Alumnus Interview: Liam O’Dowd – Assistant Engineer to Spike Stent

1. Can you tell us about your journey so far?

I started the Audio & Music Technology degree in 2018 and was extremely lucky to receive the position as one of the interns in Windmill Lane Recording Studios when I finished my final year at the college. During my time as intern I gained some incredible studio experience and got the chance to really put what I’d learned on the degree into practice. I was also lucky to have gotten the chance to work closely with great mix engineer Spike Stent, through which I achieved my current role as his assistant engineer.

2. You moved from an internship to now working with Spike Stent. What does the role entail?

My role with Spike is as one of his assistant engineers, working in a team of three. My main responsibilities involve doing mix passes for instrumental, acapella, TV versions etc. as well as bouncing stems to send off when projects are finished. File security and file organisation are massively important with all of this.

3. What inspired you to want to work in the industry?

I’ve always had a love for music but in the years before starting the degree in Pulse College I started to dive deeper into the songs and albums I loved to figure out why I liked them so much. This sent me down the rabbit hole of mixing and how big the role of the mix engineer is in bringing a song to its final form. The more I listened, studied and started to experiment myself the more it made me realise it was the only thing for me.

4. What do you feel are the most challenging aspects of the industry today facing graduates?

A lot of people will come into the industry working as a freelance engineer and this can be difficult as projects and jobs aren’t guaranteed from each day to the next. I think building a network of clients that you have a good relationship is really important for having people come back to you for work. Word of mouth is also big, especially in the Irish industry everybody knows everybody, so doing a good job on one project can stand to you and get you a number of projects down the line from other artists.

5. What made you want to study at Pulse College?

The facilities available at Windmill were a massive factor for me. Having access to an incredible amount of top of the range vintage gear as well as being able to learn on the SSL and the Neve was amazing.

6. Can you tell us about your favourite audio equipment and how you use it?

My UAD Apollo Twin X interface is at the centre of everything I do. It’s great to work on with both mixing and recording, using the Neve 1073 unison preamp sounds incredible. I use it for all my vocal recordings. I recently picked up the Roland SP404 MKII which is a sampler with all sorts of crazy effects on it, it’s a lot of fun for getting quickly putting together production ideas. It’s a close call between the two of them!

7. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Getting the position with Spike was a massive honour and it’s been an incredible experience getting to learn from the best in the business! I also produced and mixed a collaborative album called Avenoir with Irish artist Jehnova last year which was received really well. It ranked at number 5 on District Magazine’s Top Irish Albums of 2021 so I’m massively proud of that also.


For more information about Pulse College please contact Declan Dunne in admissions.

e. declan [dot] dunne [at] pulsecollege [dot] com
t. +353 1 4784045
20 Ringsend Road, Dublin 4, Ireland.