Author Archives: Pete

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It being International Women’s Day…

…what better time to chat about last Sunday, recording four incredibly talented women here in the studio. Maria and Michelle Mason, Siubhan Ni Ghriofa, and Marie-Louise Bowe were in with me performing string quartet duties for new music from Simon Quigley. There’s more technical info on the session over on my own site, but I wanted to write a wee bit about the women in music that have been so important to me as teachers, friends, and sources of inspiration.

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Maria Mason (violin), Siubhan Ni Ghriofa (violin), Marie-Louise Bowe (viola), Michelle Mason (cello), Simon Quigley (composer)

I grew up playing traditional Irish music with my dad, me on the whistle and him on accordion. My mum would sing, and as I got older I was brought to the weekly seisiún in the village during the summer months. Here I got to meet a host of musicians not just from Adare but from all over Limerick and Munster. I was also getting into alternative and rock music at the time, playing guitar and bass; it has changed somewhat today, but the absence of girls in that scene at the time was lamentably noticeable. It was a different story in the trad world though, with the likes of Siobhan Condon, Fiona Lyons and her sisters, Annette Gorman and many others leading the way in proficiency, mentorship and flair in the field. And that’s just in Limerick county. More than that though, for me as a kid those girls were approachable, friendly, willing to share their vast knowledge and inspiring in their love of their music. They could “read the dots” much better than me, but they encouraged me to use my ear as well as I could and not be discouraged.

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A break in proceedings, looking down from the Control Room

It wasn’t until I moved to Dublin that I got to meet and work with classical musicians. I was intimidated and first, not knowing much about music theory and still being slow with the sight reading. Working with Maria Mason and the O’Grady sisters (Eimear and Larissa) on those first sessions years ago opened my eyes to the way string players work, so similar in many ways to the fiddle players I knew back in that wee courthouse in Adare.
Fast forward to last Sunday, mother’s day, and there I am listening to four mothers producing beautiful music in the Live Room; it was such a fun day, intense but enjoyable. I can’t think of a better way to mark International Women’s day than to celebrate them and all the talented women that have been such a powerful influence on me in my life. Here’s to you all.

Nice mention for my work

I’ve had many projects over the past decade mastered by Fergal Davis [ fergaldavismastering.com ]. I first met him when I studied in the Sound Training Centre, Temple Bar, where he was one of the lecturers there. At the time he was a Music Technology lecturer, and in our second year he set up his mastering suite and got started in his current career. It has been a pleasure to watch him go from strength to strength, and he has made my mixes sound awesome without fail. The sessions themselves are always an exciting, fun, and relaxed affair, where we can talk about the vision for the finished masters and work to get them there.
Recently he was featured in an article over on the Irish Times, and gave my work a lovely mention. Head on over and have a read here.

Free vocal altering plugin from SoundToys

I got given this referral code from the folks over at SoundToys – it’s for their Little AlterBoy plugin, which does some pretty cool things.

It’s only available for the rest of today so get it while it’s hot.

Of course, it also does some exceptionally un-cool things like that Cher megaquantized pitch correction, but you can also use it to do Fever Ray style female-to-male morphing, Kid-A style craziness, and complete melody restructuring of an existing line.

Note that you will need iLok licensing software, and an account on the iLok website, but that stuff is all available for free… as is this plugin. Enjoy :-)

https://www.soundtoys.com/sxsw2015/&rc=283-1389-061

Interesting article – working on Alt-J’s “An Awesome “Wave”

The folks at Universal Audio send us through links to artists using their kit occasionally – I know they function as self-serving promotional material, but some of the non-gear related stuff in here is interesting, particularly related to preproduction and song structure.

Anyway, jump on over here to have a read.

P.

Avril Whelehan EP released

Delighted to announce that Avril’s debut EP is up on soundcloud, you can check it out here:

Recorded in Bay, and mixed by myself in Saggart. It was a real pleasure to work with Avril on her music, we put a lot of effort into developing them and adding colour and movement where we could, without being “producery”. My mate Paul Lally played drums on some songs also, so thanks Avril for showing faith in us and letting is tear into it!

Do go have a listen, it’s a thing of beauty with a lot of ideas packed into the 14 or so minutes…

P

Mastering Avril Whelehan

Last week I was in with the incredibly talented [and incredibly sound] Fergal Davis, a mastering engineer based in Dublin. It is fascinating to watch him at work, I’ve known him for nearly 15 years now(!) and he really is at the top of his game. The techniques he uses are fascinating, particularly the Mid-Side splitting of the mix for varying compression and EQ tasks on the Centre and Edges of the mix respectively.

Fergal was also showing me a very cool dynamic EQ that he uses in a very surgical manner for taming spikes in narrow frequency bands – the Brainworx bx_DynEQ. Definitely on the shopping list.

Of course, the only thing that matters is the finished product and I am really pleased with what we have come away with. I’ll post some snippets this week if I get a chance.

Here is the link to his site:
http://fergaldavismastering.com

And his Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/FergalDavisMastering

Next up: Recording acoustic guitars with Barry from Darken The Distance this week, then mixing some more Fiach tracks. More on those later.

Darken The Distance – Preproduction

Barry was round tonight at my place in Saggart, we had all the toys out…

The new Volca Bass and Volca Beats sounded fantastic, and the Sonic Couture “Attic” collection’s Omnichord is really incredible. you can “strum” it with the mod wheel, just like the original. Magic.

There’s lots of work to be done but the ideas are really good, some really adventurous fresh ideas. This should be something very special.

Tell No Foxx “Boulevard”

Very very proud to to be able to point y’all at the first tune from Tell No Foxx’s upcoming EP; the song’s called “Boulevard”, recording work was done on it here in the Bay, mixed at my place in Dublin. They really are an incredibly talented band, it’s great to work with people that know exactly what they want, and are also open to experimentation. There’s such a lovely vibe to the EP, there was a very strong vision for where it should end up and I think we got there.  Really looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP masters :-)

Anyway here’s the video: