Enrico Tiberi is an Italian music producer and mixing engineer based in Berlin. He has produced music for Modern Sky Beijing, Sony, Warner, Universal, and a number of independent artists. He has studied with Tchad Blake (Arctic Monkeys, The Kills, Black Keys, Peter Gabriel) and from film scoring to death metal a good amount of collaborations and works have been done since 2005.

Enrico has also worked with a number of Romanian artists and bands, including the Timisoara-based group The Case. Our curiosity led us to speak with Enrico about this collaboration and his production and mixing work.

What sparked your interest in audio production? And how did you become the producer and mixing engineer you are today?

Well, that goes back to when I was a kid. I grew up in a very audio-oriented, music-loving family. My dad has been an audio and hi-fi designer and crafter for his whole life and educated me on how to listen to music. He taught me the principles of audio physics and how to play my first guitar and piano chords. At home, we had an organ, piano, guitars, and pedals. We’d play together and my mom would sing, and I’d find chords by ear. Only later at the conservatory (I studied classical guitar and classical piano) did I discover I actually have perfect pitch. I had my first experiences in the studio when I was a kid and at home I’d record lots of things on cassette tape recorders. I said to myself I’d like to have a recording studio since I was a teenager. With my first computer, I discovered MIDI and DAWs, so I started recording my friends’ bands and my own stuff. I have never stopped learning and experimenting since then!

As a mixing engineer, your work looks very versatile, as you worked on projects like Modern Sky Beijing, Sony, Universal, Warner and many indie labels and artists. Do you have a sound that is recognizable in your mixes?

There must be some recognizable elements, yes. My colleagues tell me that, but I just do what it takes to bring the production to the next level. For sure, I love big walls of sound, but I also like when things are intimate and ‘in your face’ when they need to be. My focus is usually on crafting the biggest low-end possible for the type of genre and having punchy, big, and dirty-sounding drums. I have been massively influenced by old school Motown classics and early blues and rock, and I like to bring some of that ‘soul’ and dirt into my mixes, even if it’s modern metal or electronica. Being a 90s kid, I also have an acquired taste for tape-like idiosyncrasies (sometimes creating sections where things go slightly in and out of tune, for example).

How do you approach mixing? How important is it for you to understand the artist, the vision, and the track rather than “just” make it sound good?

I like to have diversity in my projects and I listen to very different types of music. I always try to adhere to the artist’s projection of their own sound. I ultimately love enhancing the dynamics of the arrangements through mixing, building large soundscapes, adding some extra grit and punch, and that sound that makes you say ‘what the fuck!’ If there are vocals, I usually ask for the lyrics to help convey the message of the music, especially if I can’t understand them when working with artists who sing in different languages than I speak.

Do you have a basic, go-to process before adding more experimental ideas on top? Or do you approach each project differently?

Every project is approached differently. I am aware that some mixing engineers have templates they built over the years, but my game is different. I love to start from scratch and come up with different experiments every time; it keeps my inspiration alive. I tend to use the same basic tools on my mix bus and I have my favorite sets of samples, IR, amps, and analog gear, but everything around them keeps changing.

Do you rely more on mixing in the box (ITB), or do you prefer to use analog hardware?

My mixing is hybrid. I tend to use lots of analog saturation and compression (my analog rack is made of 8+ channels of saturation and 8+ vibey compressors). Lots of color coming from the analog side plus all the control possible from the digital plugin side. But I have done mixes entirely ITB that sound as good as the hybrid ones. It’s 2024; digital has come a long way since I started using it back in the early 00s.

As you are a popular producer and mixing engineer, I imagine your workdays will be most likely very busy. Do you have any daily routines to structure your day and to keep your ears fresh?

Yes, sleep as much as possible, possibly take naps (lol I know) when switching among different projects, drink lots of water, and take bike rides during breaks. That seems to reset my ears pretty well, keep my motivation high, and make me feel grounded and less de-energized when I have really busy days.

What music have you been listening to recently and what excites you for the remainder of the year?

I have listened to lots of different stuff. Loathe and Ten56. on the heavy side. Incredible productions and brutal riffing there. Daughters’ ‘You Won’t Get What You Want’ hasn’t left my heavy rotation since the day it came out in 2018(!), and I have been listening to lots of Low, Beth Gibbons, and Telefon Tel Aviv. Chelsea Wolfe’s new album is incredible too! I’m also excited for my projects’ upcoming releases; I’ve a couple lined up already, check out Nrec and The Shell Collector if you’re curious.

I want to ask some questions you about your latest Romanian collaboration, namely The Case. How do you think their sound has developed since you first started to collaborate with them?

They have gotten heavier! The first song we worked on, I think, was in 2022, and since then I think both the band and I got to know each other’s potential more and have taken advantage of that.

What’s the first thing you do when you receive a new track from The Case that you’re going to master?

I’d love to say that the first thing is a satanic ritual with my cat meowing some esoteric mumbo jumbo, but it’s just listening to the song with attention. I’ll take a couple of notes on what I think are the peak moments in the track and identify any dynamic changes. Basically, I find the ‘story’ that the song conveys. After that, I’ll pull up the faders and start carving out the sound accordingly.

What’s the wildest, most drastic thing you’ve ever done to a The Case track?

The bass is a very delicate instrument in the recording process. It’s really easy to have a bass recording that sounds inconsistent because it depends on many factors like string quality, instrument setup, performance, instrument quality, and each specific bass guitar also usually has a couple of dead spots on the fretboard. Especially in modern music, it’s the instrument that carries a lot of weight because contemporary productions rely on low-end perfection. In the last production we’ve done, I kept some of the original bass parts and completely rebuilt the rest from scratch. Honestly, it’s something I do quite often in other productions too.

What’s something you’d love The Case to focus on more?

I’d love them to keep the production interesting as they are doing, and keep experimenting with their potential, push their boundaries further, and come up with always new and interesting solutions!

What’s one piece of advice you’re giving to The Case yet they never listen?

Ahaha, honestly they’ve been pretty receptive to my suggestions so far, I can’t complain. I’ll send one more suggestion right now, though, and we can keep them in check together in the future. I’ll quote one of Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno’s oblique strategies cards as a challenge for the next song: The Case, discover the recipes you are using and abandon them!

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