Christer Fehrling and Mads Husvik from Audient distributor, Polysonic Scandinavia took a trip into the heart of Swedish countryside, on a mission to find out more about the Värmland school for creatives where they sold an ASP4816 mixing desk a few months ago.
What they found surprised, delighted and inspired them. Audient lets Mads take up the story from here…
It’s the first Monday in June, the sun is shining and we’ve been blessed with something as rare as an early summer in Sweden. My colleague Christer and I are in a car driving up a short gravel road that leads up to a handful of houses and a sign that says Geijerskolan (the Geijer School).
the large windows in the recording area with the view of the surroundings surely must trigger the students’ creativity
It seems we have entered a German tourist Shangri-la. Old red wooden houses from a long time ago, a quiet lake and forest as far as the eye can see. It looks like a postcard with one of those moose signs in the corner. You can buy them in any gas station here in Värmland. It’s the land of the midnight sun just waiting for midsummer to be celebrated. I look for campervans with the D on the back bumper, but I can’t find any.
Behind the wheel of the car is our friend Håkan. Håkan works at Musikhuset in the nearby city of Karlstad, a music store that’s been an institution for the ever-growing local music scene for years. Håkan knows everything you need to know about building and operating a studio.
He has promised to introduce us to the people behind the Music Production program at the school. Geijerskolan has a wide variety of music-based education alternatives, and Music Production is one of them.
Geijerskolan is well known for giving students the freedom to evolve in a creative community
Why are we here, you ask? Well, in one of those red houses I mentioned earlier, you will find an ASP4816 analogue recording console. And that’s why my colleague Christer and I have taken the long journey from Gothenburg to Ransäter in Värmland. It’s a beautiful trip and the postcard moments have been plentiful, but the goal has of course always been the ASP4816 console and the studio here at Geijerskolan.
In the spring of 2020, the school opened a brand-new analogue studio with the Audient ASP4816 as its centrepiece. The building is called “Zetterlund” after the famous Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund and houses the studio, as well as a couple of rehearsal rooms. The rooms have been constructed to optimize the sound and recording experience. The large windows in the recording area with the view of the surroundings surely must trigger the creativity of the students, and it creates a calm and peaceful working environment. The set-up in the control room is simple, but good. Quality above excess.
“It’s important that the students can work with a real analogue console” ~ Stefan Deland, teacher
“It’s important that the students can work with a real analogue console. They need to make their own mistakes as well as finding their way around a ‘real’ studio,” says Stefan Deland, one of the teachers at the school. Geijerskolan is well known for giving students the freedom to evolve in a creative community and learn by doing.
We meet up with Olivia Lundberg and Jarl Furingsten, the two main teachers of the Music Production program. Music Production is a mixture of studio production and songwriting, focusing on the commercial aspect of the music business. Here students will learn to write, record and mix their own music, and hopefully in the future join the long line of successful Swedes in the international music industry.
Olivia and Jarl are both songwriters and producers when they are not teaching here at Ransäter. They both spend two days a week up here at the school, splitting the teaching duties between them. Jarl says, “it’s important that we can work with what we teach to stay up to date and evolve as educators.”
“using the console instead of the computer and listening to the tracks, not seeing the tracks on a screen”
Olivia nods in agreement and adds that switching roles between teaching songwriting and production makes things more interesting for both students and educators. “It keeps everybody on their toes and on their best game,” she says. “We are proud to be able to give the students something they can’t learn from a YouTube tutorial or from recording directly on to a computer.”
Instead of teaching how to save recordings on the computer, the students learn how to prevent making mistakes when the tracks are recorded. “We are more hands-on when we record. Patching the right cable in the right place, using the console instead of the computer and listening to the tracks, not seeing the tracks on a screen. These are the things that will get you ready for working in a professional studio,” says Jarl.
When building the new studio, Stefan asked Håkan at Musikhuset to help him find the perfect analogue recording console for their purpose. They chose the Audient ASP4816. The signal flow, the preamps and the size were just some of the things that made them go for the ASP4816 console.
“The Audient ASP4816 is a perfect size console for this studio,” says Jarl. “The old desk we used had 48 tracks and most of the tracks were not in use, but on the ASP4816 all the tracks are in use and sound great.”
this is simply a great place for creativity
There is a positive and joyous pride in the room when we hear Jarl and Olivia talk about the studio and the Music Production program. I can’t help feeling it rubbing off on me as I’m standing in the recording room enjoying the view of green fields and the lake outside. This is simply a great place for creativity.
After a quick photo session and hearing Stefan, Olivia and Jarl talk about the plans for next semester and the strange year 2021 has been so far, we get back in the car and head back to the west coast. But not before passing by Nilsby, the birthplace of Harry Nyquist, and of course stopping by Karlstad to have a chat and a meal with the other guys at Musikhuset.
Thanks to Mads for that atmospheric insight – and good luck to the next Music Production students at Geijerskolan!