We also made our way to Tobacco Dock for days two and three of BBC Introducing Live, where we heard from a variety of artists, recording engineers and pro sound industry experts.
Abbey Road Studios again hosted a jam-packed session about recording and mixing with Abbey Road’s senior recordist, Paul Pritchard. Pritchard took the standpoint that recording and mixing methods all depend on what you’re recording, what you’re recording on, and what your skill level is. He emphasised that it’s important not to get too bogged down with the little details, for example, he “isn’t bothered about mic pres”, and just to focus on recording your music. Ultimately, he said, “People always say ‘that microphone sounds good’, but if a microphone is making a sound it’s broken, singers should be making the sound.” However, he did have some pointers for aspiring artists and producers doing it themselves:
He advised, when recording, to “Go until you’ve reached your peak – compare to the previous recording and if it’s still better, keep going. If it’s worse, you’ve reached your peak.”
He also said to tune vocals yourself and that he avoids autotune, although he does use Melodyne. “I’d rather something to be slightly out of tune than sound like it’s been tuned”, he remarked.
We then moved into the songwriting sphere, hearing from professional musician and songwriter Johnny Lloyd, who used to play in the band Tribes. Lloyd stated: “I don’t know anyone that writes everyday successfully […] apart from Blaine from Mystery Jets“. In terms of trying to emulate current times, he affirmed that ‘as soon as you focus on what’s current and what’s happening, you lose yourself […] it’s a dead end.”
Lloyd also advised the young musicians in the room to look into songwriting professionally for music libraries as an extra way to make money.
Taking a step in yet another [albeit saddening] direction, we found out more about how Brexit will affect the UK music industry, if it does end up happening, of course. Tom Kiehl, the deputy CEO of UK Music, firmly stated that “Europe is one of the UK music industry’s biggest markets” and that in the case of Brexit the system for touring musicians is likely to emulate the American system, with a lot of paperwork being involved. This paperwork costs money to get, and it would pose a problem for musicians who get gigs very last minute. To tackle this issue, UK Music is trying to make sure there will be some sort of ‘touring passport’ in place to make things easier. The most affected won’t be the already established musicians, but the up-and-coming musicians and their touring crews.
Keep your eyes peeled for a more in-depth feature on this in the December issue of the mag. You can find our run-down of day one at BBC Introducing Live here.