Live from the wasa-corner
with Tommaso Colliva
Producer / engineer
In a world increasingly dominated by bedroom producers and in-the-box mixing, we sometimes have to be reminded of the importance of a good recording studio, the right gear, and most of all, a producer with a vision and the means to execute it.
Tommaso Colliva is such a producer.
Having started at the bottom of the ladder as an assistant engineer at Milan's world-renowned Officine Meccaniche, Tommaso quickly reached the summit of music production via a combination of talent, ambition and good old-fashioned hard work. By 2005 he was working with Muse on the Black Holes and Revelations sessions. The band quickly saw that Tommaso was able to help them achieve the complex sounds they are always relentlessly striving for, and he's become increasingly important to them - 2016 saw him win a Grammy for the co-production of the Drones LP.
There are more feathers to the bow, too. Credits include Erykah Badu, Franz Ferdinand, Manu Chao and, one of our favourites - Mark Lanegan.
With all this in mind, we were thrilled when he added a Wasaphone MKII to his burgeoning mic collection. A couple of months later, he sat down to tell us about his experiences with his lo-fi beaut.
"It's retro lo-fi sound off the shelf, available whenever I need that, and it sounds more real and organic than tweaking 'normal' signals."
Wasaphone collection: Wasaphone MKII
Q.1: What song have you got going around your head today?
"I am doing overdubs on a song with Nic Cester (Jet), so i guess that will be stuck in my mind for a few hours at least."
Q.2: How did you first stumble across Wasaphone?
"Saw this quirky thing at Buffalo Studio and asked myself a question I often ask: "how does it sound?"
Q.3: What have you been up to with your Wasaphone MKII?
"I've tried it on pretty much everything i could: vocals, guitars, piano, brass, strings... Mostly blending with clean/pristine mics to then balance detail and roughness."
Q.4: Has your Wasaphone microphone opened up a world of new, authentic lo-fi sounds to you?
"I like the ready-made aspect of it. I don't need to fiddle with a dozen plugins to emulate something I can achieve just putting my Wasaphone on a stand. It's retro lo-fi sound off the shelf, available whenever I need that, and it sounds more real and organic than tweaking 'normal' signals."
Q.5: What do you think the MKII will bring to your future recording sessions, and do you have any specific projects in mind for it?
"I have a small simple rule: I try to do something different on each session I do. I set up all the mics I want to use, so i don't jeopardize any result, PLUS one [microphone] I have never used before in that context - I take a gamble just to see how that sounds. Sometimes it is incredibly good, sometimes it's "mmmm", sometime it's just not right for what i'm doing that day but at least I've learnt something. I guess I will keep doing that and the Wasaphone will get a lot of use."
Q.6: If you were giving a Wasaphone mic as a gift, to whom would you give it and why do you think that person would like it?
"There are toys that automatically bring fun and enjoyment in the studio and the Wasa is definitely one of them. There are two special things about that: the "What the hell is that?" question when somebody sees that first time and the "Wow it sounds very unique" reaction when finally heard. Based on that pretty much all musicians I work with would enjoy the mic!"