181: Hans-Martin Buff (Prince, Peter Gabriel, Scorpions)

#181: Hans-Martin Buff (Prince, Chaka Khan, No Doubt, Scorpions)

This week we have the pleasure of chatting with the esteemed audio engineer and producer, Hans-Martin Buff.

Join Benedikt & Wayne as they delve into Hans-Martin's illustrious career, from his time working with music legends like Prince and Chaka Khan to his current pioneering work in 3D audio creation.


Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!

Hans-Martin talks us through his journey, recounting his experiences in iconic studios like Pachyderm, Paisley Park and Real World Studios.

In this conversation, Hans-Martin shares his unique perspective on technology's trans-formative impact on music production.

As a seasoned audio engineer and educator, continuously pushing the envelope, he shares some of his engaging anecdotes from his work in world famous studios to his exploration of the shift from stereo to 3D production.

The future of audio technology comes into focus as Hans-Martin explores the exciting potential of 3D music production for artists. 

He provides invaluable advice for DIY artists, emphasizing the accessibility of 3D music creation. It’s more accessible than you think.

Hans-Martin tells us how he is presently working with 3D audio more than stereo and how his collaboration with Peter Gabriel came about...

“He (Peter Gabriel) stood me up for Brian Eno and I said you know what? I'd stand myself up for Brian Eno.”

Hans-Martin Buff will conduct a masterclass at the upcoming Studioszene Event - Hamburg 2023 - (Book tickets here)

It's a golden opportunity to learn from one of the industry's stalwarts.

So let’s uncover the brilliance of Hans-Martin Buff’s career, and his impact on the ever-evolving music industry.

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:21

As soon as you have something that has kind of a sound body acoustic guitar, cello put more than one mic on it. You don't have to use both. But I feel like record a sense of the environment that you're in, record, record, record.

Benedikt Hain: 1:34

This is the Self Recording Band Podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are DIY style, let's go. Hello and welcome to the Self Recording Band Podcast. I am your host, benedikt Hein. If you are already a listener, welcome back. If you're new to the show, welcome. So glad to have you. Today is a special episode because we're doing an interview again and our guest today is Hans Martin Bouff. Hans Martin Bouff is an audio engineer and producer from Germany who has worked at Packarderm Studios in the early 90s and then became the personal in-house engineer of or for Prince, or the artist formerly known as Prince at the time. Prince is Paisley Park Studios from what I believe was 96 to 2000, but he's going to tell us more about that, hopefully. He also worked with artists in bands like the Scorpions, shellwackrow, no Doubt, peter Gabriel, jucka Khan, many more, so that's quite the impressive credit list. Hans Martin is also going to be a speaker at this year's Studio Szene event in Hamburg, where he's going to do a master class. So if you want to learn from him and see him live in person, as well as all the other great speakers on that incredible lineup there, go to studioszenedeslashtickets the link is going to be in the show notes because that's, for the non-German speaking people, probably impossible to get right Studio Szenedeslashtickets and get your tickets now. Now, by the way, we are going to be there too. So Malcolm, wayne, thomas and I, the whole team at thesurfrecordingbandcom, we're going to be there. We will be in Hamburg, record some podcasts there, document parts of the event, do a few other really cool things there that we can't really talk about yet, and we'd love to hang out with you. So we're going to do a little community meetup and spend a few amazing days together in Hamburg. So go get your tickets now. All right, hans Martin, so stoked to have you on the show tonight. Welcome, thanks for having me. Thank you. Now I'm going to start with a weird question that I have to ask, and Malcolm, our co-host that's usually with us today, asked the question. He says is it Hans or Martin or Buff?

Hans-Martin Buff: 3:48

Well, it's all of the above. It's like, you know, my mother called me Martin and my parents did, and so I didn't even know my name was Hans Martin until I showed up at school. I was like, why are they calling me what they call me? And then the official thing is Hans Martin, which was kind of a. It was a German thing in the 60s, when you know. It was like Jean-Phi, as the French do with stuff, just Hans and then Dash, something or another, and then Buff, which was a difficult name in my teenage years, turned out to be pretty internationally compatible, and that's what the British call me and the Austrian.

Benedikt Hain: 4:25

So your, the answer is whatever you want to do, it's all up to you, I mean yeah, that was a confused Canadian asking that question because I assume they don't have the double first name thing, I guess. So that's why he was asking and the reason Malcolm is not here today. I have to tell you people, if you're listening now, usually Malcolm is our co-host, of course, but today he can't make it. But I got great news I'm not alone still, because my friend and co-host, wayne Coulson, is today here, so he's the co-host for this show. He's usually you guys probably know him because we mentioned him a lot on the podcast he's editing the podcast usually and mixing it, and today he's going to co-host with me. So hey, wayne.

Wayne Coulson: 5:01

How's it going? Thank you, pleasure.

Benedikt Hain: 5:04

All right, hans Martin, maybe let's start with a little, with your backstory a little bit, and in your role in the studio is like, just so people understand what you actually do. Are you mainly a producer these days? Are you engineering a lot and how did you get there? Just the quick version before we go into all the details.

Hans-Martin Buff: 5:22

A quick version. Well, yeah, All right, the really quick version is I at some point discovered the beauties of working in recording studios and became a recording engineer and then, as that goes, I mean, most music producers were either engineers first or musicians first, so you kind of grow into that role and so I've always done that on the side. In the beginning I thought I was producing, but I could produce if the band agreed with my decisions. So I was a cheap engineer called producer, and these days actually it's quite nice. I really got into the great world of 3D audio, as I call it, and so I don't really know what my role is. I get to do what I think I should do, which is a wonderful thing to be able to do. People say well, you're onto something, Do it with my music. So I don't really produce and I'm a really engineer. I just kind of get to finagle music to a place where I think it works in a three-dimensional context. So that's completely a non-answer. But there you have it. That was kind of the long road to where I am now, from basic traditional engineering to whatever that is I do today.

Benedikt Hain: 6:49

No, that's great, that's actually perfect. And it's also cool that you mentioned or I just want to repeat that on basically every episode, because people are still confused by that that a producer is not the same as an engineer and that what you do now is kind of something different again or somewhere in between, but just that there is a difference between those roles and then also the whole 3D thing. We'll get to that on the show for sure, because I'm really interested in that. That's something I don't know too much about, but that's why you're here for what you're here for today to explain that to us. I mean, I know a little bit about it, of course, and I've dabbled with it, but not nearly to the degree that you have. And also the approach that you have regarding that seems to be pretty interesting and different to what a lot of other people do now. So we'll get to that Great Now, but that started, I guess, just a couple of years ago. Right Before that, you were probably mainly making records with bands in stereo, I assume.

Hans-Martin Buff: 7:43

Correct, and I still am. I still do stereo stuff, it's just currently it's not as much as it used to be, just because I do so much of the 3D stuff. But yeah, I just got into that, I would say five, five and a half years ago. I'm not going to bore you too much with the details, but a friend of mine gave me a binaural eye so made for headphones version of a Beatles and a Pink Floyd 5.1. Next that he just made himself Not the mix but the binauralized aspect, and that really triggered my interest because I thought, wow, that makes a huge difference. I just thought, to this day I think I know, at least through one degree of separation, I probably know every person that has more than 10 speakers in their house in the country. So I thought, well, I'm not one of them, I'm an addict. And so I was like, well, what's the point of all that? So the headphone bit changed things for me and then I really, really, really got hooked on the creative possibilities of the musical world beyond stereo. So that's how they changed. But up to then I was totally into the stereo world, just like the rest of us.

Benedikt Hain: 8:54

Cool Did. Do you have more of a say now in the projects you're involved with? So are you more producing now because of the 3D thing, just because you make music for 3D basically and maybe help artists accomplish that, or is it still mainly engineering when you make records like that?

Hans-Martin Buff: 9:11

That's a really interesting question. I mean, it really depends on why I'm being brought to the table. But at this point the people bring me to the table for the 3D thing. They want to have some of what I'm having, because they're intrigued by not just the promotional possibilities of Atmos I know that's just a really nice way of getting on the Apple playlist but like of the creative ones and that's what I'm after. So I mean, it's technically not production, but I have a lot of creative leeway that I'm certainly using. But you know what I've kind of grown into that too. I have a friend called Mac M-A-C-K who I don't know if you're aware of him, but he produced a lot of Queen stuff, like another one bites the dust and he engineered all the yellow stuff that you know.

Benedikt Hain: 10:02

Anyway, great guy. A friend I've worked with in the past went on to work with him at some point, so I know who. That is definitely yeah.

Hans-Martin Buff: 10:08

Lovely man and you know we were in conversation, mutual appreciation society, and he more or less told me how you walked into the Queen gig and, just without even knowing them, went like let's do this and that. And the other thing I'm like is for you, is there a distinction between your engineering involvement and your producing involvement? And he said not really, because why would I hide my ideas? And that's where I'm at this point as well. I just, you know, I offer my ideas and I think the only difference between engineering and producing is my duty to make sure these ideas are heated or at least tried. You know, you kind of brought it up earlier but, like you know, for people who aren't so sure about the differences, like a producer in music is like the director in a movie. So it's the person that calls kind of not necessarily the shots, but like and judges the quality of the performances and kind of mostly is in charge of the direction, is like so is this great or isn't it? I mean, that's the big question that a producer has to answer. An engineer doesn't. The engineer has to is like the cameraman in a movie. So you kind of sonically translating the wishes of the producer and the artist and making them happen, but you're not judging if they're good ideas or bad ideas. So that is the difference. Now I bring my ideas to the table. As a producer, I have to make sure that they try them, because it's my, it's my responsibility for stuff to be good in the end. There's an engineer. If it sounds good in the end, that's good enough. I mean, really it would be great if it would be a fabulous record, but it's not my responsibility. So that's where I'm at right now. I bring my, my ideas to the table and then the credit on the album just kind of shows how intensely I brought them to the table.

Benedikt Hain: 12:03

So if you're, if you're lucky to get the proper credits with it, which is which can sometimes be a battle you have to fight.

Hans-Martin Buff: 12:10

Well, you know, see, that's one of the things actually I do these days as a producer. I mean, I you know most of my projects are still handshake so I don't sign stuff. But you know, when you do bigger things as a producer, you sign something and what's in mind is like I get to look at the credits, I get to okay the credits because you know that is seems to be to this day. That confuses the shit on me is how, how hard it seems to be to write a credit. To me. It's like, well, either you've done it or you haven't, but for a lot of people it's kind of a badge of honor, and for people in my business that's credit is the lifeblood.

Benedikt Hain: 12:45

It gives you the business.

Hans-Martin Buff: 12:46

Yeah, it's, it's what gets you work.

Benedikt Hain: 12:48

So it's always funny when you look at a big like a YouTube video and then you look up, you try to fight, figure out who's mixed the song or who produced it, and then you see this big list of credits of every single person who was involved in the video and no audio person. It's like so common when I want to look up things and it's always like it's can be pretty hard, even as a consumer is a listener, to figure out who did it like quickly you know, but anyway, good thing you do that with looking at the credits now. Now what's interesting to me is that you say that you set the part about. Why would I hide my ideas? Because last week we interviewed Jill Simmerman, who I think you know. Actually, she mentioned that you were her professor at at at a university in in somewhere in Germany, I think she's now working in Canada at Chukasa Studios. She's worked with some very big artists there and won a couple of junior awards or the records she worked on, and so she yeah, I don't know if if there is a connection or not, but when I talked to her she's an engineer at this commercial studio and she kind of said the exact opposite where. But that's probably because there's always a producer in the room where she was like, yes, I'm engineering and I'm not the assistant. I'm in charge of, like, the sonic decisions and everything and to make sure that the vision comes out of the speakers, but I will not bring up my ideas, even though I sometimes think they are great ideas, but I will not bring them up because there's a producer in the room and it's not my job to to say something there in regards of the creative vision and and the direction and stuff. So that was pretty interesting. But I guess the difference is is there an actual producer there that's hired for that and the engineers.

