Meet the Team! Q&A with Mike Exeter
You’ve already gotten to know our in-house engineer Barry Bayliss, so now let’s introduce you to another valuable member of the team! Meet Mike Exeter – he’s been a professional in the music industry for over 20 years, and offers a comprehensive range of services from recording, producing, arranging and songwriting. His experience and past clients are, to say the least, pretty damn impressive, so we asked him a few questions to find out more!
- How did your career in music production begin?
It all began for me with classical music training. I went on to do an engineering diploma, and after that I then gained a degree in Recording Arts. The first real break after education for me was when I was hired by a studio in New York State straight out of college!
- How would you describe what you do to someone who knows nothing about sound engineering?
I’d say I help the artist to get his creative vision out via the technical process of recording and the creative process of production.
- What’s the most fundamental piece of advice you can offer to studio artists?
Before you come into the studio, make sure you’re all well prepared for it! Have a vision in mind, but when you get there, be open to all ideas. But mostly, relax and enjoy it!!
- What particular unique skills do you think you can offer?
I feel I can offer a relaxed and creative approach, whilst making the technical side of the process as invisible as possible.
- What has been the proudest/most exciting moment in your career so far?
There have been so many – too many exciting moments to mention them all! But I’d have to say being nominated for and winning a Grammy for my work with my great friends was a pretty proud moment!!
- How do you achieve ‘the perfect track’? How would you describe the process?
There is no perfect track! It’s all subjective. Ultimately the artist must be happy, and must feel that his initial vision has been done justice.
- If you could work with any artist, who would it be?
Peter Gabriel (Living) Freddie Mercury (Sadly Gone)
- What do you think makes Gospel Oak stand out from other studios?
The smell of silage – no really! It’s such a great countryside location, tranquil and peaceful! Plus the studio itself – I love the really cool, vibey, roomy control room.
- How do you think sound engineering has changed since you started? (technology etc.)
Signal flow has stayed the same, but recording equipment has given us many more choices in all areas. The traditional recording studio has its place in the process, but much ancillary work can be undertaken in all sorts of interesting locations
- What advice would you give to aspiring sound engineers?
If you have money to spend on a college course then maybe consider using it to go and work with a touring band, instead. Seeing the world and learning to communicate with people actually doing this for real is valuable hands on experience. NEVER turn down an opportunity to jump in when invited.
- Any experiences that stick out in your mind?
So many! Watching my mates play songs we’ve produced to 80,000 people and seeing the audiences’ faces. Writing songs overlooking a volcano on the other side of the world, or seeing dolphins swim by in the ocean whilst a masterpiece is forming. Finding out that my heroes are awesome professionals and wonderful people who just care about music and have fun doing it. I could go on…!
- What are the biggest challenges you face as a sound engineer?
Technical challenges that interrupt the flow of the creative process are irritating, but having great house engineers is a massive part of choosing a place to do a production. The way you deal with challenges can make or break a session – At no point should the artist be aware there may be something wrong. That’s our job!
- Do you have a favourite style of music to record?
I have to turn that round to NOT enjoying Dance/programmed music because everything else is so much fun for me to do.
- What was the most demanding or complex recording project you’ve engineered?
A 40 piece Gospel Choir and their band straight from Church on a Sunday evening in New York when no one else wanted to do the session – in at the deep end straight out of college, and it turned out great!
- What’s your favourite piece of equipment at Gospel Oak?
Barry Bayliss – He’s well maintained, and has many uses!
What a talented, interesting guy – if we say so ourselves! If Mike sounds like the sort of top quality engineer your band wants (and he probably is!), get in touch by giving us a call on 01564 785 875!