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Greg Brimson
Greg Brimson
Greg Brimson
Greg Brimson
Greg Brimson

Greg Brimson

Producer, Remixer
Greg Brimson

Greg Brimson is a producer and remixer who has had chart success around the world with acts including The Levellers and Eminem. He's also been pretty successful as an A&R manager, label owner, TV producer and even award-winning photographer. Come on Greg, leave some jobs for the rest of us…

Levellers, Bush, Eminem, Paradise Lost, Gary Numan, Natalie Imbruglia, All About Eve, Echobelly, Supergrass, Mumiy Troll, The Losers, Sikth, Raging Speed Horn, One Minute Silence.
Greg's Aston Gear
Spirit
Starlight
A house full of folk

My Father was Derek Brimstone and was one of the pioneers of the British Folk scene back in the 60s. As kids, then, I found that our house was often full of travelling players who would stop over during a tour, so it wasn’t at all unusual to have jams going on with some superb guitarists during the day. My Dad was a great blues claw picker and Banjo player and the sound of his Gibson J-45 is still one that I am chasing.

One time a local band were short of a drummer, so auditioning for a new one. I'd never played the drums but went to their house for a go anyway. Three weeks later I made my first record with them and subsequently spent over 10 years as both a touring and recording session drummer. I had a great and successful career doing this, notching up quite a few hits along the way. Touring always took up way too much time and I loved the recording side and I always wanted to work in the studio. I might have had quite a few hits as a drummer but I was frustrated watching the producers after I had done my bit. I wanted a to have a go.

The view from 60 feet up

I’ve always had a home studio set up from year dot. I loved messing about with tape and studio gear. So I retired from touring drumming as I was basically a frustrated studio person and I wanted more time to develop a studio production style of my own. I did odd jobs for money to fund it. One day I found myself 60 feet up a ladder painting a window frame in the freezing cold. Through the window of this old building, I saw a couple of guys looking at a mixing desk catalogue. I tapped on the window and asked what they were doing. They said they were building a recording studio. That was my chance and I ended up helping with the design of the studio.

I auditioned for a job as an engineer there and then worked with a band, The Levellers. The band made an album, the album went to number one. The day I got the news that it went to number one was the day I gave up engineering. I love musicians that were born to their instrument of choice and I admire engineers that want to be engineers and only engineers, but I wanted and needed to produce. Always looking for opportunities to produce bands I was working with or liked, I began to get more and more producer work.

A great guitar (for £1.24)

I learnt a couple of important things very early in my career:

  • When you plug in or turn on a piece of gear in a studio, never alter anything immediately. I have had some wonderful surprises.
  • No two pieces of old identical gear really sound the same. You can line up a dozen SM58s and they will all be different, some suited better for different jobs. It's the same with vintage compressors or anything old and valve based.
  • Just because it has a 'name' it doesn’t mean it is going to be great.

I'm always looking for a gem. My favourite guitar sound over the past few years came from a guitar I got on eBay for £1.24. The guy even gave me 10 sets of strings when I picked it up. I think it was wired by a monkey on crack. It's a total and utter mess under the homemade metal scratchplate that is fixed on with wood screws, but it has one setting and wow… Plus it's the sweetest neck I’ve ever played.

My DAW of choice is Logic because I do lots of remixing. I found it better for programming than Pro Tools. Mixing is mostly transferred to Tools. I love my NHT monitors and carry them with me everywhere. I also have a collection of odd, bespoke and frankly weird electric and acoustic guitars and noise making things are essential. The Arion SCH-1 chorus is a must, as is the H&K Tube Factor, Boss ME-80, and lots of bits and bobs. I tend to match the spec of a studio to the artist, both gear and vibe wise. I love vintage gear, especially desks. The Sawmills Trident is a winner and the old pink Neve from Mayfair Studios is missed.

Old school style

Aston mics are reliable, consistent, and trustworthy. I like that. I use them because they work. Lots of engineers, producers and studios I work with have Aston mics, so they are becoming pretty much an industry standard. John Cornfield who I've worked a lot with uses them and Russ Russel uses them too who I've made many records with.

Mics need to perform, to be reliable, to work to a high standard. They represent you, and these do it damn well. I use the Starlights for acoustic guitars: one on the 12th fret and one from above over the shoulder or down the base of the guitar, old school style. It sounds as good as the old Calrecs. For electric cabs gushing some welly, park the Spirit on the fabric, at the side of the cone, straight on – nice. They are really nice room mics for drums or guitar cabs too.

I support British innovation in manufacturing like I do in musical innovation. We are great at it. We used to have loads of British built studio gear and it produced all that brilliant music. It's nice to have some more British invention. It's damn hard to get something going in the UK so it has to be good to compete.

Out-takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. “Like most producers I'd probably be a chef!”

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. “It would be a remake of those old Calrecs I mentioned. I grew up with those folk guitarists – Gordon Giltrap, Davey Graham and so on – and they consistently used pencil Calrecs, so it would be one of those. They were so fantastic and a sound that I'm still chasing. The Starlight is pretty close though.”

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. “Brave, innovative and industry-standard. That's what they probably will be.”

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. “That would have been one of my dad's called Fairytale Lullaby.”

Credits

"My favourite artists include; Bill Nelson, Robert Plant, Nick Cave, Muse, Foo Fighters, Meshuggah and Steve Wilson.”

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