Hans-Martin Buff: 14:20

No, the difference is the age. That's really it, you know. I've got the point where you know people don't hire me for exclusively for my skill. They go like, oh, I need an engineer, and he's done some and he's at that studio, you know, which is a huge difference, anyways, from when I started. It's like when, when I started in the business 30 years ago, you needed an engineer just to run the frickin place. It wasn't necessarily just, you know, about sonic brilliance, it was about how do I get the sound through all this analog equipment and and it can reproduce it in the end. And now it's more like something you afford yourself, it's like a chauffeur rather than an auto mechanic. And so you know I wouldn't have done that unless they asked me at the time. And then you know, with a lot of I don't have really that many pure engineering gigs anymore where you know I work with people that needed somebody to run the joint, and if I do very rarely, then I vibe out the place and just go like, well, are they open the stuff? And that's just part of the deal. You know, for example, with Peter Gabriel, now I work with these very capable engineers that he works with and they're all so young, you know, they're all like under 26. So just by my being as old as I am, I kind of had some dad possibilities, you know, and it's expected and I'm used to it. So you know, I give advice that they can totally ignore, but they seek it out. So that's where I'm going with this. It's like people that hire me at this point they don't just want somebody to set up mics, they want to ask so how do you usually do this? Or how did Prince do it? Or how did blah blah do it, or you know, and so a narrative is being set up and I went I don't push myself on somebody else and, like you know, for example, the Scorpions, I've been their engineer in some capacity, you know, for 15 years or something. And the last album I produced, officially co-produced with them, kind of grew into that role from just helping out and then circumstantial Lee, I became kind of the producer. But you know, my role didn't change that much. The only difference was with producers on previous albums. I go like, can I make a suggestion? And then I bring up my idea and they go like, oh, that's cool. Oh no, you know, but it wouldn't, it wouldn't hurt anybody. It wouldn't hurt me either if they say no. And the difference, oddly enough, with the Scorpions, once it was decided that I now am a producer in this, it went from like me, offering suggestions to them, demanding them, which was I didn't expect that, but that was really interesting. Obviously, I was like so what are we going to do?

Wayne Coulson: 17:07

How did they take that? How did they take you changing from that? Were they okay with that? Did they accept it Well?

Hans-Martin Buff: 17:14

yeah, I couldn't do that without them. I was like more or less I said look, here's what it is. What happened was this so they had a very capable producer lined up, a guy named Greg Fiedelman, who himself was an engineer Many years ago. He was a recruitment's main guy in the 90s and then kind of grew into this really, really good hard rock metal dude who produced. You know, he produces metal and he produces slipknot and stuff like that. The pandemic kind of ruined that. You know. There was a while of back and fro with him on Zoom and blah, blah, blah, and then it came to the nuts and bolts of it all and it just couldn't be done to everybody's satisfaction in a transcontinental way. So the decision was made that it was going to be done with the Scorpions and I me already having been part of the sound bit and me being part of all the demos and always offering suggestions you know where we could go. And so at that point I was like, look, people, I am producing this. I should be on the album as a producer. And I went yes, that's right. So they were very kind about it. But then at that point really it went from me going wow, that was cool. Let's do that again. Why didn't you do that? Let's do like what should I do? You know, not like an helpless, you do the work type thing. But it was just a very obvious switch in the atmosphere that occurred and I was like, ah, okay, that's how that works.

Benedikt Hain: 18:43

You co-produced with the band in a way? Yeah.

Hans-Martin Buff: 18:46

And you know, even if they would have said, even though they said you're the producer now by yourself, I would not accept it. That because, yeah, it was good that way. It was really good. You know everybody had their, everybody had their thing that they could do, and you know it was a wonderful record. You know I've done, I've done lots of records with them and you know, most of the time they don't didn't have time, they had to like I mean, they always had time to make good record, but it was always about just getting it done and then going on the road and blah and all of a sudden they couldn't go on the road. So we made the fabulous record where they show up from their houses every day and we enjoy each other's company and make a record together and take all the time you want. And I have to say, looking back, that's really in all these years I've done this and with all the big names I've done this. That's the first record ever that was done. Like I learned in recording school how records are supposedly done, you do, like you know, demos and then you do pre-production and then you do more pre-production with the whole, with everybody, and then you do basics, and then you do overdubs, and then you take a break and you reassess, and then you re-record some stuff.

Benedikt Hain: 19:51

It's nice when it flows like that right, when you know exactly what to expect and there's the clear steps and everything. Yeah, yeah.

Hans-Martin Buff: 19:58

I mean, you know, the cool thing about it was too it wasn't planned that way, it just grew that way because there was no alternative. They couldn't really do anything else, and so it wasn't. You know, a lot of times back in the day when a lot of money was made with records by you know, people thought, unless I spent four years on that record, it can possibly be good, which is just silly. But you know, so this one, it just happened that way. It wasn't like okay, we'll always we'll do it by the book. It just ended up being done by the book.

Benedikt Hain: 20:32

So there you go Now another question on production and engineering and in general. Like it comes from Malcolm. He left a couple of notes for me because he he's like, yeah, he wanted to be on this very, very much but he couldn't. But he left a couple of notes and questions for me. So he said he wanted me to talk to you about the less appealing sides of the job and he says, like producing and engineering can be like comes with sort of a baggage sometimes and can ruin your relationship with the music in a way. So on a I just I'm just asking this now because you mentioned how long some of these projects can sometimes take and how long, how much time you spent with the music and you obviously don't listen like a listener anymore if you do a lot of that, and so does that change not only your relationship with the record that you're making, that you can't ever listen to it again like a listener, or does that maybe even change the way you're listening to music in general? And maybe there's downsides to that as well, and I'm sure a lot of engineers can relate.

Hans-Martin Buff: 21:33

There's a. That's a really good question, you know it's it's like there's an answer to each of these aspects. So, like when I started out, right I, one of my first big assistant gigs was with a band called Live. They had a huge album called Throwing Copper and that was not a very happy session, you know it was. Be that as it may, it wasn't a very happy session, but the producer was this guy, jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, and I am to this day a huge Talking Heads fan. And because it was kind of unhappy and they didn't give me credit in the end which I will never forgive them for no assistant credits on that thing. I do have a platinum album that I had to buy myself, but there you go, you got the platinum record, but no credits. Anyway they're, they're anyway, karma band Only who. So for about a year after that session, I couldn't listen to the Talking Heads album without the experience being tainted by the Harrison wasn't happy thing, by the way, I don't blame him for that, because he was, you know, in this situation with me being the new guy and I, you know I think I faked it till I made it very often, but there I did. I was, you know, out of recording school and I was saying yay to everything that I had remotely heard about in in recording school and but I, I, I, I winged it all, paid for it by not sleeping ever and not eating for three days and stuff like that. Be that, but anyway. So that was the experience, you know. It was like, ah, okay, this may turn stuff off for you. And that certainly happened with Prince later, where you know I was a big fan of. I was really big fan of a couple of things huge. And now I cannot watch him on YouTube or listen to that stuff without hearing things you know, because I know him so well, or at least the way he he communicated or uncommunicated with people around them. So I watch a YouTube thing and I go like, oh bad mood, or good mood, or that person's going to get fired, or that person doesn't know what's going on, but she, she thinks, ah, this really should tap me, you know. So it's not mine anymore. So that's number one. Number two listening like a listener, or like a punter, as they say in England. I think that's really important and that's one of the privilege, privileges for myself, because I, you know, I, I love listening to music and I don't listen to it as an engineer or as a producer. I can listen to it at trace value and one of my favorite moments is when the two collide. So, for example, something I've, I've known since I was 12 or whatever, is playing as I'm sitting in a really great listening environment, all of a sudden I hear stuff I've never heard before. You know, I hear like craft stuff. And then, last but not least, you know when you make, when. This is probably the biggest difference between a producer and engineer. The main job of a producer is to listen to the album as though he was a listener. So the producer is the judge, more or less. To go like this is great, and this is why I want to listen to that record as a listener, whereas as an engineer I I don't have to. I mean, I just need to make sure the snare sounds good. But the producer is both like my boss as an engineer and the coach of of the artists and the representative on my grandma, who has never in her life said honey, you know what have you done at 5k on the snare. That's awesome. She either likes her or she doesn't. You know, I mean, and that's what a producer has to do. So you know that's. It's a combination of those things. But so many of my buddies would can't listen to music anymore as music. They listen to talk radio or or totally different music. You know, they came in as as metal dudes and now they listen to trust the COVID show, whatever, yeah, something that they don't have to think about.

Benedikt Hain: 25:34

You know, yeah, I'm actually. I'm actually kind of like that. I listened to a lot of podcasts and audio books and stuff, because but that's not not because I can't listen to music anymore it's basically because I'm listening to music all day anyway while I'm working, and so maybe that's part of it, but yeah, but did it ever happen to you the other way around? Because I had that too, which is very unfortunate. Where you mentioned, you've listened to things you enjoyed as a kid and now you enjoy it even more because you hear things you didn't hear before and, like you know, you hear the craft and everything. But did it ever happen the other way around, where you used to like something and now you kind of can't enjoy it as much anymore because you realize how bad the production is, for example, sometimes that happened to me and that's. That's such a bummer, because some of my favorite records I still can listen to them for nostalgic reasons, but I don't enjoy them as much anymore because of certain things that now annoy me. You know harsh symbols Well, bullshit like that.

Hans-Martin Buff: 26:27

Well, both has happened, but that happened pretty early. So as soon as I kind of got an appreciation of sonic things Well, on the positive side, all of a sudden I started listening to stuff like Steely Dan and go like, well, that's nice, whereas before that was just to me that was just snobby, snobby jazz, dude listen music stuff. I was wrong, clearly. On the other hand, you know, for example, I'm a big punk fan, you know, and so I lived in Minneapolis. One of the great attractions was stuff like you know, the Husker Dew and the replacements, and specifically Husker Dew just sounds like shit. It does, my God. I know, but I know the. You know. I don't know the guy who did it, steve Bial said, whatever his name was, but I did stuff for the same record. Come over to Twin Tone. And I did oh no, they weren't even on Twin Tone, but anyway I did. I know people who know people, and that was clearly their decision. You know they produced their own stuff they. That was their decision. Actually, oddly enough, on that live thing, the engineer, very good engineer, lou Giordano, was there in front of the house guy. So there were lots, and the per basis of Husker Dew was the caterer. He's a great chef. Yes, I don't know if he still has a restaurant, but fabulous, fabulous, but anyway, but that that was one that just kind of got ruined for me.

Benedikt Hain: 27:49

I listened to that and I go like yeah, yeah, okay, yeah, that makes that makes perfect sense. And yeah, I'm like punk rock is my thing. I grew up listening to punk records all the time and like it's the majority of what I work on today a more more modern form of it, but like still and so it happened to me quite a lot that those records that I didn't care at all about what they sounded like when I discovered them, but now I care, and that made some of it pretty hard to listen to. But but yeah, yeah, thank you for answering that. That's interesting and also, yeah, that it goes both ways Cool. I haven't even thought about the personal part of that. I was mainly thinking about the sonic part and like the way you listen to music. But the personal part, of course, plays a role where, like the memories from the sessions and the people you worked with and all of that, and of course, that's the big part of it actually. So thank you for sharing that. Now, speaking of sharing, do you and you obviously I mean you obviously do You're at this master class, you're holding this master class in Hamburg but how do you feel about sharing your knowledge and helping engineers, you know, develop their craft and their ears, or like helping them get into this field and doing things like the master classes. And I think you're teaching, or you have been teaching at a university too. How do you feel about all of that? Because I know that I mean you're doing it so, but on the other hand, like you probably know, or you, how do you say this it's a complicated, because that's what we do here we teach people but we also know that it just takes so much experience and so much time to really get good and develop an ear, and then that's just something like doing a master class or taking an online course or, you know, even studying is not going to turn you into an amazing producer and engineer right away. So any thoughts on this and and I don't know how you feel about this, because there's a lot of different opinions- it's kind of a yin-yang thing.

Hans-Martin Buff: 29:37

You see, I mean I think the basic, the basic skills that are part of the studio job are fairly limited. You know you. You know I went to one of those private schools in the States in Minneapolis and then called Music Tech later McNally Smith don't exist anymore and you know it was a one year vocational program and then they kind of showed you the basic stuff and then the idea was you go out there in the world as an assistant, you kind of just you know you up your game and you can figure that out. And even though now I'm, you know, I am very appreciative of like proper, uh, toadmeister hookups and stuff, you know, and and just the level of information that they, they can, that they have at their service, Um, I still think that was. That was a pretty good approach, because my learning, at least in the pop world, was through people and how they took you know all the things that we all know and turn them into workflows. And so, to answer your question, me teaching, you know I, I I'm very careful to keep a balance between doing it and talking about doing it, because I know very good engineers, you know, I would say you know, almost gurus of mine to a certain extent of the past. When I talk to them now, it is totally clear to me that they're not doing it anymore. They're talking about it and they they kind of poured their memory of their experience into formulas which don't work for me, because, anyway, I don't know, it's kind of weird to say, but like, for example, when you, when you're in a system, you know, one of the things that you really learn is you work. Let's say, a session with guy A and guy, then a session with guy B, and they have totally different approaches but it both works well at the end. So it's about applying things and and using your ear to be the guide for your choice of tools, not about the tools themselves, and that's kind of the weird thing. So for when I do master classes and stuff, a lot of people go away kind of disappointed because they're figured out. If I show up there, I'll get that one little thing that I'm missing, that he has and I don't, and then afterwards I can do whatever and all I tell him is to show him like, okay, this is a good way to approach this problem, I do this and that and the other thing and then, yeah, rather than this is the one way to do it, which there isn't, so I like doing it. I'd like doing the workflow thing because I always appreciated myself. I like, I like sharing that. I'm a bit more reluctant to share the 3d thing, just because you know, in stereo everybody knows more or less what is good and in 3d they don't. So I'm trying to define that.

