ALBUM COLLABORATIONS V/V: MASTERING

Three years ago, at the beginning of September, I had a countryside band camp with producer Jukka Backlund and first album song demos were recorded then. Now the album has reached mastering. It’s a joy to have Jaakko Viitalähde / Virtalähde Mastering in the album team.

∇ ∇ ∇

Virtalähde Mastering Studio is located on the calm countryside of Kuhmoinen and if you visit the place by public transport from Helsinki it takes about 5 hours to reach. A day long album mastering trip was an important thing to do and it got me reflecting a lot. A lot. It’s been a wild journey.

I left Helsinki early morning and took a train to Tampere and from there I took a bus to Kuhmoinen. Kuhmoinen is a really small town and all the people at the Tampere-Kuhmoinen bus knew each other. The bus driver told me I should get some sleep if I’d like to, she’d let me know when we’d reach my stop: “You can just relax.” What a very cute bus ride. Viitalähde came to pick me up from the bus stop at Kuhmoinen (a gas station next to a field) and from there we continued further to the woods, to his studio and started working.

8D5823AF-D4D8-4C61-B61C-BBDC5CF4A61E
Jaakko Viitalähde photographed by Simo Pitkanen / Yle

First time I heard about Virtalähde Mastering was when he was collaborating with Lake Jons on their first album. I got to know ‘the Jons guys’ during music study years in Helsinki and for a long time I had no idea that they were creating this wonderful band project; as they started putting Lake Jons music out I really loved it and can still remember how enthusiastic they were about collaborating with Virtalähde Mastering.

I’ve followed Jaakko Viitalähde’s work projects for years and it was clear to me that I’d like him to do the album mastering. Virtalähde Mastering was started 14 years ago and Viitalähde used to live and work in Helsinki. Eventually he moved away from the capital to a calmer setting. I respect his way of doing things; he now has his own countryside mastering studio and lives near his studio with his family, dog, cat, chickens, roosters etc. And there’s no hassle, no rush.

EF45338E-C655-4B39-A1BD-670BBF727C25
Virtalähde Mastering Studio

I enjoy being present there in the mastering process; being able to witness these audio professionals and their craft is a pleasure and listening to what they are listening to is educative. I was enjoying it all and the talks in between, also the tea, farm animals, Viitalähde’s sweet family and that soothing nature.
When he asked my opinion or paused, I gave comments, but mostly I just watched what happened next. At this point I’ve learned to enjoy letting go and giving space to others to do their work.

I have a not-so-common way of hearing music and sound; sometimes it’s shapes or colours or some sort of visual thing and luckily this was not at all a strange approach to Viitalähde. There’s not that many professional audio engineers that I would feel comfortable of giving some weird drawing (!) as a guide line relating to the overall sound. But it’s just great fun doing that with someone like Jaakko Viitalähde – – and the fact that he happens to get it is even more joyous.

I was back in Helsinki thru Jämsä and Tampere, it was quite late of course and I felt tired but it was a big thing to realize that the album is now on it’s way out. Bear with me.
When we were wrapping things up Jaakko said: “I think people will be surprised when they hear this album.” I think so too. I’m beyond grateful to have such great, beautiful, creative, wise beings crafting this beauty with me.

A lot has happened during the past three years and I will share more relating to that a bit later. Close calls and interesting negotiations. This album creating journey started very intuitively and all the turns have taught me more than I could’ve ever imagined. And the best part is that this journey is not about money, attention or those things. This is about music, about communication and about love.

Good things take time.

Thank you for reading this, for your support and thank you for your time.
Stay tuned for more.

ALBUM COLLABORATIONS V/V: MASTERING