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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson

Bryan Wilson

Grammy Award nominated Mixer, Producer, Songwriter, and Recording Engineer
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Bryan Wilson

Bryan Wilson has worked with some of the best and biggest acts in the world! He engineered tracks on Stormzy’s UK No.1, Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’, as well as picking up a 2017 GRAMMY-nod for mixing Sofi Tukker’s dance-classic ‘Drinkee’.

Stormzy, Sofi Tukker, Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Of Monsters And Men, John Newman and Disclosure
Bryan uses...
Halo
Spirit
Hooked on making music

Interestingly, my parents were never musicians or particularly musical. We listened to the radio, it was always on but there was not much more to it than that. My school system in Canada was always pretty music heavy. I used to play violin in the kids orchestra and I sang in the Church choir. I would attribute, my interest in music as a kid would have come from those outlets. As I grew up and that was no longer considered cool, I got myself a drum kit and turntables! I started messing around with beats on Fruity Loops in my parents’ basement, back when I was about 13. I was constantly listening to music at this point. The ability to download music was just taking off, Napster and all that stuff, so anything and everything was so accessible!

I was also training under Shania Twain’s drummer at the time doing lots of Latin, Jazz style playing. It was more of a hobby though, I never wanted to be in a band or anything. I just enjoyed doing it for myself. It was a natural progression to play around with different beats. I was starting to get hooked on making music electronically, so I asked myself, “How can I turn this into something and make this into a viable career?” I eventually ended up deciding to study music production and engineering. I finished up my education at Paul McCartney’s music school in Liverpool. That was when I first moved to the UK from Canada. I did a BA in sound technology. Which isn’t 100% necessary but I took a lot away from that.

Straight into the studio

Being a Producer was the meat and potatoes of what I wanted to do. I did engineering for some years as a sort of stepping stone, if you can call it that. My grand plan before I moved to the UK was to take things in steps. As long as things were progressing and I was learning along the way, I knew I’d be on the right track. I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of great people along the way that have helped me soak up all that information.

When I knew that this was what I wanted to do, I didn’t really know anyone in Music nor any idea how to get into it.  So my first thought coincided at the time, with everyone telling me that I needed to go to University. So I researched courses. I did a 1-year diploma course in music tech. It gave me a few contacts in Toronto, it was quite small but growing and constantly growing but it wasn’t enough for me to be confident. I was knocking on all the doors of the main studios. It’s that classic story of a stack of 5000 CV’s for one position that might come up every 10 years or so! I figured that the only thing that could keep me involved, was through school. At least that might give me a little more knowledge on how I enter the industry. I was very specific about my desires. I knew I didn’t want to be the performer, so I wasn’t out there trying to hustle crappy gigs. I wanted to go straight in to the studio!

Florence and the Machine

By going to the diploma school, that’s where I discovered the Paul McCartney School. They had a partnership where you could enter into the second year of the school. So I applied for that. I had to fly down to Austin, Texas for the Interview and I was interviewed by two English guys. But, I got in! That was a 3 year degree course, covering everything from studio engineering to live sound.

When that finished, I called all the main studios in London, Abbey Road, Dean Street, Miloco Studios, Metropolis etc. Most of them didn’t have any time for me but I managed to get in as a main runner/tea maker for about a month at Miloco. I made sure I busted my ass to show them that this was what I wanted. I actually moved home to Canada for 9 months as there was nothing available. I was told after I did the runner job, to check back in 9 months and true to their word, 9 months later on that specific day, I woke up to an email asking when could I come back for an assistant engineer position that had opened up. My very first session was with Florence & the Machine as an assistant engineer, I was shadowing Paul Epworth and the other assistant at the time, Matt Wiggins.

So that was the progression of how it all developed and how I got my entry point to the pro level. In all honesty, I don’t consider anything prior to that to be my professional career, now I understand how the industry works and what the different roles are.

The go-to finisher

I have produced/mixed upcoming Swedish singer songwriter Anna Leone’s debut EP, as well becoming the go-to “finisher” for Sofi Tukker’s new Artist Collective “Animal Talk” where I get to help those artists out on writing, production, and mixing so It is pretty ideal position to be in. Those artists include L.A based DJ/Producer LP Giobbi, Hermixalot, Triggrd, and A new act called Boii in the dance/electro pop world. I am also really excited about Arrow Benjamin’s highly anticipated debut that I have been engineering off and on over the last few years. His solo stuff is phenomenal. His most notable work has been with Naughty Boy and Beyoncé. That in addition to Mixing new Sofi Tukker material and pop/RnB London based act Hollie Carmen amongst others. I am also preparing to release a compilation EP as an artist with all the acts I have been writing with. All of this keeps it fresh for me so I am excited about what is to come!

One of my proudest moments would definitely have to be my first Grammy nomination which was in 2017, with Sofi Tukker for the best dance recording. I knew that it was going to happen at some point, as that’s the progression I had to make and aspire to. I never knew it would happen that fast, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group for it to happen with, it was also the very first song we did together as a team. That was definitely a big milestone. The next was the platinum plaque, and the 1st UK number 1 which was with Stormzy, I was engineering on his album, which just went crazy!

Large format studios to humble set ups

I traditionally worked in large format studios and I’ve been lucky enough to bounce around between lots of top studios in London. I kind of did it the opposite way around to most people, where they start in bedroom land and switch to larger studios. I’ve worked really hard over the past couple of years to get a very basic, humble set up working for me at home where I can get the large format sound on a much smaller scale.

I mainly use a Protools based set up with Avid Artist mix controller, NI Complete Maschine. Roland TD8 kit and an Aston Spirit, Halo and SwiftShield. I’ve tried to keep it minimal, I will be expanding but the Spirit has definitely helped me require a large format studio even less. I’m doing a lot more writing sessions now, so working with a lot of different top-liners, what I really wanted to have, was a tool that I can confidently place in front of any type of vocalist. Whether male or female, that will deliver solid results without having to do too much work in post-production. My regular vocal chain would be into a 1073 and a Distressor, I feel like that just really works for me.

I do love the tactile approach of just being in a fully analogue studio and recording real instruments. That’s where I cut my teeth in the industry, so that’s hard to beat when the alternative is just clicking a mouse! I shouldn’t knock that though because my whole landscape over the last few years has changed to pretty much just clicking that mouse! It is fun and there are different ways to get my creative juices flowing. I don’t have the same approach every time.

I was working on an EP with a London based singer-songwriter. We recorded the vocals on thousands and thousands of pounds worth of gear in a pro studio. We actually ended up coming back to my place and re-doing the vocals here. She was more comfortable, it just sounded better! We pretty much used nothing but the mic going straight into my preamp.

Out-takes

Q. Who are your favourite artists?
A. I listen to lots of things for different reasons but through the years, I was a massive Michael Jackson fan.  I travelled to the Caribbean a lot whilst I was playing the drums and was listening to Salsa music, I loved Celia Cruz. As a teenager, I was a big Guns ‘n’ Roses fan also ‘A tribe called Quest’, ‘Common’ and ‘The Roots. It varies quite wildly!

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing.
A. I probably would have got into directing films – during the whole hobby stage of my life, it was a toss-up between 3 different things. One was music, next was film, which I was doing a lot of in high school and third was kinesiology!

Or something to do with Animals, I would love to be David Attenborough!

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. I would say, if there was something in existence that had a physical form, but was super small that you could put in front of someone without a pop shield or room treatment and would auto detect and set itself up for ultimate sonic performance!
Either that or, it has NO form factor and you just snap your fingers and it appears in front of them

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. Reliable, confident, Sturdy and Accurate.

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