Peter Dowsett: Interview with a London based Music Producer
Peter Dowsett is a London based Music Producer, Mixer, and Author. He works out of his own recording studio RYP Studios in Harrow, teaches Music Production and lectures Audio Engineering at Abbey Road Institute.
What first inspired you to become a musician and how did you get into production?
The day I first picked up a guitar my entire world changed. Before that I probably was the epitome of a young boy’s cliche, I wanted to be a footballer. Also somewhat predictably of someone my age, it was Oasis that got me to pick up the guitar but I quickly fell in love with the instrument and wanted to find everything that it was capable of doing, which fuelled my exploration of music in general.
I got into production around A-level age, as I wanted to be able to capture my ideas. I first did this with a rather dodgy 1/4″ to mini-jack converter and an old soundblaster soundcard!
I studied music production at University but it was really when I left and started to play in more established bands and working in studios that I really felt like I was becoming a producer rather than a recordist.
What’s one of your happiest moments or career highlights so far?
Several things stick out to me, the first was when I did front of house engineering (the sound that the audience is hearing) for Ugly Kid Joe at Polish Woodstock in front of a festival crowd of approximately half a million people! It was crazy to see (and hear).
Getting a job at Metropolis Studios and working with lots of established names was another highlight, and getting my book Audio Production Tips published by Focal Press in 2015.
What’s been the biggest learning curve in your career?
Initially, when arriving at Metropolis I was trying too hard to impress and show what I knew. You learn pretty quickly that etiquette is one of the most valued traits of the staff at a well-known studio, and this is especially true for the new or low-level staff.
What advice do you have for people who wish to enter music production?
Leading off from the last question is that it is really important to be punctual, patient and have a good work ethic, and knowing when to keep your opinions or thoughts to yourself doesn’t hurt either. A lot of the more technical stuff people are more than willing to teach you on the job, but basic life skills are a must.
There are a plethora of places to study music production these days, certainly lots more than when I was at University. If you are looking to study formally I would recommend doing your research to find a place suited to what you need. It might sound like common sense but a lot of people just go for somewhere on chance or because it is local.
How do you think COVID-19 has impacted and will continue to impact the music industry, and how do you think musicians and producers will continue to work in the future?
My work as a music producer dried up massively through this time, but I had lots of mixing work to make up some of that shortfall. I think that it just shows that musicians and producers need to be creative and find ways to work together despite geographical restrictions.
As technology keeps improving I wouldn’t be surprised to see more “executive production” roles where artists are, for the most part, self-producing with the aid of AI to make things sound good and getting feedback and final quality control from seasoned pros.
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