Facebook twitter Instagram Youtube
Share menu
Language ENG
Language ENG
CONTACT LOGIN
£0.00 Open menu
HOME
ARTIST
Producer · Engineer · FOH
Alexander Archer
Alexander Archer Mixing
Alexander_Archer
Alexander Archer Mixing for VEVO

Alexander Archer

Producer, Engineer and Musician
Alexander Archer

Alexander Archer - a man who lives to find ways of creating new soundscapes for the artists he works with, which might help explain how he’s come to produce most of the live sessions for Vevo UK…  he also has a pathological hatred of banjos!

Kasabian, You Me At Six, The Cribs, Rag n Bone Man, Novelist, Jake Bugg, Dilettantes, Lake Como, Toothless, Rukhsana Merrise, Declan McKenna
Alexander is using...
Origin
Moments of Influence

From a young age, my mum attempted to teach me piano, and my dad would play me his record collection, making mix tapes for me that I would take to school and listen to on the family Walkman. I got hooked on Fleetwood Mac ‘The Chain’, Bruce Springsteen ‘Born in The USA’ and the entire first Hanson album! By 12 I was playing Sax and Clarinet, and joined a youth Jazz Orchestra, run by Jon Eno. The quality of teaching planted the first seeds of an idea that I could pursue music further, past just a childhood hobby.

The other great moment of influence for me came watching a concert for the Queens 50th Jubilee on TV and seeing Eric Clapton play Layla, I was floored. Something must have been in the air that night, as I have read Ed Sheeran cites that performance as making him want to pick up a guitar and play. The very next day I went out and bought a black Squire Bullet electric guitar and an awful 5w amp. I had finally found my instrument.

The first time I got the chance to go into a recording studio I got such a buzz from the lights and buttons everywhere that I stayed long past the end of the session to sit and watch the editing and mixing. I ended up completing a degree at Surrey University and then apprenticed under Steve Osborne at Real World studios. This time was invaluable giving me the chance to see, close up, the album making process with some amazing artists, like Simple Minds, and Vanessa Carlton. I’ve been producing, mixing and recording in studios and touring with bands ever since.

No Brainer

I may be one of the only audio engineers that doesn’t own Pro Tools… my entire system is built around Reaper on a Mac Book Pro and in-the-box VST plugins. The laptop has its limitations but allows me to keep mixing when I'm travelling with artists and gives me a flexibility to record on location that is invaluable. I use UAD Apollo interfaces, Focal and Avantone monitors, and have an ever-expanding stack of synths, guitars, effects pedals and weird noise making things that I find on eBay. I love my Fender guitars and Egnater amp for recording, and often drag those along with me as well as my Way Huge and Strymon FX Pedals.

 

I first discovered Aston when I was browsing online and was hooked on the Origin’s unique styling and shape plus the fact that the mics are built in Britain. I instantly thought ‘this looks like a company that I could get on with’... cool and creative. Once I got my hands on the Origin and listened to the sound it was a no-brainer… it's a gem! My usual ‘go-to’ SM7 that sat on a stand at all times was relegated back to the mic locker and replaced by my Origin. The vocalists and musicians I was working with would almost always prefer the Aston to the Neumann and Telefunken mics I would normally reach for! It’s flexible, has character, is built incredibly well and delivers every time I use it… it’s a genuine competitor to those high-end mics. Listening to the artist is the key, their opinion is far more important than the microphone brand name.

Eureka!

I always felt I wasn’t completely happy with the acoustic guitar sounds I was recording but wasn’t sure what it was. I had tried pencil mics, large diaphragm condensers, ribbon mics, fancy DI’s and a number of different guitars. When I used the Origin it was a straight up Eureka moment coupled with sheer relief… to hear back the kind of guitar sound I had been striving to get for so long. With little EQ I can achieve lovely smooth acoustic sounds that cut through dense mixes adding rhythm, or it can be the warm main instrument in a track. It serves very well as the front of a Mid/Side (MS) along with a Fathead Ribbon for Side for just lovely stereo guitar recordings. I take this set up into the UAD Apollo, 610 preamps, and into Reaper.

