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Sunday Spotlight: Michael Denny

Sunday Spotlight: Michael Denny


1. Hello! Who are you, where are you from and all that good stuff.

My name is Michael Denny and I am a freelance composer and music producer based in the Northwest. I also run the music and creative industry blog The Audio Tapes.

2. Tell us a bit about the music you make.

My job as a freelance composer and music producer affords me the opportunity to work in a wide range of musical genres for different purposes. To demonstrate the variety, over the last 12 months I have composed over 25 hours of original music for Focus, Relax and Sleep that have been integrated into the Calm App, I produced the Ambient Textural Toolkit pack for Sample Magic, released an instrumental neo-classical EP called ‘The Moment When You Realise’ and have been on BBC Radio One as part of the indie grunge band MEDS. I have also recently returned to remixing under the name MDM with the latest release being the track Suitable by former Kaiser Chiefs songwriter Nick J D Hodgson. While all of these projects are very different, there are a number of the compositional and music production techniques which can be applied across the board.

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3. When did you start and what made you want to start making music?

I played the violin and piano school but it wasn’t until around the age of 16 when I taught myself how to play guitar and bass while undertaking a Music Technology course that I began to write and record my own music. When I did start however, I was hooked and purchased a digital multitrack recorder before I upgraded to my first Mac based computer recording system when I moved to Leeds to undertake a Music Production Degree at the college of music.

4. Stage or studio?

The work I carry out on a day-to-day basis is largely studio based, and that is where I am most at home. The technology that is available at a consumer level is mind blowing, even in comparison to when I undertook my music production degree a little over 10 years ago. I love the creative process of composing and recording a new track, and find the studio an inspiring place to be.

I do enjoyed being on stage and would love to perform more, a recent performance highlight for me was recording a live session for BBC Introducing as part of the band MEDS.

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5. What gear do you use to make your tunes?

My studio is based around an iMac running two DAWs, Logic X and ProTools. I tend to use ProTools for audio based projects and Logic X for MIDI led work. As an interface my Digi 003 is still running strong and is linked to a Focusrite Octopre for additional inputs. With regards to plug-ins I have the Native Instruments Komplete Bundle and use this alongside Kontakt Instruments from Spitfire Audio and Output.

My recently revamped pedalboard includes the EHX Cathedral Reverb, Memory Boy Analog Delay and Big Muff, a Line 6 Echo Park delay, alongside the Boss Chorus Ensemble, Tremolo and Distortion stompboxes. I use these for recording guitars as well as an outboard effects setup which is particularly useful when working on sample pack commissions.

I have a good selection of microphones enabling me to record a full band setup, my most frequently used mics being the trusty Shure SM57 and my favourite, a SE4400 condenser. I also have a portable rig to allow me to capture sounds outside of the studio, this is focused around a MacBook Pro, Focusrite 2i2 interface and a Zoom H4n.

Finally, my current MIDI controller is the new Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol MK2 and I am monitoring through KRK VXTs.

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6. And what is your choice bit of gear and why?

My favourite bit of gear is my Fender Esquire GT guitar. I’ve had this guitar for about 15 years and I bought it when I was a teenager from my local music shop. Despite the simple setup of the guitar with just a volume knob and a single Seymour Duncan pickup the guitar is surprisingly versatile and is equally impressive at creating rich sustained clean sounds as it is thick distorted textures. Despite owning a few other guitars over the years, this remains my go to – it’s light, easy and fun to play.

From a composition and music production perspective I love the Kontakt instruments from Spitfire Audio and Output, in particular the Olafur Arnalds Composer Toolkit, Chamber Strings and REV.

7. Where can we check out your tunes?

You can find me in the usual places, but here are some links to get you started:

Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Twitter

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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