Benedikt Hain: 32:23

And then you know.

Hans-Martin Buff: 32:25

So I'm kind of sharing thoughts and basic approaches, but I'm not really going okay, these, this is my tool set and this is what I do, and blah, because that may change and be. People need to figure that out themselves first.

Benedikt Hain: 32:37

Yeah, totally, that makes total sense. Yeah, the reason why I'm asking this is basically, like, obviously I believe in In sharing knowledge and education, and I try to do exactly what you say, like that I my main gig is still a mixing engineer. I do that full time and on the side, I share these things and build this platform, but I do that every single day and I try to stay relevant and always improve, of course, but so that's part of it. But the main reason is that I believe that it works and I believe that people can learn things a lot quicker and with less trial and error than just a few years or decades ago, especially if you're, like, in a remote area with no access to a studio. That that's completely changed, obviously, and that's a great thing. But also the expectations are sometimes just unrealistic, like you said, like people think that they walk away with that golden nugget and then it all clicks, or they take an online course and then they move on to making like number one records, like there's something somewhere in between. Right, you can improve fast and you can learn a lot and you can make your own music sound great all of a sudden, which is happening all the time, but there's still a difference to people who have been doing it for decades and there's so much more that goes into making really, really great records. And it's always great to talk to people like you with a lot of experience, just so people get a perspective of, like, what actually goes into making these records and the stories that people went through and the learnings and all of that. And so, yeah, education and sharing knowledge is very important, but I think it doesn't work without some time minimum amount of time that you have to put into it and being in the room with a lot of people not different people also who know what they're doing. So what do you think is actually the best way these days to get into the industry? If you're not doing it just for yourself, but maybe you want to be an engineer or producer professionally, what do you think is the best way to get into that today? Is it still the whole intern, runner, assistant thing? Is it going to audio school? Is it a combination? What do you think?

Hans-Martin Buff: 34:31

I do believe like that, a solid footing of information is a good deal. I mean, there's nothing wrong if you're clever enough to work it all up with binge watching YouTube videos and stuff. It's fine. I mean, in a weird way, I'm so jealous of all that information that people have now. And you know even stuff me as a fan. I just did a car ride the other day and I popped all these beetle outtakes from Revolver into a playlist. You just learn by the decisions that they discarded more than by pulling stuff apart. But I do believe I'm a firm believer in learning from people, by being in the room with people and this doesn't have to be necessarily an engineer as an assistant and stuff, but with good artists as well too. Listening, communication that's what it's all about. See, when I started as an assistant, I found out pretty quickly that my recording school instruction wasn't really the main thing that made people want to work with me or like me, but just, I guess my, the combination of my possibility and like my possibility, my personality and stuff like me, having worked at a bar or in a hotel for a long time, just being able to anticipate what people needed, and that type of communication I think is just gold for learning stuff. And you know it's a shame, it's a shame that there isn't that much of an infrastructure for it anymore. If you take Jill, for example, who I didn't know that we had met actually, but I've, you know you get she gets suggested in social media somebody I should definitely know type stuff. So I looked who she was and it sounded like you know it's. You know a smart person who just kind of went for a spot that she thought was interesting and then made herself useful and then clearly became good at what she was doing and now she's being hired for being herself and working up a resume and stuff. You know the young people at real world. For example, most of them went either to to Lepa in Liverpool, the, the Institute of Performing Arts, I believe it's called the thing that Paul McCartney kind of founded or to the town Tornmeister course in Surrey. And they offer real world, just like every road, by the way, they offer placement. So if you go to the Surrey thing, you work a year somewhere. So you do all this high level studying stuff and they're they're all decent musicians and have a good year, you know, and then for a year they work in these places and then they go back to school. So I think that's the perfect approach is instruction, reality check in the real world and then augmenting that knowledge. And I for one, I really enjoy the very rare moments where I get to sit in on other people's sessions, you know, because at my level or my right or wrong, but it's like, you know it's it looks like espionage. When I go like, hey, what are you doing? But you know, with a bunch of buddies, it's like you go in and you check this out, you go away both with the security of like, ah, okay, well, I figured something out that they figured out as well, meaning I'm on the right track, and then go, oh, okay, that's a, that's a cool approach, and then you share that in return and everybody wins. So I think that's really cool.

Benedikt Hain: 38:10

Oh, totally, totally. Also. I always enjoyed haven't done this in a while, actually, but I always enjoyed sitting in on mastering sessions, sometimes just being there and like things that I mixed and then taking into mastering engineering and just being there and watching what they do and hopefully maybe get some feedback. That was also always at like a completely different perspective. That helped me a lot with mixing.

Hans-Martin Buff: 38:28

And that's one of the. You know that's. That's good thing you bring this up. You see, one of the main differences between, let's say, my first decade in the business and now is the, the participation of the artists, for example, and I, there was not a single mix up, I would say until about 29 ish, 10 ish or something, where the artists wouldn't be present, at least for a substantial bulk of it, and go like you know, prince, my God, I was always hoping he'd have to go to the movies or something, so I would have, like I would have a couple of hours to kind of work on that without him just going wait, wait, wait, wait, wait all the time. Now there are really good clients that I have that I've never met. I mean we've, we've faced we've faced times or or zoomed or whatever it is you do these days and email, but I've never sat in the same room with these people. I don't think that's a good thing, necessarily. And the same with mastering. So with mastering, you know, in the beginning and I'm a spoiled brat because you know, I went from like no mastering and just paying somebody to put my, my mixes on a CD master, and then you know it was there was a program called Sonic Solutions, I think it was called, and they were just at a bit of the queue if you asked them or made a little bit louder, but there was no mastering to go and straight to grumbins with Prince's stuff. So I'd sit there with Brian Gardner Brian Bigbaise. Gardner was a fabulous dude, yes, being being in charge of the Prince master, and I've learned a lot through that just not, you know, in terms of frequency range and stuff, but just like their approach to listening and their chill and stuff. Yeah, so being in the same room, I think that's. That's a loss to the digital age.

Benedikt Hain: 40:19

Yeah, oh, totally. You got to know that what I do is probably the extreme of that because, like, I'm exclusively mixing and almost all of it is online with people from somewhere on this planet, and so the majority of my, of my, the artists that I work with, I haven't met before, and so I'm kind of, for me that's completely normal. But I totally see what you're saying there and in fact, when, whenever I work with a band from Germany or somewhere in Europe that's somewhat close, I actually, if at all possible, at least at the end of the process, I like them here in the room so that we can do a final revision, you know, around something together, or like some extra production, post production stuff, or you know, just just a way of like also me showing them some ideas and getting instant feedback, whether or not they like it. The creative stuff is so much easier that way, because if they are somewhere else and I make some crazy creative decision that they might not like it's always a little, you know you do it, but then if they don't like it, you have to undo everything, and if they're just right next to you, you can just quickly do it and get instant feedback, and so I actually enjoy that a lot, but in most of the projects, unfortunately that's not possible for me. So you're totally, totally right. But I see that those are the things that I sometimes forget about because it's so normal for me, because I haven't worked in a time where you were always in the studio with the artist, actually Only the stuff that I produced, obviously before I went to straight mixing, but mixing was always remote for me.

Hans-Martin Buff: 41:39

And the thing is, you know, I work with, with a lot of older artists, so and, and you know, they, they hire not just me, but they hire who and whomever they hire to bring whatever it is they have to the table. Whereas you know, like, when I work with a band that's doing it for the first time, a professional setting, it's always kind of a fight because you go like they kind of they're just suspicious of your ideas because they perceive it as a an intrusion into their creative thing. And you just have to get used to the, the communication that is creativity, and the, you know, the constant generation and uh, uh, trashing of ideas. That's what creativity is. And then you know, for example, peter Gabriel is just a charm and I'm, you know, I get to do, yeah, well, we can talk about this in detail if you want to at some point. But, like, so I, I do what I do for quite a while. And then he comes in at the end and he, even though he's totally aware of the tools of the trade, I mean, he's made his first record the year I was born, in 1969, with Genesis, the first Genesis record. So he knows what he's doing, but he never, never one of those guys of like use that type of reverb for this, and that you know. It's about like he goes, like I don't like what it does to the narration. He's one of those people is like this is where I want to go with this song and this is in the way, and that is. You know. That is a perfect way of communicating with somebody who knows what they're doing. So, you know, with a new person, it's a lot of times about. You know, well, this is. You know, I don't like this type of compression or whatever, but with him it's not about that at all. It's about the creative direction of the final ditty and it always, always gets better once he's left the room. It's always better because he's put it in. I have a way of rethinking the approach and it's you know, it's never a rehaul anyway, it's just a little thing, but it's just. You know, just because he was in the room, the final product will be better. Well, how couldn't it be? You know, I mean, he put in the first spark and now the fire is burning. How could my fire be totally, totally the same thing. You always, you always add your own stuff to it, you know.

Benedikt Hain: 44:06

That's very interesting. Yeah, we'll get to the whole Peter Gabriel conversation definitely in more detail. Just let's just circle back a little bit because I have some questions about your, the beginning of your journey. We kind of skipped that, but I want to go over that real quickly and then move to the 3D audio and Peter Gabriel thing in detail for sure, because that's really relevant and to me very interesting. Got a lot of questions there. So one thing I need to ask, because our audience is primarily like rock, alternative punk sort of thing. Yeah, baby. And you, yeah, and you've gone. I just have to ask you started I think that was your main your first main gig, basically at Packarderm Studios right In the US after audio school, and you arrived at the studio at the time when Nirvana showed up to record in utero and I think you have. You didn't have anything to do with that record, but you were there right, and there must be some Nirvana stories or something. Is there anything you can share from that time? Because it's crazy to me to come out of recording school, get a gig at the studio and then Nirvana shows up I don't know what it felt like for you at the time. I was the same.

Hans-Martin Buff: 45:09

I never met him, you know. So they kept me out of the place until I mean, that was a super quick session, you have to realize. You know that was just such a great band. So it was a two week session and, if I remember correctly, they did basics for two days, they did overdubs for two days and then they mixed for 10. The end, that's it. And for those two days I was not allowed to show up afterwards. I cleaned up after them and I got the stories and I had the mixes before it came out. I've never been that popular in my life. It was awesome.

Benedikt Hain: 45:42

But those were the Albini mixes. Right, there was a second.

Hans-Martin Buff: 45:46

Just they stayed. The Albini mixes, I believe the only one that was remixed by Scott Litt was All Apologies, I think, all Apologies, everything else is exactly those mixes. So there, but so the stories, all the stories I have, and I have stories are second hand, you know all of you are with Brent. Who was there? Brent Sigmouth.

Benedikt Hain: 46:08


Hans-Martin Buff: 46:10

He was a great friend and he's the guy who dragged me. Now, he didn't drag me, he was a friend and he started at the recording school a bit before I did and I went to see him and to just to see him and I thought, wow, this is awesome, I'll do that too. And then he was the assistant at Packard Room and they were looking for another guy and he said I know this guy, hans. So Brent Loom's large my legend and he lives there and he's done a lot of cool indie stuff and he was Mr Packard Room for like 10 years. He's a great guy, I'll hook you up. That will be really amazing, but he has the real story, so let's just leave it at that.

Benedikt Hain: 46:49

Okay, okay, but you know, still a cool thing to be able to say yeah, I mean, there were cool, cool guys and it's interesting now that Dave Grohl is like.

Hans-Martin Buff: 47:01

You know, he's like the Don of all of us, isn't he? And then he was just the nerdy drummer, apparently, you know. And the guy who was really the spokesperson was Chris Novosevich, who was politically aware and he's of creation, descent, and that was during the wars there at the time. Yeah, there you go. So, but Pachydrum, I should say this. Pachydrum is not particularly a rock studio, it's just a great studio out in the middle of nowhere. The story behind it is that it was like the summer house of local milling kings. Minnesota is the state where Pachydrum was known for the agriculture and for mining. So, anyway, lots of rich people from that thing and they built this house, which is kind of like, you know, if you watch the graduate or something like that type of house. Just, you know a really hip 50s, 60s house. And then the guy who owned it when he was my boss at the time, he bought it and then built a studio next to it and that's Pachydrum. So it's a great place to go away and be focused. And Nirvana at the time, you know, couldn't go away anywhere. I seem to remember that they had even a fake name and they showed up. They didn't book it as Nirvana, they booked it as the Richie. Whatever Sid Vicious's real name is, I forget that name experience or something like that. Yeah, that's funny. Yeah, it was good. But it was great for me because you know that opened. You know the studio is in the middle of nowhere and so beyond the new studio vibe and the local cool band attraction, all of a sudden people like Life would show up. They wouldn't have shown up, showed up without that. And you know Steve Albini liked the place and he did before he did Nirvana, he did Actually Rid of Me by PJ Harvey there, oh wow. And if you know that and you compare the two, you go like ah, okay, and you kind of hear that great drum sound. You can get in the joint. It's fabulous.

