Figured I should get with the times. Follow me for generic studio snaps and also full dinnertime commentary.
Thought I’d managed to control my Facebook habits, but this changes everything:
I run a SoundCloud account, which I like to use to host any work that I’ve been doing. You’ll probably find embeds scattered across this site, so don’t be feert to have a lookie. Thanks!
Quite a few things, really.
MMP – Good News!
Taking on a pretty big project – probably biting off more than I can chew. It basically involves me writing a module on live sound and teaching it to a group of six students from The Academy of Music and Sound. Got the go-ahead a few days ago after a meeting with their head, Jonathan Tait. It was a brilliant meeting and it went well – I was quite nervous because he was calling the shots whether I can use his students or not. He welcomed the idea with open arms and offered his full support – great success!
He took the email I prepared and circulated it around the Academy, to which I’ve already had 9 responses! I now have to take all applicants and filter them down so that I have at least one drummer, bassist, guitarist and vocalist… Might be tough as I haven’t had any drummers reply yet!
It was an uplifting feeling though, that people are interested in working alongside me, however now I must rise to the challenge I’ve set myself. I aim to work hard at this for the next few months, and will begin teaching the module in January. My biggest worry is that I don’t get enough work done, resulting in a disappointing end product. The last thing I want to do is let these guys down and create a bad reputation for myself…
Wee Red Bar
I’m forever busy working at the amazing Wee Red Bar, at the Edinburgh College of Art. Absolutely love it there and it’s the perfect venue for a young live sound engineer.
During busier months, I was used to doing up to 3/4 shows per week but now I’m down to 1 or 2. Suits me better anyway for when uni work sets in – tend to get carried away with work!
There’s been some cracking gigs happening the past couple months. Some of these include:
Hector Bizerk was probably the most memorable. They rocked up from another gig in Glasgow to play on a five band bill *shudders* with a 15-channel tech spec. I had 10 minutes to: reverse the previous stage setup, frantically rip apart the stage box for a whole new patch, throw extra D.I.s and mics in, set up their gear/electronics AND line check the entire setup, ready for their unique hip hop sound. Was one of the quickest changeovers considering, however they sounded fantastic as they’re a great act and really nice guys.
After a rather controversial change of hands in Cabaret Voltaire‘s operations, I’m back working there doing club shifts. Technically, everything’s changed in terms of control and overall sound. We have no mixing desk and outboard now, just a few switches controlling the amp levels of each room. All the lighting is automated and without a desk, meaning there’s no creative control over this. It’s a shame because even the little things like the timed flashing of par cans or building up a heavy strobe effect all makes a positive difference to people’s nights. Now, it’s too bright and colourful in the club, making it look cheap and cheesy. As for the sound, well, don’t get me started.
I’m still regularly playing bass with northeast ceilidh band, Ceilidh Stomp. We’re very busy in the wedding season and also with parties/fundraisers. I play with some great musicians including Liam Flaherty who first got me involved with the band. Clare Penny runs the band and is a ridiculously hardworking woman – definitely the most organised band I’ve ever been in! As I find myself performing less and less, it’s great to have gigs lined up as I’m busier with other work, and it’s a great source of income!
Getting things going with Bertrand. We’re an alternative rock four piece and have been together for a while now. I’ve been in the studio doing a bit of recording with drummer Ben where we laid some tracks down, also experimenting with a few different ideas. Hopefully in the next couple months you’ll have some proper recordings to listen to, as we only have demos with MIDI drums at the moment. We played at The Wickerman Festival in July and have just been to The Third Door supporting The Glitch. Anyway, yeah, I hope to begin tracking more of our songs soon. Stay tuned!
Along with this website and Twitter, you can now view my public page for all things sound engineering! You’ll find news on live and studio work, complete with an obligatory collection of swanky close-up shots of expensive microphones.
Be sure to give us a ‘Like’, and ‘Share’ if you think I’m cool enough.
After finally getting to grips with uni again (yeah, it took three weeks), it was soon realised it was time to up the ante. As last year’s sufferers clearly stated – “Fourth year is no joke. No joke.”. Since the year will no doubt become bleaker and bleaker, it is essential to prepare for it as much as possible. I don’t always sound this optimistic.
I hope to acquire a number of things soon which will contribute to my small flat studio setup. Currently, I run no recording platform, as Apple’s transition to Intel has left thousands of us stranded with no compatible software. Looking forward to the jump from Pro Tools 8 LE to version 10, as I’ll finally be able to take my sessions anywhere – recording live gigs, mixing on the train, archiving different engine noises from the street (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Along with summer’s big purchase – a new MacBook Pro, I want to upgrade my RAM so that Pro Tools doesn’t throw a strop at me for hitting the spacebar. 16GB ‘oughta do it.
Next has got to be new studio monitors. I’ve used this haggared old AIWA amplifier to power these ancient Taiwanese factory cabinets for too long now. There is a severe imbalance from LR and the power handling ratings aren’t compatible in the slightest. Ohmy God. Been looking at either Yamaha HS50Ms, KRK Rokit 6s or M-Audio BX5 D2s as a cheaper option. Any suggestions?
Without work there is no money, and without money there is no new gear, and without new gear there will be a trembling ball of stress resembling the latter stages of Brian Wilson’s mix insanity, residing in the corner of the MIDI labs using that ‘precious’ final slot allocation to wait patiently as the beachball of death taunts you. So you guessed it, I like to take uni work home with me.
I’ll continue to work at The Wee Red Bar as resident sound engineer, as well as the odd shift in other venues such as The Third Door. It’s also great to lift heavy shit from time to time, too. I do this with Diamond Event Services where I’m hired as Support Crew, having worked on recent events for TED Global and at the SECC in Glasgow. The more comfortable I feel with uni work, the more I want to experience proper freelancing. Now and then I’m called up to sound a show, this is where the real buzz comes from and as much as I like venue work, my first tour is a not-too-distant objective.
Having performed with north-east band Ceilidh Stomp for the past two years, I have managed a steady income from wedding gigs, allowing myself some pocket money!
Hopefully by having the time to make some money, I can purchase the new toys I want. Overall, they will definitely contribute towards my productivity in the Production & Professional Practice module.