This week we’re pleased to introduce the first interview in a new series on the Time+Space Blog – ‘Up and Coming’. We’ve been chatting to young, highly talented individuals in the music industry, whose careers are going from strength to strength, be it artists, producers, engineers or others.
First to be quizzed is award-winning guitar player, and producer John Huldt, who’s accolades include being in the top 6 finalists in Lee Ritenours 6 string theory competition in 2011, “Guitar player of the year” in the 2012 South Bay Music Awards and winner of “Waves of Shred” online guitar competition.
Hailing from Sweden, John studied in LA, leading onto him becoming one of the most versatile guitarists among his peers. Since then, he’s released two solo albums, the 2008 release “Rules Do Not Apply” and in 2012, “A Permanent State Of Transformation” both to much critical acclaim. John also plays lead guitar for metal band Ampora and also does several gigs as a sideman, alongside being the ‘go-to guy’ for several producers and songwriters in the LA area, where he’s kept busy and on his toes with session work.
We had the chance to chat to him, about his style, his sound, and the Toontrack products he rates highly…
Hi John, thank you for agreeing to speak to us!
The pleasure is all mine.
Well, I try to just sound like me. Then with that of course comes that I want to sound as good as possible with everything I do, be that as a musician, producer or mixer. I’ve always set my goals really high and usually when I’m getting good at something, I’ll find something else to be bad at lol.
How did you get started in the music industry?
Started playing piano at 10, guitar at 14. Moved to LA from Sweden in 2006 to attend LA Music Academy and got stuck.
After the big move from Sweden to the LA Music Academy, what process did you have to undertake to get to where you are now? Was a long and difficult one?
It was most definitely a long and difficult one! LA does not give you anything for free and I’ve seen a lot of people come and go during my time here. For me it was an easy choice though, as I’ve always known that I wanted to play and do nothing else (if I could help it), so once I moved here and saw the appreciation people had for musicians (much different from Sweden) and the fact that I actually could get paid for making music, I knew I’d stick it out no matter what. I started looking for work everywhere and said yes to everything, and then just bought me enough time to figure out how to do what I was asked to. It’s been fun. It’s still a struggle sometimes if the phone doesn’t ring and people cancel on me but for the most part I feel like I’m over the “hump”. I haven’t had to look for work for maybe 3-4 years now and it seems that a decent amount of people know who I am and what I do now.
Who would you say were your main influences, or whose sound you’re hoping to implement in your own way?
Oh man, that’s a big question. To quote Steve Lukather, “everything I’ve ever heard and liked”. As a personal, professional goal I try to be at mainstream commercial level with everything I do, but of course it’s a long way getting there. I spend a lot of times watching tutorials and learning from the best and my game is constantly improving. Mixing has been what’s been keeping me learning a lot the past year or so. Best way to get directions is to call where you wanna go and ask them how they got there 🙂
We hear you’re a fan of Toontrack! How did you first learn about them?
Well, they’re industry standard so I think everybody knows them. I started hearing about Drumkit from Hell [predecessor to Superior Drummer] when that first came out and it being made by IA Eklundh and Fredrik Thordendal who are both big heroes of mine. Also, being Swedish, I guess helped.
Stupid easy to use and sounds amazing right away. I like things that sounds good right out of the box. I’m not much of a tweaker (if I can help it) so when you install and it sounds killer right away, it leaves much more time and energy for being creative. I have a similar love affair with say, the Kemper profiler because it sounds good from the start.
What features do you look for in a good piece of software?
Killer sounds, easy to use, easy to find tutorials on (there’s a learning curve to everything).
Is there anything you’ve really got your eye on at the moment?
Been eyeing the Joey Sturgis plugins that look pretty tight. My main mission at the moment is getting better at listening though. Gear is cool and all, but nothing beats a good set of ears.
And what should we look out for from you, in 2016?
I’m producing a couple of albums that are turning out pretty cool. I hope to put together my 3rd solo album too, if I can find the time for it and you never know what’s gonna happen.
Thanks again for chatting to us!
Thanks for having me 🙂