BY LAURA JASMINE
PHOTO BY BEN GORDON
Dean Hadjichristou has come a long way since his first professional full length record 15 years ago. The owner and chief sound engineer at All Buttons In Recording Studio initially started recording friends’ bands and smaller demos and EP’s with a modest collection of recording equipment at his home in Ottawa.
Hadjichristou gradually built his clientele and worked with bands such as The Transit, If Tomorrow Comes, and I Refuse. He remembers a definite landmark for him being working with his brother’s band, The Fully Down, on their album, which was recorded in his bedroom. The album went on to be released and sold as far as Japan.
He says getting into engineering was more of a natural progression for him rather than a calculated choice.
“Music had always been the epicenter of my life. I spent every free minute playing in various bands, and I gravitated naturally towards dissecting music and audio,” Hadjichristou said.
Most recently, Hadjichristou has worked with an Australian metalcore sensation Parkway Drive’s newest album, Ire, which went straight to number one on Australian Album charts, and reached number one on US Top Hard Rock Albums Billboard.
“Working with Parkway Drive was an absolutely unreal experience,” Hadjichristou said. “I’ve never worked on a record where so much care was taken with every single stage of production.”
The band flew Hadjichristou and his brother George, who also works as the band’s sound engineer, into their hometown of Byron Bay and worked three weeks in the studio on pre-production, before the band flew to Canada for two months to track the record at his studio.
“It was amazing not to have any real timeline or a label breathing down our necks. It was already a lot of stress dealing with such a huge project with a band that has such a large fan base, and for them to trust you with their baby,” Hadjichristou said. “The band put a lot of faith into a couple of relatively unknown Greek dudes and for that George and I will be forever grateful.”
When determining the sound for each band and record, Hadjichristou usually asks bands to send him rough demos of the songs they will be recording. From there on he starts formulating a plan on how to go about capturing the band in a way that makes sense, meets with the band, and makes sure everyone’s expectations and visions are lined up.
“After doing this for so long, I know which techniques will likely work for a certain style and start with that. The important part of this job is to constantly be listening to all kinds of music because one day you may be working on a contemporary country pop song, and with a death metal band the next,” he said. “A good record has a balance of the right sonic and art.”
Hadjichristou is currently on a month-long European tour with Parkway Drive, and this is his first time working as a monitor engineer at such large scale shows. Some of the festivals they have played have had audiences of tens of thousands of people and Hadjichristou admits making sure everything runs smoothly can be intense.
“I guess that is one of the beauties of live shows that it’s so transient, and every show has its nuances where the record is static and immortalized,” he said. “In a live scenario the train just keeps steamrolling ahead even when there are problems and you have to be ready for anything. The road keeps you on your toes.”
Hadjichristou has a lot of exciting upcoming projects in the works once he returns from Europe but is still keeping tightlipped about them. He will also be finishing multiple mixing projects and starting a full length recording with The Suffering Booth, as well as working on audio post production for a short film.
“Every day I wake up excited to get on the console to record, and I’m ever so grateful to be able to do this,” Hadjichristou said. •