Los Angeles, CA, January 5, 2020 – From the Sunset Strip’s legendary Viper Room to the main performance stage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Erik Himel has established himself as a versatile, in-demand live and studio session guitarist for artists like Alan Parsons, Kevin Martin [Candlebox], Jesse Hughes [Eagles of Death Metal], Mark McGrath [SugarRay], and more. Himel’s chops were put to the test this past year when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered live music around the world and increased demand for remote studio work. Operating out of his private home studio in Los Angeles, Himel utilizes a monitoring setup that includes Amphion One18 studio monitors, an Amp700 power amp, and the Flexbase25 bass extension system to ensure that he is able to deliver his parts perfectly and on-time, every time.
Knowing your place in the mix
Given the wide array of music that he’s found himself playing over the past decade, Himel is quick to acknowledge that today’s session players require a greater degree of stylistic and sonic versatility than the guitar heroes of old. “I think back in the day you got known for being able to deliver a certain sound, but since there’s so much stylistic crossover now you really have to be familiar with a wide array of styles as well as the sounds that go with them,” he explained. “It’s a great education as a player though, because the more music you know the greater your creative toolbox can be.”
A fan of well-known guitar sidemen like Mike Campbell and Keith Scott as well as understated 80’s rock and pop players like the Farris Brothers from INXS and Crowded House’s Neil Finn, Himel’s playing and recording philosophy reflects a similar sense of innately matching parts to the music of his clients. This allows him to deliver creatively without getting in the way of an artist’s identity. “You need to be able to deliver parts with passion every time while still knowing your place in a mix,” he said. “That’s part of the trick really, being able to sound great while still disappearing in a way so that the song and the artist is what’s being brought to the forefront.”
The ability to ‘disappear’ while bringing out the best in the music is what initially attracted Himel to adopting Amphion monitors in his home studio setup as well. Noting how many of his previous monitor setups added too much of their own personality to his mixes, Himel says the fact that his Amphion One18s let the music speak for itself allows him to know exactly what he’s working with. “I love using them because what you put into it is exactly what you are going to get out of them,” he explained. “They sound great while still sounding incredibly honest, so I know that I don’t have to compensate for anything when I’m getting a sound from my rig.”
Nailing the take
Himel’s home studio space includes a cornucopia of sonic options, reflecting the diversity of material that he finds himself playing. A myriad of amp heads, including trusted classics from Hiwatt, Matchless, Marshall, and Fender, as well as the latest digital modeling tools such as the Kemper Profiler and Fractal AxeFX are all in a patch bay along with his rack effects units and studio pedalboards, allowing him the ability to quickly change between sounds as needed for a session. “I designed this entire space for maximum efficiency and speed,” he explained. “Recording budgets aren’t what they used to be — especially during the pandemic — so the more work I can get done quickly the better.”
“That’s another reason why I like using Amphion in my studio, because I can trust that the sounds are exactly right the first time and that they will translate wherever the files are being sent. I’ve worked hard to get all these sounds exactly how I want them, and I don’t want any variables getting in the way of that.”
In addition to ensuring that his sounds are translating, Himel also is quick to note how he’s able to work at much lower volume than before, a big advantage when working in his home studio. “The sonics don’t change with these, so it allows me to play at whatever volume I want while still getting the same detail and clarity that I need,” he said. “There’s also the added benefit of not having my ears fatigued after hours of tracking big guitar sounds.”
“They’ve let me focus on really nailing the guitar tracks I’m working on, and when you get that instant feedback from the artist so quickly you know you’ve nailed it.”
For more information about Erik Himel, please visit http://erikhimelmusic.com/
For more information about Amphion, please visit: http://amphion.fi/
Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd. was established in 1998. We design and build loudspeakers that are characterized by honest and accurate sound reproduction. Precise driver integration ensures world-class imaging and phase coherency. Controlled dispersion technology helps achieve more stable results in a variety of room acoustics. All products are handmade in Finland (and the Amphion amplifiers are assembled in Finland) to ensure enduring listening quality.