Benedikt Hain: 49:27

And Electrical wasn't even a thing then.

Hans-Martin Buff: 49:28

Right, that was years later, I think that he built Electrical Audio, his own studio, electrical Audio oh, albini, yeah, yeah, I don't know if he had the studio in Chicago then, but I think he was in the early 90s.

Benedikt Hain: 49:42

Yeah, I think it was 96 or 97 that he built that.

Hans-Martin Buff: 49:45

Well, you know Albini blesses heart, doesn't take royalties, yeah, so he got a big mountain of money for that Nirvana thing for those two weeks of work. But mountains of money tend to go away, especially in the recording business, and so I assume I don't. I've never met a person with too much I'd love to. I assume that mountain of money did good things for him in Chicago for his studio stuff, but then it was gone. You know he'd be a multi-millionaire for if you were just taking up a cut.

Benedikt Hain: 50:21

Definitely, but he still, to the state, doesn't seem to regret that, so I'm just going to introduce him. I guess this thing is like you know.

Hans-Martin Buff: 50:28

I get, I get, I get the way he puts it. He goes like well, it's like an architect saying you know, I built this house and now you have to pay me every year because you live there. Bless, bless this heart. I do. I do believe, you know, there's a yin yang thing, because if you're good, if you're good producer, you really really part of the creative process. But he doesn't do that, you know. He creates an environment where people come in and they need to do what they do. What am I supposed to do? He goes like well, how the hell would I know You're the band?

Benedikt Hain: 50:56

Yeah, yeah.

Hans-Martin Buff: 50:58

You know, producing is telling people what to do and showing directions and I think if you do that type of production you're getting a cut. Is not, is not, is not stealing from, from the artist at all.

Benedikt Hain: 51:13

And I think, although he always says he's just an engineer and not a producer, there's still a sound to his records and he's still. He's still obviously works with the band and is part of that and I think it's it's more than just capturing it in a way. But he it's not my like, not our call to make that to you know he does. He has to know how he wants to deal with that. Yeah.

Hans-Martin Buff: 51:35

Anyway, but you know what that's? A thing that's changed anyways to during those days is that engineers have become brands. You know, if you like, let's take Peter Gabriel, because if you take, for example, so as big as record that wasn't mixed by some star mixer dude, that was mixed by the guy who recorded it.

Benedikt Hain: 51:54


Hans-Martin Buff: 51:55

And that's how people used to do it. You used you put the stuff together in the end, and now you have these very specialized, very good people who don't do anything else and do like your mix in four hours and it'll be in the end, it'll sound like them.

Benedikt Hain: 52:10


Hans-Martin Buff: 52:11

And I don't know if that's entirely good thing all the time. So I don't know where. I don't know where Steve Albini fits into this, but you can clearly hear when he sees the guy Isn't always good. But you know, I don't know if that, I don't know if that's Dujas album is that great, but you know I can certainly look at my CV and tell you that a lot of it isn't that great.

Benedikt Hain: 52:33

Also like him, being a really good and successful poker. Poker player also helps with the money thing, I think.

Hans-Martin Buff: 52:40


Benedikt Hain: 52:40

He's like the world series of poker, that he plays in the world series of poker, right, and I think he's won a substantial amount of money there already. So Wow, didn't know that, you didn't know that. No, he's a professional poker player, yeah, and those results are like public. So there's like six figure, you know, amounts for some of those tournaments.

Hans-Martin Buff: 53:00

Yeah, you know who else got started that way no. Dieter Meyer of Yellow. Really yeah, he's from a very wealthy family in Switzerland, but he was a really successful poker dude in his teens and then got into the music bit and many other things.

Benedikt Hain: 53:16

Oh cool.

Hans-Martin Buff: 53:17

I don't know.

Benedikt Hain: 53:18

I guess the other way around for Albini. I think he had won his biggest prize money in 2022, I think, so he's really good now.

Hans-Martin Buff: 53:25

Bless his heart.

Benedikt Hain: 53:26

Yeah, anyway, so interesting thing about the whole pack of Durham story. So, but, and then after that you left that place and you got to be the engineer at Prince's Paisley Park Studios. So was that something you were trying to do actively or did that just appear Like was there? Yeah, how did that happen Just quickly? How did you end up there?

Hans-Martin Buff: 53:53

No, very, very, very hard work for this. I really went for that. You went for that that's where I wanted to go before.

Benedikt Hain: 54:01

Oh really Back then, yeah, I didn't know that, okay. Okay, I just thought there was some opportunity and you were, like you know, of course, working hard for it.

Hans-Martin Buff: 54:10

But you see, one of the weird things that you find out when you kind of a bit successful in our business and it kind of goes back to the workshop thing and the secret handshake that people expect it's, you get a lot of haters in a weird way where people go like, oh, he's just lucky.

Benedikt Hain: 54:26

Yeah, I didn't mean that. I didn't mean that.

Hans-Martin Buff: 54:29

No, no, no no no, no, no, I'm just trying to explain more. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you did. I didn't misunderstand you. So people think he was just lucky. So, as though I was at the intersection I had a big sign on me, german engineer, and Prince just drove by in his limo going oh, german, eugene, that's just what I need Meaning. If they would have stood there they would have gotten a job. You know, it was just that it's, you know, and that's so both disrespectful and stupid. So I thought about this quite a bit because clearly I have luck. But you know, there's the definition of luck where Seneca, I think, said that is like. You know, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. And all the big steps I've taken, virtually all of them, have had the luck, part of the opportunity, but we're preceded by a lot of preparation. So, for example, you know the Paisley thing. So I just kind of tried, you know, send a resume there and for political reasons that I wasn't aware of at the time, the timing was off, and then I did the packer in bed and I, you know, I slave my way through that live thing. And afterwards there was like a panel discussion at the school that I went to about good assistant engineering. And it was me and a guy named Tom Garno from Paisley Park and another guy whose name I forget, another good engineer from around the corner, and so I talked about what's really important, you know, like we said, about communication and supporting people and stuff like that. And then we went to a bar afterwards and then the Tom said look, I really like what he said. So if you want to go into Paisley, I'll help you. I will help you. It'll take a while but I'll help you. And he did so. About a year and a half later I got a job at Paisley and that was when it was still Paisley it's Prince of Studio, just for those who don't know Paisley Park and that was when Paisley Park was still open to the public as a rental studio and so full staff and there was something called the Prince pool, so it was like two proper engineers and assistant that would kind of circle the in and out because he just burned people so quickly and worked so much. So one guy was let go and I was supposed to be the replacement and then Prince decided somebody else was going to do it, which at the time made me very unhappy but turned out to be a really good thing because I had a year and I was still new. I was just a new guy Generally. I was just a year and a half out of recording school, more or less. I could get used to the place and just kind of get the run of the joint and see all the technological stuff work and I would drop everything for that place, even though they played me like shit. But even if I had one of the few paying gigs that I had you know was hustling for at the time, just small engineering gigs and assisting elsewhere and even if it was planned, I, whenever they would call, I would drop whatever. And then Prince, let everybody go. Every year I was supposed to be rolled into this thing again, this Prince pool thing. Once again Prince decided, oh, I just need one engineer and I let everybody else go. I want this rental thing anymore. So I thought, oh, fuck this shit. And so he kept the one guy that he was working with at the time very good engineer called Steve Durkey, and me. I don't know why. You know he met me like twice, or met me in the sense that we were in the same room, but not like, hey, how are you doing? Not at all. And then nothing happened for like four months, with the exception of one gig where I recorded drums for like the side band of his buddy, Kirk Johnson, who was at the time his programmer and stuff and he came in and listened for a bit and just kind of sat next to me it was the closest I'd been up to that point. And then I got called in another couple months later as I was producing something myself and mixing it.

Benedikt Hain: 58:32

Oh wow, At a different studio.

Hans-Martin Buff: 58:35

At a different, totally different gig, local artists called the beatifics, which turned out to be huge on a local level. It was like as a producer, indie producer, my breakthrough, you know, in those days still selling CDs, local radio in America just modern radio was going for it afterwards. But anyway, I was starting to mix my own record that I was producing and they called me can you assist this guy, Tom Tucker, in a mix. And I dropped my own record and said you mix it, I do. And I said you have my fee, you studio owner that I trust, mix it. And he did a great job, guy and Dave Kent. But anyway I dropped everything. I went to Paisley. The guy I was supposed to assist didn't know anything about this gig and I didn't have time for it. And Prince comes in and asks me do you have time for me this week? I was like, yes, I have time for you this week. And then I had time for him for four years. But you see the reason I'm telling you all this. There is no coincidence in all this. I made myself available whenever I could and I wanted this. So there you have it.

Benedikt Hain: 59:43

And plus, even if somebody else would have been willing to do that and gotten the opportunity and got lucky or whatever, they would not necessarily been able to fulfill and do the actual job and be good at it and keep the job. That's the whole other thing.

Hans-Martin Buff: 59:57

That's the disrespectful part. I'm like you think that Prince for some reason couldn't find anybody else. He just was stuck with my sorry ass. No.

Benedikt Hain: 1:00:06

Fucking hell.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:00:07

Yeah, exactly so anyway, but I get that all the time. I get that on a regular basis. You work somewhere and you work somewhere and you do your thing and you mix and they go like, huh, this isn't as super special as I thought. Well, clearly you only make coffee there and whatever.

Benedikt Hain: 1:00:27

My question was more because more of like did you actively want to be at that studio or was there an opportunity that presented themselves and then you were like hell yeah, I'm going to do this. Those are different things, if you see. Yeah, I know.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:00:40

I really understood your question. I just, I was a great starting point to you know, to just kind of elaborate on a thing that's really important to me. It's like you know, I don't know what Jill's story is, I don't know why we're bringing it up all the time, but, like, for example, I had, this is great.

Benedikt Hain: 1:00:57

Similar to yours, actually, she really made herself indispensable and available. And she dropped everything in Germany, went to Canada. She actually I got to tell you this real quick because so you know the story just real quick she called, she was she was having to do like an internship because of the her studying at the university and she had to do like one practice semester, basically practice semester. And so she started Googling studios and I think she mentioned you recommended a couple in the US. And then she was thinking about I don't have to do it in Germany, I could probably go over there and it would be cooler. And so she Googled and found the studio in Canada, the Jukasus Studios, where she is to this day commercial studio. And she thought it's cool. And they she called them, I think and they said, and she was asking if she could be an intern, and they said, no, we're not looking for an intern, we need an assistant engineer, but that's a full-time gig and so you know, probably not the right thing for you. And she was like, well, I'm just going to drop everything, go there and like prove to you that I can do this. And she was just confident, like that. And they said, yeah, well, we can try, but like no guarantees and stuff. But then she just went and thought, like I'm just going to make myself indispensable. And she went and did, and she is still working there to this day and she's obviously not assistant anymore.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:02:03

There you go. I mean that's. You know, I had this one thing where I mixed something at a rule of Shankar's house, so the guitarist of the Scorpions and the son of the guy who takes care of his yard, it was interested in stuff. And he came and he's a death metal dude and I told him the same story. So he came, watched me for a bit and he goes like what, how would you do this? I'm like, look, you clearly have have a passion for something, so why don't you look for the studio where they do that death metal stuff you like so much? And he did so. He actually went over to Norway, wherever that was, I don't know which studio it is. Forgive me, but he got himself a job at a, at a, I think, a bread factory, so he could pay the bills and he interned and then moved up and now he's one of the death metal dudes. You know that's. There is no. There's no osmosis in our job. Every once in a while you're in the right place at the right time. You know I have some friends who were fairly unhappy assistants and then, whatever band they were assisting for, hated the main engineer or producer and just canned them like you do it and then they did a great job and blah yeah.

Benedikt Hain: 1:03:21

But even then you have to be capable of actually doing it.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:03:24

Yeah, but like you know, that is that is very, that is very lucky, or that the opportunity is much bigger than the preparation for it. But even then, like you say, you have to, like you have to stay at the job. I mean how you know, and with Prince, for example, I was put, I was put through the ringer. I would say so about. I mean the whole time was very intense, but the ringer was. I mean I started in July and then the album came out in November at bandspation. That whole time was just, oh my God, that was just Did you expect it to be like that?

