Recording engineer (Tom Waits, Fantomas, Wallflowers, Peeping Tom)
In 1991, S. Husky Hoskulds made the huge move from his native Iceland to pursue a career in music production. As a student at UCLA, he earned a position at One on One Studios and began his career in audio engineering. Husky quickly moved on to numerous big-name studios including Sunset Sound Factory and eventually opened up two facilities of his own—The Mute Matrix in Los Angeles, CA and The Mute Matrix East in Reykjavik, Iceland. Each location specializes in overdubbing, mixing and mastering for Hoskulds’ elite clientele.
Husky has recorded, engineered and collaborated with artists such as The Wallflowers, Gipsy Kings, Tom Waits, Bettye Lavette and Sheryl Crow. He recorded and mixed the critically acclaimed album The River in Reverse by Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, as well as Tom Waits’ 2002 classic Blood Money. On the business side of things, his production company 8BA Design had been involved in creating a number of different sound libraries and software preset catalogs. Although Husky always stays on the cutting edge of technology, even he admits, “Two years ago, if you had told me I would be mixing mainstream albums on the computer in my studio, I would never have believed it.”
How has technology influenced your music creation?
The digital technology “revolution” happening in my world allows me to own two recording studios. The fact that I’ve been mixing and mastering in the box for over three years now without any analog equipment and getting better results is a testament to where the digital development is heading. It allows me much more flexibility while working and, as a result, makes it much more fun coming to work!
Describe your recording studios:
I have two studios that are exactly identical. Since I also do video, graphics and sound design, they are probably a little more equipped than most music-only recording studios. M-Audio plays a big part in the equation. For my overdubs, sound design and editing, I use Pro Tools M-Powered, an NRV10, a couple of FireWire 1814s and a variety of M-Audio microphones, headphones and MIDI controllers. In addition, I use the MicroTrack quite a bit to record sound effects like trains, airplanes, etc. which oftentimes find their way into my videos or albums.
What has been the most significant addition to your studio?
For me, the most significant addition was Pro Tools M-Powered software. One memorable experience involved us running late in traffic on the way to meet with Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint. We had done some rough mixes on the computer the night before and I wanted to show them a couple of edit options, but I wasn’t sure I’d have them done in time. I remembered that I had my Transit USB interface and I managed to cut the takes together right there on Sunset Boulevard!
Freedom of choice with audio interfaces is very important to me. The fact that I can have 5 different interfaces in my studio, all compatible with Pro Tools is great.
How has using Pro Tools M-Powered changed the way you record?
Digital recording is almost cryogenic—it tends to “freeze” whatever tone is recorded. Although I work a great deal in professional environments, I still like to do editing in my project studio, which Pro Tools M-Powered allows me to do. Wherever I’m recording, we work the same way—get an excellent performance with the best tone we can, using a simple signal chain to maintain sound quality. Then, once a track is in the “robot,” I take it home and tweak it like crazy!