2018 in Review

Well, what a year. New job, lots of mixing, remixing, a few albums for media done and a healthy dose of academia.

My job running the Music curriculum at Confetti is going well. Very big compared to my last position, but a lovely set of staff to manage and some really nice people I share an office with.

Industry Week was a real highlight: a week of industry guests taking over Confetti. It felt like some of the best CPD I’d ever had. The new studios and rehearsal rooms are about done.. and this time next year the whole of the basement will be done… 14 practice rooms, 6 studios and lots of other rooms.

I visited Maida Vale studios earlier this month with some students: really brilliant… the sense of history there is amazing.

Part of my Confetti job is working with TileYard in London : Confetti validate their Masters in Songwriting and Production. Enjoyed visiting a few times : learning loads. Am back in a few weeks. Some lovely staff and students there.

I spoke on a panel at the Brighton Music Conference on production music in April: was terrified, but ended up really enjoying it and holding my own (I hope!)Here’s a picture of me looking like an idiot.

John Meredith - Arms Production Music

I finished two modules in my Masters degree in songwriting. Its been brilliant getting back into academic writing: a main reason for taking it on. So far, so good: 2 distinctions! Am a couple of weeks from my next module being submitted. Loving it.

Arms has come into its own this year: released 5 new albums, but, importantly, had lots of tracks placed in a couple of new series. More significantly, some new relationships with producers and music supervisors which have already yielded some positive responses for 2019. It’s been nice to see the balance further swing to material NOT written by me, but by over 80 composers on the books. People are responding to the fact we aren’t the shiny material that’s out there. Sticking to my guns is slowly paying off.

Gigs….not enough, but saw Matt Maltese a couple times…was great …his album’s a future classic for sure.

MattMaltese_BadContestant

I also saw Father John Misty and Bjork at All Points East ..really great (but very middle class) festival in London in May. Father John was ace. Bjork was magical: it’s been a while since she wrote a chorus, but live she was amazing.

I saw Morrissey for the 16th time back in February. Pretty ropey sound (NEC in Birmingham) but his voice is on form.

Top albums this year:

Father John Misty, ‘God’s favourite Customer’ album was so good….I don’t remember an artist where their first 4 albums are such high quality. Best snare sound ever, too.

Matt Maltese, ‘Bad Comedian’. Great album. Love him and ‘As The World Caves In’ is just gorgeous. Listened to this a hundred times.

The Good The Bad and The Queen. What middle age music fan wouldn’t want Damon’s career? The first albums great and this is a worthy follow up.

Mitski, ‘Be The Cowboy’: Such a consistant piece of work, top to toe. Heartbreaking in places.

Anna Calvi, ‘Hunter’ : Ace production, amazing voice.

Billy Ryder Jones, ‘Yawn’ : Such a gorgeous piece of heartache..so good.

St Vincent, “‘MassEducation’ : Wonderful re-imagining of ‘Mass Seduction

Jon Hopkins, ‘Singularity’ . Wonky and lovely because of it.

BED, ‘BED’: Mini super group, topped off with Baxter Dury’s voice. Some ace stuff on here.

Young Fathers, ‘Cocoa Sugar’. Dark

Low ‘Double Negative’. Dark, distorted and awesome.

Tracey Thorn, ‘Record’. Still one of my favourite vocalists. Some good tunes, too.

Lykke Li, ‘So sad, So Sexy’. The prize for the worst album title of all time perhaps, but that voice carries some lacklustre songs and production. Was hoping for ten ‘Time In A Bottle’s

 

I did a mix of New Year by Sugababes for the Darling Buds. Then a remix of it for them too. Proud moment, that, as I was a massive fan.

Available for free ’til the 2nd Jan

db

 

Got another remix in the bag for them, too: hopefully that will see the light of day in 2019.

I mixed the fourth album for One Cure For Man, out in 2019. He’s a one man army with a great work ethic.

Also, finished mixing an album for Kafka Diva, mainly self recorded except the drums: another example of what you can do with a small budget these days.

I did a load of moderation and marking for RSL Awards, too this year. A great learning experience seeing how centres up and down the country do things.