Benedikt Hain: 1:04:01

before you got there Did you know that he was going to be difficult to work with, so you mentally prepared for that? Yeah totally.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:04:07

I mean, that's something I knew before because Minneapolis, clearly there's a lot of history with Prince. So you know, I got a lot of interest. You know, even when I got started there and that was one of the things, once again I got through the life deal because it was kind of unhappy. I knew afterwards that I wanted to do this even if it's not happy. You know, I'm not doing this necessarily to be buddies with the rock stars. I'm doing this because I like doing it, you know. And then, once again, good thing that I didn't get the gig right away at Prince in Prince pool, because I got a really good idea what I was in for. And then, when I was actually experiencing it, there was still a level to it that I there was beyond anything I'd ever done. But I was mentally prepared for the onslaught. And you know, the ringer part in the beginning wasn't like the intensity because it never let up, but it was him not being sure that and you will that was doing, you know. So there were like a couple of things where, like, other guys were around. You know, like on emancipation, there were two engineers that came to do a couple of songs, mixes, and they were established guys, so they kind of you know, they he trusted there there were, and then there was a problem. I said I can do this and he goes why don't you do that type of stuff? And then he asked the other person or call that person and he'd go how do you do this and that? And they'd say the same thing and that just kind of raised the okay, he's not, he's not useless, awesome.

Benedikt Hain: 1:05:45

That's very interesting, like what I was about to ask. Actually, what was it like to, as you said, have time for Prince for four years, like in terms of work hours, demand on demand all the time, I assume, or I don't know. Was it like that? Was there like some sort of yeah, well, there was kind of a.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:06:01

There was a rhythm some most of the time, but it was intense rhythm. It was usually early afternoon, start late early afternoon and then go to the morning, early morning hours. Okay, that was it. I had a pager for those younger folks that don't remember what that is. Before cell phones were all over the place, you had these little thingies and they had their own phone number and you could call them then, and then they display the number of the caller and so you'd actually go to a phone booth or call them on, call that number. So I'd get that call and it was usually a security dude and he'd go, he wants you to come in, and then I'd go in. All right, and it wasn't until much later that he called my house.

Benedikt Hain: 1:06:49

Okay, okay. And was it like? Was it, were there ever times where you were completely like it was free time you know, off work and or did you always have to be available, even that when you're when there's a week off or two or something, where you basically able to go away and then enjoy some some free time? Or was it like full on all the time?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:07:07

That was much later where I kind of put my foot down. You know, there were there were times where, you know, I realized, okay, this is, this is not how it's going to work. There's got to be some respect level and I'm not going to go into detail here, but like there, there were, there were some moments where I stood my ground and then debt in his mind was like the law, which was, you know, I wasn't expected from by me, but like the last year, 1999, was just fabulous If I, you know, I wouldn't let him down. Yeah, I was very conscious and very loyal. But I go like if I had to leave that week and I'll tell you a month in advance that's when I'm going to be gone. But you know what that was. That was the hardest thing in those days. It's the hardest thing was I didn't know that I had a day off until it was over and I hadn't been called. It was really tough on my people, but you know I was. That was actually that's the biggest luck in my life that I found my lady, Patty Buff, who I met the same day. I got my pack of Dern Gig, Good day, all around, Good day, and she, you know. So she was my girlfriend and instantly I was gone for a week, whatever, and she'd still stick with me and do all that stuff, and to this day. I mean it's much easier now, but I worked a lot and she's aware when I say I'll be down in half an hour, she takes it times three and that's brought realistic, yeah. So anyway.

Benedikt Hain: 1:08:36

So that was the tough thing.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:08:37

That was the tough thing. It wasn't planable and but that was part of the deal. You know it was okay. It wasn't a job for life and everybody I knew that too. I knew it wasn't going to be there for 20 years and that's the big difference, you know, between him and Peter Gabriel. For example, there's people at Peter Gabriel's joint that have been there for 40 years and they're really enthusiastic and loyal and well treated and that works as well, whereas with Prince, I think the longest anybody was ever there was 10 years, and those were usually people that in those intense positions you know, like engineering positions, that lived like him, you know, that didn't have a family and just lived for the job, yeah, yeah.

Benedikt Hain: 1:09:20

Did you have there been like creative aspects to that gig with Prince that you enjoyed? Or was it like purely like making sure that his vision you know you can fulfill his vision, basically, or we have yeah, that's that's the question basically like, was it more, like that's no contradiction?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:09:38

Yeah, that's no contradiction to me. You see, I I was there to make his flow possible and I have to say I mean the one thing I regret is that I didn't quit a year, half a year, before the time I did, because that was the point when it became redundant.

Benedikt Hain: 1:09:54

You quit, so you quit basically.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:09:58

I was fired and I quit Okay, it's a good long story, which another time, but anyway. But I did quit. Yes, or let me say it more neutral. If it would have ended a year, you know I would. I should have left on top, knowing fully well that it wasn't. I really knew it wasn't going to get any better than that and anyway it was like you know, it became redundant and then all of a sudden it wasn't as special anymore. That's where I'm going with this. And if it's not special anymore, it was just too tough a job. So while it was special, it was great. And you know he I mean I was just that was like my first really big gig. You know I, when I started out from my experience I really didn't have any business being Princess engineer, but that's just kind of how he liked it. You know he liked to mold young guys rather than having to deal with the preconceptions of established people which we still hired from time to time to do specific things. But just as a guy around, he liked young guys. So for me I figured okay, that's how that works, that's just how how rockstar business works. I just didn't know any better. And then, as soon as the second rockstar afterwards approach, I was like, okay, that's different On any level. It was different from the fluency of them. You know the musical approach. You know that guy never practiced. I mean that's the main difference. You know, it's like even really good people I know go like well, I well, should we never? It was always like do it, do it differently. But it was never like how do I do it. It was like should I do it this way or should I do it this way? So that was just to me okay, that's just how you do it.

Benedikt Hain: 1:11:48

All right.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:11:49


Benedikt Hain: 1:11:50

Yeah, let's, let's. Actually. That's a good segue actually to the the Peter Gabriel thing now. So you say completely different experience in many ways, but I assume you didn't, or maybe you did, but I assume you didn't start Europe with the 3D thing there, right? Or was that actually the first thing you did?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:12:07

No, because that wasn't the thing like that back then. So you returned to.

Benedikt Hain: 1:12:11

Germany in 2001,. I think right, or 2000?.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:12:13


Benedikt Hain: 1:12:14

Basically, and was that when you started working with Peter Gabriel, or was there?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:12:18

like no, no, We've been working together for a year. Yeah, yeah, this is a fairly recent deal.

Benedikt Hain: 1:12:23

All right, all right, all right, okay, so, okay. So what happened then for the in those 20 years between Paisley Park and then the Peter Gabriel thing?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:12:32

Well, in the beginning, lots of learning things as well. You know, I came back to Germany and for let's say, the first seven, eight months I was just super busy because people were really, really curious the Prince guy and all that works and stuff, so has it been exclusively Prince for those four years, or did you like also work with some other people or make some connections outside of that?

Benedikt Hain: 1:12:59

Probably no time for that right.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:13:00

I did some on the side. I did like some produce, yeah, some indie stuff on the side. Okay, so Vendelius album called Buzzbomb, very good If you like indie stuff, if you like Power Pop stuff. It's a band called Magnetone, fabulous, fabulous indie band.

Benedikt Hain: 1:13:18

Make sure to put all of that in the show notes, wayne, so people can check that out. Thank you, yes.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:13:22

It's top-to-fine Vendelius R and Spotify, but Magnetone R and and the beat-fix I mentioned earlier R and D there, which is a real shame, because that was a fun little beat-a-last Power Poppy type thing. So that was the main thing. And then, clearly, with Prince, I worked with the guys that worked with Prince, and that's how Cheryl Crowell and no Doubt and all that stuff happened. Chuck and Larry Graham you know we didn't only just do, only just do Prince stuff, but you know, he he collaborated with other people and he produced some more, helped them with their stuff, whatever. When I came back to Germany, though, so I did that, and a couple of couple of insights came around. One was like it's really different, and I can tell you this you know, it's different in how people hear stuff, especially at the time. So one of the things that was current at the time was that Daft Punk album with one more time and stuff on it, and so people, friends of mine, who were into similar music you know, indie people like rock, people, alternative rock, people told me oh, that's a great record. And I bought that record and I listened to it and I thought it was the biggest piece of shit I'd ever boring fucking Euro pop crap and I put it into my extensive CD shelf never to reappear, type stuff. And then, four years later or something, I was home alone and my family was gone and I was doing something boring like taxes or whatever. And I figured, okay, I'll get some of the lost children of my CD collection, I'll give them another chance. And I popped in that CD of the Daft Punk CD. I thought that is awesome, that is what an awesome record. So they didn't change, but my approach to listening to music changed and that is local. So one of the things I found out, you know, people would hire me for two things that I didn't really think about much, because I don't care why they hire me, they must have their reasons. But I was like you know, I'm not gonna hire you, I'm a rock band. You did prints Do my garage rock record. I was like huh, how does that work? That was number one. Number two was people who really like prints would hire me and then neither one of those two would work really. And then I realized, ah, I get hired because I worked with a famous guy.

Benedikt Hain: 1:15:55

People are curious, so they figured, since he's great.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:15:59

Whatever they do must be great if they work with me. That was mistake number one. That was the garage rock band. Number two even the guys that like prints and knew what I had actually done which you know, a lot of people who like prints like Pup Rain and Sight of the Times, where they have no clue what I actually did they didn't want to sound like prints, they just they liked stuff like Jamir Koi at the time. So there was a lot of learning for me, which was not happy for a while. And then I figured out ah, okay, and then I reestablished myself as somebody who did good sound with that experience rather than as a copy of that experience. But that took some time. I totally underestimated what a big step there was. And then I got into various cool places. So the first couple of years I think most of the zeros I worked with a fellow named Musti actually called, talked to him earlier as a friend to this day. I don't know if you know him, but Musti is this guy. We were a lot of people down. So Musti did his biggest thing with Sexbound by Tom Jones that he wrote and produced and did. He called Horny, which was huge, and many others. He's a really good producer and so we did everything from remixes to his own stuff or his own stuff to producing stuff together for local bands and stuff. So there was a lot of stuff until around 2009. And then I got into the Scorpions camp and just did lots of lots of things. But those were the two main deals. And then I got into the 3D stuff much later, 2018 ish and really got into it. And so Peter Gabriel was looking for somebody to do 3D music for headphones, which was my main thing. My first thing wasn't atmos, it was like making it specifically for headphones, making it sound great, and headphones. And he asked a friend of his acquaintance of mine as well, a guy named Andrea Sennheiser, who's one of the Sennheiser owners, and he said well, if you really want to, if you want to do this, right, there's this guy, bob, you should contact him. And then I had booked time at Rearworld for my own project as a producer before, so his people knew me and I got along with them really well. So Peter sent me. One of those great emails of my life was like hey, I'm Peter Gabriel, I want to do 3D, can you help me? He's a very eloquent fellow. It was a nice email, but he had his two guys in CC and one of them being his head engineer. We started having a conversation and just having a couple of Zoom meetings as four of us, and then I had booked more time there anyways, and then me and his team, we did like some experimental binaural things and just got more and more into it. And then Peter said you know, let's, let's work on my stuff, which was great too I should tell you this because it's a great story and that you know it's totally anti prints too. So with prints it was very, very. You know, he's very, very protective of his music, so I didn't have a combination to the fabled vault. If we needed something from there, he could go down there, open it for me and somebody would there be watching me. He'd trust me. In the end he really would feel very trusted. But you know, I he almost apologized for doing this and I said no, that's fine, because we'll both be comfy. You know there will be no misunderstanding and he wouldn't. You know, even if you would send it to like other people he would like, he would have me make a cassette, a really low volume, so they couldn't bootleg it. So he was very protective of it. So, okay, class forward a couple years, many, many years, 20 years, to to pick a real thing. And he booked me for a week and right away he stood me up, which was communicated to me the week before. I said, no matter, because he stood me up for eno, know. And I said you know what I'd stand myself up for Brian. You know, if I could I really would. So I showed up there and again used to the room and all that stuff. They had their atmosphere in the red room. And then I talked to his lovely assistant, faye, and said Is there anything I should listen to before he shows up in two days, just to get used to something, fully expecting to you. Now he, you know he doesn't want to you guys to listen to his music without him around, but you went like I'll ask them when they take a break in the you know thing which was in London, we were out at real world studios so she did, and she comes back with this hard driving with the entire album and goes. He said you can do whatever you want. And I was like, so I listened to the roughs of virtually everything that they've been working on. I made notes about it and just started with the one that intrigued me most for 3d. And then he showed up two days later and we just been having fun ever since. But that's just a whole different approach. You know, he just he just so refreshing. I really like that guy, you know, yeah this dude?

Benedikt Hain: 1:21:22

Yeah, absolutely Sounds like it. Have you been to real world before that? Or like, have you worked there before working with Peter Gabriel?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:21:30

That's like I said earlier. I had booked it, I had been there several times. So this, this wonderful artist I work with at a mark, the last album we did we, you know, we have put together this wonderful band of British musicians and we just brought in some basic sketches around the idea of the elements, musical sketches, just like little licks or base ideas, and then we got the band to jam on it great jazz musicians from from London and they would jam on it for like half an hour, 40 minutes, whatever, and I cut them together just kind of this is how it would work. Maybe, and all these maybe turned out to be the final songs, and then Ada and I wrote melodies and lyrics on top of it and then we kind of rounded up beautiful record, jazzy type stuff. Anyway, we did this at real world as well, so that kind of happened parallel. We went there once or twice during the in between lockdown time, which was which would be a past podcast in itself about the immense possibilities of testing and sitting around in semi quarantine and stuff like that.

Benedikt Hain: 1:22:48

Yeah, totally. Do you remember the first time walking into? I just have to ask it do you remember the first time walking into real world and like what that experience was like? Because people, if you're not aware, just Google that studio. I think there's even a virtual and I don't know if it's still online, but there used to be a virtual like 365 degree tour that you could do of the studio on Google so you can actually virtually walk through the studio and and and have a look at all the the rooms from all kinds of different angles and stuff, and this is like a spectacular studio. I've never been there, but just from doing that virtual tour and looking at those pictures and it's about as crazy as it gets. And so so, do you remember walking in there for the first time and what was that for you?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:23:26

Do remember working and walking in there for the first time. But I don't know, I'm just, you know, I'm kind of out of the fanboy age. I have to say, walking in the pazy for the first time was a bit. I expected that actually much bigger deal and but I should say I'm a very big Peter Gabriel fan and he actually, you know he's always been kind of cutting edge with technology and at some point the cutting edge of technology were actually CD ROMs, which is a format nobody remembers. It's like it's a CD you would pop into your computer and then you could do a little tasks or whatever. And there was one that he did in 90, whatever, three years, four years maybe, and I bought that average to this day, and part of the deal is a virtual tour. You actually walk through those rooms and you can click on things and doors open and little videos play, and I was aware of the places where I'm going with this.

Benedikt Hain: 1:24:14

Okay, yeah, yeah.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:24:15

But you know, I mean, I mean, the last time I was really kind of when I walked into a studio was when I walked into Abbey Road for the first time and that was in 2011. And I was such a you know that that got me into recording is me my beetle fan this. So going there was just like well, but even there, after about an hour of just kind of trying to scrape the beetle sweat of of the instruments they used, or whatever, it was just a great studio. It wasn't about. It wasn't about the past anymore. It was about me doing stuff and I have to say real world is an amazing environment for doing stuff. They're really really cool and it's the setting is great. I actually like the smaller studio better because it is a really homey places like it's called the woodroom, and it's not quite as distracting because you're in that big thing, you know, and you have this just serene view of the lake that it's built in, where the fricking swan swimming by and the heron perching itself on this window sill and they're like how do you work in that? You know? You're like all the time. You just kind of you know you're your own screensaver and just forget what you're doing.

Benedikt Hain: 1:25:39

Yeah, all right. Yeah, totally makes sense. So, so you got there again then, with this time for Peter Gabriel, with Peter Gabriel to work on the stuff. I don't know if you've done all the 3d things at real world actually, or if it's a lot of it you can do wherever you are. I don't know what that is like, but I started that work in relationship. Now, the most interesting thing to me, and to us probably in the audience, is the difference between turning something that has already been produced for stereo and mixed for stereo into like something that works on at most or some sort of immersive format, versus actually making music for that format and then also making sure that it works on headphones and is not just like a bad compromise and you would actually need the room for the real experience. So that's the most interesting part to me, because all I've done so far is I've dabbled with it on headphones. I don't have an Atmos room. I've been to Atmos Studios, though, and the difference between listening in an Atmos room and headphones was so big that it was kind of hmm, headphones impressive, yeah, but not the same thing. And also the stuff that I've listened to was clearly not most of it, at least, was clearly not made for that format. So the stereo mixes actually almost sounded almost always sounded better to me, and yeah. So to sum that all up into one question like what's the difference between turning a song that's been made for stereo into an immersive format versus making music for 3D, as you call it, or any of those 3D formats?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:27:07

Wow. Well, to explain it from stereo terms, you know the similarity that I always try to put up so people understand what the problem is. If you take, for example, early stereo, pop stereo, if you take Beatles stereo from 1965, it was like the whole band is there and the vocals is there. That's not stereo, it's just not mono, it's just some weird way of putting shit places and then fast forward. You take money by Pink Floyd and their stereo is part of the composition, almost. You know he didn't compose it for stereo necessarily, but it starts with like the sound of money, things moving, and then the band starts and some of it is recorded for stereo, like the drums, not like Beatles stuff. There's one Beatles song that is not where the drums are in mono, which is the solo on every road. Everything else, every drum recorded on any Beatles song, is mono. It's one track only. So the drums are all of a sudden recorded stereo, so there's natural movement in that and then there's reverb on a dead stereo and then at some point in the song the reverb goes away. So they're playing with the size of the stereo. That is part of the creative expression of the song itself. Now it's exactly the same thing with 3D there's. You know it's. To me it's exhilarating at the same and depressing at the same thing. Exhilarating because you can only do better. You can do and you can do really cool stuff. Depressing is because when I listen to the spatial playlist on Apple whatever fucking hell if I listen to 50 things and 47 are shit, then that's a good quota. You know, the three great things make me happy and everything else is not bad necessarily, but it's just repotted stereo and I go like what's the point of that? I mean, but you know, you got to start somewhere to give you an answer. You know how. I should tell you how I got to it. So I listened to this, this headphone thing only, and then I figured okay, if you, if you, if you expect people to listen to 3D and headphones, you should make it for headphones. It shouldn't be a compromise, it should be it. So I found various ways on how to use the very limited tools is so called a minor lizers, to make really cool. But you know, headphone type stuff, the M3D, and one thing I mean I can tell you that I did is I used them like you use compressors. You know, when you use a compressor in your session. I have hundreds in my plugin folder. That came with the various bundles that I have, whatever, and they all pretty much do the same thing. The only reason I use different ones is because the colorization, the extra sound they bring to the table. So I do. I do the same thing with binauralizers. In the same session. I use four or five. So I use that sound through that one because it sounds best on it, or this makes it sound bigger, it sounds crap on something punchy, but maybe, or I leave stuff stereo. You know, even if you have a stereo makes not everything stereo. Lots of things are mono. I just punchy in the middle. So why would I do the same thing with headphones? I have stereo in my head. I put stuff around it with different binauralizers. So that's the basic approach. Then came that atmos bit with Apple and that kind of put put an end to that, because if you put stuff in atmos, at least with Apple using their own minor lizer, at this point I have no choice but to use a one size fits all binauralizer. So that's a bit unfortunate, but I, you know, I take it as a positive thing anyways, because at least all of a sudden. Now 3d music has a platform. So I'll deal with that later. I'll just postpone that. Speaker was versus binauralizer thing to a certain extent. So now what? So now we can do all this stuff and a lot of people just do the atmos bit because they get on the Apple playlist and that includes record companies. You know, I know people who do an okay job, who get a lot of work from record companies because they're cheap. So they do a so called stem mix. They get like stems, a certain amount of stems, from the stereo guys, and then they mix them somewhere, which to me has two inherent problems. One to me, the 3d thing is not a mixing process. Like I just said, it's a production and arrangement process. You fill the space you have with music to guide attention like you do in a stereo arrangement, probably less purposefully, but nonetheless that's what you do when you arrange. So it's not just a mixing, it's not repositioning stereo. What's the point of that? That's just a gimmick. That's problem number one, the creative one. The other one is that nobody understands what this is all about, because no record company would ever say to any artist they signed so let's see who's going to mix it for stereo. Oh, there's a guy who has two speakers and it's going to do it for 200. They never do that. Well, that's exactly what they do with Atmos. They just want to get it over with and get it through and then, you know, put it on the freaking playlist as one of the 47. That don't suck, but why, you know? Then there's the stuff and that's the rarest where you make music specifically for it, where you go into the studio and you go like I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but it'll be for all over the place. So I've done like a couple of songs for that my own and with other people also in real world. And then the third one and this is what I do with Peter Gabriel is all going to an augmented version. So clearly he's worked on his stuff for a very, very long time. And then I command and he wants to do a 3D thing. So he gives me the drive with this stuff and I get the same session that the stereo mixers. Get there two stereo mixers, both amazing people, chad Blake and Spike Stent. We all start from scratch and we can do whatever the hell we want He'll. You know, and I didn't trust this in the beginning, when I started working with him. But it's for real. He wants you to do whatever it is you bring to the table and he'll call you back and won't resent it. That's the best part. He won't resent if you do something that he thinks is not good. He'll just say, okay, we'll try some else. So anyway, I start from the same thing and then I listen to it and I go like how do I fulfill the creative vision of this in 3D? And, for example, the first one I did, or the first one that was released, is a song called Panopticon, which you can. You know he's currently releasing songs every month. Yeah, so you can find them on Apple Music and anywhere where Atmos is streamed, so not on Spotify. The inside mixes are the Atmos mixes. So the first one that was released in January is called Panopticon and there's a pre-chorus chorus tough to say which is which that is based on like acoustic guitars. So I got the song and clearly that's the basic thing and I was like, how am I going to get two acoustic guitars to fill the room and tell the story like they're supposed to? So I said I'd like to record more acoustic guitars and they went like okay. So I got a buddy of mine or somebody that's on their label as well Stu McCullum and his engineer, katie May, who's a fabulous guitarist as well, and recorded them six more times and all of a sudden, now, when you listen to it, it's better because it fulfills the creative promise at the spot. So that's what I do I get these things, I go through it and, you know, depending what the song is created, there's a difference. If it's an experimental thing. I can do tons of things even without adding stuff. But any any one of those songs, I've added bits here and there, very subtly sometimes, but just to make sure the creative promise is fulfilled in the round all around you. So that is, I think, is where that that's what I'm trying to bring to artists at this point, where I'm like, oh, I don't need to take over your process, but I can take you a step further, we can augment your thing. And I'm I firmly believe, once people hear what you can do with the space creatively by just rethinking your arrangement process a bit, that'll also totally change their, their production and composition, product, product, the way of approaching things, process, they're there. That's really going to totally change that approach Because all of a sudden they go oh, I can work with this, I can guide attention. This way, I can go from just mono and go. You know just we talked about Nirvana earlier that whole like be quiet, get loud, be quiet, get loud thing that they saw for the pixies is like you can do that the same way, from to do you can have enormous impact. And once you do something like that, then stereo is never better.

Benedikt Hain: 1:36:39

Okay, that's very interesting, and can you give us some, some examples maybe for, like, let's say, a normal, like standard rock band? You have, like guitars based, drums, vocals, some examples of what you can do, because people just think, of course still think in stereo, like we have, you know, kick, snare, bass up the middle in the vocal and then we have guitars left and right and the overheads are stereo and that's pretty much it. Like, what are some in that scenario? Like what are some things you could do in 3d?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:37:11

Probably. Let me give you an example. So this German band is like a hip hoppy outfit called the Fantastician, fia, the Fantastic Four, and they made an album where they re-recorded some of their finest songs Grace Hitz, with their wonderful touring band in the country of Liechtenstein, so it's called the Liechtenstein tapes and they took me along to put up some extra mics, along with the capable people at the studio where we were. So I put up extra stuff for specific things as I felt necessary. So I decked out the room with the room mics. So, for example, for the drums I not only had the stereo stuff that was recorded and I also used stems from the very capable stereo mixer, but I had the room sounds that are recorded with it. So I could make it bigger if it was supporting the creative vision. As we all know, room is not necessarily always a good thing in rock productions. Then there was a percussionist that had tons of percussion set up in the round right, and usually you know you have individual mics and stuff like that and I had like a specific mic set up that was on top of it. So if he played something right back, that's how I'd record it. So in the room, in the mix in the end, in the final 3D thing also he's moving. But he's moving naturally because that's just kind of how it's set up. So the next step clearly would be next time when he actually produced for it. Where do I want to play it? You know, it's not just so it fits around me, but like where do I put what? That'll be the next step, but that hasn't happened yet. Stuff like the Leslie, I wouldn't just use two mics, I'd use four, so it really totally around you. You know stuff like that and two extra overdubs, that for example there were horns, it was a horn section three piece. I'd asked him to double their stuff for me twice and like in a rock environment, for example, I did the Scorpions album. I co-produced the rock believer album very fine at most versions, and I didn't know it was supposed to be in 3D. In the end that was, you know, right when we were mixing it that whole Atmos Apple record company packed with the devil thing established itself. So they came up we need Atmos. I mean, you tell me this now. But since I was a producer I clearly could access stuff that usual mixers can access. So for example, when I get chorus would get really big. I just take from that, from the other stuff we recorded. I make not just doubles but quadruples of guitars, and so that would get bigger. That way I put stuff around me in the round. You know, and I should say you know, that was clearly produced for stereo and the genre rock isn't particularly spacey. Have you go lucky? And I would say about the third of the songs are better in Atmos and the rest is worse, which is good enough, because I think, as we progress on the creative 3D route, where it should be at the end is that you choose stereo, 3d, whatever, depending on how you want to present your songs, so you can have an album with that, say, two mono songs, four stereo songs and ten Atmos songs, not because it's a way of presentation of extra, but because it's a great way of making music. That's where it needs to end. That's my mission in this and that's why I get to do all the fun stuff. Yeah.

