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Dom Morley talks Musical Origins, The Mix Consultancy and Oeksound Plugins

Producer, mix engineer and Professor of Music Production at Leeds Conservatoire, Dom Morley, recently spoke to Headliner about his formative years at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, his company The Mix Consultancy, and the ways in which he uses oeksound soothe2 in his creative process.

When did you first get into engineering and music production?

I started in the late ‘90s, and managed to wangle a job in a studio in Birmingham that was owned by UB40. I worked on a couple of their albums and with a bunch of other artists as an engineering assistant. Then I moved to London, and after a bit of freelancing got a job at Metropolis. I worked there for about seven years, starting off as a lowly assistant doing all the 24-hour sessions and working my way up to in-house engineer. I was Mark Ronson’s UK engineer for about three years and worked with him on his second solo album, Version, as well as the Amy Winehouse Back To Black album and a track for Adele. I won a Grammy for the Amy Winehouse record.

About six or seven years ago, I moved out to this little place in the Oxfordshire countryside; here I’m mostly doing mixing and a little bit of production.

If you’ve got a slightly harsh sounding guitar or drum overhead, you can simply turn one knob up or down, and it gets better.

When did you create The Mix Consultancy, and what services do you offer?

I think it was about five years ago. I’d been fortunate enough to work with very good and very generous engineers and producers from whom I learned a lot, and I realised that nowadays, with most people working in their own rooms, it’s hard for them to get that exposure to people who’ve been doing this for 20 years or more.

I ended up applying for and landing the Leeds Conservatoire gig, which was quite cool, and then The Mix Consultancy came from that – I wanted to extend a small element of that knowledge to people that can’t afford to go into full time education for whatever reason.

There’s so much you can learn from being in it full time and immersing yourself in it, but if that’s not on the cards, you can send a mix to me, I’ll give you all the feedback I can on it in terms of where I think it can be improved and then compile it into a big PDF full of that information. It might be some advice on the bass frequency or EQ etc., and just provides people with a different perspective on their mix.

Tell us about your gear setup, and how oeksound plugins are used within your creative process.

I’m running Pro Tools, and I’ve got a Dangerous 2-bus+ as my summing mixer and then a Dangerous Monitor ST. I’ve got quite a lot of outboard actually – so I kind of run a hybrid setup, doing a lot of processing out of the box.

Oeksound soothe2 is just one of those plugins that does one thing really, really well, and you don’t have to mess with it. If you’ve got a slightly harsh sounding guitar or drum overhead, you can simply turn one knob up or down, and it gets better. Equally for vocals it’s really transparent, and there’s loads of extra controls for when you want to get a bit experimental with it. It’s beautifully simple, but there’s also an enormous amount of control and functionality in there that you can dive into if you want to go deeper. I’m a big fan, and to be honest I don’t know where the competition for this particular tool is. It is, in effect, a dynamic EQ, and while there are many other dynamic EQs out there, every other one that I’ve used takes longer to get to where soothe2 is when you turn it on.

It’s actually become a favourite de-esser for me, so obviously it’s on vocals quite a lot. During a mix, there’ll be half a dozen things that might sound a bit hard, and it’s fun to slap it on and see what soothe does to make them sound better!

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