Imaging In 2019 – Christian Troitzsch

Welcome to the “Imaging In 2019 Series” – a blog series that interviews inspiring producers and great creators of Station Sound.

This week’s guest is one of Europe’s best producers and certainly one of the finest in Germany right now.

I first met Christian at The Imaging Days 2016, where we both got to speak about our love for our craft. We both hit it off instantly, kept in touch, shared ideas and work and asked each other for feedback on several occasions. I got to see him again when I was asked to speak at the Wow Radio Branding Day in 2018 and again had such a good time!

He currently works for WOW.Radiobranding in Berlin and crafts some incredible audio alongside his creative team of amazing audio producers. A big welcome Christian!

1. You work for WOW.Radiobranding @ The Farm. Can you tell us a bit more about your role there?

I am mainly an Imaging Producer at WOW-Radiobranding. I produce Hookpromos, Majorpromos, Songintros, Beatmixes, Mashups, for example. We are a creative team and everyone has certain tasks. But everyday we face new challenges which give us the possibility to learn something new. For me this meant adding vocal editing for power intros as well as composing and arranging music to my portfolio. The farm is the headquarters. This place is full of young creative minds who can look back on years of professional experience in radio and music. Working with my colleagues is a lot of fun because everyone is an expert in his or her field and they are all highly motivated.

2. Is it much different than working in a station (Smaller workloads/Better environment?/Less deadlines?)

The main difference is the variety. At 89.0 RTL I worked for one station, two (Radio Brocken) at times. Now I work for many different formats: AC, Hot AC, also CHR – 80s as well as schlager music and electronic music channels. Furthermore, productions for sports formats on amazon music or a format called barbaradio (hosted by German entertainer Barbara Schöneberger).

The standard of each production is very high. That is something I really enjoy. On the one hand you have to invest more time in these productions, on the other hand you are challenged to meet the high standards for successful brands and customers. We produce power intros for customers like FFN or Radio PSR from scratch. This means that recording, editing and vocal effects are all done by us. That is different from working for a station which gets an “acapella” or a little toolkit from a jingle company. In our case the results are more individual and we have more options when it comes to editing. The workload is not smaller but it feels different. When you are working as a producer at a station, the work can become a bit annoying or too much. Two reasons why it feels different for me now: One day I produce elements and promos for an 80s station, the next day I work on power intros for a Hot AC station, the next I compose a music bed for a sports program, then I work with the team on a jingle package where I can contribute my skills and experience with imaging and music in general. 

Of course, this is not a typical week. I mean, the tasks are more diverse and a day can be filled with tasks form different areas. What I want to say: Due to the different tasks, I do not feel negative stress. I love learning and trying out new things every week. If everyday is like the other or my tasks are always the same, I would indeed be stressed. I appreciate working in a team of people with great experience in their field of expertise, with the willingness to go new ways and with no fear of change – it keeps you motivated automatically.

Of course, the farm is the perfect environment for creative work. The atmosphere there is start-up-like, although it is an established firm. I mean start-up in the sense of a casual atmosphere where work is fun and everybody helps one another.

3. In 2019, what do you think is more important - creativity or technical ability (or both)

Creativity is the basis. If you do not have ideas that other people love, it will be tough. However, creativity builds on knowledge and skills. There is an interesting presentation on creativity by Vera F. Birkenbihl on youtube (Below in German). 

Many intelligent people think they cannot be creative, but this is bullshit. To create something new, to combine different things, to be creative you have to know things – that is the basis. If you create a slogan, a promo or a graphic by joining Osedax with Daniel Maclise, you better know what Osedax is and who Maclise is. Only if you have knowledge of both topics (in this case marine biology and art), you can get creative. This means, the more you know as a producers about techniques, the better. Also, the more you know about recording strings, material arts, rap vocals, making espresso, musicals, cars, film music, poems, video editing, the more creative you will be.

For, example, if you know how a boxing match (not only the gong) or a coffee grinder sounds, you know how to paint realistic sound pictures and atmospheres. Hence, you know how it sounds like if a well known boxer fights with a coffee machine. You just know what problems he would have to face and how to translate them into sound. A spray of hot water would hurt the boxers eyes, some coffee beans would be thrown at his face and the boxing ring would be flooded with milk froth. Sounds quite creative, right? 🙂

Still, the technical side of it is important, too. The more you know, the more skills you gain, the more ideas will come your way. You produce differently if you have left your comfort zone once. You use other tools, you will produce more diverse. Creativity and technical know how goes hand in hand. Most important, in my option, is to never stop learning. Standstill kills creativity. Learning is the key – learning from yourself, learning from others, learning from mistakes, learning from success, learning from other jobs and topics. Read, listen, practice, share and stay open for ideas and different work flows. It will make your work better and even more important: it will be more fun. Further, you need technical skills to ensure a certain standard. I guess, everybody has already heard a production and went like “Damn, why does this sound so clear and full?” It is due to the finishing. However, if the idea behind it is bullshit and nobody cares, it does not matter how well it sounds.

4. What was the best tip you know now, that’d you wish you knew when starting out?

Saying no and setting priorities. Christoph Theile was an awesome coach. He showed me great ways to survive in working life. Also, I can highly recommend the book“ Big five for life“ by John Strelecky. I do not have an official big 5 myself, but I love the idea of reducing life and the things you do to your own priorities. It helps me a lot and you will be happier, I can assure you. Share your knowledge. Others in our business also do it. For example, you Denzil, but Chris Nicoll also and many others. The fear of helping your competition is without reason. With every tutorial you create, with every presentation you make, with every advise you give one-on-one, you learn, you grow and you expand your network. For example, making a video tutorial. You will learn how to use screen capture, you will learn how to script, you might do some extra research and gain even more knowledge on your topic. You will receive feedback – positive feedback that will boost your confidence. Negative feedback, different views and workflows. Either way you will broaden your horizon. In case you do not get any feedback, you will learn about patience or you will do some more research for better tutorials or marketing. Ok and some production advise as well: Cut the lows! 🙂

5. Imaging is like Music and styles/techniques are always changing. How do you see the imaging world in the next 5-10 years?

If I compare it with the past 10 years, everything got more musical driven by individual talents. It is not only a music bed and a voice anymore. Everything is tighter, more rhythmic and cleaner. Music evokes emotions. Timing is everything. It will go further in this direction. The way of listening is changing. I think, it is important that the young and wild get space to play and create new ideas. They need to be given the opportunity to go new ways, introduce new work flows and not to be restricted and stopped by old structures. Only then radio production can grow and face the challenges that occurred or will occur in the future. New paths lie ahead, you just have to go for them. Maybe new types of media will evolve, but our senses stay the same – eyes and ears will be approached almost all the time. That is why I think we need to stay agile to continue working as an imager – even if it takes us somewhere we did not expect.

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