This month we feature Lee Edgeworth (EDGY) in our student success story. Starting his musical career early, he took up the guitar the age of 13. He gained his first insight into the exciting world of studio sound with transition year work experience in Asylum Records. After a chance meeting with this old guitar teacher, he studied on Pulse College’s Audio Course and was chosen for the Leonardo placement in Ascent 142, the company responsible for work on high profile projects such as Devil Wears Prada. He has since gone on to work with Litton Lane by day and by night he also does studio and gig work for Aslan. With a hard working ethos we are delighted he found time to talk to Pulse College news.
Q1. You started your career at an early age studying guitar at 13. What inspired your love of music?
My father played bass, my mother would always be singing and playing CDs, my auntie was a singing teacher in The Hollywood Academy School of music which my uncle and his family owned. My uncle himself played drums in a band with his brothers all from the states. So I was always around it I suppose. My father pushed me into learning guitar, which ended up been the best thing to happen me as I got a job later teaching it and it opened up a vast range of music styles.
Q2. You come from a musical family, your father played bass in band in the 70’s. Did his style of music have an influence of your musical taste?
Ha I hope not, he was very into bands like George Michael, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Roxy Music, they aren’t my preferred choice in bands but it was his passion for music that got me to develop my own taste. There are of a few bands that we both like though!
Q3. You were very proactive in following your musical career, getting your first introduction to work experience in Asylum Studios. Tell us about the first taste of studio life?
I was in 4th year in secondary school, I had to get work experience somewhere, in the basement of The Hollywood Academy School of Music there was Asylum Studios. It was obviously very easy to get work there for myself. I did 2 weeks for the schools placement but I continued to go there after it. I was mainly thought general studio edit by Liam Mulvany, the engineer, and how to be help work flow without being noticed, i.e not in the way. When it was quiet I was taught to use Cubase and did drum edits for him quite a bit. There was so much to learn and take in it felt never ending and I still feel it is. This industry is ever expanding with new ideas techniques and gear coming out every day, I think that’s what keeps it exciting and what made me continue to want to follow it.
Q4. What was the most useful insight you gained from Asylum?
Liam Mulvany took me under his wing and mainly thought me general studio behaviour which gave me great discipline for when I went on to work for other studios, the way you carry yourself in studio is very important. I also got to use Cubase and learning shortcuts, general problems with recording, editing, getting the performance, as well as Signal Flow and an understanding of studio lay out. All of which just set a foundation for me and would at least put me a step ahead of anyone pursuing the same career with no experience.
Q5. You went on to study sound in Pulse. It seemed like fate had a hand to play, tell us the story.
I ran into my first guitar teacher who I hadn’t seen since in over 3 years. He had just finished the first year in Pulse full time. Naturally I was very interested and I spent a couple of weeks going up to his house. He showed me his Pulse course notes and thought me some things on his pro tools system. He brought me to the open day and told me things to say in my interview to ensure my place in the college. I got accepted and the rest is history.
Q6. What was the most valuable lesson you learned on the course?
That’s really hard to answer, Pulse basically set my entire foundation of the full audio industry spectrum. Depending what you were most interested in and how hard you studied it gave way more than just a foundation. From studio work including using Pro tools and or Logic, to Post Production and live. You can walk into any one of these areas and straight away see the influence Pulse has had on you. I say that having worked in all areas, studio and post briefly, but none the less the feedback received was amazing. The confidence I had to get stuck into any of the work offered to me whether it was new material, gear or tasks seemed easy to pick up and understand because of that foundation.
Q7. You were chosen for the Leonardo Mobility Programme. What was that experience like?
I was lucky to be picked to represent the college working in “ASCENT 142“ over in England via the Leonardo program. Ascent 142 are one of if not the biggest Post Production company in the world. There are several of them around the world. They do all major blockbusters and TV series which are their bread and butter. While I was over there I got to spend 3 days in a certain area of Post Production. Starting from Extracting the audio and editing it in blocks of whole episodes, then to defined dialog editing, sound fx, lay backs and voiceovers. I got to work in the machine rooms a good bit and for two of the days I built an editing studio wiring it up to the machine. It was 2 weeks of a serious amount of information put into such practical use which made it easier to take in. There was also 8 other of my friends from Pulse over there, all of which working in other studios, the time over there was enjoyable and with the weekends off we got to see London and enjoy it as a bit of a holiday..
