On Wednesday Feb 3, Headliner will descend on the eighth annual Music Producers Guild (MPG) Awards as Media Partner for the second year in succession. The event, which will be held at London's Grosvenor House, is one of the year's highlights in the music production calendar, and recognises the outstanding wealth of talent within the music industry. The shortlist for these prestigious accolades includes producers, engineers, mixers, and studios from every corner of the music industry, from rock and pop, right through to classical, electro, and beyond.
As a lead up to the Awards, we had a chat with some of the nominees who have worked on some of the most globally-recognised albums of 2015... And they all rely on Pro Tools.
Charlie Andrew is no stranger to the MPG Awards, after winning the 'Breakthrough Producer of the Year' in 2013, following his success with UK act, Alt-J. This year, he’s nominated for ‘UK Producer of the Year’. Along with further nominations for multiple BRIT and Grammy Awards, Charlie’s work on the Alt-J record, An Awesome Wave, also won the coveted Barclaycard Mercury Prize.
Andrew has been a Pro Tools user right the way through his career:
"Some of the earliest Alt-J recordings were done on my trusted Pro Tools LE rig with a 002 rack," Andrew explains. "But as the years have gone by, I’ve developed as a producer, and now I’m on Pro Tools HDX with two Avid I/Os, and various other bits."
Having worked with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Manic Street Preachers and Paul McCartney, music powerhouse Guy Massey is quite rightly placed as one of the best mix engineers in the business. This year, he’s nominated for ‘Recording Engineer of the Year’.
Some of his greatest career triumphs have come from his work using Pro Tools, including the Grammy Award-winning restoration of The Beatles' back catalogue.
“For me, it all boils down to familiarity," says Massey. "I’m confident in using the system, and it gives me the freedom to use tape where I can for recording. I then move everything into Pro Tools for editing and mixing at either another studio or my own. I’ve embraced its functionality and it works well for me on that front.”
Achieving a second consecutive nomination for the prestigious ‘UK Producer of the Year’ award, after taking home the ‘Breakthrough Producer Award’ in 2015, Tom Dalgety has achieved many career-defining moments. He produced the number one debut album by BRIT Award-winners, Royal Blood, along with albums for some of the biggest names in rock and alternative, including Opeth, Killing Joke, and Dinosaur Pile-Up.
Dalgety uses Pro Tools for every stage of production: demoing, tracking, programming, and mixing.
"I usually go to one of my favourite studios - Rockfield or RAK - to track, and then bring it back to my own studio to mix and do a few overdubs," Dalgety reveals. "Pro Tools allows me to be completely flexible, and I usually take my main rig with me wherever I go; it means I can always work to my maximum potential.”
‘Breakthrough Engineer of the Year’ nominee, Ben Baptie, has been a Pro Tools user from the start. He utilises its collaborative features to meet the demands of his busy schedule working across various global locations. With a back catalogue of world-class musicians, including Beck and Albert Hammond Jr., as well as helping master some esteemed albums, he recently had the honour of completing a series of final broadcast mixes for the world's favourite songstress, Adele.
He utilised Pro Tools to fine tune and mix the final audio for the global TV specials, Adele: Live from New York, recorded at Radio City; Adele: Live at the BBC; and The Church sessions, which were all used as part of the promotional launch of the most successful album of the decade, 25.
“Whilst producing an album over the last year for a band from New York, I’ve had to go between roughly five different countries, 10 studios, and a lot of different levels of Pro Tools systems," Baptise explains. "Pro Tools has given me a huge amount of reliability within the whole process; it means that I can always bring up a mix, and get any edits and revisions done, wherever I am.”
Strongroom is nominated for the prestigious ‘Studio of the Year’ award. Manager, Emma Townsend, talks of the history of the legendary London facility, and what it takes to remain ahead of the curve in modern day music making:
“Strongroom was one of the first studios in Europe to invest in large Pro Tools Mix systems with Apogee converters that were permanently installed in the studios alongside our Studer and MTR tape machines. As it became obvious Pro Tools was becoming the platform of choice, we continued that investment, acquiring one the first Pro Tools HD systems in Europe."
Fellow ‘Studio of the Year’ nominee, AIR Studios, has also found solace in the flexibility and freedom of mixing with Pro Tools, more recently scoring large-scale orchestral film and television soundtracks from their North London base.
"When mastering for a film score and orchestral recording, we rely on the playlist feature, which gives us the ability to quickly edit on the fly and makes doing stems very easy," says Alison Burton, AIR Studios' bookings manager. "Likewise, when recording for a major artist, we like being able to integrate into the mix old and new styles, and being able to use hardware inserts to still use AIR’s classic outboard. We’re often working on projects across multiple facilities and countries, so Pro Tools makes collaborating a much easier process. Passing from one studio to another is pretty seamless process!”
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Headliner would like to wish all nominees the very best of luck. See you at the Awards!