Meet the Audio Production Team for Brand Capital: Capital FM,…
Man, this is a way to start the new year. It needed me a while due to the fact theses guys are so busy, but finally we could pull it. This is the first group interview ever for our blog and it is a big one. I am thrilled to work along side Ash and their drive is a true inspiration for me. In this post the entire Capital Crew gives you the latest in plugins, sound, how to be creative and more!
Enter Ashley Bard, Dan Hill, Chris Longman, Richard Boffin, Ed Rummins and Sam Wickens!
WHAT’S YOUR TEAM DAW?
ASH: Across the board we’re rocking Protools 12.6 HD, then we occasionally use Adobe Audition and Ableton Live. Protools for the main bulk of imaging, Audition for Metadata and Ableton for mixing.
DAN: We work on Protools – currently on 12.6 HD at work. Main reason why it’s my DAW of choice is the way it handles audio is so much quicker and smoother than other DAWs I’ve used so far. It allows me to be a lot more creative with less of the effort, which in turn allows me to be even more creative. I also use Logic Pro X when programming large quantities of MIDI as that’s more user friendly.
HOW DO YOU ACCELERATE CREATIVITY?
CHRIS: If I’m honest, just sit down and work on the project straight away. Just dive in.
People say, go for a walk and think of ideas. Sit on Pro Tools and just start making stuff. Writing a script, just write a bunch of things you want to hear, it helps that I’m in the demographic that listens to Capital though!
ASH: We also use a piece of software called Slack, everyone uses it across the team and we share ideas across it and motivate each other. Sometimes a silly little gif can spark an idea.
We also have a html coding script that pulls all newly posted imaging on Soundcloud into a viewable platform for ease.
HOW DO YOU LEARN FROM OTHERS?
SAM: The best way for me to learn from my colleagues is to do something with them.
Simply listening to their work on my own isn’t enough. It can inspire ideas but the process behind the results can’t be always be understood. Sitting in on a session with a producer has helped me develop the most.
ASH: Besides mentioning slack above, we have a weekly team meeting on a Tuesday – it’s a more of an ‘official’ gathering for team updates but it’s also a good time for producers to raise any questions they may have or throw for help with a larger audience.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLUGIN AND WHY?
DAN: Ahh so many plugins to choose from. I’ve got a real soft spot at the moment for MCombFilter and MAutopan – they’re both free to download as part of a bundle from meldaproduction.com – well worth checking out! I use Autopan on vocal channels and music tracks, and I use CombFilter on a delay track along with the frequency shifter to make it a bit more interesting – the trick is to set the frequency of the comb filter to the key of the track, using a ‘note to frequencies’ chart. Capital also has a sonic logo which gets worked into TOHs (to compliment the sung acapellas) and I use the virtual instrument reFX Nexus2 for this.
RICHARD: One of my favourite plug in’s is the Waves Linear Phase Multiband compressor, it’s a great tool for mastering complete with auto makeup gain. I find it covers the range of frequencies incredibly well and is perfect for enhancing and bringing out those high and low ends and perfect for removing the muddiness around the 200Hz mark, and on occasions providing your mix is well done, you can get back on mastering using just that plug in along with a limiter, it can be used not only for imaging production but also live music recording also. Everyone’s ears are different, but I highly recommend, when it comes to mastering, use the Waves Linear Phase Multiband compressor.
CHRIS: When you say a favourite plugin.. that could mean most reliable or most fun to use?
If you’re up against time, then a Vintage Filter can do an awful lot in just one plugin – automate frequency, add a high/low resonance or the ability to sync LFO adding different rates and harsher depths. I try not to use this too much, because it can make your work sound too similar and you run the risk of being a one-trick-pony.
My favourite plugin (right now) – I’ve just got the SoundToys package and I’m loving Little Alterboy – a really subtle plugin that I’ve been using when I tune a drop to my bed.
There’s a nice Rich Fifths setting which has been really handy, making a tuned element sound much warmer and wider.
HOW DO YOU RECRUIT/TRAIN PEOPLE?
ASH: We advertise roles at jobs.thisisglobal.com, and this is across all our brands including Capital, Heart, Radio X and LBC.
But we also support internships, the majority of the radio business started run and were ready to get their claws in anyway possible – this is a platform where keen individuals can come and learn from the best on a 1-3 month internship. 3 Ex-Interns are now employed on this very team.
ANY TIPS FOR SCRIPT WRITING?
RICHARD: one of the biggest tips I have is to think a little outside the box to try and create clever writing and witty writing, whether It’s a punchline or a play on words. Taking a recent script for instance, it involved the breakfast show hosts in the east midlands giving out gifts for a promotion running on air. So I decided to make a funny innuendo by having a line about them emptying their sacks for the listeners. Of course this wouldn’t always work, it depends on the station. You wouldn’t put a line like that for instance with a script for Classic FM, but that’s my best advice for scripts, think outside the box, be clever but not over the top, think about the product you are writing for and use your imagination.
FAVOURITE IMAGING SESSION TO DATE?
CHRIS: I don’t know if I would go as far as saying this was a career highlight, but a live opener for Craig David for a Capital Xtra gig in support of Global’s Make Some Noise was cool as hell to make.
I got to make a countdown surrounded by tuned Capital Xtra mentions as well as accapellas of Craig David’s songs.
SAM: My favourite project to work on was the NBA promo I made in October. It was early days into my Internship and I was still new to radio and how to create content. In this session I created a basketball beat around the bed and it helped bring the branding in with the audio. I enjoy composition but I also enjoyed knowing that this could be really creative in connecting the brand with the sound. I also enjoyed using drops from NBA games to bring it to life. Projects like that are really exciting to work on and since then I am always trying to be clever and connect a brand to their audience using sound.
IF YOU WERE TO GIVE ONE BIT OF ADVICE…
CHRIS: A rule I do stick to though, especially in a branded/power intro – have ONE cool idea in it. Don’t throw too many ideas at it – it could become messy. Asides from what we have to put in our Capital intros: a hit music message, an artist drop and the station name – build all that around your one cool moment. I’ve always been proudest of my branded intros when I follow this. However, I love to prove myself wrong, so I will try it otherwise when the right song comes around.
ASH: Less is more. As producers we love to show off and make some crazy amazing sounds, serious stutters, panning, filters – everything! But It’s very easy to overcrowd a piece of production which then causes it to get lost in the mix.
The key thing to remember is we produce for our listeners/clients ears, not for our own – remember many of these will be listening on car radios, tiny bluetooth speakers etc… Don’t fall victim to showboating just for the sake of some potential extra soundcloud likes, your production will be liked by thousands more if it’s actually understandable.
Ashley Bard: Head of Production
Dan Hill: Senior Imaging Producer
Chris Longman: Audio Producer
Richard Boffin: Audio Producer
Ed Rummins: Audio Producer
Sam Wickens: Audio Production Assistant