A self-taught producer, composer, and engineer, Spanish-born Antonio Escobar started his career in the early 90’s “… when audio computing technology was still primitive.” The young Antonio had been determined to start creating his own electronic music, and the lack of access to any technical education or textbooks was not an obstacle for him. Now, 25 years on, Antonio has an impressive collection of awards and nominations from international festivals such as Cannes, Premios Goya, Medina del Campo, San Sebastian Festival, APPE Awards, and the New York Festival. His name is in the music credits of more than twenty movies and TV series, commercials for big brands such as Renault, Peugeot, Ford, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Carlsberg, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Mini, Larios, Sony PlayStation, and Movistar, or with artists such as John Legend, David Bisbal or Dan Croll, among others.
Among Antonio’s recent projects is his work with Jorge Pardo, who is considered a living legend in Spain and one of the best European jazz musicians with a number of successful productions with the likes of Chick Corea and Paco de Lucia.Pardos’s latest album ‘Djin’, was awarded as ‘Best Flameco album’ at the latest MIN Awards (Spanish independent music awards). ‘Djin’ combines jazz grooves, electronic beats and flamenco played by acid Hammond organ, powerful drums, electric bass and flamenco guitar along with guest DJs from the EDM scene. This colourful musical palette was all mixed to perfection by Antonio Escobar on his Amphion studio monitors.
Though seeing himself more as a producer, depending on the project, Antonio still involves himself in composing and engineering. According to him “All of those roles are intimately connected” and he enjoys the challenge of changing them. “My work is no longer a one-guy-gig, so I now have a team of very talented people supporting me,” says Antonio. He is a believer in team work approach as the catalyst for a project’s success. “Making everyone involved in the process feeling comfortable is crucial. It’s tough because expectations and egos are always a delicate matter,” says Antonio and adds, “At the end of the day, it’s not always a matter of being the best, it’s a matter of your client feeling that you have fulfilled their needs.” Antonio believes that a project is not necessary a platform to show off his talents, but a venture that often requires to him to rein in his personality. “It is not about one’s personal preferences, but about careful analyses of various elements such as the song, the market, the expectations, the references,” says Antonio. He believes it is important that one is ready to adopt the specifics of the project in order to make it successful.
Antonio’s work requires significant travel and work in various studios. This has taught him not to be dependent upon certain hardware. To make it even easier, in the last couple of years he mainly mixes in-the-box via Steinberg’s Nuendo/Cubase with Waves, Softube and Native Instrument plugins, all running on a MacBook Pro. His personal setup is complemented with Steinberg UR824 and Apogee Rosetta 800 converters. The monitoring in his studio is dedicated to Amphion Loudspeakers. He is using a 5.1 monitoring system with Amphion One18 studio monitors and Amp500.
Antonio says that the Amphions are the only tool that he seeks wherever he is traveling because clients’ expectations are demanding and high. “They are very detailed and the bass response is very accurate,” says Antonio, and adds “The stereo image is amazing! Something that I especially love is that the frequency response is very natural and I feel very comfortable working a lot of hours every day.” This is the core reason behind Antonio describing Amphion studio monitors as the “key element” in his studio. They even managed to change the way he works. “When I started using them, I used to rely on more references simultaneously, but after a very short time, I learned to trust them. I have gotten to know them pretty well and now I can mix more quickly than ever, achieving great results,” shares Antonio.
Antonio says that he has “an analog-style workflow in the box” and clarifies it this way … “I have my project set up as a console, with pre-wired busses and effects.” He uses a 24-channel Avid’s Artist Mix with an analog-style channel strip, typically Waves SSL 4K G and a console simulator, such as Waves NLS or Slate Digital’s. Those 24 busses are pre-tagged and go to a Main Mix Buss with a few items running, such as a console simulator and a limiter. “When the mix is ready, I add some Waves’s SSL Buss Compressor or Cytomic The Glue, and, sometimes, a little of Softube’s S73 and Steinberg RND Portico 5033 EQ, and I print two versions, with and without the limiter,” shares Antonio.
Antonio considers himself blessed to be able to work on a great variety of projects. “I just recently produced, composed and mixed the soundtrack of a movie featuring big Spanish stars called “Toc Toc”. I have also just recorded and mixed a song with the internationally-known Spanish artist David Bisbal for the soundtrack at Sublimotion – the most expensive restaurant in the world. As you can see, I have no time to get bored.” And “boring” is the last word that comes-to-mind when looking at Antonio’s intense schedule of various projects, which are always accompanied by “the balanced neutral and detailed sound” of his Amphion One18 studio monitors.