Hi, I'm a remote session guitarist and drummer based in the UK. Working with clients around the world I always bring a lot of creativity to any project and like to try and give clients options with recorded parts where possible. I can also record banjo, ukulele, lap steel and weissenborn.
Mike is a UK based, multi-instrumentalist session player, media composer and guitar and drum tutor. With 29 years’ experience playing guitar and 26 playing drums, Mike is a trusted ‘go-to’ session player for many producers and clients around the world. Recent sessions have included work for Warner Bros. recording artist, Deane Ogden; Hollywood composer, Ryan Taubert (Lincoln Motors ad campaign); German film & Tv composer, Dirk Ehlert (many production tracks for Premium Beat); and UK based composer, Paul Lawler (Trailer music album to be released through De Wolfe Music).
As a media composer, Mike has had many tracks published and released through numerous production music companies including Extreme Music, Imagem, 9 Lives, Immediate Music, Dos Brains, MYMA, Premium Beat, Eon Sounds and Organic Music Library. Recent placements include usage on BBC1 (The One Show), Nederland 2 (Holland), Pro Sieben (Germany), an ad campaign for Libra Internet Bank in Romania and The Outdoors Channel (Eastman’s Hunting TV).
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Mike Holt
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Lead guitar on Deane Ogden's album 'Kwela' which was recorded primarily in South Africa but also had musicians (like myself) recording parts around the globe. It's a kind of world/pop record and a new style for me to record in at the time. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: An album with Chris Pennie (ex-drummer of Dillinger Escape Plan and Coshed & Cambria)
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Love the sound of tape but for ease and flexibility, digital is very handy.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will be satisfied,
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The different style son music yo get to work on and that I can be recording for clients around the globe but still be here to see my kids and pick them up from school,
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That remote session players record in their pyjamas.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Is there a deadline?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you have anything specific in mind or any reference tracks of what you like, or want your track to end up like, give as much info as you can.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Music gear? Acoustic guitar, decent mic, laptop running PT or Logic, a slide, recording interface. That should stop me going stir crazy.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been a session musician for 15 years and have also been writing and recording music for TV and Media for the past 3 years or so.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Eclectic. Creative
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Trent Reznor because of his tireless creativity. Also, I don't really write much in his style and I love what comes out when two or more musicians with totally different backgrounds come up with.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Go for vibe, not necessarily textbook perfection.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Acoustic, pop, rock, epic film/trailer, Americana
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Anything guitar.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Many years of experience and a genuine love of lots of different genres, making my guitar and drum parts as 'authentic' as possible.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to listen to the song or guide parts a few times first. I'll generally jot down a cheat sheet with form and chord structure and any specific parts required. I find this saves time and I can concentrate on being more creative with parts and quick come up with different layers if needed.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run Pro Tools 12 with a mid-2011 iMac (20Gb of memory). I record electric guitars through a Backstar ID:260 or Bogner/Line 6 valve amp (don't let the name Line 6 put you off - it's a beaut), usually recorded with a trusty SM-57. Acoustics recorded through an Rode NT-11A condenser. Some guitar parts are recorded with FX on through the amp, but sometimes I'll record clean and add FX on in PT so there are options if a client wants less or more (or no) FX. All of this goes through a Focusrite Pro 40. MIDI drum parts are recorded live on my Roland TD-20 kit with sounds provided by numerous ad-paks on Addictive Drums 2. Clients can have the audio (or a selection of different kit sounds), just the MIDI part, or both.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love the guitar work of Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton but also anyone that can write a good hook. Production-wise, I've always loved Rick Rubin, Manny Maroquin, Eddie Kramer, Flood, Trent Reznor, too many to mention.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of my work is remote guitar sessions. This can include a simple one track of guitar (electric or acoustic, for example) or it could include many layers of guitar parts with harmonised lines, percussive/FX parts, etc...