Julia Rakel is a producer and artist who freelances as a sound engineer at, among others, the production companies Munck, Umami Produktion and Radja Sound Design Agency. Under her own name, she publishes quirky and distinctive pop and at Tambourine Studios in Malmö, she also produces other artists and bands.
How did you get on the soundtrack track?
Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. Just remember that I thought “I probably want to work with radio” and then it became a bit like that. I have always had a great fondness for sound and had the opportunity to sound and slumix an animated short film series a few years ago. After that I was completely stuck!
What can a “normal day at work” look like for you when you make noise?
I always start the day by going through the calendar and the email to get an overview of how far I have come in the various projects that are rolling at the same time. I have learned the hard school that overview and good planning is very important to keep up with everything. Then it’s up with Pro Tools, on with the timer for an hour and then I’m up and running. I always try to work focused one hour at a time, then pause 5 minutes, work another hour, and so on. It works best for me to do so, especially now that the work is mainly done from home.
Do you want to guide us through your process when you go from raw material to finished podcast or documentary?
I usually talk directly to the producer and hear what it has thought and expects from the end result, I like feedback in all forms! Then often download files from WeTransfer or something similar, open Pro Tools and upload everything I want. I send voices to one mischief, music to another, effects to one and so on.
I also like to know the material as well as possible, so when I work on a podcast or documentary, I always start mixing the voices so I feel that I have heard and know the story before I start with music and effects. The music part is probably my favorite part.
I like to use Arturia’s V Collection and present different mood synthesizers and write the music “as I go”. If I need to refine the music, I open it in a new project and when I’m done, I then import the finished music into the main project again. If I feel that I get stuck at a passage, I usually make a mark and continue with the next part so that the work feels effective. It is almost always the case that when I then return to that selection, it has let go!
When the sound installation is complete, I send a first version to the producer and get feedback, go through the project one more turn, send to the producer, get feedback, and so we continue until everyone feels satisfied. I always keep an eye on levels while I work, but when the feedback rounds are over I make a final mix and then it’s done!
What is most important to succeed in getting the right tone or feeling, you would say?
Once again to know their material as well as possible I think. Talk to the other participants about how they feel about the story to get even more inspiration. Get to know your synths and instruments, so when you “hear” in your head how you want something to sound and feel, it is not so far from idea to reality. A tip is to listen to film music and soundtrack to film, it is extremely interesting and inspiring!
Do you have any plugins or other tools that you hold extra dear and why?
Oja! I think it’s easiest to work in Pro tools, the audio editing is great and I personally think that nothing beats it. Some people do not like MIDI management but I have nothing against it at all. Izotope RX is a must when working a lot with dialogue, I think, Soundly is a fantastic cloud service where you can organize your sound effects both locally and in the cloud, Arturia’s V Collection of course and the peak & loudness meter PPMulator. Then I want to recommend Splice as well, a rent-to-own service that makes it easier if you feel that you do not want to spend a large penny at once for different software.
And finally – what are you up to in the future?
I think it has become so that I have two “I”. A “musician” and one who works. Job-I have a bit of everything up to date – sound design and final mix of an upcoming short film series via FX, P3 History, sound walks and more.
Musician-I released a depressing Christmas song before Christmas with my friend Matilda Wiezell (Melby) who is everywhere to listen to. By 2021, there will probably be another EP, that kind of thing always does a little good!
Music Video: JulMat (Julia Rakel & Matilda Wiezell) – Next Xmas (Official Lyric Video)
Christmas song: https://ffm.to/julmat
Arturia’s V Collection:https://www.arturia.com/products/analog-classics/v-collection/overview#en
Monday’s interview is a series there @Lotta Fahlen interviews interesting people on various topics in music creation, and is published every other Monday.