Name: Daniel Bergstrand
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
If we rewind to the very beginning – where did your musical interest come from?
I don’t know, I guess I also wanted to be a rockstar like so many others. Guitars have always been fascinating – my brother and I made guitars out of boards and wires and performed infront of mom and dad a lot. Haven’t really thought about it, dad had a lot of vinyls and it was more or less always music on. Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” had a huge impact on me and I remember listening to that one over and over at our summer house…that could very well be it!
How come you ended up on the path of recording and producing? What sparked your interest?
As a kid recording at home on a portable was exciting and fun, but it really changed from hobby to obvious when we got to record at a “real” studio. I immediately felt that this is what I’m gonna do – the technical part and the gear was way more interesting then playing in a band. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, because the studio owners let me hang around after we were done with our demo and they even allowed me to stay there over the night to test out the gear and track my own things. It didn’t take long until I was hired. I believe I was like 16 or something, because I was not permitted to go to the release parties due to the fact that I was under age.
Is there an album or project you’d say “put you on the map”?
Things really started to move along after Meshuggah´s “Destroy Erase Improve.” Strapping Young Lad´s “City” definitely helped out too. I’d say these two got it started.
Since then, you’ve worked back to back on tons of amazing albums with bands like Behemoth, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir and many, many more. Name a few productions from your catalogue that you feel particularly proud of (and why).
It’s an album that turned out really cool in my opinion, organic and machine-like at the same time. I can grab every instrument in the mix and I almost smell the wood from the drums.
What to say, Vogg´s killer riffs and the tracks are amazing. The drums sound perfect and the bass and guitar sound makes me happy. Rasta sings like a god too.
Pain of Salvation “In the Passing Light of Day”br> This was a joyful record to work on. I spent a lot of time creating different drum sounds to fit each part. It’s an extremely dynamic record, so it was quite a challenge – in a fun way.
Working with Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth) is always a pleasure, such an amazing person and drummer. The songs and the arrangements on this album rocks. I really dig the prominent cymbal details, remember we spent some time on that….it paid off.
Čad “Bastard” and “Medvede”
This Slovakian band kills and I’m a true fan. I’ve mixed these two records and hoping for more in the future. Can’t really describe what it is with this band that gets me going, true honesty I guess.
Shovel “Latitude 60° Low”
It’s a raw album with a lot of energy done on ADATs, no triggers or editing – just hungry young guys doing the best they could during two weeks in the studio, if I’m not mistaking. I still enjoy listening to this album from 1999, and that’s rare because I usually start to panic when listening to old albums I’ve worked on.
In a mix, where do you usually start: the drums, guitars, vocals or something else?
I normally start with overhead and ambience followed by the kick and the snare. I do vary depending on the style of music. If it’s a kick oriented style of music, it sure makes sense to start with the feet.
Is there any instrument you generally struggle with more than any other in a mix?
I’d say the rhythm guitars, maybe not struggle with, but there are a lot of options which sometimes makes you go crazy and sure as hell eat up time. It often ends up with the first choice for some strange reason.
Name a few all-time favorite albums that you did not work on where you think performance, sound and feel all come together in perfect balance.
There is many on my list and I probably forgot to mentioned the best ones, but here are a few that popped up:
Nine Inch Nails “With Teeth” and “The Fragile”
Barkmarket “L. Ron”
Björk “Homogenic,” “Post” and “Vespertine”
Radiohead “OK Computer”
Fink “Perfect Darkness”
If you produced an album that you couldn’t mix yourself, who’d be the first name on your list for the gig?
If you weren’t producing records for a living, what would you do for a career, you think?
I guess something food related, probably in a kitchen or behind a bar or something.
Which Toontrack products do you regularly use and where in the creative process do these come into play?
Superior Drummer, of course, and now lately EZbass. Superior Drummer is perfect for adding missing flavors when mixing drums coming from elsewhere, for example lack of snares, a poor room or weak cymbals. I also really dig Toontrack’s MIDI libraries when writing songs or when simply dried out of ideas. Hats off for EZbass! I’ve been rescued numerous times lately when having to repair out-of-pitch basses and other minor mistakes.
Best studio moment ever?
Me and Devin Townsend and some friends formed a band called Grünt and tracked liked 10-15 songs over a day. The rules were simple: You are not allowed to play an instrument that you’re comfortable with and others choose it for ya!