Thomas Juth is a Grammy Awarded Mixing and Mastering Engineer based in Stockholm, Sweden.
Over the past 10 years Thomas has built an impressive discography, which includes Latin superstars Jesse y Joy (which won him two Grammy awards), Jamie Cullum, A-ha, Luis Fonsi, Manuel Medrano as well as legends such as Cat Stevens, Elton John and Paul McCartney. He has also recently been working with UK rapper Tinchy Stryder, and UK singer-songwriter James Bay.
Thomas is an Engineer who stands with one foot in the more independent and alternative music scene, and the other foot in the mainstream music industry. This balance has always been important, in order to stay true to his passion for music and sound, and to ensure there is always a level of playfulness, art and experimentation in his work.
Thomas started his career at Mayfair Studios, in London, working as an Assistant Engineer. During three years at Mayfair Studios he was able to assist and learn from some of the greatest engineers and producers around, an opportunity which allowed him to quickly develop and improve as a Mix Engineer. In 2006 Thomas joined the Kensaltown Team, (James Morrison, Jason Mraz, Train, etc), led by well-known producer Martin Terefe. During the following seven years he mixed a large part of Martin’s productions, as well as other projects coming out of Kensaltown Studios.
Through working with a very wide range of musical styles, Thomas has developed his own trademark sound – organic, exciting, punchy, and “vibey”.
Interview with Thomas, published by The Audio Hunt
Can you share with us what you’re working on at the moment?
I just finished mixing some songs for the new Tinchy Stryder album, and I’m about to start working with this very talented artist from New York, called Sir Magnus. I’m also working on some single tracks from various artists.
What’s your favourite stage in the music production process (mixing, recording, touring…)?
Even though I enjoy both recording and mixing equally as much, the majority of my work (over the years) has been mixing. I guess I’m a better mix engineer than a recording engineer; it has naturally become my niche… it’s what I’m known for. However, this year I have started doing more and more mastering as well, something that I’m really happy about. I have always been very passionate about mastering, and I really enjoy analyzing and enhancing other people’s mixes.
Favourite piece of gear you used recently?
My favourite piece of gear is probably the Chandler gear in general, especially the Curvebender and the Zener limiter. Wade’s gear just sounds amazing, and have a very unique tone. However, I also love the API 550A EQ’s and Distressors (for compression). To me the API 550A has a very exiting and unique top-end and air-band, and it can open up any dull recording.
Let’s talk influencers. Any other producers, songwriters or artists that you’re inspired by?
The Beatles (along with producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick) have always been a big inspiration. Listening to those records always inspire me to be more creative and to think outside the box. In terms of more modern engineers/producers, I really admire the work of mix engineer Tony Maserati (who I had the chance to assist when I was younger). Tony’s mixes always sound so exciting and smooth, and somehow very dynamic, even though they are as loud as other peoples mixes.
How did you first start mixing music?
I started off working as an assistant engineer at Mayfair Studios and Kensaltown Studios in London, assisting and learning from other engineers and producers. I was eventually given a chance to mix an album myself, and soon became the in-house mixer for producer Martin Terefe. This gave me a golden opportunity to learn the art of mixing, and to dig really deep into it. For the next 7 years I was constantly mixing songs, always under a lot of pressure, and I think that’s the best way to become really good at something.
Name your bucket-list piece of production equipment
- A strong Mac with UAD plugins 2. Chandler Zener/Curvebender 3. An EMT 140 plate 4. A couple of Distressors 5. A bunch of API 550A EQ’s
Is there a piece of gear you no longer have access to that you miss when it comes to making music?
We used to have this rare old Fairchild 658 spring reverb at Kensaltown Studios, and it was the coolest sounding spring reverb I have ever used. It’s one of those pieces of equipment I often wish I had access to. Sadly they are rare to find. Another special piece of equipment that I had access to at Kensaltown was this old Studer 8-track machine, which Yusuf (Cat Stevens) kindly lent to us. It’s was one those unique tools that I ended up using a lot, and one of the best tape machines I have ever worked with.
Finish this sentence: If I wasn’t producing music, I’d be…
Working as a psychologist. Psychology has always interested me and I spend a lot of time reading about things related to it in my spare time.
Interview with Thomas, published by the SAE Institute, Oxford
When he was ten years old Thomas Juth and his older brother made a studio in their basement. They’d lock themselves away in it for hours, so when he finally got to the stage where he had to choose what he wanted to pursue in life, his dad supported his curiosity for creating sound. After discovering SAE in Sweden but being unable to get funding, he applied to our London campus and the rest, as they say, is history. Now with a Grammy Award under his belt and a golden self-awareness for what inspires his best work, we’re rather glad that Thomas Juth ended up studying on our turf rather than anyone else’s. He takes five minutes to share his thoughts with us…
As a Mixing Engineer, who have you worked with?
Jamie Cullum, Jesse & Joy, Cat Stevens, Elton John, Luis Fonsi, James Bay, Tinchy Stryder, Ricardo Arjona, Joshua Radin, Leslie Clio, Apparatjik, Aha, Zaz, KT Tunstall, Manuel Carrasco… wow that sounds incredible when you list it like that.
It is incredible. With all of this experience, what would you say was your defining moment?
It’s got to be working with Tony Maserati. I’ve always been a big fan of the sound of his mixes. So to finally work with him was a big inspiration and taught me so much about mixing.
How long did it take you to find work after graduating?
I started working at Olympic Studios one week after studying, then moved on to Mayfair Studios. Bands like Radiohead and Tina Turner recorded there. I moved later to Kensltown Studios working for Producer Martin Terefe which was seven days a week for seven years. I reckon in that time I worked on 900 songs. It was a music machine and an insane experience to practice my techniques on. I remember feeling very humbled by it at times.
Did you ever think of going to LA?
Yes, I tried it for a month at one point but didn’t really like it. It seemed to me to be ‘less about the art and more about business’ at parties. It seemed quite fake.
As a creative person do you find that your surroundings are important for your mindset?
Yes, absolutely. That’s why love Berlin; it’s a city of contrasts and whenever I am out, or strolling around, I am always reminded of that and constantly inspired.
How does that effect your sound creations
I recreate the aspect of contrasts in my work. So for example you could have quite a dry song with no reverbs in it and then you add a massive reverb and it goes from dry to wet. It stirs up emotions when you hear it because of the dramatic contrast and then I work it in correctly with the mix of course.
Every one is so keen to create the next best thing in the market. How do you predict trends?
To be honest I try to not follow trends too much. Of course I sometimes listen to what’s on the radio, but when I’m at home I love listening to my collection of 60’s, 70’s and jazz. It serves my overall goal – I always want to make music that is timeless. I want to create mixes that push the specific artist forward. With that in mind my work becomes more about the sound than the actual music, if that makes sense.
What piques your curiosity and inspiration for each track?
It’s actually not always music. I sometimes find inspiration from random views, architecture, art or images. I’ll look at the emotion portrayed in a picture for example and ideas will start flowing in my mind, which translates into the mix I’m working on and hopefully gives it more of an emotive sound which transpires across the music overall.
Does your work require you to travel?
Oh yes, I’m basically a travelling mix engineer. I have three really good contacts in Spain, Mexico and Berlin who get me work and it has helped my career enormously that I can speak a bit of Spanish to be able to collaborate with the artists to ensure I’m giving them what they want for each track. Many months of the year it’s just me and my laptop, I always venture into many different studios though, to finish the mixes.