Benedikt Hain: 1:41:14

That's really cool, but do you think that now the typical small self-recording band like our audience self-recording artists, musicians, people just starting out should they worry about or think about the whole 3D thing actually, or should they just? Is that something that's relevant or is it only relevant for bigger productions at the moment? Is this something you can actually learn or do at home to a degree? Totally, what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, Totally.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:41:42

Yeah, I really got into it and I do a lot of re-amps, my augmented approach, even when I do stereo. I got some of the stereo. For example, if I re-amp a bass and I just popped that, not even through a bass amp but through a subwoofer and an active speaker, and then put even just two mics in the room and then put those mics behind me Also, my bass level and depth is just enormous. And I do that here where I'm sitting right now, in my living room, which is a very, very small living room. So I wait till everybody's fucked off, I put down the shutters because there's a playground next door, and then I just re-amp it so you can do that wherever. And that was my first approach when I was still before the Atmos craze really took off. But, like when I was doing this for headphones, my thinking was how do I do this so everybody can do it? And everybody can do it. Most, or several DAWs have now the Atmos thing even wrapped into their structure, and I'm sure Pro Tools will do it at some point too. But even there it's not hard. You just need the extra renderer, even stuff like Ableton, which is reluctant. There's a great plugin called the Dolby Atmos Composer, where you can kind of go behind the system and still do it. So anybody can do it at their house, can do it with headphones on a train, whatever you want to do, it's just a fun it's just creative it's just awesome. You can do more stuff. You don't even need a huge thing, it's just about space. If you do a great ballad, you can just I mean, a Dell could kick ass just with a piano in that. Or to give you an example, how do you do this? So when the Peter Gabriel thing kind of took off after I started on the first two songs, more things were recorded and you recorded some piano. Both him and a friend of his time recorded piano for a couple of songs in a really nice big space. So he took me along so I could put up extra mics. Or when they recorded strings, I put a basic recording array, a micro array, in the middle that kind of builds a picture of sonic picture of the strings as they are. So kind of the mics that I put in there make you be like right in front of the conductor, in the middle of the orchestra. So that was the basis then of my sound later. So that's really easy stuff. The only thing you need more, even at home, is you will need more tracks, because if you record that stuff you know you can hide it and then even use it for your stereo stuff and you just have to put it into folders and you have to make your piece with a lot of tracks the biggest Peter Gabriel session, including all my aux tracks and my setups 720 tracks. So it does triple about. If you're doing it right, triple your track count. But who cares at this point?

Benedikt Hain: 1:44:52

I love your perspective and the whole approach to the headphone thing, because most people that I've talked to so far have been like, oh yeah, it's like headphones are this bad compromise and nobody has that in that most room really, but you need one. And then like that whole conversation and hearing you say like, basically what if headphones are not the compromise but the thing that we make this for and that most people have, and maybe we can even make it on headphones because that just makes sense if that's what people also listen on, that's a whole different perspective and I think it makes so much sense and I really love that and that makes it accessible and that will, if a lot of people try that and play around with that. I just can't wait to hear what comes from that and how it evolves over the next couple of years and the creative things we're going to hear then. So this sounds pretty exciting to me and I just don't see ever that people have installing these headphone systems at home or properly. That just won't. It has to be headphones, like there's no no, no, no, no.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:45:52

Actually, the other thing that's in development is smart speakers, and I'm not just talking those expensive, long things, but I mean, I'm in the very lucky position that I get to have lots of conversations right now with people that develop stuff, because they're all looking. You know, we're in the weird thing and the weird situation that there's tons of stuff actually to listen to that stuff on some type of quality level and not no content. So they're really interested in people actually wanting to do it and have an idea this works, this doesn't. And I've seen some things that are they're going to blow people's minds and aren't like four and a half grand audiophile things, but there'll be like a combination of what you have. Anyways, there's stuff in the works. There's tons of it. Man, it'll be all over. I mean, the next step will clearly be and currently just in the really expensive ones is the car, which is. You know, you sit in a fixed spot for a long time and you can really set up how that works. And I've been in a bunch of cars now and I've signed very thick NDA, so I'm not going to tell you which ones, but awesome, man, it's going to be. You know some of it just really cool ideas on how to both get like the four people in the car, properly served with punch and being in an atmosphere environment. So it's common man, it's there.

Benedikt Hain: 1:47:23

Okay, awesome, can't wait, can't wait.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:47:25

And you know, since I'm on technology, I think the one thing that's really difficult about the atmosphere is that people don't realize. Technically, you know, don't be at most specifically, and a bunch of others. It's like it's not like a bounce like you're used to Like, where you know, okay, this is how I like it, and then I bounce it and that's how it'll be forever. No, it's like a package of stuff. So you put so-called objects, so you put your objects in there, and what's in the package is the sound, and then whatever direction you gave it, so, like in the movie theater, superman needs to go from there to there. One sound and the direction are in the package, meaning something on the other end, where the package is delivered is gonna measure the room. Clearly, this is made from movie theaters and no matter if it's 22 speakers or five, or headphones, superman is supposed to always slide from there to there. The downside of this approach is it's always different, you know. So as soon as the unpacking mechanism changes, the music you made sounds differently, and that's pretty unbearable. So where I think this should all go and I hope it will is that you will have some packaging for, let's say, your phone and so you make a mix, if you want to. That is just for headphones, so it's perfect for headphones. And then you give the data package for whatever else. So you deliver all these things in a stream and then your phone will figure out ah, he's wearing headphones and it'll switch to the headphone mix. That is exactly how I want it to be. It'll sound better too it's so much better than any one size fits all binauralization you'll ever hear. And then if it's stereo, it switches to the stereo mix you know what I'm saying Rather than every time that package being reassembled because that's really what it is, you have to realize it. So it's a package with, like an IKEA assembly thing, and then the thing at the end goes okay, I'll put this together for this room. Not ideal. So tons of stuff in the pipeline for things to get better, and headphones, in my mind, actually being not only the most obvious but also the easiest, because you're always in the sweet spot. Look at us, all three of us. We have right in between where we're supposed to be. I'm not sure if you guys maybe have left and right reverse. That may be the worst thing that happened, but other than that. There you go.

Benedikt Hain: 1:50:02

Yeah, exactly.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:50:03

Totally, you're in a sweet spot and you can take them wherever you want and it'll work just fine.

Benedikt Hain: 1:50:09

And you're right, that's probably where my that's exactly what my experience was so far is that I've listened to a lot of stuff on studio headphones different kinds, on the AirPods, and then the weird like Apple 3D thing where you move your head but things stay in the same position. Like you can even do that with podcasts. I listened to a podcast with you actually yesterday where I had that accidentally on and I was like cooking and I turned my head around and I was like why is Hans on the left?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:50:31

now and I was like, oh, apple 3D thing, I can't help it.

Benedikt Hain: 1:50:37

So I listened to that and then I've listened in a proper Atmos room, which was pretty impressive. And then I listened on my Sonos soundbar thing that is Atmos compatible but it's just a soundbar and like, of course, widely different experiences and mixes, and so that was my main concern, like how is this ever going to be one mix that I can enjoy wherever I listen?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:50:57

You know, it's like one thing at a time. You see, for me I'm an optimist, and the cool thing about the current situation is that before this whole Atmos Apple thing happened, I always got three questions like how is it going to get to people, how are they going to hear it and where's the music for it? And now the first two questions have been temporarily answered. It's streamed, it's with headphones, mainly, and now I can focus on making good music for it, and I'm totally convinced that if people latch on to the creative part of it, then the rest will follow.

Benedikt Hain: 1:51:37


Hans-Martin Buff: 1:51:38

You know, as soon as Taylor Swift, or the Taylor Swift we don't know yet, is going to make music just for that, you won't even know how quickly they're all going to change their approach, if that's what people want to hear.

Benedikt Hain: 1:51:52

Yeah, great, awesome. Well, let's get to some of our listener questions, if you don't mind, and then we can wrap it up. I want to be respectful of your time, of course. Final thing before we do that your masterclass. We just have to bring it up again. Is that going to be about the 3D thing, or is that going to be something completely different? What are you?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:52:12

going to do at Studio.

Benedikt Hain: 1:52:13

Cine in Hamburg.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:52:14

My studio is in Hamburg. We're all going to have headphones on and I'm going to talk exactly about yes, we're going to talk about 3D for headphones kind of how my thought processes were and then I'm going to show some actually Peter Gabriel's songs that are out at that point and just the difference in sound through different binauralization. So just to show you what you can do with headphones and at home very important, that's the ticket you can do all of this at home. You don't need 12 speakers, you don't need the Dolby guy to show up to measure that for you. If you do it right, you can do it at your home and as it sounds on your headphones, that's how it will sound elsewhere. Just buy maybe two more headphones just to compare things. I'm not going to tell you brands, but I would if you asked me there.

Benedikt Hain: 1:53:06

Yeah, awesome. So I can't wait for that. That's going to be so cool. Can't wait to experience that. And yeah, you guys please get your ticket and be there too. Again, it's studiosdede slash tickets and the link is going to be in the show notes. All right, so to the questions. The first one was the government have announced a new law. There are too many microphones and we're sick of it. From now on, there's just going to be one type of microphone and that's it. They're saying. They come to you for advice what microphone do you choose to be the only microphone that can ever be manufactured and used from now on?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:53:43

I shoot them all. Bring down the government. Bring down the government. No, I'm not. That's the first thing. That's exactly the wrong question to ask me, because there is no such thing. I think that's one of the big problems in a lot of studios, because they figure okay, we buy a bunch of mics because you need more than one, and then we buy the microphone which is Then everything's going to sound amazing.

Benedikt Hain: 1:54:13

Yes, everything's going to be so great.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:54:15

No, you see, when I work with singers for the first time, I always do some type of press conference thing. I have a pretty good idea of what might work on them. So I put three, four mics up and then I let them sing a verse and a chorus on each one and then we compare and I would tell you 50-50 if it's going to be some dynamic mic, versus the 12 grand tube mic that's there. It's not one size fits all. So that question, that would be the dumbest government thing ever.

Benedikt Hain: 1:54:52

And by the way.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:54:54

I should not. I hope I'm not insulting anybody, but this whole idea of one size fits all is just that, my thing at all ever, one of the things I slept around with me to do my 3D stuff. I slept around some very nice, very specific Sennheiser mics like 80-50s with a Super Cardiott, very expensive. But then I have a sack of Beringer B5s because they cost like whatever 60 a pop. If one tanks, who cares? And they're nice Omni mics and they're great to set up for a specific room thing I do. So I'm not going there.

Benedikt Hain: 1:55:29

Yeah, I love that. Thank you for that answer. I think I, and there was also people with mixed opinions on that. That's why I love the slate modeling thing that I'm talking into right now, just for quick, you know, doing shootouts, and then if I want to pick the real thing, I can, but sometimes I just use that. But just options, yeah, anyway.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:55:46

If that's the sponsor, I agree with you. Otherwise I wouldn't. No.

Benedikt Hain: 1:55:49

No, it's not sponsored.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:55:51

I would never buy one of those things. I'd buy five other ones at first, yeah.

Benedikt Hain: 1:55:55

Yeah, that's something. I know. Mixed opinions there, but I just like the flexibility. I'm not pretending this sounds like the real thing and I have for some of the real things but like, or I used to have, but but that's, you know, that's legit.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:56:08

I think the thing that bugs me about is that they pretend like it's five of those things. It's like plugins. You know I have three plugins that pretend to be pull tags pull tag cues and none of them sound like Totally like a pull tag. But they all sound great. They all have their own thing. So if you look at it as their own thing, totally legit. But you know I do this, this is actually a fun workshop. Every once in a while I get to do mixed workshops at EpiRow. So what I do is I let the guys run the joint and just get all the any of the old stuff that they want to use and then we compare it to the plugin and it's never exactly the same. You can get it pretty close. They're both good and a lot of times the plugin has clear advantages.

Benedikt Hain: 1:57:03

So but then again two different pull tags from like five years apart or so also don't sound the same Correct. No, anyway, are you in the box, by the way? Sorry, you get to back to the listener's questions, but are you completely working in the box when you?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:57:15

mix yes, or do you yes?

