What first sparked your interest in the industry?
I grew up studying music to quite a high level and then electronics. The two just went together and I found that having perfect pitch was an incredibly useful tool in setting up sound systems, not wasting time sweeping frequencies, but hearing and identifying problem areas straight away.
What was your first job?
Whilst at school I got offered the chance to DJ at a local nightclub; this quickly became a residency at age 16, which I then precariously balanced alongside my academic studies. The owner later became a friend and admitted that he had never thought to ask my age, just presuming I was over 18. The police occasionally came in looking for underage drinkers, but fortunately never asked how old the DJ was.
What is an average day like at work for you?
I have quite a diverse job as both the UK distributor of KV2, but also part owner of the main manufacturing company in Czech. Most weeks I get involved in some head office work, but alongside that I could be in the UK warehouse helping with a large order, meeting our UK clients, or commissioning an installation. In between I also run the accounts side of the business.
What has been your favourite project?
Pre-KV2 I had my own installation and events company, so we undertook a lot of prestigious
work within the industry. We had some great fun travelling around with the Mondiale team putting
on the Theme Awards as well as supplying all the sound and lighting for PLASA’s big 25th anniversary party in London. With KV2, it was an installation at Hammersmith Palais for a famous TV music awards show. We were very proud of that – it sounded great.
What is the most ambitious project you’ve worked on?
I think the Winter Olympics in Italy. Ambitious because it was the early days of KV2 and we committed to supplying a new system called VHD. George [Krampera] and I set off in the car across Europe not really knowing what to expect, but having been promised an amplifier room it turned out that the system, including amplifiers, needed to simply sit outside on the snow in temperatures of -20 to -25 degrees for over two weeks. It was a nerve-wracking experience but the system performed flawlessly.
How do you balance work and life?
In the UK especially, the two can very easily become one. I am perhaps fortunate that our office is based less than a mile from my home which, whilst making it a bit too easy to sneak into work on a weekend, negates the many hours of commuting to the office during the week. I am also lucky that my hobby is music, so taking my work home might just involve finding a large KV2 home cinema system in my lounge every night. I enjoy my time writing on Pro-Tools and used to produce some white label dance tracks years ago, including a cheesy version of Auld Lang Syne, which was used for Radio 1’s midnight on-air celebrations.
What’s the biggest challenge of the industry?
For me, the general acceptance of a declining audio quality, caused in many cases by the over-application of DSP. Many of the songs you hear on the radio have that typical buzzing sound, like insects around the voice. It is a shame that many of the new era of engineers coming through will only ever experience that as their foundation and introduction to the pro audio industry.
The art and need for equipment that can create sonic space, airiness and openness in a mix has largely gone and seems not to be a priority as long as you can mix the band on your iPad or tell what temperature an amplifier is on your phone.
What do you like most about the industry?
The people, or should I say the characters. You only need to walk round PLASA or Frankfurt Messe
at home time to realise what a great sitcom our industry could make. But seriously, despite the global corporations now dominating, or the accountants making decisions about how good they can afford a product to be, there are still many inspirational legends and a genuine sense of fun around the industry gatherings.
Who/what is your inspiration?
I have to say my colleague George Krampera. Inspiration isn’t always a comfortable thing and once you get used to the definition and detail in George’s products it can affect your enjoyment of even the most simple things, such as going to the cinema, listening to the radio in your car, or the recording of your favourite artists.
Striving for that definition becomes a goal on almost every level and it’s no coincidence that the majority of KV2’s team have been with us for many years, knowing they may struggle to find contentment in a more ordinary audio environment – I certainly would.