2019 is the year I’ll finish my Masters degree, release some new music for media albums and once my Masters is out of the way in September time I’ll get some more time to focus on the music for media plan in more of a structured way.

Here’s to a healthy 2019

 

 

 

2016 in review

Can’t believe how quickly the year’s gone..only 12 months since my last annual review.

As ever, a fruitful year: never  a shortage of things to do.

Have released a couple of albums on my music for media imprint  : an Ambient one and my favourite one…a Moterik album. Lots of music of mine on there. Signed a co publishing deal to try to kick the company into the stratosphere in 2017

Just finished mixing album 3 for One Cure for Man and lots of mastering for a few artists.

Did a load of production for Hannah Brine for some publishing avenues.

I slipped in a remix for We Three and The Death Rattle

I mixed most of the stuff on this over the last 2 years, but glad it’s all out as an album: Lux by The Daydream Club

 

I recorded and mixed/mastered another album at Simon Says festival

Favourite plug ins for me this year have been the Soundtoys mini versions : the Little Radiator and the Primal Tap have both been on pretty much every mix I’ve done in 2016: super simple and sound great.

Books? : Read the Mixerman books: all of them highly recommended but ‘The Daily Adventures Of’ is a great place to start.

The Johnny Marr autobiography is a good read: still leaves lots of mystery to the bits you want to know more of (for me, anything behind the Smiths and Electronic) but it’s written is such an open and conversational way you can’t help but love him…and you can’t say that about Moz’s biog a couple of years back

Three gigs in a year is unusual for me these days, but I made them count this year! Massive Attack, John Grant and PJ Harvey:  a trio of ace-ness.

Song Of The Year is ‘I Feel The Weight’ by Miike Snow: it’s perfect meld of production and a rock solid ‘song’. Beautiful.

Albums I’ve loved:

Bowie, Beyonce, Iggy Pop, Bon Ivor, Mystery Jets, Shura, Miike Snow, Radiohead, Leonard Cohen, Meilyr Jones

 

2017 holds more of the same: got a few music for media albums to finish and get out.Am doing some recording and mixing for Kafka Diva in January for their new album, too and things always just crop up out of the blue.

You just keep working, don’t you?’Get yer tackle out and see what bites’ as Paul Calf said

For those of you who work on your own, do bear with it: it’s hard to keep going sometimes when you can’t see the wood for the trees…but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel

All the best for 2017

 

 

 

2015 summed up

Some great stuff I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with this year:

Finished mixing the One Cure For Man album.. got some great reviews.. really hard working one man band I’ve worked with for a few years now.

I recorded, mixed and mastered an album (except for the tracks by Sophia Marshall and Howard Rose.. Andy Jenkinson mixed those two and did a great job… grateful to him for taking a bit of weight off my shoulders) again at Simon Says festival at DMH in July.. really enjoyed it: super quick recording project.. great snapshot of the festival

Mixed a handful of the multimillion-streaming Daydream Club ‘s new tracks.. really brilliant stuff… and a great cover too.. all will be revealed by them soon.

Finished mixing an album for Claire Schofield.. lovely honest folk.. really love this song. She recorded it all herself..so just the mix and master for me to do.

Mixed a couple of albums of meditative music for a lovely couple of people

I did a fair bit of mastering: a few children albums, one off tracks and an EP recorded at the ever lovely Seamus Wong.

I put out 2 albums of media music… 80% my stuff…. and worked on a bit of a plan for 2016 so the music for media publishing can progress at a much quicker rate. Got 6 or 7 albums in various states of completion I’m hoping to get out there next year.

I completed a remix for really brilliant artist Diagrams then donated it to art project The Dark Outside : basically it’s where tracks get played in a forest in Scotland.. the only way you can hear is by being there and listening on a radio.. then the tracks gets deleted. I did a track a couple of years ago for it, too. Just love the idea of it….seems like little point trying to promote music in the usual way, so better to do it just because….

dia

Other than the festival album, the only other recording was for a band called Kafkadiva.. a band I’ve worked with for around 20 years. I don’t really like recording much these days.. boredom threshold is ever closer to zero with each passing year, but they wanted to do it live in their living room: and I really like doing that sort of thing.. it’s economical for the band and I like having the space as part of the recording. It’s also super-quick and compact time-wise for me.

