Last year saw budding studio engineer George Murphy honoured with the coveted Rising Star gong at the 2016 Pro Sound Awards. Daniel Gumble asked him what he’s been up to since and how his career has continued to blossom…
It’s been a year since you won the Pro Sound Awards Rising Star award. What have you been up to since then?
I have been working out of Eastcote Studios in London. It’s been quite a year, with loads of different projects coming through. The studio has such a variety of clients that it’s rarely ever the same type of record twice in a row. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some incredible records over the past year. Some of the highlights have been producing and mixing Yowls’ last single My Headache Likes to Speak, engineer and production for HMlTD’s To The Dooe and mixing John McLaughlin’s Live at Ronnie’s Scott’s.
We’ve also had an extensive refurb that’s really boosted the popularity of our Studio 2. We’ve packed it full of amazing gear and instruments and redecorated to make it feel like a comfy living room that you can make records in.
Has the award helped to boost your profile in the industry?
I received a lot of congratulations from people I really respect, which was incredible to hear. I also got to meet many people at the awards show itself that I’ve stayed in touch with ever since.
In this industry, you’re never sure exactly what got you a certain project, but the publicity surround the award was very helpful.
What has been the project you are most proud to have worked on over the past year?
I engineered the latest Coronas album Trust the Wire. It’s an amazing album from a really great band. It ended up going to No. 1 in the album charts over in Ireland.
And what has been the most challenging project during that time?
I’ve mixed two film scores recently for feature films. There’s so much more to consider when mixing in surround and for picture, I find I can’t work as quickly as when I’m just doing music. It’s very rewarding though, and it’s always nice to do projects that make you think differently.
Tell us about how you came to get involved in the audio industry.
I played in bands as a teenager, and was lucky enough to make a couple of records in some half decent studios. While we were in there, I became fascinated by what the engineer was doing, and I was definitely the annoying kid client asking hundreds of questions while he was working! I was so interested that I set up a little home studio in my parents’ spare bedroom and starting recording local bands.
I went to the University of Surrey and did the ‘Tonneister’ course, which included a year working in the industry that I spent at Ignition Studio (I think that may be called The Library now). After graduating, I freelanced as an assistant and engineer at a few difference places and eventually got offered a full-time position at Eastcote Studios. I’ve been there ver since and t’s been an amazing place to establish myself. It’s a fantastics studio and you’re surrounded by a community of incredible engineers, producers and musicians.
What advice would you offer anyone just starting out in the industry?
If you want to work in a studio, it is very competitive but there is work out there. Unfortunately, a degree in music/engineering is considered by most places a requirement to be a tea boy/girl, so you have to turn up with a decent amount of prior knowledge. Studios now expect you to at least know the basics when you arrive.
Keep up to date with all the latest software and techniques, particularly stuff from smaller companies that may not have a lot of users yet. In music production, a lot of people who may hire you will be experts at the equipment they use, but that equipment may be quite old. If you can show them something new or use a new piece of software much faster than they can, suddenly you’re very useful.
Make sure you develop skills in all areas of production; all the most successful engineers I know have a good musical ear and are able to contribute more than just recording skills to a project.
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