Meet the Team! Q&A with Barry Bayliss
Meet the Team! Q&A with Barry Bayliss
If you’ve read some of our previous blogs, you’ll know that finding the right producer and engineer is a vital step in the process of making a record! So without further ado, let us introduce our incredibly talented, super knowledgeable, and all-round lovely in-house engineer – Barry Bayliss!
Baz began his musical venture as a musician, age 15, and has played and toured with several bands whilst honing his technical skills over the years. He’s the main man behind Gospel Oak, speccing and overseeing the install, move and re-installation of the studios. We sat down with Baz to ask him a few questions, so that you can get to know him and the world of Gospel Oak…
- How did your career in music production begin?
It began when I was in Devon recording at a studio with a band. We went out for a drink one night and someone put a Thomas Dolby album on, Aliens Ate My Buick. It totally transformed my view on music production. Incredible sounds, lyrics and arrangements! I recommend anyone interested in music production and audio engineering should investigate this record.
- How would you describe what you do to someone who knows nothing about sound engineering?
An audio engineer’s job covers the recording, manipulation, mixing and reproduction of sound. This can then be used creatively in music, film, advertising and games.
- What’s the most fundamental piece of advice you can offer to studio artists?
Be as well rehearsed and practiced for the recording session as possible. This cannot be stressed enough! In the studio, 9 times out of 10, we concentrate on the sound and nuances of a production and performance. Pre-production will MASSIVELY help any project heading for a professional and cost effective result.
- What particular unique skills do you think you can offer?
I’m a musician firstly and have played in many bands. I think that helps connecting with the players and artists that I work with, as well as an imaginative mind when it comes to working in a production or co-production role.
- What has been the proudest/most exciting moment in your career so far?
There have been a couple! The first was supporting the Cranberries at the NEC with my band Coppernine, and the second was being on tour with BRAD and New Killer Shoes. I was particularly proud to be a part of the team that helped mentor New Killer Shoes (now called SHOOZE). Those boys worked hard and it really showed on the tour.
- How do you achieve ‘the perfect track’? How would you describe the process?
I’m not sure there is such thing, but I’ve heard some come pretty close! It’s a culmination of great songwriting, arrangement, playing, performance coupled with some studio magic! And a lot of luck ;-). One person’s perfect track is another’s pet hate! Who can be the judge?
- If you could work with any artist/band who would it be?
Ah, now that’s a big question! I think from a historic point of view it would have to be Thomas Dolby, although I think he’s more about film for music these days. Although it always excites me working with up and coming local talent! We have some really wonderful artists in the Midlands, and I think we may see more breaking through in the near future.
- What do you think makes Gospel Oak stand out from other studios?
Well we have a pretty spacious and relaxing control room with a high ceiling with exposed beams. Being in a rural location only 20 minutes from Solihull is a great retreat from the city environment, should that be something an artist wants. Free parking and friendly knowledgeable staff! Oh, and did I mention the local pubs?
- How do you think sound engineering has changed since you started? (technology etc.)
The fundamental methods have remained pretty much the same but equipment has (generally) become cheaper and more available to the aspiring recording artist/engineers. Digital recording has also come on in leaps and bounds with advanced AD/DA conversion and DAW software coming of age. Having worked with some great engineers and seen how they work, there is still very much a “get the sound you want on the way in” approach, so just pushing up the faders gives you that finished sound.
- What advice would you give to aspiring sound engineers?
Work hard, be tenacious, love what you do and make friends. Be punctual. There is an abundance of advice on the internet from top engineers and producers regarding studio etiquette, which is just as important (if not more) as knowing the technical aspects of the studio.
- Any experiences that stick out in your mind?
Loads, but I can’t tell you any of them!! Studio law! One of the most unusual was probably recording Timpani’s in a cow shed just down from the studio…doing takes between cattle banging into the rails! One of the most amazing was watching BRAD from side stage during the tour – a master class in live performance!
- What are the biggest challenges you face as a sound engineer?
Making a living 😉 And to always to keep the client happy – at all times!
- Do you have a favourite style of music to record?
Hmmm, well I enjoy recording most music, particularly mid tempo and groovy! To be honest if it’s a great song with a characterful singer and a well drilled band I’ll love doing it whatever the style. Oh, except metal. I don’t do metal, but we have some great metal and rock specialists here at GOS!
- What was the most demanding or complex recording project you’ve engineered?
One of Ella Squirrel’s songs called “Caged” was the most complex. A beautiful song full orchestration using minimal players, so lot’s of layering and using a technique recording a single player in different positions. The final mix took 2 days. Also, Jimmy Weston’s EP was really demanding as he knew EXACTLY what he wanted. That was all about getting into his head and working out sonically where each track needed to go. Between us we made it work!
- What’s your favourite piece of equipment at Gospel Oak?
We do have some pretty amazing equipment here such as the SSL AWS 900 console and the PRISM ADA8 XR converters, but my favourite is probably the kettle!
There you have it – a brief introduction to our man Baz! If you fancy working with him on your next record (we bet you do!), get in touch with him on firstname.lastname@example.org! And don’t forget, you can still get discounted studio time with us throughout August!