Audeze talks to producer, engineer and studio owner Jordi Gil

February 24, 2023

Jordi Gil is a record producer, engineer and studio owner who keeps having fun and enjoying music and audio. "Only by sharing can we actually do that. No person is an island, even with the greatest of headphones!"

Jordi Gil in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones
"I have my Audeze MM-500s plugged in at all times in case I want to check a stereo FX or vocal level, and the transition feels natural."  - Jordi Gil
Here's our chat with Jordi:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

As a studio owner, having visitors like Iggy Pop, Rosalía or Mike Vernon is a dream come true.

As a record producer, I'm proud of the work we did in "Hilo Negro" by DMBK. I'm also glad I could collaborate in "Tercer Cielo" by Rocío Márquez & Bronquio. I'm lucky I got nominated as best producer for a Sr Chinarro album. And recently the soundtrack of "Las Leyes de la Frontera" by DMBK that I produced got a Goya award nomination.

As an engineer I very much enjoy working in early music records for groups like Euskal Barrokensemble or Accademia del Piacere.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I like being a facilitator. I'm very much hands on (at the verge of being a control freak) but nowadays I try very hard to make the process as enjoyable for everybody as I possibly can. I think that translates.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

Music was important in my mom's part of the family as a community event, as a way to bring the family together. My parents didn't play but my godfather played guitar and actually had a band in the 60s (which was uncommon in Sevilla in those times). I grew up listening to spanish/latin american folk, but also things like The Beatles, Stevie Wonder or ABBA. Later on I developed a taste for bands like The Cure, The Smiths, etc, but also weirder stuff (Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus). Artists like Björk and PJ Harvey and bands like Massive Attack and Portishead went deep into me. Also electronic music like Aphex Twin, Roni Size, 4 Hero or Boards of Canada. Lately my playlists are all over the place, from Kendrick Lamar, Britanny Howard, Michael Kiwanuka or Sault to Fleet Foxes, Midlake or Bon Iver, even to Nick Drake, Chet Baker, Chico Buarque Hisaishi...

In any case, music never lost that sense of community for me. Music scenes are important. People are important.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

I started playing guitar and drums in bands as a teenager. The rehearsal room was my place. I was 100% happy there. I guess that never fully changed although when you get to a professional level rehearsals can be cumbersome at times.

I vividly remember recording in my brother's 4track cassette recorder at home. Also programming drum machines was always fun to do. In a way the technical side of the records seemed a fantasy world to me. I remember entering the control room of the studio I recorded my first album. It was a magic place. I wanted to be there all the time.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

I'm a self-taught person and I'm a slow learner so you can imagine there was tons of those moments. I particularly remember when I finished an album I was very happy with and a friend told me it sounded like shit. That hurt so much that I decided to join a seminar in France called MWTM. It was its first year and no one knew what to expect. The master was Michael Brauer and the group of attendees were amazing people from all over the world (some still very dear to me). There was a surrealistic moment when a huge flood forced us out of the studio. Next year I went again for another seminar with Tchad Blake. I'm very grateful for what I learned from them. Stuff I literally use everyday at the studio.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

As a producer I try to not be too invested in sound because I know music is more important and mojo can come from anywhere. When I find myself thinking about the sound more than about the song what I do is monitor through the Avantone mono speaker on my left. That way I immediately start listening to the song again. On a similar page, the Trinnov DMon has been a huge time saver for me. It allows me to mix faster which was always a problem for me.

Apart from monitoring (in case anyone is interested) my vocal chain nowadays is Flea 47/Shure SM7 into Neve 1073 into Tubetech CL1B/1176. My guitar chain is Royer 122+SM57+some room mic. Sometimes I'll add a U67 for cleaner tones, 2 feet away and I'll time align it in ProTools. My favourite ORTF pair is DPA 4011. Close strings I go with Gefells or Schoeps.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Find people you like and you want to do things with. And be true to them and to yourself. I sound like an old man, shit!

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I use headphones all the time to check mixes at home. Also when I away from my studio: in-location recording, working on a record on holidays or when I'm recording at a studio I don't know.

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?

Critical listening is everything and monitoring is its tool.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

As an audio professional you need to be aware of the end consumer. Today a good percentage of the streams are listened to in headphones so I think it's mandatory to check out mixes and masters in headphones. Before getting my Audeze, I used 2 different headphones (one open, one closed). They were ok for a "late night home mix check", but I couldn't use them in the studio side by side my monitors. It was confusing to me to go from a high accuracy monitor setup to a set of blurry headphones. Mid/Side was confusing, levels were confusing... Now I have my Audeze MM-500s plugged in at all times in case I want to check a stereo FX or vocal level, and the transition feels natural. Like an extension of my monitors, somehow zoomed in but very connected to what I'm hearing in my monitors.

I'm also getting more used to starting mixes on headphones which never really worked for me in the past.

Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I had the great pleasure of having Mike Vernon at the studio recently. We've mixed the singles using my Audeze together with my regular monitoring setup (Lipinski 707 w/Trinnov DMon). I have to say they really help dialing in the perfect vocal fx.

Jordi Gil's Audeze MM-500 headphones