Backstage with...Geoff Swan

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the recording studio? Geoff Swan, Studio Owner and Sound Engineer talks us through his work.

Backstage with...Geoff Swan

When did you first get into the music industry?

When I was 21, I was studying for a degree in Music Technology and looking for work experience in a recording studio. I met a local studio owner who allowed me to help him over my summer break and at the end of it he offered me a job running day to day recording sessions and I jumped at the chance.

What do your roles as sound engineer and studio owner entail?

Running a recording studio is the same as running any business in the service industry, aside from the every day tasks of keeping the studio clean, tidy and functional, there are a lot of other administrative jobs like book keeping and ensuring calendars are up to date with the latest bookings. As a sound engineer the roles are a lot more enjoyable but your primary function is still to ensure whoever you are working with or for are happy and feeling positive about the results you are getting them.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I generally get into the studio at 9am and work until I have finished whatever I have set out to achieve that day, which can be any time from 5 pm to 2/3am the next morning. If I'm mixing I tend to be working on my own and I make sure I have regular ear breaks to help maintain perspective. If I'm working with an artist producing/engineering the day can be very varied from recording various instruments and vocals to writing additional parts.

Do you prefer working on live shows, or in the studio environment?

I prefer working in studios, mixing live shows is an art in itself.

What is the biggest challenge of your job?

Staying objective and making sure you have the courage of your convictions because with music there isn't always a right or wrong.

What is the best thing about your job?

Getting to work with such a wide range of talented and inspiring individuals, it's fantastic to feel like you're always learning something new with each project you work on.

Have you noticed a change in the music industry in the last few years?

Yes, obviously the impact of downloading and streaming on recorded music sales have had a massive impact on the revenue generated by record labels which translates to smaller budgets for making records, however on the plus side the advances in technology within the realm of music production have kicked the door wide open for any one with a laptop and an idea to be creative and make music which is definitely a positive thing!

Do you think there's too much attention to pop music over other genres in mainstream culture?

I don't really because pop music will always be the primary music focus for mainstream culture because it is exactly that, popular. I do believe that the advantage we have over previous generations is choice through the ability to access music from any genre at the click of a button. I doubt we will be hearing Norwegian heavy metal played on bagpipes on day time radio 1 anytime soon, but I'm sure there is a digital or online radio station somewhere that is playing it round the clock if it's your thing.

Which artists do you think have real talent right now?

There is so much fantastic new music out there at the moment but here three artists that are really impressing me right now are;

Huntar
https://soundcloud.com/huntarmusic

Ady Suleiman
https://soundcloud.com/adysuleiman

Sabella
https://soundcloud.com/best-fit-recordings/sabella-loving-like-this

Image courtesy of Mateusz Brzeźniak

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