GUY STERNBERG IS A QUIET MAN, WITH AN ASTONISHING LIFE EXPERIENCE AND A BABYFACE TO HIDE IT ALL. THE KIND OF GUY WHERE THE LONGER YOU KNOW HIM THE MORE YOU REALIZE YOU’RE STILL ONLY SCRATCHING THE SURFACE. HE IS A RECORD PRODUCER AND THE FOUNDER AND OWNER OF LOWSWING RECORDS. HE’S A RECORDING AND MIXING ENGINEER AND ARRANGER WHO HAS WORKED WITH A SPECTRUM OF ARTISTS SUCH AS KINGS OF CONVENIENCE, JUNIOR BOYS, DANIEL LANOIS, BOSSE, KRAFTKLUB, FINK, AND KURT ROSENWINKEL TO NAME A FEW. ABOVE ALL, HE’S A DEEP LISTENER, FROM HIS VINYL COLLECTION TO HIS WORK IN THE STUDIO, HIS EARS AND MIND ARE WIDE OPEN.
Haggai: When did you start your record label LowSwing and what makes it unique?
Guy: I had the idea for this kind of label for a long time as I was building and expanding my studio in Berlin. In 2015 I established the company and produced the first recording which came out in 2016 (Lianne Hall – The Caretaker).
LowSwing is a record label celebrating the analog music production process and everything around it.
Basically the one and only rule is that everything is 100% computer free; recorded directly on 2” tape, mixed to a master tape, cut to lacquer and pressed on vinyl. Except for special cases or some promotional use the music is only available on vinyl records.
H: Is analog better in your opinion or just different?
G: It really depends on what. Some great music that is produced today wouldn’t work at all as pure analog processes for different technical reasons and to be honest most of the sessions I work on are not pure analog and there’s nothing wrong with that. I prefer the pure analog for my record label for a few reasons; mainly it limits the manipulation options and focuses the work both for me and for the artist. I believe that it producers better performances on the tape and better sound, plus for me it’s just what I like to do.
H: Do you think anyone can hear the difference, or should even care about the processes when listening to music?
G: Again, it all depends. Many audiophiles are very much looking for these kind of recordings, they are very dedicated listeners and for sure hear the difference, this is true for many musicians as well. For most people however it’s not so much about the nuances in the sound as much as the authenticity of the final result which I believe has everything to do with the pure analog process.
The way these recordings are made makes the operation very democratic… it’s kind of a study case…if you want something super polished and shiny this might not be it for you.
H: In 2021 you released a record in collaboration with FRAMED, how did that come about?
G: Well, we were in the beginning of the pandemic and many venues were starting to livestream concerts and such. We [Yael, Haggai and myself] got into a conversation of how we could record and share not only the music but the whole atmosphere from a FRAMED event. Working with the limitations of the venue I suggested capturing the musicians in the most direct way possible, just a pair of microphones directly to 1/4” tape, live at the venue. We decided to give it a try, we didn’t know if it was going to work at all.
H: What do you think is the value of this sort of compilation release?
G: The way these recordings are made makes the operation very democratic. All artists are captured in the same space with the same extremely minimal equipment, no matter the band or musical style. It’s kind of a study case. What does the musician bring to the table and that’s it, I think it’s fascinating. If you want something super polished and shiny this might not be it for you but there’s gonna be so much more in it. You get a performance just the way it happened with basically almost nothing in between.
H: What’s next for LowSwing?
G: We just put out our 8th album in June, from one of my favorite singers, Port Almond, titled Little Ships. A few other recordings are in the pipeline so stay tuned.