Grammy Award winning Thomas Juth chats inspiration and contrasts…

27 Apr 2016

When he was ten years old Thomas Juth and his older brother made a studio in their basement.
They’d lock themselves away in it for hours, so when he finally got to the stage where he had to choose what he wanted to pursue in life, his dad supported his curiosity for creating sound. After discovering SAE in Sweden but being unable to get funding, he applied to our London campus and the rest, as they say, is history. Now with a Grammy Award under his belt and a golden self-awareness for what inspires his best work, we’re rather glad that Thomas Juth ended up studying on our turf rather than anyone else’s. He takes five minutes to share his thoughts with us…

 

As a Mixing Engineer, who have you worked with?
Jamie Cullum, Jesse & Joy, Cat Stevens, Elton John, Luis Fonsi, James Bay, Tinchy Stryder, Ricardo Arjona, KT Tunstall, Joshua Radin, Leslie Clio, Apparatjik, Aha, Zaz, KT Tunstall, Manuel Carrasco… wow that sounds incredible when you list it like that.

 

It is incredible. With all of this experience, what would you say was your defining moment?
It’s got to be working with Tony Maserati. I've always been a big fan of the sound of his mixes. So to finally work with him was a big inspiration and taught me so much about mixing.

 

How long did it take you to find work after graduating?
I started working at Olympic Studios one week after studying, then moved on to Mayfair Studios. Bands like Radiohead and Tina Turner recorded there. I moved later to Kensltown Studios working for Producer Martin Terefe which was seven days a week for seven years. I reckon in that time I worked on 900 songs. It was a music machine and an insane experience to practice my techniques on. I remember feeling very humbled by it at times.

 

Did you ever think of going to LA?
Yes, I tried it for a month at one point but didn’t really like it. It seemed to me to be ‘less about the art and more about business’ at parties. It seemed quite fake.

 

As a creative person do you find that your surroundings are important for your mindset?
Yes, absolutely. That’s why love Berlin; it’s a city of contrasts and whenever I am out, or strolling around, I am always reminded of that and constantly inspired.

 

How does that effect your sound creations
I recreate the aspect of contrasts in my work. So for example you could have quite a dry song with no reverbs in it and then you add a massive reverb and it goes from dry to wet. It stirs up emotions when you hear it because of the dramatic contrast and then I work it in correctly with the mix of course.

 

Every one is so keen to create the next best thing in the market. How do you predict trends?
To be honest I try to not follow trends too much. Of course I sometimes listen to what’s on the radio, but when I’m at home I love listening to my collection of 60’s, 70’s and jazz. It serves my overall goal - I always want to make music that is timeless. I want to create mixes that push the specific artist forward. With that in mind my work becomes more about the sound than the actual music, if that makes sense.

 

What piques your curiosity and inspiration for each track?
It’s actually not always music. I sometimes find inspiration from random views, architecture, art or images. I’ll look at the emotion portrayed in a picture for example and ideas will start flowing in my mind, which translates into the mix I’m working on and hopefully gives it more of an emotive sound which transpires across the music overall.

 

Does your work require you to travel?
Oh yes, I’m basically a travelling mix engineer. I have three really good contacts in Spain, Mexico and Berlin who get me work and it has helped my career enormously that I can speak a bit of Spanish to be able to collaborate with the artists to ensure I’m giving them what they want for each track. Many months of the year it’s just me and my laptop, I always venture into many different studios though, to finish the mixes.