mixing desk for the first time?

Jacob: Yes, it was a great feeling, but I was also kinda nervous when I did my very first production all by myself. I think it was Geronimo – Peace To The Chief. This band actually featured 2 members of Anubis Gate (Jesper and Morten), which I’m now a vocalist in.

RF.Net: Your name is getting bigger in the music business, which means 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/ specialties should a band have to have their production, mixing or mastering done in the Hansen Studios?

Jacob: No, I can’t take in everything. If there’s something that I absolutely don’t like or don’t think will come out great, I don’t take it. I can’t choose that much, but yes, there are many inquiries, and it means that sometimes I can’t even do things that I’d like to do because of time pressure.

RF.Net: Is there anything special you do before starting the production of an album? Maybe listening to nothing for a week or listening to the mile stone albums of this genre, etc?

Jacob: I try not to listen too closely to the bands previous albums, or demos. That kinda colurs my mind, you know. If I listen too much to a previous album or demo, I will try to “turn the knobs” towards something I think the band like, rather than just making what’s best for the band in the given situation.

RF.Net: In one of his interviews, Andy Sneap said 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." It is something I could have guessed after working that hard on a project and being too concerned. How about you, do you have the same experiences?

Jacob: No, actually not. It’s hard sometimes, but it really depends on what kind of band you’re working with. There are bands that don’t know anything, and maybe aren’t actually ready for the studio, where you have to help them through everything. Buying strings and sticks, tuning their drums, sometimes even tuning their guitars, arranging some songs etc. It’s like a kindergarten, haha. That is tedious and that wears me out. But there’s just so much satisfaction in ending a mix for a good record, that I’m eager to start with the new project just right after.

RF.Net: Talking about being so absorbed by your work, I am sure you put your heart and soul into your work. And after finishing the album, if you hear negative comments from the press or from the fans of the band, how do you feel, does it affect you?

Jacob: Yes it does to some extend. I can’t help it if people don’t like the music, but if I hear something bad about the production, it gets to me. It’s my work, and I put a lot of personality into it.

RF.Net: How do you feel when a band you worked with before, announces that they will work with another producer for their next album?

Jacob: In the beginning it was hard, but I think I’ve grown, and it doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s also about keeping the scene alive, and if that means switching producer for some bands, then it’s great.

RF.Net: Are there any good records/ productions you love so much that you wish you had produced them?

Jacob: Yes. King’s X – Dogman, Motley Crue – Motley Crue, Jellyfish – Spilt Milk. These albums sound so fantastic. There are many albums that sound great nowadays, but these ones changed my view on production and engineering.

RF.Net: Communic's new album, Waves Of Visual Decay has been getting incredible feedback from the press, the bands are normally quite suprised when they get the 10/10 point, but it seems that Communic are more suprised when they don't get the 10/10 point. As you are the producer of the album, how do you feel about that?

Jacob: I think Communic were very surprised that they got raving reviews on their debut. They didn’t expect that. And as for the new one, they were very nervous in the studio, if they could live up to the press’ high expectations. Fortunately I think they did, and they are grateful. I don’t see that they are like you describe.

RF.Net: And Mercenary! Mercenary is one of my favorite bands and you are producing their new album. After hearing the good news that Mercenary was starting to write the album, terrible news shocked the fans; Kral left Mercenary. You have been working with Mercenary for such a long time and I am sure you are also a good friend of the band so can you please tell us a little bit about Kral's departure? And how do you think it will affect the band's fanbase?

Jacob: It was kind of a shock to me as well, but as I followed the band for many years, I knew that the talent of the other guys would suffice. And when they started to record the album, I was completely convinced. Kral is a great friend of mine, and he was missed during the sessions, but musically the band is stronger than ever. I think it even made them stronger, as they had to prove their worth.

RF.Net: Actually I don't know how the things are going with Mercenary, but Kral always seemed to be the frontman and the one writing the songs. Do you think that Kral's departure will have some effects on the album, maybe a change of the sound or the songwriting styles or the vocals?

Jacob: I think it sounds exactly like a Mercenary album should sound. Although I think that many fresh ideas have been incorporated. This is to the better. Mikkel sang all the vocals on this album, and hearing him shout like Kral – I mean exactly like Kral – was uncanny at times! Even the rest of the band was freaked!

RF.Net: I remember seeing your name and Tue Madsen's in the CD booklets a lot, like "produced by Jacob Hansen and mixed by Tue Madsen" or the opposite. You two are Denmark's most acclaimed producers, and also good friends i guess...

Jacob: I admire Tue. Our ways have crossed many times during our long presence in the Danish metal scene. I met him first time in ’87, I believe. He has a great ear and a unique way of working that must inspire many newcomers!

RF.Net: Finally it's summer and the summer is for what? Summer festivals!!! What are your plans for the summer, will you be able to go to some festivals or do you think that working in the studio is cool enough?

Jacob: I simply don’t have time to go to festivals, unless I would be playing there. I wish I could, though. I have a bunch of albums to produce during the summer, so that’s great for me.

RF.Net: Everything seems to be going super. But don't you ever have hard times or moments where you are on the edge to send the band in the studio home and lock up the doors, etc?

Jacob: It’s always hard running your own business. At the same time as being of a creative nature, you have to be a narrow-minded business man as well, which I’m really bad at! Haha. It’s not often that I think the thought that I should stop, it’s just more often that I think that people around me (my landlord – my bank – my accountant) make more money than me. You follow? It was like that when I was in a band. Our sound- and lighteningengineers were the only ones who made money!

RF.Net: Being a well known producer, working with many different musicians from many countries from many types of music, are you still able to listen to music as a fan? Can you still listen to a record even if the recording or production sucks, without finding any faults?

Jacob: Yeah, sure. But it means a lot to me that a record sounds good in some way. I don’t think everything should sound the same, but I need to hear that the people behind the desk knew what they were doing, otherwise I think the music will suffer from that.

RF.Net: Thanks for your time, Jacob! Any last comments to end the interview?

Jacob: You’re welcome. Always a pleasure.

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