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Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper
Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Sound Engineer, Guitarist

Alex Cooper has worked as a sound engineer all over the world, visiting 70 countries and 17 US States. His talent and ambition has allowed him to work with artists such as Peter Howarth, Jimmy James, and Nia George.

JYlt, Peter Howarth, Jimmy James, Roy Walker, Jeremy Paxman
Here's some history...

"My understanding of music tech originates from performing live music. I was a 15-year-old average guitar player strumming out chords to Crowded House songs when I was first approached by a friend of mine named Nia George. She was part of a female fronted group that changed names at least once a month and they were looking for someone to join in and add some extra six strings to their sound. Shortly afterwards I convinced the ladies to give one of my closest friends, Tim Ramsey, a second chance as the drummer… and we became JYlt. Little did we know that over the next five years, we would play at Glastonbury festival, achieve a record deal and a publishing contract, be invited back stage to various concerts… and have James Dean Bradfield turn up to a show to give us some well-respected praise! John Peel had bigged us up as the next big thing and Muff Winwood has been in touch to talk about a proposition!"

Stop the music

"All the while, as our reputation was growing, so was my hands-on experience of live and studio sound. I was learning from the best. Our band manager Hubert Mathias happened to be a live sound engineer. He worked with some awesome people, but I think his main happy place was working with The Alarm and Mike Peters. Twice a week, we would head to the Welsh mountains to a secret bunker to rehearse, where we were welcomed by two brothers, Oliver and Christopher Chaplain. Oliver recorded an extremely sought-after solo album created on a 4-track reel to reel called ‘Standing Stone’ and Christopher was one of the first BBC engineers to pioneer quadrophonic (surround) sound. I harvested their knowledge until 2003 when the world came crashing down as Nia was diagnosed with Leukaemia. After a year of bravery, Nia lost her life and we disbanded not being able to continue together without her. We had become a family by this point and it had to end there. Sarah Howells moved to the city and is now 'Bryde' while Tim and I took a step back writing and playing from the background. I continued with the recording side of things…"

Some proper truth!

"Good technology has become affordable and made my workflow professional and functional. Ten years ago, you would pay thousands of pounds for a 4-track recorder and now, for that, you get the best part of an entire studio. I have a Behringer X32 which is outstanding! The Midas preamps in that desk give me a professional starting point for any project and when you combine this with my Aston Origins and Starlights, you immediately have a clarity and transparency that means you don’t have to spend your mixing time fixing a poor source. These are my main tools I need when recording on the road. A bit of honesty for you here; I bought the first Origin because it looked good! No lies about the fact that “I researched the frequency responses”, I just loved the appearance. The design of the microphone is beautiful, and it helps that I’m sucker for purple, also, I love the fact that these microphones are on our doorstep."

Don't choke the drums!

"As soon as they were launched, I knew I wanted the Starlights. Aston sent me a pair to try (knowing damn well they were not going back!) and I put them up against DPA 4011s and Neumann KM184s, firstly in front of a drum kit, then on an acoustic guitar. As soon they arrived, Jerome Davies and I rushed to the studio and hurriedly mounted one on a stand, plugged it into the desk and had a listen. Within five minutes of this test, I was online buying my next one and vowing that all vocals from that moment forward would be captured on these gems. The best tip I can give anyone on the use of these microphones would be specifically for the purpose of drums. This instrument is not designed to be choked by a mass of close microphones. Add close mics by all means but the body should come from the way the kit lives and breathes. Choose your room carefully for its acoustic qualities and tune the kit to its best. Next, set a pair of Astons as room mics, facing towards the kit and base your whole mix from these as a foundation. If you choose the space wisely, these mics will capture it!"

Out-takes

Q: Who are some of your favourite artists?
A: There are too many artists for me too narrow down! From the brilliance of Pearl Jam to the power of Rage Against the Machine. From the traditionally inspired work of the Frames, to the superb song writing of Del Amitri.

Q: If you weren't working in music what would you be doing?
A: If I was not working in music, I would probably be writing Risk Assessments for a large company. Funny enough, I'm doing that as I write this information. Got to pay the bills! That aside, I would probably be a warden on a nature reserve away from pesky human beings! 

Q: What is your fantasy mic?
A: My fantasy microphone will come the day that Aston decide to design and manufacture the ultimate snare and kick mic's. The 57 is wonderful but no one has gone to the next level with this one. Come on Aston, make my dreams come true!

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