What are you working on at the moment?
I'm just finishing a new album for a new band called The Monticristos fronted by Neal X from Zigzig Spunik!
It's great! To be released this summer, look out for it!
Analog or digital and why?
I love analog and still 'think' analog in my approach to sounds and recording, but it has to be digital these days as you can work so very much faster and for so much less cost. There's no going back.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Well, I can only promise to do a great job for them! Over the years I’ve said anyone not completely happy with any work I do for him or her that I’d never ask for payment. (But I would also expect that the work not be used)! It’s never happened!
What do you like most about your job?
I've never regarded what I do as 'a job' !
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
How much will it cost? How long will it take? Not always in that order! The answer often involves a length of string!
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That a big sound board with loads of knobs is complicated to work, and that all vocals can be fixed.. (not true)
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
If they have any idea of just what sort of vibe they want from their music..
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Be clear about what it is you are hoping to get out of the project and or what sort of feeling you want from the end product..
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
No idea... maybe The Smiths .. I did most of their singles back in the day as engineer together with John Porter and it seems that they ended up effecting many people and impacting on a whole genre of music in the UK.
What type of music do you usually work on?
It's very wide ranging. I suppose the common elements would be mostly people playing things as opposed to the totally programed material, although I do get that. Predominantly guitar bands, but also quite a few singer songwriters, and the odd string or brass section.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I started working in studios as a tea boy back in 1976! There were no college courses back then, no engineering or production degrees! It was generally accepted that it was a 4 year apprenticeship before you were ready to be given your own session to run. I had some great, great teachers in the form of engineers and producers responsible for some all time great albums.
How would you describe your style?
Relaxed, positive, confident.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
There's so many! To name just one, Tom Petty. I've loved his work as far back as I can remember. Although for me his early work is still the best I have very great admiration for the sound of his albums and total respect for what he has done for artists in the record industry over the years..
Can you share one music production tip?
Don't over compress mixes!
What's your strongest skill?
Sound manipulation as an engineer and production insight. .. Perhaps patience!
What do you bring to a song?
I have years of experience of making albums of all different genres. I can give good guidance as to song structure both in musical and production direction. I'll always search for what it is that makes any particular song work, and try and enhance this. Rather than stamp MY sound on everything, I'll try to make what the artist brings just as good as it can be.
What's your typical work process?
If possible I prefer to meet with the artist of band prior to starting a session just in order to get the best feel of what they are looking for from their music and the session. I try to put people at their ease and be relaxed as I find that if the artist feels good, they play better and if they play better it always sounds better!
Tell us about your studio setup.
I work in ProTools. I try to involve quite a bit of 'Valves' in the recording and mixing process and have a wonderful old TLA valve desk that I love to send both mic inputs and mixes through. I do still have my trusty old 24 Track tape machine, which still gets used! I have a good selection of monitors both large and small to get the final mix sounding sweat on any size system you play it on.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Most of my work involves people playing things! .. Or Vocalists. Occasionally someone will bring me a project done in their bedroom to "try and make it sound like a record".. But I work predominantly with bands. I try to help people get the best out what they are doing, both sonically as an engineer and creatively as a producer.