Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I loved working on BBC TV Chucklevision. It lasted 21 years and I was given the job to write and produce a vast library of music over the years.It enabled me to be involved musically in a vast variety of styles; from straight comedy slapstick to intense energetic and atmospheric underscore. It had spin offs as in albums and live shows, which still continue to this day. Amazing fun!
What are you working on at the moment?
Just finished a nice BBC production and now working on an album of guitar tracks, and some new library tracks.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Analog or digital and why?
Both and horses for courses!
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
They won't feel any pain when they pay!
What do you like most about your job?
It's not a job, it's like being paid to do what you really find fun.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
When can I have it completed? Yesterday!
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
How do you like your coffee?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
As I mentioned before, I'm not a great fan of pitching and I've never really had to do it. I like to build relationships with potential clients and work together on what is important with the various productions rather than it being a lottery and game of chance.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My Taylor acoustic Guitar (plus 5 sets of light gauge strings)
One Ukulele that stayed in tune! (spare strings)
One Mac laptop (plus solar energy panel so I could charge it)
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started as a guitarist, singer songwriter with a female artist who was looking for an accompanist. She had a full diary of gigs and I was free. We signed our first deal with EMI, made an album and did the circuit. I managed to get into writing for TV, Radio and Animation almost by accident, and pursued that line of work, building a studio so I could manage the work.
I started touring with the likes of Cliff Richard and others and learned programming, mainly on keyboards and doing several years on the road, before coming back to studio work where I started several album productions, TV series and Film scores in my own place.
Recently I've been touring again, with my daughter Jem Cooke, and working in the studio writing songs and getting commissions from BBC and other broadcasters.
How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. But loving Jazz, Blues and Soul stuff.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
I think I've done it already!
Can you share one music production tip?
What type of music do you usually work on?
Anything and everything that a client would see me being complimentary. I am happy to be an arranger of existing material as well as creator of new material.
What's your strongest skill?
As a player I think originally my best skill is with Piano. And alongside that any related keyboard requirements as in Organ, synths, and pads.
But having started as a guitarist, i have over the pas few years been involved with gigs and concerts as a guitars once more, so I feel that the skills are evenly split between Keyboard and Guitar.
What do you bring to a song?
Great music and arrangements.
What's your typical work process?
There isn't really a typical work process. It can be as varied as getting a few ideas from a client to receiving a full blown several page brief.
But as with most things, flexibility is the key, and it's important that whatever the stages might me towards the finished product, the clients and team working along side should feel confident, happy, stress-free in the knowledge that the budget is being well managed and wisely spent.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Having had for many years a relatively large analogue set up, I have recently moved and downsized (temporarily) to use a Mac Pro, Logic software and an array of plug ins including Waves, Steinberg, Native Instruments and Nomad factory. My plan is to set up and create another studio in the next 12 months that will hopefully include more acoustic instruments, Piano, and percussion room.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
I love working with real players as and when budgets allow. I have worked with orchestras and small chamber groups both for classical works and other styles.
I have a few favourites that I will chose and lucky to have a daughter, Jem Cooke, who is can amazing singer, performer, lyricist and artist.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
I have worked in a variety of ways with clients. Mostly building a trust and relationship with a client in order to get the best out of the production and the specific score / song / arrangements requested. Some include actually having clients on site in the studio, and others simply communicating via the usual electronic means. But I am familiar with starting from a blank page, a brief, and a simple page of ideas as well as a detailed and accurate list of timings and specifics.