October 03, 2023
Jan Simons is a Television Music Producer/Composer and musician. Originally Swedish and born in Finland, Jan has had an extraordinary career in Europe, working with many of the world's most influential musicians in jazz and pop. He has also composed and produced music for a multitude of American TV shows of international repute.
Composing and producing specific music for some of the world's biggest TV shows, like This Is Us, Pretty Little Liars and Modern Family.
Making my own album Travellers for a label who gave me the opportunity to work next to Jan-Erik Kongshaug, at Rainbow Studio in Oslo, where so many Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett and other albums have been mixed on that same Harrison console. This album was recorded all in one room with loud drums and a grand piano.
Spending time mixing with the late mr Kongshaug was incredible and he was so open to working and experimenting. For a great example of the dynamics, listen to A Sunny Day.
Jan Simons Band "Answer" 1999, featuring legendary ECM trumpeter Kenny Wheeler.
I am right in the middle between the talent and production. I get to put all the best people together in one room and deliver such great material. It gives an openness to how you write - I always write giving room for the musicians.
I have been crazy about music since I was 2. Groovy music was always my thing, Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, The Jacksons. From that it was easy to develop a liking for strong performers. True heroes are Michael Brecker, Whitney Houston and Jeff Porcaro. Wide range, I know!
I was 20 and I read Miles Davis' autobiography. I had just moved away from home to study, and just had this AHA-moment, realizing something so profound: The self rewarding content of music. What did they do back in the 50's, if they didn't have a gig one night? They went and played. So, I went down to the closest small music venue and asked them if I could play every night for free. That's how my career as a producer and musician started. Paying dues, I guess!
I look back at the countless hours starting out, writing, producing, editing, mixing. Like, insane hours on one song. Somehow, this made me very very fast, but that was so difficult to see where it would lead back then. Another thing is I used to want to do most of the work myself, and now delegating is one of the most wonderful things about my work.
Wow, so much to say here! I must answer this by saying I use Pro Tools and an audio recorder with a big sample / loop library. Even if I get an urgent job while I'm somewhere with only my little MacBook Air i7, I really feel I take the job very far with only that.
When it comes to instruments, it's all about if you get stuck playing something, because you just can't let go. My latest awesome instrument is the Korg Wavestate. Such a groovy synth with great sounds and functions.
In the Pro Tools world, syncing any peripheral machines accurately can be tricky, and I use both the MPC 3000 and MPC X. Australian sync wizards Innerclock Systems have made tools that are so important to me. Will not be off by more than 4 samples, ever. Try to beat that!
NEVER be afraid to ask. I am saying this specifically about working with someone you admire. I am grateful for every time I had the courage, and it sure has brought me where I am today.
Based in California, but working so often in Europe, I have become used to working on headphone while traveling for many years. Whenever in my studio, or in any studio, I tend to work pretty much 50/50 between speakers and headphones.
Yes, this is the forum where I finally get to say this! Converters and amplification matter. I feel many in the music industry want to follow the hype with some upper midrange gear. Often, that's great, but I think many don't know what they are missing out on.
I find this suitable to say in an Audeze context: When you have tools like the best headphones or speakers you can get, you get to see the difference when you try out the highest range in converters and amplifiers.
Pretty dramatically - I listen at such low volumes now. That’s not only thanks to the MM-500 that I use in the studio continuously, but also to the Euclids, that I take with me everywhere, literally.
It is a little bit like finding home. I have had so many great pairs of headphones over the years, but never really ended up just being 100% happy. Calibrating goes a long way, but the MM-500 I just feel I have a relationship with - need no EQ correction here.
Cues for many TV shows, to mention one, let’s say "Welcome to Chippendales”. For the Euclids, I use them on stage, too. Just recently with a band on a 2 hour live TV gala. Pure amazement. Looking forward to the boom when more musicians realise the clarity you can get with these on gigs.