1. Hello! Who are you, where are you from and all that good stuff.
I’m an impoverished one-man band from Bangor, Northern Ireland trying to make his big ‘breakthrough’ record on a shoe-string budget. It’s all good though – D.I.Y. or die that’s what I say.
2. Tell us a bit about the music you make.
Every song I’ve written I started lyrics first. I don’t know why it is but I just know if I’ve got something good to say the rest will naturally fall into place. I think that’s why I got into folk and early Bob Dylan so much. If the story grips you with one person and a guitar how much better will it sound with a full band behind it?
3. When did you start and what made you want to start making music?
I’ve been releasing my own alternative indie folk songs since 2007. I got a Bob Dylan best-of and a harmonica neck brace and never went back. I’ve made a concerted effort the past 3 years to learn Pro Tools, useful for multi-instrumental recordings. Prior to that I was happy to record in a biscuit tin (for a more authentic folk sound…!)
4. Stage or studio?
Both. Who doesn’t love getting their TEETH into a song before a captive audience? The studio is where you can take humble demos to their zenith. I play solo acoustic 99% of the time but I was fortunate when it came to recording. There are tons of great players around Bangor / Belfast who are happy to lend a helping hand.
5. What gear do you use to make your tunes?
I’ll answer this in two parts. At home I would have an Mbox, a GAP Pre-73 (apparently modelled on the Neve console…?), a beat-up AKG, a Shure SM7B and old, OLD Pro Tools LE. It’s enough to get on with guide tracks and a few overdubs here and there.
Any of the songs built around drums/bass/guitars were tracked in a proper local studio but I wasn’t paying any attention to the gear. Now that we’re mixing however, I asked my guy (Dean Stevens // One30Two) what he’s using and he gave me a run-down. I had no clue what the half of it was…!
First he took off all my in-the-box EQ / FX plugins and built it from the ground up using Slate Digital, FabFilter and SoundToys. Basically all the high-end industry standard go-to plugins I had never even heard of. Then he strongly advised me to re-record my homemade vocal through his Aston Spirit microphone – complete with Halo Shadow reflection filter. The difference was like night and day. That microphone is something else. Any wonder it’s been winning awards left, right and centre?!
6. What is your choice of gear and why?
For me the gear is less important than the person wielding it. I have no problem listening to great songs recorded cheaply / badly. I probably prefer it to over-produced sickly pop music. I make do with my humble Alesis monitors and a DAW so antiquated that I need to run OSX Snow Leopard to keep using it! On the other hand it is great to give your songs over to a professional with a good ear, good attention to detail and a love for the music.
7. Where can we check out your tunes?
As of January 1st I’ve been making a big social media stink by releasing new songs, videos, updates and special offers to promote the album I’m calling Folk Dope. I’ve set up a crowd-funding campaign with vinyl makers QRATES where supporters can pre-order the limited edition LP. (Might as well push the boat out?)
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