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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Artem Valter

Artem Valter

Music Producer, Singer, Songwriter
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Artem Valter

Producer, songwriter and singer Artem Valter found Eurovision success when his song won the junior contest for Ukraine. He has also produced and arranged Armenia’s entry for the main Eurovision contest. He is long-time friend and musical partner of another Aston family member, Vahagn Stepanyan, who first introduced Artem to his now-favourite microphones…

Artem uses:
Spirit
A singer’s viewpoint

“I graduated from Los Angeles Recording School. It’s in Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard - the heart of the music business - and one of the oldest music institutes in LA.

I had really good mentors who taught me a lot of stuff, one of them was Joel Numa, a mixing engineer and producer who’d been working with Christina Aguilera, Madonna, J Lo, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, he’s won four Grammys and an Emmy.

I was looking for an artist to work with but Joel told me a lot of people would be happy to be able to sing and produce like I do, and that I wouldn’t find anyone who understood what I wanted faster or better, or who I’d be comfortable working with more! Why not just sing? So I signed myself!

So I started as a singer and then moved into music production. Because I’m a singer vocal production has been one of my strengths. It’s all about problem solving and I can understand things from a singer’s viewpoint and help guide the performance both emotionally and technically. That’s always been my favourite part.”

The Eurovision

“When I was in Armenia, I got the chance to work on the Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine, they hired me in 2012 to write a song for the junior contest. They introduced me to this ten year old kid, Anastasiya Petryk, and I was blown away with her talent. I wrote and produced her a song called ‘Nebo’ – it means ‘skies’ – and she won the junior Eurovision Contest with it!"

Billboard driven

“The music scene in Armenia is connected to culture very tightly, There are really two side to it, folk music – culturally-driven stuff – and the other is what I always call ‘Billboard-driven’ music, which is more my thing; I’m used to the sound and the workflow. I always look to the chart music of the UK and USA Billboards.

The last thing I did was a song for the Armenian entry for the main (adult) 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Athena Manoukian’s song was lacking mixing-wise and production-wise. Our national TV called me and asked me what I thought and I said it needed to be revised, revamped and mixed from scratch so they told me they wanted me to do that. I kept the main element of the song but only kept maybe 10% of the arrangement. It was doing really well in the lead-up but sadly the whole thing has been cancelled this year because of the Covid-19 virus.’’

The best mic in the best room

“I have a Macbook Pro which I upgrade every time, a Universal Audio Apollo Twin interface and for monitors I use Focal Alphas and some Kali Audio LP8s which I really like, they’re a new brand, and I use JBL 305s when I’m mobile. I started on Cubase, then I moved to ProTools at college and I got Pro Tools certificate, but MIDI editing was lacking for a production guy and there were not many instruments that ran in AAX that time so I was done, and I have been using Logic and I’m really happy. I like that you can save the channel strip and the performance separately. That’s a winner for me.

For me the most important thing is the front end, the microphone and the preamp. I like to record clean. The Aston Spirit has character but it’s super-clean, I’s not colouring the sound. When a mic is colouring, changing the timbre of the sound, then you’re done, you need to change the microphone.

It’s good when you’re in a studio and you can try out fifteen different mics but I travel a lot so I don’t always get that luxury.”

Are you SURE it’s good?

“It was Vahagn who introduced me to Aston Microphones. It was a strange-looking microphone, the Spirit, and I was thinking “What IS this?’ I gave it a try and I was blown away man. From that day it’s been my go-to mic, I really fell in love with the quality, and it just… just works!

I used it for a rap vocal and it sounded amazing, pop vocals, male, female, man, that mic sounds great on anything!

Then he told me the price and I said; ‘are you SURE ?’ because I’m thinking of good mics costing three or four times as much. I was blown away. I’ve tried the smaller one, the Origin, too although for me the Spirit’s better. Sound-wise there’s no good or bad, just different. The Spirit just seems to suit most vocals and I like multi-pattern versatility.

I’m looking forward to trying the Stealth. I really like that you can change the character on it [with the four built-in voices] and that you can use it in passive as a dynamic or active – really cool futuristic stuff!”

International connections

“We’re talking to a couple of well-known Russian artists we’d like to work with, a couple we contacted and a couple who contacted us. I still perform live, my last gig was in Moscow which was cool, and I’ve done stadiums and TV appearances. Because I’m more of a production guy now I have the luxury of only choosing the live stuff I find interesting.

The only thing I’d change in my artist strategy is that while I’m good at writing Armenian songs – it’s my native language – but there are only 10 million people who speak in Armenian so even if you are the biggest artist here it’s still limited, so I’m planning to release more English language songs.”

Out-takes

Q. Who are you favourite artists?
A. I really enjoy Bruno Mars’ music. He’s saved that groove that’s been lost since James Brown! I grew up more on jazz, blues, soul and hip hop. My favourite two bands from those years are Boyz II Men and Jodeci.

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. I’d probably work with animals, so a vet.

Q. What would your fantacy mic be? 
A. It would be able to switch between tube and condenser and would have switchable curves.

Q. Which four words would you use to describe Aston?
A. Super-clean, nice top end, badass design, unbreakable

Q. What was the first song that made youi cry?
A. Maria Carey ‘When You Believe’, the song from ‘The Prince of Egypt’.

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