It’s not out yet but here’s a track from their last album I recorded and mixed

Gig of the year: easy one, this. Father John Misty in Cambridge a couple of months ago was amazing. Helped by the fact the album he was promoting is ace in every way.. he was suave, really funny and had a proper star quality… a little man crush for me that night 😉

1401x788-fatherjohnmisty-2015-05-emm

Album of the year, is, predictably, then, I Love You Honeybear

.. just full of amazing songs, and the arrangements and production is straight out of the 70s…. beautiful.

Other stuff I’ve enjoyed:

Liked the Blur album.. not a massive fan of Blur but they always have their moments. More of a fan of Albarn’s work ethic and career. Clever boy.

Not released this year but new to me this year was The Silver Globe by Jane Weaver… great voice and songs..

John Grant’s Grey Tickles, Black Pressure is excellent: not as excellent as Pale Green Ghosts, but has some corking tunes ..properly dark and funny lyrics.

Enjoyed bits of the Young Father’s album, too.. looking forwards to seeing them in January supporting Massive Attack.

Again, enjoyed bits of the Tame Impala album: too sickly slickly to like the whole album, but tight production and some good songs made it a good album

New Order came back…my favourite album of all time is Technique…and it’s been a downhill struggle since them. I still love Bernard’s voice, but miss Hooky’s bass (wish they’d all kiss and make up).. enough in there to make it a worthwhile effort. Still terrible lyrics, but always have been.

Really loved the Mac De Marco album: sounds like a demo , but refreshingly un-produced, but great songs

It feels like a guilty pleasure to say you like Lana Del Rey: each album sneaks into my consciousness; pretty terrible words and voice, but I like the  whole package : the production and visuals.. and there are some great songs on this album. No Video Games, though

We got a lovely dog in May called Arthur….and it’s meant I’ve been walking lots, so I’ve been listening to so many more podcasts than normal. Here’s my favourites:

All 6 Music ones : you can’t go wrong with any of the 6 Music Podcasts… The First Time is always great, but the weekly ones from RadMac and Laverne are reliably entertaining, too

Making It From The Home Studio has been a sporadic common sense source of advice.. the mix walkthroughs are particularly excellent

I love Song Exploder: a weekly exposition of song writing and production… always inspirational

Sodajerka On Songwriting is such an amazing resource.. so interesting: a different interview with classic writers every fortnight or so.. you won’t believe the caliber they’ve got.

CD Baby DIY podcast is also great

Music Business Worldwide.. really great interviews with high level industry folk

Sound On Sound podcasts.. good but infrequent

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast makes me chuckle a lot

.. as does Adam Buxton‘s relatively new podcast

..and finally, Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces podcast has some really interesting guests and is worth a listen

Happy New Year to you all Continue reading

2013

Well, another year gone, and quicker than ever.

Been really busy with lots of varied projects. What I was really pleased with was the studio earned it’s money in terms of me using it: importantly, it feels like a creative space and homely: somewhere I want to be (not necessarily an easy feat)

Some highlights of the year (apologies if I missed something out I worked on for you!):

Mixed the Daydream Club EP

Released a couple of remixes under The Rise and Demise of John banner……: one for She Make War  and , a personal highlight for me, one for Martin Rossiter (ex Gene)

Released a debut single as the Rise and Demise of John.. then deleted it

Mixed a rather stirring track with live strings on the One Cure For Man album

Recorded an album in the back of a van

Plus, Edited around 80 tracks to 60 second and 30 second versions, mastered a couple of hundred tracks, mixed 40 or 50 tracks, wrote 15 or so tracks for TV, mixed and mastered an album for a singing astrologer (you couldn’t make it up), and mastered some albums for kids plays

Mixed a track for Sally Hossack for a possible Tricky appearence

Like the last couple of years, the majority of work’s involved artists recording themselves and passing to me to finalise/mix.master.. and I love that DIY-ness.

