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Ged Grimes - Simple Minds
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Ged Grimes Performing Live

Ged Grimes - Simple Minds

Musician and Video Game Composer
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Ged Grimes
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Simple Minds

A single bite at the 'success cherry' would be enough for most but Ged Grimes can  boast at least three. His group Danny Wilson scored big with the single Mary's Prayer, then came a successful video game soundtrack career, and in 2010 he joined Simple Minds… like you do. Don't make us any more jealous Ged…

Simple Minds, Danny Wilson, Natalie Imbruglia and Eddi Reader plus video game soundtracks including The Bard's Tale, Enter The Matrix and Amplitude
Ged's Aston Gear
Spirit
Starlight
Compositional Chops

Dundee, my home town, was a hot bed of musical talent and the city boasts a rich history of great bands from The Average White Band to The Associates, so it was a good environment to grow up in. At the age of 10 I had a group with my siblings and we played old folks homes and charity events. Then I joined a Scottish country dance band playing guitar and singing. It wasn't until my mid teens that I switched to playing bass and started to seriously consider music as a career.

My first band Danny Wilson signed to Virgin in mid 80s and we enjoyed success on both side of the Atlantic with our first album and especially the hit single 'Mary’s Prayer'. As a band we were more of a studio-based group, so I developed production skills on those early records. I also got heavily into programming drums as we had no drummer, and I turned my hand to learning to play an array of instruments – anything I could get my hands on.

After Danny Wilson folded, I worked with a number of other pop artists – Natalie Imbruglia and Eddi Reader among others – before a new phase of my career started in 1997 when I was asked to write and produce a soundtrack for a Playstation game Earthworm Jim 3. I then spent nearly 10 years working with game companies on both sides of the Atlantic producing for titles such as Enter The Matrix, Amplitude and many more. Writing and producing for games gives you such a buzz as no two projects are ever the same and you can really expand your compositional chops working in many different genres of music.

I’d convinced myself I did not miss the hustle and bustle of touring and recording albums, but in 2010 I was asked to join Simple Minds and that was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So now I have the best of both worlds with the studio writing and production and the live touring.

A Scottish Virtual Reality

I recently built a dedicated production and mixing room in Dundee and this has really helped me concentrate on my creative output. Depending on the project, I will adapt my approach to suit so, for example, I’m currently working on a soundtrack for a game called The Bard’s Tale which is set in ancient, virtual reality Scotland. The game features lots of live, traditional players and artists so I don’t want the technology to get in the way of the performance, so I concentrate on that performances, the mic placements and getting the vibe right. All of these Scottish traditional musicians are super talented and I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to editing.

I've always been a Logic user. I also have a UAD Apollo Twin and I use Native Instruments' Maschine as a compositional tool. I still own some nice bits of outboard gear, but the UAD plug-ins are hard to beat. When working with artists or for my own projects, I'll tend to start with a Logic template that involves Maschine Studio and quickly get musical ideas together before creating an arrangement and moving to live instruments. Ideas can come from anywhere as well: a simple synth sound or obscure instrument – I even recently bought a Suzuki Omnichord – so I keep an open mind.

A Microphone's Tale

My mic collection used to be sparse as my studio was located in a radio station and I had the use of various classic mics including a lovely vintage Neumann U47 FET which was my favourite. However, when I relocated the studio, I lost the use of those mics and I needed one that could fill the role that the U47 had served: great on vocals, versatile and so on.

A producer friend in LA was raving about the Aston Spirit when it was released and, to be honest, I thought it was too good to be true. He said “it will give the Neumann a run for its money.” I was tired of hearing all these claims from cheap mic companies that their mics had the sound of a £4k mic. However as soon as I started using the Aston, I was blown away with how fantastic it sounded with all the vocalists I was working with, better in some cases than the Neumann which didn’t suit certain singers. I was sold from then on and recently added a pair of Aston Starlights which are awesome all rounders.

I use all three Astons to record stereo acoustic guitars – an X-Y pair with the Starlights and the Spirit to add the body of the guitar. It sounds sweet. I also use the Spirit on upright bass, placed about two feet away from the bridge. It picks up all the 'woodiness' but with a lovely bit of air.

The Aston’s are all over The Bard’s Tale soundtrack that I'm working on – from vocals to percussion to acoustic guitars. I travelled to the Black Isle in the north of Scotland to remotely record a Gaelic Choir singing Psalms in a church in the middle of the countryside. I used a pair of Aston Starlights in an ORTF configuration and the main precentor was mic’d wth the Aston Spirit. The stereo image was stunning and the Spirit did a great job of isolating the precentor allowing me great separation between the choir and solo voice. I’m also using the Spirit for some of the main character's spoken voice acting in the game.

Out-takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. "I’d be a full time dreamer…”

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. “Smooth. Rugged. Quality. Shiny.”

Credits

“Favourite artists are Jon Hopkins, Ennio Morricone, and Todd Rundgren”

The Bard’s Tale

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