A Tribute To Mr. Christer Karjalainen

This post is to express my sincere thanks to a close compadre, Mr. Christer Karjalainen.

Christer Karjalainen collage

I really knew next to jack taco about mixing studio sound until I was lucky enough to meet this master engineer online, one fine day.

Christer had heard my cover of “Joe’s Garage” on the ‘net back in 2015, liked the performance, and very generously offered to re-mix it. We’ve been constant email pen pals ever since. What a fantastic job he did with my raw tracks, I was totally blown away when I heard the new master. Just have a listen if you haven’t already, and judge for yourself. The audio totally rocks, in no small part due to Christer and his friend Sasa Opacic (who does his mastering work and is a master Luthier as well, producing beautiful custom guitars).

Check out some of Sasa’s awesome guitar builds on his web site.

Like me, Christer is also a drummer with a long history under his belt. I’ve always sensed that really helped us click from the get-go.

Just about everything I now know about mixing I owe to the wonderful, patient guidance of this man. Considering that knowledge was obtained only via email correspondence at that point, it’s really saying something about his communication skills as well. They’re especially exceptional, since he lives in Finland and English isn’t even his native language. Hell, he writes better than some of the people I know in the USA!

Christer owns the KC Sound studio in Finland. It was certainly on my bucket list to meet him, and in April of 2017 that wish came true… Took my first trip to Europe ever, and did just that. I stocked up on notebooks and brought along my Bobby Owsinski recording/mixing/mastering handbooks (those recommended to me by Christer) to mark up while watching him in action. Observing him work his magic over about two weeks, I was able to learn so much more from him in the flesh, in a professional recording studio setting. I was definitely in my element there, it was music heaven.

During my visit, he mixed my original, “Medians Conspire“. His son Elmo, who is one of the most talented guitarists I’ve ever heard anywhere, also graciously played lead guitar on this tune. If nothing else, bump the video to about 03:30 in to hear him really wail. He played that lead after only a few listens to the tracks I had already recorded, and it fit so perfectly I was completely floored. Honestly, I still am every time I listen to it. That final, sustained note just seems to hang in the air forever…

Check out oodles of simply fantastic guitar work on Elmo’s web site.

Speaking of extreme generosity, Christer treated me like family the entire time I was in Turku. He picked me up at my hotel every morning, insisted on feeding me at night, and dropped me off at the end of each long day of his working at KC. On top of that, he took me on all sorts of sightseeing trips, and even to two concerts for which he insisted on covering the cost of the tickets. Unbelievable… I felt like he’d given me the shirt off his back.

Do yourself a favor and head over to the KC Sound web site to hear some of his work and see his fantastic equipment. KC-produced CDs are also available for purchase there.

Christer my dear friend, I’ll never be able to find the words to thank you enough for all of the things you’ve done for me… My respect and admiration for you runs so very deeply. You’re such a kind man and I was beyond fortunate to meet you, both on the Internet and in person. We’ll meet again some day, and I think of all you guys out there in good ‘ol Turku every time I enter my humble little home studio.

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