What did you do before joining dBs?
“I worked as a producer, composer, engineer, writer, and remixer for about 15 years inside of professional music. I was also a DJ, which formed a large part of my project persona. I was also part of a relatively established Dubstep act, which is probably my biggest and most public claim to fame, and I was offered a substantial amount of work in numerous roles within dance music off the success of that.”
Why did you first get into production?
“I’ve always been fascinated with music. My father makes Hi-Fi equipment and my interest in DJing came through a friend of his. I was really fascinated by beat matching records and when it was specifically electronic records, how those tracks were created. The first record I bought was Erasure’s album Chorus; I wasn’t really interested in the vocal aspect, but the synthesised elements blew my 8 year old mind.
“That friend of my father’s ended up selling me his Sony direct drive turntables, featuring a mixer withThis Machine Kills Fascists scratched into the side. I don’t know the origins of that phrase, but I still have that mixer somewhere. It has two phono / tape channels, three mic inputs and no EQ. A few years after that I enrolled in a music technology BTEC course and it all blossomed from there.”
Any special areas of interest?
“Sound design and synthesis is a huge area of interest for me. Anyone that knows me understands that my interests don’t extend much further than that; it’s always on my mind. When I open my laptop in the morning, I’m always amazed at the things I’ve researched the night before. It’s usually some obscure method for sound creation or someone who’s developed a really unorthodox way of manipulating sound.”
What do you love most about what you do?
“All the cliches, really. I love seeing that Eureka moment in my students when something clicks. A lot of people seem to see music as this dark art and are apprehensive to experiment, so I love to push them out of their comfort zones. I’ve seen some of my students produce work that’s gotten a huge amount of traction and it’s led to really great things for them, which is a really humbling experience. That achievement belongs solely to them, but it’s still really rewarding to feel that I’ve had a positive impact on them.
“I’m just so grateful that my job is doing something that I love; not many people get to be so lucky.”
Tell us about your proudest career moment?
“Some of the opportunities I’ve had are hard to believe, especially when I talk about some of them with my students and peers at dBs. Being paid to travel the world and play festivals to thousands of people was incredible, Proper rock ‘n’ roll. I was lucky enough to share stages and work with some really influential artists.
“But really, I think my proudest moment is that I’ve successfully transitioned careers.”
What do you get up to outside of teaching?
“I’m really into making things. I’ve got a strong interest in electrical engineering among many other interests and disciplines. I have been spending the last couple of years learning how to weld. Building synths and little things that make sound and noises has become quite a passion in recent years and something I wish I had invested more time learning when I was a teenager. Knowledge is something that no one can take away, so I’m always looking to develop my understanding in new areas.”
Tell us something our students may not know about you?
“I’ve got a guilty pleasure for making ABBA bootlegs, and several of them have actually taken off. There’s an incredible musicality to their catalogue, which makes it really fun to slice up and transform into what I call ‘turbo disco’. Those bootlegs have never had an official release, but I often wonder if ABBA has ever heard them.”