Q8. Leaving college and entering into the working environment. How did you go about carving out a success career path, any tips you can give current Pulse students?
It’s very simple, to a degree as finding, you have to be able and willing to work hard, 24 7, and that’s literal. I worked the first summer at every gig going and festival, they are always looking for volunteers. I also built up a contact list from Pulse, every week there was a guest lecturer, and I made sure to get their numbers and emails by the end of the day. Keeping in contact and then trying to get any sort of work when I left or seeing if they knew someone that they could put me in contact with. I annoyed Denis Powell, who at the time worked in Litton Lane, over the whole summer sending him emails and ringing. I went to a job interview that Pulse set up for me in “Trend Studios” which coincidently faced Litton Lane. I decided to walk over and stick me head in the door. I ended up working there for a year for free, 6 days a week. Going out of my way to learn new things and being the most useful person I can be has been vital. Actually being able to do a job or someone else’s if the chance comes up makes you look good to your employer. I now am the only person working the warehouse prepping and working all of the gig’s full time for Litton Lane. There is a lot of luck involved but luck favours the prepared, so any line of work, make sure you research every element of that company/venue and show your level of commitment. As a crew member the better you look to your employer the more likely you are to be kept. It’s all about what you can bring to the table over the next guy…
Q9. You work for Litton Lane audio hire. Can you explain what that the work involves?
Litton Lane is a P.A Hire company based in Dublin, We do audio design & consultancy, concerts, equipment repair and service centre, festivals, installations and instrument and backline hire. Our clients include Oxygen, Electric Picnic, Westlife, The Cranberries, Olympia Theatre, The Academy, The National Leprechaun Museum, Late Late Show, Cork Jazz Festival, The Festival of World Cultures, Van Morrison worldwide, The Waterboys, David Gray, Aerosmith and Sting to name just a few. A general working week in Litton revolves around the Gigs, when gear comes back in you have to unload trucks, test the returning PA to make sure it’s ok. You have to account for all cables and mics and put everything away back in its place so work flow is smooth i.e you or anyone else isn’t looking for things. When getting ready for a gig you put the full PA systems together, keeping in mind if it’s busy that there has to be enough gear to cover all the venues, it has to be well thought out. You then go on location where you rig and work the gig or festival whether it’s eg F.O.H, Mon’s or stage patch, D-Rig.
Q10. You work as a full time crew member for Aslan. How did that gig come about?
Through Litton I suppose, a lot of the industry’s engineers come in and out either collecting gear or booking, I met one of Aslan’s crew members, who had come into Litton to do some work, He asked if I wanted to help out at a gig, I worked my first one in the Sub in Walkinstown in Sept 2009 for free. I then continued to work every gig they had for free since then, about 110 in the first year. I made sure over time to learn everything that was involved, setting up PA and patching, setting up monitors and patching, backline and stage patching, using Yammaha LS9-32 in order to do support acts. It eventually became a paid gig which show if you work hard you can make things happen.
Q11. You have 2 acts that you do studio work with and you also do work on a live venue. Two completely different discipline – how do you manage to go between the two?
Very easily, the two go hand in hand. The studio work I do with one of the bands is not recording albums, its pre production. At the moment the emphasis is working on getting their sounds right with the right the gear. The recording process gives practice to working on structure and what mics you feel suit the job. Working Live with that band means you know there songs, musically and structurally inside out. On your DAW system you will have played around with Time based effects and dynamic effect’s and know exactly what you want to do when it comes to the gig. The main advantage of “studio” work is that you get the opportunity to practice setting all the gear up and taking it down. When it comes to the gigs, there is very little setup time, the quicker you can get it up, keeping it tidy the better. The more time spent with the band making noise the better for F.O.H, MON’s and the band over all.
Q12. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
I work with “God Is An Astronaut” which is the highlight of my career so far. This year we have gigged in Greece and Russia with Turkey, Eastern Europe, with Scandinavia booked in before the summer. I do backline, stage patch and monitors for them. I also work in their studio, but I don’t help with song writing however I do get to know their sounds, structures, and rough monitor mixing. I learn how important to know exactly where you want things, where you need stage drop’s and power drops, how many stands etc the more specific, the smoother the load in / set up goes.[openday]