Multi Million Selling Record Producer / Mixer, major 80's Influences. Go West / ABC / Rick Astley / Tony Hadley etc.
I have produced, recorded and mixed some very special Artists in the music business. I have major 80's influences (and successes) and love to incorporate these aspects into modern day productions & mixes. I specialise in Pop/Rock acts but have worked in many genres.
My 35+ years of experience give me access to the best writers, musicians and vocalists available, this means I can give you a plethera of musical options if needed. I have been an artist myself and know the 'love & emotion' that you put into your creations. We will discuss your wants, needs, even dreams and work out the best way to achieve them.
My quest is to bring out the best in every composition, mix or performance I work on, while retaining that special character that every true artist/performer is blessed with. So many times I have seen true talent wasted because the Producer/Record company or Management don't recognise and dynamize their unique qualities. I can do this!
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Gary Stevenson
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I played in bands from the age of 13 but at 15 discovered an Akai 4 track reel to reel tape recorder that could 'Bounce' tracks... from then on I was hooked on recording and production. I then set up an 8 Track recording studio called Secret Studios in West Drayton, London, UK. This was for my own band compositions & productions, but I also worked by day in a music shop demonstrating guitars & Fx etc, this is where I used to play my work to people and they then started using me & my studio for their own tracks. One Duo were Peter Cox & Richard Drummie (later to be named Go West), I produced their demos and many publishing companies became interested. I then produced 2 Masters for them at the famous now defunct 'Chipping Norton Recording Studios'. That's when the record companies became interested. Peter & Richard went with the only one that would allow an unkown record producer like myself to produce them (thank you Go West & then A&R man Ron Fair!).. the album sold one and a half million copies and Go West became Best Newcomers at 'The Brits' in 1985.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Event Production. I strive to keep the listener stimulated while still holding their attention on the core base of the song. I like to describe it as a car journey to a wonderful destination but with many beautiful sights to look at along the way...
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The 1st Go West album. I was obsessed and totally in my element. There were no rules, I remember an engineer saying to me (as I totally over-compressed and distorted a keyboard) "You can't do that! I said "it sounds great and I can"! I could also finally work with the players I loved...and discovered that production ideas don't always have to come from you! Alan Murphy (Gtr), Pino Palladino (Bass) and various others all came up with wonderful ideas, I just had to say...Yes!
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I have to say I prefer to work with new artists, that way I can influence the vibe & colour without having to work with a percieved approach or 'blueprint'.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Music should be enjoyable, obviously there can be tense & stressful moments (especially with bands) but I try to keep everything positive. As long as I feel we are all giving 100% for the project then I'm OK with that. When working with more than 1 person I have a rule that we at least try everybody's ideas however off the wall, this keeps me alert and I can honestley say that there are many of times I have pursued an idea that I thought woiuld be fruitless, only to find that it really works well or in some cases, completely transforms the track.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: The studio is situated in a large converted barn in the grounds of my house. There is a spacious vocal booth and a Cotswold stone live room, both have line of sight & Tv feed to and from the control room. The control room is air-conditioned and easily seats 6-8 people. It features ‘retro racking’ with my favourite outboard valve eq’s and pre amps. The Pro-Tools Ultimate HD recording system also has hundreds of classic plug-ins …too many to list here.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I have always loved Trevor Horn's Productions, in fact I was managed by his late wife Jill Sinclair for a period of time. Also love Rupert Hine, Brian Eno, Tony Visconti, and of course George Martin & The Beatles.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Production from demo stage to final master, as my website states... From A Vision To The Final Mix. Mixing - this is self explanatory but with 2 options, my approach outright or an alternative view incorporating your Mix/Style preferences. We can of course discuss O/Dubbs if I feel they are needed, you of course have the last word.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Producing & mixing tracks for Peter Cox's (Go West) album, Producing & mixing for Tony Hadley's (Spandau Ballet) new album, Re-mastering 2 Go West Albums for vinyl. Album Mixing for a new Welsh Artist Rhys, Producing an album for Ex 'Great & Lady Soul' member Damian Roscoe, Producing, writing & mixing new act 'Rule Of 3' & working on Pre Production (3 tracks) for new Un-signed artist Piers Nolan.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I haven't had time to look to be honest (apologies).
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analogue, I love the cream on the top end and the warmth at the bottom but these days normally record digital. I have recorded the kit, bass & guitars on a 16 track 2" then transfered to digital but these days the budgets just don't allow the time or money.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll treat your project as I would my own.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Autonomy. If I don't have the vibe I don't approach the work. Production & mixing are about creativity, I can't go into auto-pilot mode, I have to want it, I need the vision and direction to enable me to do a great or very good job. I love to hear someone say "I Love It!" But, I also still enjoy the drummer listening to the finished mix and saying "Can you turn the toms up"? Oh the joy...
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Too many variations to list
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: No idea to be honest. I've only come across the truth... People say I'm lucky to be doing what I love, which I am. They say I'm lucky to have near total autonomy, which I have... They do however have to understand that this comes with great responsibilty, you are dealing with peoples hopes and dreams, tread carefully.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Generally...What bands/Artists do you aspire to, do you have a vision for this? Plus technicalities like "How many tracks do you have in your mix?" etc. If there are a ridiculous amount I encourage them to make a stem of say the strings or BVs with a balance they like as well as the individual files. A lot of times I can use the stems which saves me valuable 'ear time' and allows me to focus on more immediately needy areas of the track.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Know what you want to achieve but please be open to suggestions. You always have the final say...as does my wife : )
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: One of my inward connection Vac Racs (2 Eqs, 1 limiter & 1 Pre-aamp), Lexicon 224 & 480L, my Jon Morbin 'U87" microphone & a camera containing a photo of my best friend in the world 'Mouse The Dog'.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: One of the most important aspects of creativity are direction and knowing where and what to focus on at any given time, this allows you to speed up the recording process and keep your session positive and fresh. If something is taking too long, move on.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Pop & Rock music with Melody. I love a song, I cherish concord.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Vision - I can normally see and hear in my head what and where I feel a particular song should be projecting. Also sonics, you gotta make that track stand out sonically as well as musically.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: When I listen to a demo I am lucky to be a 'first time listener', Artists rarely get that opportunity unless they have had the total picture in their head from conception, even then it can experience changes during it's development. I can listen creatively to stucture, instrumentation, melody & lyrics etc. In doing so (I humbly suggest that) I have the ability to see the positives and negatives. So many times I hear special 'moments' in a composition that have not been capitalised on or expanded upon, structures that don't give value to the true song or just plain lack of positive direction. I can help shape the end result into a more direct, compact statement that will grab attention.