Friday, 31 May 2013

Personal Development Plan 3

And now for the third and final entry of this academic year in my Personal Development Plan series. I'll be following the the same template as last time, so here goes...

My current state


  • Experience with various studio environments and control surfaces/mixing desks (Avid D-Command, Avid C24, KORG nanoKONTROL 2, Behringer Eurorack MX3242X, Behringer DDX3216, Allen & Heath ZED-R16))
  • Small amount of experience with analogue mixing desks (Neve Series 51)
  • Worked with artists across a wide range of genres (acoustic, jazz, indie rock, alternative rock, grunge, surf rock, folk, ambient, hip-hop)
  • Usage of different recording techniques (Glyn Johns, X-Y, Spaced Pair, Blumlein Pair, Mid-Side, Tchad Blake)
  • Confident proficiency in playing both acoustic and electric drums.
  • Confident proficiency in programming drums (especially through recording on electric drums).
  • Competent proficiency in playing the keyboards.
  • Competent proficiency in playing the bass guitar.
  • Competent proficiency in playing the electric guitar
  • Small amount of experience in live sound.
  • Growing number of connections with local musicians.


  • Unemployed.
  • Lack of a recording interface at home.
  • Lack of monitor speakers.

My desired state

Still to achieve the BA (Hons) degree in Music Production; it's been a tough first year, but I'm done, and now to look forward to September, when it all happens again. Still want to put together my own home recording studio, and a high-end acoustic drum kit is still on the mind, although not as much now, as I recently bought myself an Alesis DM10 Studio e-kit. It cost quite a bit, but it came with all the drum heads upgraded to mesh heads, so it'll hopefully withstand my antics. I've also bought myself a Sonor double bass pedal for the kit, so that I can learn to play double bass properly and then widen my musical skills. Still working on my guitar and bass skills as well; Rocksmith has done so much more for me the space of seven months than three years of online lessons and self-teaching. And still looking at the dream studio to work in. And something not really music-related; I'm hoping to get my full driving license during this summer, so I've got a little short-term goal to work towards. No plans for a car of my own yet though. I can't afford one, and even if I could buy one of my own, I wouldn't be able to afford the extortionate insurance. More importantly, I'm waiting for the prices of current electric cars to go down, as that'd be much cheaper to run than an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car.

How to get it

Well, the first year of the degree is out of the way now. Actually, slight correction: it will be when I get my marks back from the last four assignments. For now though, I can relax until September. Apart from the driving tests, that is. Anyway, just two academic years to go now. As for everything else (drums, home studio, etc.), it all still requires loadsamoney. During the summer, I'll also be on the hunt for jobs. The uni assignments kept me so preoccupied that I wasn't able to continuously search, but now I can for the next few months. Obviously, to keep a potential job getting in the way of my next year in the degree, it'll have to be a part-time job, so I'll search purely for that from the get-go. Another thing I'll need to get all this is luck. Let's hope Lady Luck smiles on me this year...

Saturday, 4 May 2013


Versal managed to get the missing project over to me earlier, so I spent my night working on it (and it's just gone midnight, so off to bed for me after posting this), and here is the end result...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Tester

On Monday, I received a rather peculiar Moodle message calling for test subjects for an audio quality test on Wednesday from two SMT (Sound and Music Technology) students (Kerry Smith, and Will Owen); specifically, they wanted males between 16-40. I was happy to oblige, so I texted Kerry on the number she included and said I could take part.

Now, in the message, it did mention test subjects would get free wine/beer and chocolate; I just shrugged that off as a joke added in by Tom Freeston, the staff member who sent the message out. But it turns out they were serious! When everything was set up, there was a table full of the aforementioned. Unfortunately for them, I was the only person who turned up, which was a shame. They waited around for hours, but nope, it was just me in the end.

The test they had me do was to listen to a short sample of "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay (specifically, 1:10 to 1:23 in that link) and tick off boxes on a questionnaire sheet, asking about certain aspect of the sample, like the clarity of the vocals, the church bells in the background, the balance of the instruments, etc. They had six versions of the sample, all in varying qualities (I wasn't told the qualities), and they had me listen in four different ways: cheap hi-fi speakers, professional monitors, monitoring headphones, and cheap in-ear headphones.

The test took about half an hour in total (after the initial set up, which took over an hour). They got everything they needed, and I walked away with several chocolate bars and a bottle of cider. It's been a good day.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Hippity Hoppity Brigade

Thank you to Stephen Fry for coining that term.

Three songs in the bag this weekend! I've been working with a future dBs Music student called Samuel Blazer, who performs under the name Versal. He kindly offered up four songs for me to work on; he didn't have one of the complete projects on him though, so I spent my weekend working on the other three. It's been quite an interesting experience working with proper hip-hop songs for the first time. Hear the results for yourself...

Saturday, 20 April 2013

"Let's go 420, dude!"

Happy 4/20, stoners! I spent today mixing and producing a song for a fellow dBs Music student which coincidentally would probably sound better if you were stoned.

The song is called "Torment", and it's by George Connett, who's also known as Jawgee. It's a kind of ambient hip-hop instrumental. Check it out...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Personal Development Plan 2

Time for the second in the ongoing series that is my Personal Development Plan. The previous one I did was the first time I tried this, so it wasn't that good. I'll see if I can do a better job this time around following this template...

My current state


  • Experience with various studio environments and control surfaces/mixing desks (Avid D-Command, Avid C24, KORG nanoKONTROL 2, Behringer Eurorack MX3242X, Behringer DDX3216, Allen & Heath ZED-R16))
  • Recorded artists across a wide range of genres (acoustic, jazz, indie rock, alternative rock, grunge, surf rock, folk)
  • Usage of different recording techniques (Glyn Johns, X-Y, Spaced Pair, Blumlein Pair, Mid-Side, Tchad Blake, etc.)
  • Fairly high proficiency in playing the drums.
  • Competent proficiency in programming drums.
  • Competent proficiency in playing the keyboards and bass guitar.
  • Small amount of experience in live sound.
  • Growing proficiency in playing the electric guitar, thanks to playing Rocksmith.


  • Inexperience with analog studio recording environments.
  • Lack of connections with local musicians.
  • Lack of a competent home recording studio.
  • Unemployed.

My desired state

Pretty much the same as last time; achieve the BA (Hons) degree in Music Production, get my own professional-grade recording studio at home (in the garage), a high-end drum kit, but not an electric guitar of my own now; my dad seems to have forgotten about the guitar all together, so I've pretty much commandeered it. I'm getting better at playing it now, thanks to the game Rocksmith. It's also helping me with the bass too, but I'm obviously concentrating on the guitar, as that's where I most need improving. Still would love to work at a high-end studio too.

How to get it

No change with the degree; keep calm and carry on. I'm making it through the first year. Just need to hope the second year won't be much harder, otherwise I might be in trouble. Drums, still need money for those. And for the home studio. A lot of money. Getting a job will help there, as I'm planning to continue living with my parents for the foreseeable future. If I have enough saved up by the end of the third year of the course (which will be around June 2015), I might be able to move to another city and start making a name for myself in the studio.

Monday, 4 February 2013

"And another one gone..."

I managed to help out a fellow student in my group today. Olly needed to record a drummer for one of our projects, and I was more than happy to oblige. He chose to cover "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen; a legendary song that is thankfully also easy to play on the drums, so it was well within my comfort zone. He'd already recorded the bass, so I played along to that and a click track. Nice and simple. And now to work on my song for the same project. I recorded another student in my group called Ben, playing one of his original songs. He's played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass. I'll be doing the drums, and mixing it all together.