What did you do before joining dBs?
“I’ve been teaching for a long time now at a few different colleges and universities in the South West. During my 12 years working at Weston-super-Mare college, I actually taught some of the current dBs staff, including Martin Peacock and John Canning. I taught music production, popular music and multimedia courses there. I’ve also taught at BIMM Bristol and was actually one of the people who helped get that campus up and running.”
Why did you first get into music production?
“While I was studying at University of Bath I was a vocalist in a band, and we put a couple of EPs on our own label. The keyboard player had a four-track recorder and because I was the vocalist, I took the lead on recording all the parts up to the vocals. I started to build an understanding of audio from that and ended up working in the studio above Moles, where I was really fortunate to lead a lot of recording sessions.
“After Moles I worked at Basement Studios, which is a community recording studio and at the time was in a literal basement. While there, I actually worked very closely with a young Roni Size and would help him sample his brothers’ hip hop and reggae records and saw those early days when he really started to get into Drum and Bass.”
Any special areas of interest?
“I love to research, but that covers a lot of things. Having worked with many young people from underprivileged backgrounds, I’ve thought a lot about what music is to people and what it represents in society.
“I also just love music. I couldn’t pinpoint a specific niche within it, I just love it all.”
What do you love most about what you do?
“This links back to my previous answer in that while I may not have a niche area of interest myself, I really love opening student’s minds to find their niche and drilling down into that. Exploring how we can think about that from an academic perspective, the concepts behind it, the technology involved, the sonic quality of what they’re after. I think that’s the thing that rocks my boat at the moment. It’s those ‘a-ha!’ moments where a suggestion I make challenges and inspires them to go out of their comfort zone and find something that really resonates with them.”
Tell us about your proudest career moment?
“Working as a recording engineer for Universe Tribal Gathering which was one of the first really big paid rave festivals. They were looking for a team of people to record each of the stages and I worked in the Hardcore tent alongside Pete D [Rose]. We spent 12 hours tracking all these artists on ADAT 8-track and each tape only had 30 minutes so we had to be creative with where we made the cut.”
“Mixing that was quite hilarious. We’d frequently spend hours mixing a set and then go to listen back and I’d get mad at Pete because he’d not hit record, so we had to do it all over again!”
“That was a really exciting experience, the community was so nice and we were at the start of something really big.”
What do you get up to outside of teaching?
“I absolutely love reading - my home is filled with books. I think that plays into my love of research. I’ve been reading a lot about diversity recently, but I read a lot of music-related books, too. Terraformed: Young Black Live In The Inner City by Joy White is a really great book I’ve read, which is about the grime scene in London.
“Other than that, I love to get to the coast whenever I can and enjoy the beach and just being outside.”
Tell us something our students may not know about you?
“Whilst at the Basement Studio I won an Arts Council national award for recording music and radio programmes with young people.”
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