Continuing the series of questions and answers that I sent to various people, whom I’m either in contact with, admire or just wanted to be nosey with. In fact many fit all three.
Today I have asked Mike Beever, a really nice guy whom I’ve been chatting away on various network platforms over the years. You may not have heard of him, but I’m sure you’ve heard the fruits of his work. Having relocated to New Zealand, he’s built a recording studio of his own. Within it he produces, engineers, mixes either his own compositions under the banner of CRASH or other artists who’ve employed his vast talents. He’s a busy man these days, so that suggests he’s doing something right.
1. Do you remember the first record that interested you in music? Who was it? Did you buy it? Do you still have it? I think it was ‘Mr Blue Sky‘ by E.L.O., even today a quite incredible original record. Didn’t buy it though and certainly didn’t download it back in 1980.
2. You have a career in production and you produced the early Coldplay E.P, did you ever envisage how big they’d become? Were they fine to work with? The Coldplay session came about from working as a freelance engineer for Fierce Panda Records in London. I was doing a lot of their stuff in the late 90s. They said we have this new band gonna be huge do the business on them. I liked them immediately, extremely driven and focused musicians. We pioneered some techniques that went on to become evident on their debut album ‘Parachutes‘. I had a feeling they would succeed but not to the extent they have, good management has been the key.
3. Since then, which artist have you had most pleasure working with in the studio? I lost count of the brilliant bands that came through the doors in the London studio but a lot of the Indie stuff really stood out for energy and originality.
4. Talking of studios you have recently been upgrading yours, are you pleased with it and who’s next in the studio? I’ve been mainly upgrading the acoustics of my studio-something you get into more when you get old(er) and supposedly wiser. In the early days you’ll work from a bedroom but the sound of your room can be as important as the gear in it. I’m looking forward to spending the next year recording my two albums of Film Music and Solo piano.
5. The music industry in the UK and New Zealand, can you see any major differences? The NZ model is based on the UK industry but there are so fewer artists here, the population of NZ is 4 million!! Saying that there is a great deal of originality and success here, look at the recent Gotye / Kimbra single: ‘Somebody That I Used To Know‘ number one all round the world.
6. You’ve so far released four albums under the banner name of CRASH, with the titles ‘Music For Films’ with a fifth on the way. Has any film studios asked you if they could use any of this music? I get asked for individual licenses for tracks from those albums but I’ve never scored a movie yet. I’m hoping the piano albums will open a few more doors as it’s very difficult to get opportunities. Having said that, if I only produce music that never turns up in a full movie, I’ll die happy.
7. Some of your music was used for the EDF advert highlighting the London 2012 games, how did that come about? Six months before the EDF advert was aired I had an email from a Music Label/Library in London. They’re found me over the net and asked for 4 pieces in a cinematic style-just solo piano and no electronics. I recorded them late at night at the local concert venue, sent them off and forgot about them. I then got an email out of the blue showing the video with Sir Michael Gambon narrating-it blew me away especially as I was 12,000 miles away.
8. Is there a new artist material you’ve heard and thought you could improve the production? If so whom? As an engineer or producer you’ll always scrutinize the sound of music and particular the production but it’s all very subjective. You can never record the same piece of music the same twice, it’s random and inventive. Unfortunately nowadays we have no limitations in recording so people overuse production and end up often tarting up a crap song when before it would have been dumped.
9. Producers – who’s work do you admire and which particular piece of work stands out for you? I’m a big fan of producers like Daniel Lanois (U2, Peter Gabriel) and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) both of whom just let things happen in the studio but also have brilliant technique and ideas. The recent Radiohead albums show what can happen when good production, songs and freedom all collide in the studio.
10. If you didn’t work in music what would you have liked to have done? Errrr, tricky question, Paint or be an inventor.
Thank you again Mike (aka CRASH) for answering those questions. You can download a free remix album of his Music For Films from his website. Also there if you liked his music you can check out his expanding catalogue of material to purchase – Click Here.