Albums I’ve enjoyed: Factory Floor, Mazzy Star, I Am Kloot, Midlake, Savages, Nick Cave, Jon Hopkins, John Grant, Johnny Marr. Number one’s got to be the John Grant one, tho: really excellent

Not much of a reader, I read 2 books this year…. 2 more than in 2012: the Moz biography was particularly ace, although totally self indulgent and moany.. what did we expect?

You Never Give Me Your Money about the Beatle’s money: never a Beatles fan, but this book was really excellent

Gig of the year was the Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis one at the MIF. Amazing.

Oh, and I turned 40

2014’s all about starting my production music publishing company up after a lengthy gestation period……everything’s nearly finished… feb/march I think for a launch

Happy New Year, all!

Oh dear

Ben mixing a single for a band called Refuge. It’s for a World Mental Health awareness campaign, apparently. Anyways, that’s in the bag: just got to master it. Pretty big mix: 14 brass tracks, same for string section, bass, drums, guitars x a million (ish) and vocals. Its the first time I’ve used an Exciter for ages… it counteracted the fact there was no under-snare mic, to to get the ghost note rattle popping through. Album mix to follow over next three weeks……and weirdly, am mixing everything then the drums ‘go on’ last… intrigued as to how that’ll work.

The soul/blues album I’ve been mastering’s now done: hats off to James from One Cure For Man for recording and mixing it ; sounds really good.. dead gutsy.
Mrs Ears bought a dear for the studio: like it?

 

In March I was asked to do a remix of I Am In Love’s single… it’s only just been released though. I knocked up a video for it, to.

Studio update and other tales

Super Gary came to visit this week. He rendered the outside of the studio and plastered the inside …looks flipping ace. I tried to help by keeping out of his way and started paining the outside wood bits (fascias, posh people call them).. wife changed her mind about colour scheme, so I had to get more paint. To be fair, she was right. Going for a light grey for the door and fascias, and the outside will be a seaside bluey torquisey type thing (will look better than it sounds… those who saw our last house in Leicester will know what I mean).

Inside probably off white for the most part, with one wall as a deep vintage greeny, I reckon.

Just ordered the lights and flex from these ace sites (cable and lights) and should be picking the sockets and light switch up tomorrow, all ready for Big G (my amazing father) to power on up.

All that remains to choose is the wooden floor. Had a few samples sent.. just trying to finalise which I’m going for. Although I love dark wood, with it being a smallish space, I’ll end up with a lighter wood.

Musically, been super busy: doing lots of writing for TV both on my own and with others.. as such, getting lots done, with loads more in the pipeline.

Oh, I finished mastering this, too, by One Cure For Man: seemingly workaholics.

The remix of this is coming out soon, too.

Driving Plasterer Gary to and from his house in Boston (Lincs) we listened to lots of music.. he’s an original Soul Boy and did all the Wigan Casino allnighters.. he educated me in lots of amazing obscure tracks.. and left me a list of ones to try to track down, so that’s something I’ll look forwards to doing. I love the way those records sound. Amazing.

Piccies of studio coming soon

 

 

I got glassed

A slow week for work on the studio. Been mixing the Hannah Brine tracks, mastered the new One Cure For Man EP, but had stacks of marking and lesson prep, plus poorly kids to help tend.

Still, today, the door (remember, readers, the one I got for cheap as anything off Ebay.. then the glass cracked?) got reglazed, and that looks great: nice to come home to today.

Tonight I put more Rockwool in.. probably half way there: would love it if I finished this weekend so I can start on the plasterboard next week, but we’ll see.

Still having mixed thoughts on the Sabre desk Paul Wong spotted.. he nearly convinced me to buy it yesterday over lunch: perhaps its perfect for what I want, but a large outlay when I’m still a while away from finishing the studio build and there’s the plasterer to pay (Easter), pain to buy and wooden floor to buy and lay.. let alone the worktops, storage etc. I may just fly in with a stupidly low offer and see what happens: worked for the Tape Machines I bought last summer!