Benedikt Hain: 1:57:17

Cool, great, all right so, but yeah, love the answer and then that's actually a great segue. Next question is your favorite stock plugin?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:57:26

I have to say I've replaced most stock plugins. I used to just use the 7EQ thing on. I mean Pro Tools guy, the 7EQ thing, that was fine.

Benedikt Hain: 1:57:38

All right.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:57:39

And I guess the bond factory being part of Pro Tools, that would be the pull tag. Actually the pull tag, not the mid one, but the high and low one, the 1A, cool, awesome. But I've replaced most of my stock things with specific plugins and I'm also wary of my moods. You know, there's always one that is totally the best thing I ever had and then six months later I don't. I'm like, I turn it off and I go like Right now it's, for example, the RC color I love that thing. Or sketch cassette, which I use, and I'm positive that's not going to be around anymore in a year and a half or so. Yeah, Even though they're great, but right now I'm just in love.

Benedikt Hain: 1:58:27

Okay, so that could be the answer to the next question, which is favorite fancy plugin, not stock, but any Currently.

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:58:33

I have to say I resisted the FabFilter stuff for a long time because I figured why would I buy something for 150 that I have as a stock plugin? But the way I get to use their EQ opened a whole new avenue of using equalization for me and that's really, I think, put like a 5% thicker layer of whipped cream on my mixes. What else do I like a lot? I mean I just you know I that I really like. I just told you I do a lot of parallel dissonant and I pretty much my go-to parallel limiter is the Chandler, usually UAD version of the soft version, but depending, yeah. So that's really something that's been around for a long time.

Benedikt Hain: 1:59:33

Cool, thank you. If you could work with any artist, either from history or the present, who would it be?

Hans-Martin Buff: 1:59:41

You know, I've applied and I think by now he knows this, but he didn't. I have never told him. I've applied at real world studios, even when I was working for Prince. Oh, wow, because I thought, wow, you know, maybe the listeners don't know, but like, real world is not only Peter Gabriel's studio, whom I really like as a musician, but it's also the home of his record company, which does world music. I'm not a huge world music fan per se, but I like interesting music and it's all interesting. And I thought as an engineer, wow, what a better place to hone your craft than at a place where you know everybody from the world comes around and does your thing. So I'm already working with the people that I currently would, that I really want to work with. And there's one guy that's still missing is Paul McCartney, because he's just so mother's milk, you know, and I guess one of the things you learn when you work with famous people that you like as a fan is you don't know them at all until you meet them. And with Paul McCartney, I could probably know more about his kids than he does in terms of like. In terms of like CV stuff, you know, birthdays and stuff I probably. He probably doesn't know your call on his birthday. I do. You know that type of stuff, so it's kind of a blessing in disguise. That would be a great moment, you know, considering that his little band started my interest in studio recording. But then again I'm really worried that he, I'd lose this infinite pool of fun by having that effect that I described earlier, where I was like, okay, I know the guy and even if he's nice, now it's my body from the studio, it's not the stand that I've made mine. Yeah, so that's one. And then there's tons of creative people I'd love to work with tons of them. Björk is one of them, for sure. Okay, I wish I'd love to work with, yeah, fabulous, yeah, yeah, new people. You know, people like Squid, or everything, everything, or Billy Eilish, or people like Jay-Z you know, I'm sure he could. You know he's clearly or back, you know. Those are people that know how to reach people but still have a sense of adventure, and that is exactly where I'm trying to go with that 3D stuff. Those are the people that will get the train rolling. So I mean for those.

Benedikt Hain: 2:02:21

Awesome, thank you, great answer. Next question what are you currently listening to?

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:02:28

You yeah.

Benedikt Hain: 2:02:33

That's a good answer.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:02:34

Actually, that's what it was when I told my current playlist. So I've been running around I always make play a playlist where I shop stuff that I want to check out. So I've listened to the current Squid album. I'm listening to the outtakes of the revolver album that was on there. I listened to my son his name called himself Buffy B-U-F-F-Y. Your son is a solo artist, is that right? Well, he's just. He dabbles in production, doing a thing he has a really easy hand with with with lyrics. I think he'll be really, really good, but he's. What he's missing is exactly what we talked about earlier as a team. You know, because he's good enough to run Ableton, he's great at writing lyrics, he has basic recording chops, but he's missing the friction of collaboration. You know, no Peter Gabriel without Genesis. I don't know if he'd hit me for saying that, but, like you know it just. But you need to find out what you don't want to. You really do and fabulous, fabulous stuff. So that's what I'm currently listening to.

Benedikt Hain: 2:03:45

Perfect. Next questions are from Jan Polimans from the Netherlands. He says have you ever had one singer and just one take for the lead vocal? And that's it. Yes, I don't know if he means in terms of arrangements or like or, or the one take thing, I don't know, but that's the question One singer, one take for the lead vocal.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:04:06

A young? Yes, I have, and actually many times, a lot of times. You know, singers usually like to do things a bunch of times, but when I do vocals especially, you know, even if I don't use it that way, I feel like I'll let him do the entire song a couple of times and then we focus on individual parts, if that's what you do, and then at the end I'll sing another song, if they still have it in them, and you'd be surprised how much from the imperfect takes first three run-throughs is being used in the final thing. That doesn't answer your question, but yes, I've had singers like Eishak Akhan be one of them. That's just special people. I worked with some really special people.

Benedikt Hain: 2:04:57

Yeah, yeah. It's important that you added that, I think, because you can't assume that you can pull that off every single time you record. Right, You're not supposed to even if you could.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:05:07

I mean, you know, that's the thing it's not about. I mean, the thing the difficult thing about the digital stuff right now is is that you know what you can do afterwards. So the power of post-production is so immense that you catch yourself going during recording. Well, if I get one more take of that, then I can do turn this into that. So all of a sudden I'm the artist, because I'm taking the straw material and I think you have to watch yourself what you're doing it for. So you have to make sure you get the ultimate performance, and if that means doing it 20 times or twice or once, it doesn't matter. You just got to have the ultimate performance. And whatever works works. You're making a painting. You're not taking a picture. You're not doing classical music. Classical music is you know, the piece is done, it's arranged, everybody knows what they're going to play. A bunch of people are a unified sound source in a room and you, as a guy, you capture that properly. That's what you do. Our world is totally different. The studio is a canvas and you fill it with paint. It can be photo realistic, but it's a painting always. So there's nothing wrong with doing 20 takes and making a comp, but there is something wrong with not wanting to capture the essence of the art.

Benedikt Hain: 2:06:38

Yeah, yeah, totally.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:06:40

There you go, Jan Run with that.

Benedikt Hain: 2:06:42

Totally Thank you. One second question from him is like one tip for DIY self-recording artists these days, like the one thing you want to tell everyone.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:06:54

Do not enough stereo recordings. Don't just do one mic in front of stuff. I think as soon as you have something that has kind of a sound body acoustic guitar, cello, even something like clarinet put more than one mic on it. You don't have to use both if you're done. But I feel like use, record a sense of the environment that you're in. I personally don't do that for vocals. I'm not one of those people who has like two vocal mics on things, but just record, record, record. One of the weird things is you know all of us, we have all the space in the world. We don't have to pay 150 or now 300 euros for a roll of tape that holds 15 minutes. We can get really nice artists for 250 that hold a terabyte. So why be stingy? You know I always say I can't toss what I don't have. So record it before you. Don't censor yourself and don't censor your time either. If it's not good yet, do it again. I think that's really what you get from the princes and the Peter Gabriel's of this world. They don't stop until they like it. With Prince it was doing like 20 songs and then picking the 18 that he liked. With Peter Gabriel is doing it as long as he needs to, until he likes it. All right, perfect segue to the next.

Benedikt Hain: 2:08:22

Okay, thank you. Thank you so much. Perfect segue into the next question. This is by Ryan Flair, from the US. This time he says what's your view on the timeline and how long music should take to finish. One of the things I struggle with is trying to finish music fast while also not compromising artistic integrity and quality. Where's the line in your opinion? Any tips for those of us who struggle with that?

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:08:43

Yeah, it kind of. Yeah, it kind of goes to what I just said. You know, the one worry I had when I started working for Peter, with his reputation for taking a long time, is that I was socialized in the studio by Prince, who didn't take a long time. It was about catching lightning in a bottle and moving on. It wasn't about refining sounds and stuff like that, not at all. So I have a pretty good, this is done meter and my personal, very subjective approach would be just do quite a few things, especially if you're an artist. Right, so if you're DIY, you do your own stuff, just do more, and then, if you don't like it in two years which, if you're a proper artist, you will anyway. I mean, I'm to this day. I'm always surprised if something I did last year doesn't suck, because I'm always kind of half thinking I just learned everything that's really important yesterday. So, anyway, if you're an artist, in two years you're going to think what you've done now. I could have done that better. The only I think the only guideline is at the moment you deliver it, you need to be happy with it and then, even the day after or two weeks after, you can reconsider. But my approach would be not revisit what you had, but do something else. Just keep on keeping on.

Benedikt Hain: 2:09:58

All right, thank you for that answer. For that answer. Final question this comes from Thorsten from Germany. He says how can something you be created in music production or mixing if each and every one is using reference tracks while working?

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:10:16

That's an excellent question. I mean, everybody uses reference tracks. If you read or watch any of those making-offs you go like really. I'll give you an example, because we talked about Muck tells me about. So the first thing he did with Queen was this is his story, but he'll forgive me, I'm sure the first thing he did with his Queen was crazy little thing called Love and that was successful. They were hanging him unique in the studio that he built music at. And then the basses came around with this thing, with this bass riff which turned out another one by it's the Dust, and Muck said you can't use that, that's a total rip-off. And me him telling me this I'm like rip-off of what? Why would that be a rip-off off? And he goes good times by a chic and I've known both riffs my entire life and I've never put the two together ever. But they kind of changed it a bit but that's the same thing. It's.

Benedikt Hain: 2:11:20

I've never even thought of that.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:11:24

Get them. It's the same skeleton and nobody ever cares. So who cares? Who cares? If everybody gets inspired by something, that's totally okay. The Beatles stuff some of them are straight rip-offs. Paul McCracken, John Lennon actually got into trouble because he'd said it in interviews that he lifted the line from a Chuck Perry song or something, or this song was inspired by one line from there and there, whatever it is, or this. You know, I want to do a Motown song, whatever it is, and then it doesn't sound anything like it. Why? Because they have personality. And there you go, People out there. That's really what makes a difference between a great artist and an artist that nobody knows is personality, and there's nothing I can tell you about that. If you have one project, it you know. I mean, if I would have been the singer of Nirvana, I guarantee you we wouldn't be talking about it right now. But Kurt Cobain just was a force of nature by looking at him and the boys and all that stuff. If you would have been the singer of the Pixies, that's probably what we'd be talking about, and the singer of the Pixies is great, but he's a bald, big dude with a voice that isn't Kurt Cobain's. So that's what I'm saying is you know, all of this is great, but personality, this is what's coming through. You need to. You're conferring with the audience, so say something, Don't be afraid to do it. And that's the beauty of my life right now, I'm bringing things to the table where people don't go. You know, I don't know. It's not like you know this and that, and I've had that so many times. You know, when I was still doing a lot of pop things like when I was around Musty for him as well, but for everybody around there, it would always be the one song a year that I'd have to remake six times. And the ones that were good, it didn't matter because the people who made it had a personality and it didn't matter who they tried to be, because you can never properly copy that well. You know that type of stuff.

Benedikt Hain: 2:13:36

Awesome answers, hans Martin. This is a great way to end this episode. Thank you for answering the listening questions. I'm sure they are going to appreciate this, and I have so many more questions here, but it's impossible to do it today. We're going to do a follow up in Hamburg, I think I'm not wrong. We're going to have a slot there at the podcast lounge. If not, we're going to have to do it, but I think Mark told me about it. Anyway, there's going to be a follow up at some point because there's so many more things I'd love to know. So, if you're up to it, we might continue this in the future.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:14:06

And awesome.

Benedikt Hain: 2:14:08

So thank you again for your time. Thank you for showing up to this interview and answering all of our questions for two and a half hours almost, and so, yeah, we're going to meet in Hamburg. People once again go there. It's the Studio Szene event, and it's happening in October 17th to 19th, I think, and Hans Martin is going to be there. He's going to do a masterclass, and so please go and get your tickets. Can't wait to meet you all, and can't wait to meet you, hans, in person. It's going to be cool.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:14:39

Likewise, you guys have a wonderful evening.

Benedikt Hain: 2:14:42

Thank you, hans Martin, thank you for your time and have a nice day too. Cheers, yeah Cool.

Hans-Martin Buff: 2:14:49

Cheers. I'm glad to call on you here.

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