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PSNPresents reveals: “The Apprentice was going to use the Pet Shop Boys”

Dave Robinson 10 November 2015
PSNPresents reveals:

If it was “gloves-off opinion” on the state of recording and music in the UK you wanted, PSNPresents was the place to be last Wednesday night.

Outspoken producers Haydn Bendall and Flood took the industry to task on homogeneity in the charts, the huge expense of getting a technical education, and why they thought Abbey Road was doing the wrong thing by expanding.

Around 60 guests from across the pro-audio spectrum gathered at the Soho Hotel on Wednesday 4 November for two hours of energetic discussion hosted by writer Phil Ward and PSNEurope editor Dave Robinson – plus the opportunity to network with kindred spirits. The event was sponsored by Focusrite and Roland Europe Group.

In the first “studio” half, Ward hosted an eye-opening panel featuring (ex Abbey Road) Haydn Bendall, TV composer Dru Masters and Depeche Mode/U2 collaborator Flood. (The main photo shows, left to right, Flood, Masters and Bendall.)

Highlights of the session included Masters complaining about the scourge of over-obvious TV music and producers’ fear of silence. He revealed that The Apprentice – the 11th series is airing now – was supposed to have the Pet Shop Boys’ Opportunities as its title music before he convinced them otherwise.

While Bendall said he loved Abbey Road as a studio, he was against the plans to open new rooms there (“They don’t need any more money!”) and thought the course at the Abbey Road Institute was over-priced. Brit Award winning Flood lamented how modern music sounded “bollocks”, and that how multi-band compression had “sucked all the dynamic range” out of production so everything sounds the same.

_TAI7115 copyThe second half of the evening was led by the PSNEurope editor, introducing monitor engineer (and yogi) Becky Pell and FOH veteran Roger Lindsay.

Pell expounded on some of the issues that women face in the sound engineering world; how she deals with so-called troublesome acts; and how there are similarities between running monitors and teaching yoga. Members of the audience were encouraged to attempt a couple of yoga moves – and standing on one leg (below) led to some inevitably chucklesome results.

_TAI7104 copyRoger Lindsay rounded off the evening with tales from his long career, pinpointing a couple of mixing disasters which he’d survived, and recalling how he got started in live sound by totally winging his way through it…

“The evening was a fantastically honest discussion about the studio and live industry,” said Amy Blyth of Challow Park Studios after the event. “It was a brilliant networking opportunity, especially for those of us whose lives are often spent cooped up in a dark control room.

“The event bought together a wonderful group of people whose united opinions spread across the normal divide. It instantly became clear that these guys were all working in this industry because they loved the music, whether it be capturing it, bringing it to an audience or being that crucial cog in an artists live performance; you could tell that they all wanted to pass on their knowledge and experiences to us the listeners and the next generation. It was a shame that there were not more students at the event as I’m sure they would have learnt a great deal from the speakers’ candid representation of our industry.

“We are very much looking forward to the next PSNPresents.”

Peter Heath, head of Pro AV Europe for the Roland Europe Group, added: “Sponsoring the recent PSNPresents was a good move from our point of view. The subjects covered, content and guests provided good debate, fun and it was surprisingly educational too. Of course the other purpose was to network as we always do so it was good to meet new people too. Already looking forward to the next one!”

Watch out for video clips from the evening appearing online soon!

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