I was asked to record a secretly planned live Jake Bugg performance at The Great Escape festival in 2016, where he would be playing acoustic guitar and singing solo, so I, straight away, grabbed my Origin for the guitar as I knew it was my most reliable acoustic guitar mic and there was to be no sound check to test anything out. Being so confident in a microphone makes a big difference to my live recording process.

 For electric guitars, I love my Egnater Tweaker head and have a wonderful home build Telecaster that my dad assembled for me. It sounds amazing, is kitted out with Bare Knuckle pickups but weighs about the same as two Les Pauls…so I work quickly when playing that! I’m always after funky bits and used to work in a studio regularly with a Calrec desk that I really dug. One day I’ll pull the trigger on eBay on some weird or wonderful desk.

Homegrown

 

One of the main appeals of Aston to me was them being a UK based manufacturer who is so uniquely inclusive of music industry professionals in their development process. I’m a keen supporter of local manufacturing, and a great believer in the idea that the different studios, equipment and instruments in any region are all part of defining the sounds of the recordings from those places… so Motown sounds like Detroit, and Rumours sounds like California, in contrast to the great recordings from Abbey Road and the like that have a uniquely British flavour. To be able to tap into some of that uniqueness of being a British, London based engineer, and to have a company producing a ‘British’ sound by working the way they do, is so exciting and I really value that relationship. It also allows a great community of music professionals to build up around the company, and Aston’s willingness to ask users of its mics for their opinions, to lend their ears while they create a new product, is undoubtedly part of the reason for the fantastic sound.

 

Out-takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. "Before the idea of being a musician took me over, I always loved aviation and wanted to be a pilot, or engineer in some capacity, especially motorsport and racing. I still think vintage racing cars and bikes are gorgeous and have the best colour schemes…can we get some Aston mics in limited edition Yamaha yellow?"

Q. What would your fantasy mic be? (i.e. not one currently in existence!)
A. "I’ve always imagined being able to capture things I hear and see, exactly as I hear and see them, i.e a camera that would capture exactly your viewpoint, in the same colours, focus and blurring, so you could just, click! …and have that image forever. And the same with a microphone, one that just grabbed that moment in time, the sound I was hearing of the player, the room, the acoustics, all in one perfect and beautiful moment. If that’s impossible then maybe a mic that can replace any banjo with complete silence automatically."

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A."Top Blokes, Top Mics….or more usefully…uncompromising, characterful, imaginative, quality."

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. “I’m not sure, thinking back over the various points of trauma in life and attempting to remember the soundtrack to those particular moments is the healthiest way to stay a day, and in a close second was Barbers 'Adagio For Strings' due to its aching melancholy, but I’ll go with Oasis ‘Don’t Go Away’. They always had tough guys with feelings thing going on, the swagger of anthemic choruses giving way to heart-wrenching emotive strings that made it seem ok to get emotional to music. I remember a particular two week period where I transferred to a new school and for the first time was separated from the friends I’d grown up with my whole life, and that song just killed me! In fact so much so that I transferred back to my original school and stayed there utill I left for University.”

 

Credits

 In my formative years I was all about the Nu Metal and classic rock, Linkin Park and Papa Roach mixed with Clapton, Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac. Subsequently I developed an almost unhealthy obsession with Radiohead, fell in love (or heartbreak) with Bon Iver’s records and now listen to a healthy dose of blues inspired rock such as Queens Of The Stoneage…although probably my favourite album of all time is Miles Davis ‘Kind Of Blue’. I have eclectic taste…I really try to seek out records that are interestingly made and full of great sounds, Shlomo makes some great songs that I’m always stealing ideas from.

Jake Bugg live

Dilettantes (Vocals, Snare and Guitars)

Lake Como live

Toothless live

Rukhsana Merrise Live

Declan McKenna Live

Prodigal (Vocals and Guitars)

©2018 Aston Microphones Ltd, All rights reserved.
Made in UK
We use cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can change your cookie settings in your brower, or you can close this window.