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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Dave Anson

Dave Anson

Composer, producer, drummer
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Dave Anson
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Glass Sound Studios

Dave Anson's compositions have been heard by sports fans the world over, from the NFL to the NBA, the US Open, NASCAR and even the Winter and Summer Olympics. In addition, he has scored numerous original TV productions, including MasterChef, Project Runway and Deal or No Deal. He now runs his own studio in Cumbria, Glass Sound Studios, which he’s furnished with a choice selection of Aston mics…

NFL, NBA, the Olympics, MasterChef, Deal or No Deal, and many more...
Natural rhythm

"Everyone wants to be the Rockstar, don’t they? Originally, I wanted to be a drummer. I auditioned at Leeds College of Music to do pop and production and there was this kid warming up in the opposite room. He was absolutely incredible. I remember hearing him and thinking “these guys are just so naturally above me.”  Production felt a lot more natural, so I ended up going down that pathway.

I did music production at uni and ended up writing music for TV and film. Rhythm came naturally to me; melody and harmony I had to learn. I had a fantastic couple of tutors. One of them had perfect pitch - I remember him listening to one of my pieces and dissecting it chord by chord, note by note, and I didn’t even know what I was writing at this point! I was fascinated by this.

It’s also helpful being a drummer as well as a producer. When you start producing, you start listening to music differently. You’ve got to learn a bit of everything, even if it’s just playing on a MIDI keyboard. You start picking up what an instrument should sound like, and what that sound should be. You start picking up things that aren’t meant to be there, or you just start listening to it in a different way and the music evolves into almost appreciation over enjoyment."

Scoring touchdowns

"For the last 4 or 5 years, 90% of my work has been on TV shows and things like that. American football was a big goal for me. I remember seeing one of my tutors working on it and thinking “that is the coolest shit, I just want to get into that sort of realm.”  A few years later I found out my music had been on the Channel 4 coverage of one of the London NFL games. It was this mind-blowing moment that it had actually been used on TV. MasterChef was another big one, and the Olympics were really cool. The grandeur of the Olympics is amazing, it was a real dream to do that sort of thing. I remember seeing the brief come through in an email, and it said “okay, we want all this Brazilian percussion style music” and I just thought, “that’s awesome!” It’s so cool to get to work on that sort of stuff.

These last couple of years I’ve got more into production and opened up a small boutique studio, Glass Sound Studios. It’s a nice place to write and record."

Play it wrong

"The first thing I’ll always do when writing is sit down at a piano. It's not something that I’m particularly talented at, but I always find seeing it out in front of you is the easiest way to visualise music. After that, every project is different because I work in so many different genres. It definitely keeps it interesting. When I was drumming I was always a rock drummer, I loved every moment of it but you start doing the same thing over and over. I wanted something fresh, something different, and that’s what composing and producing gave me.

Sometimes songs will start around chords and then melodies will just kind of happen. It’s different every time, sometimes the best way to do it is to play something wrong; you play the wrong note and think “oh, that sounds pretty cool actually… yeah, I’ll try that one!”

That real sound

"Gear-wise, I use a lot of EastWest sample libraries, Spitfire, Zebra, Kontakt as well as others. Ideally, everyone wants to record live instruments, but it's not always possible to get a 150-piece orchestra in somewhere, is it? It’s cheaper doing it with a sample library and trying to use whatever live instruments I can to replace the samples.

I’ve got a mic locker with a couple of Astons. It’s nice to use them to try and capture that live sound and place it on top of the sample libraries and get that real sound. There’s a limit to where you can go before you need it to be a real player. It’s trying to blend those things and getting the most real and the most live sound you can. Guitars are the one for me, there’s no sample libraries that do guitars right. It’s why I have the guitars in studio, I ain’t a great player by any means at all, but I can get by enough and I’ve got a load of session guys I have come in and they do the job for me. It’s so much better than getting the sample libraries in."

Being there

"I was recording a choir at the end of last year, and I was looking for a room mic with a nice omni. I was going through and thinking, ‘I might get a 414, I might get a load of these other mics…’ and I just kept seeing loads of people posting about Aston, the Spirit and the Origin. So, I thought I’d give it a try.

The Stealth is a dream, man! Everyone keeps comparing it to the SM7B. I have one of them and I prefer the Stealth. It’s just better…It’s cleaner, it’s warmer, it’s lovely. The closest comparison, I think, is on V1. I tried it on a guitar cab, we had that on the G setting.

I put Spirit up in this beautiful huge church - I was recording this 50-60 piece choir and wanted to capture the room sound. I think I ended up using about 6 different mics dotted around. We had a 414, the Spirit, one of the sE electronics ribbon mics and loads of other mics trying to capture the room sound. I remember coming back into the studio and going through them all, like “no, that’s not it, nope, that’s not it…” then I clicked solo on the Spirit. I don’t even know how to describe it, it just felt like being there. It was the closest I’ve ever got to emulating the sound of a church. it was a beautiful mic to use."

Outtakes

Q. Who are some of your favourite artists?
A. If you look at the film score scene you’ve got Henry Jackman, he’s fantastic, and Michael Giacchino, who does a lot of the Pixar films and some other incredible scores.

Over to the production side, John Mayer is one of the biggest artists I’ve been binging, and Vulfpeck.

I grew up on rock, so I like a little bit of everything. I think I have one of the most eclectic music tastes I’ve ever really seen!

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?

A. The one thing that I’ve always wanted is a drum mic that doesn’t interfere with the kit. The bigger mics sound so good, but as a drummer you’re sat there thinking “there’s a mic there, I don’t want to hit the edge of the mic!” I’ve tried every miking technique, it bugs me so much. I know you get inner shell microphones and stuff, but they suck, and sometimes you have to drill sides. So I think the dream microphone would be one that captures drums the best without being in the way.

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?

A. 

"They're the tits, man!"

Q. If you weren't working in music what would you be doing?

A. When I was younger, I was always big on science. I wanted to be a marine biologist before I realised I enjoyed music far too much to not give it a try. So, marine biologist, music, or nothing.

Q. What is the first song that made you cry?

A. The end scene from The Perfect Storm soundtrack

Credits

NFL

NBA

US Open

PGA Tour

NASCAR

The Olympics

Deal or No Deal

MasterChef

Project Runway

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