Erik Reichers is a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-nominated, audio engineer, sound mixer, and studio designer. He has produced, mixed, and engineered for some of the recording industry’s most notable artists and executives including Bono, Snoop Dogg, Eric Benet, Ron Fair, Tal Herzberg, BTS, Ryan Tedder and DJ Battlecat. In 2011, with the help of his friend – producer, mixer, and engineer Bob Horn – Erik designed and built the Echo Bar Recording Studios. Erik also designed Dave Pensado’s studio and many other studios for well-known clients. Erik recently accepted the Head Audio Engineer position for Warner Chappell Production Music.
We recently got to sit down with Erik and ask him a few questions about his career, advice for younger engineers, and using Vanguard microphones.
Q: I’m always curious about where great engineers got their inspiration to even launch down that path. For me it was Ken Scott and Tony Visconti’s names on the back of Bowie’s Space Oddity album when I was 12. Whatever it was that they did, I wanted to do that! What was your inspiration?
Growing up, my mother would take my sister and I to listen to the Salt Lake Symphony orchestra, Ballet West, as well as other musical productions when they came to town. We would listen to Tchaikovsky, Handel, Holst, Rimsky-Korsakov and other classical composers in the house on a regular basis. I think my foundation started there. In High School, I stepped into a recording studio for the first time and was overwhelmed with the process. I began listening to music differently after that experience. I wondered how the recordings were made, what gear was used, etc. From the drum sounds on Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” to the strings on Melody Gadot’s “From Paris With Love”, I’ve been inspired by so many recordings it would be hard to name them all.
Q: Your brief bio on the website says you worked with some industry giants like Ron Fair, Dr. Dre’ and Jimmy Iovine. Who were your mentors on your journey?
Well first and foremost my good friend Bob Horn has been someone I’ve always shared the love of engineering with. He was an assistant in Nashville when I first moved there to get my degree at MTSU. He already had a wealth of experience and never minded me being a gadfly with all of my questions. To this day, Bob and I exchange knowledge and of course have been studio partners for 11 years now. Tal Herzberg was Ron Fair’s production partner when I started as a runner at Interscope Records. Tal took me under his wing and taught me so much about workflow and professionalism when I first moved to Los Angeles in 2001. He taught me everything I know about Pro Tools. Once he felt like I was ready, he put in a recommendation for me to get a job at Ocean Way where I went on to assist Jack Joseph Puig as well as work on sessions at Record One with Dr. Dre. Just being in the room with those giants and gaining the experience was better than any formal education I’ve ever received.
Q: Prior to building the Echo Bar with Bob Horn, you obviously spent a lot of time in OPS (Other People’s Studios). No doubt there were some winners, but also some rooms maybe you wouldn’t want to work in again. From those experiences, what did you absolutely have to accomplish in the design of the Echo Bar, and what were you adamant you would absolutely avoid?
Yes, I have worked in many studios where the monitoring environments were just abysmal. For me, I think the most important aspect of designing the Echo Bar was to build a control room that not only sounded great but allowed me to do my job easily! Taking the “guess-work” out of my monitoring environment has allowed me to make better recordings and mixes.
Q: By the way, we heard a rumor that some of the fellas in BTS were using our V44S stereo mic on a session or two you were conducting at Echo Bar. Please share!
Sure. I’ve been doing recordings for BTS ever since they came to the Echo Bar to record their 2014 album, Dark & Wild. I’ve tracked drums, bass, guitars, live horns, choirs, the UCLA Marching Band, and a handful of other instruments and musicians for BTS. Vanguard microphones have appeared on many of those recordings and albums. Recently, I was asked to record a choir for both RM and Jimin’s solo albums. I used the V44S in a mid side configuration to capture the choir for both of their albums. It’s a great microphone with a forward midrange that isn’t harsh. That mic in (combination with) the Echo Bar live room is a great match!
Q: You recently accepted the Head Audio Engineer position for Warner Chappell Production Music. Congratulations! Besides your experience and awesome sonic sensibilities, what do you want to bring to WCPM?
Thank you. It’s an amazing job. I love my team and I am fortunate to continue working with some of the best musicians and creative composers from around the world. My goal is to provide a sonic signature that will inspire the composers and musicians we work with and provide our clients with a product of the highest quality.
Q: What advice can you give to aspiring engineers just starting down the path?
Never stop learning. Don’t get complacent with your craft. Challenge yourself, explore tools and techniques you’ve never tried before. Learn from those experiments/experiences. You will be a better engineer for it.