Part Six: Porkys
Moving into Shaftesbury was such a major shift first of all trying to get the Studio acoustic work done and of course getting all of the Studio equipment delivered as you can guess Shaftesbury Avenue never closes it’s always busy even in the small hours. We did have our moments with traffic wardens but I always asked the biggest guys to go out and have a word with them.
I started off there just me cutting with no help except a lady, Annie, who worked for Trident Studios who out of the blue moved hell and high water to get me
organized, she really was ‘gold dust.’ She got a receptionist / telephonist who had some idea how to take the bookings otherwise it would never work me trying to do the bookings and cut the records at the same time, I was very lucky in the early years because quite a lot of friends used to come to the Studio and help me get started and
organized, I suppose that I had not made any enemies before.
An old friend of mine Dennis Blackham who was a cutting engineer too came to see me saying that as he had worked at Tape One Studios for quite a few years but felt like there was no challenge left there for him. He wanted to get into the Digital world by way of working balancing the sounds to CD as he (as we all did) thought that CD’s sounded ‘Tinny’ and no balls, technically speaking of course. This seemed to be with all CD masters. When you compare the CD against the Vinyl cut immediately you hear a mega difference. The Vinyl walks all over the CD
sound wise, rich fuller bass and generally a much richer sound.
Dennis wanted to link this up using the attitude of a vinyl engineer making CD’s, I thought that this was a really good idea and we talked about what equipment would be needed, how much, and how long it might take to set this thing up, Dennis said that he would like to work with me again as we got on so well and with the experience we had between us we should be in a key position within the music industry.
Out of the blue about a couple of weeks later Dennis turned up at the Studio saying that he had been arguing with Bill Foster from Tape One Studio and he had decided to leave to come and work for me.
I stood there for a minute and said “We haven’t got a Digital Studio yet or any Digital equipment for it, and I’ve now got to find your wages, too. I’ll have to dash up and see the Bank Manager” which I did, bluffing that the master plan was coming together and I now had myself a Digital Engineer and would be looking to increase my borrowing for the new Studio to be.
The Bank Manager amazingly enough said that I was being very forward thinking and more money was not a problem as the Studio had been looking very good on the books and if it was to continue into new technology this was the way. I think that perhaps he had been reading from magazines as they were all full of the new technology that is taking over the world, so I was in.
We called Kinsey-Fitzgerald the people who had made and built the cutting room and asked them to come down and measure up then give me a figure to build the Digital Studio, which they did. I asked how soon could they start as I thought: I’ve got an engineer on wages, I’ve got the premises, and the Bank Loan, but only one Studio is paying for this at the moment so I’ve got to keep things moving to make sure that I don’t get in too deep. Luckily Kinsey-Fitzgerald guys were good guys. I explained my predicament and they really pulled their fingers out for me and before I could sneeze, pieces of acoustic materials were arriving daily and being fitted. It was a great relief when I saw things moving. I had Dennis going around looking at essential Digital equipment prices and he was doing lots and lots of studying up on Digital information. I must admit that he threw himself into the job ahead really well indeed.
Dennis did have a name as a very good cutting engineer, he did have a good set of ears and now he was really going for it with the CD Mastering. He put a lot of effort into his work and built up a very good clientele after about a year we took on another young guy, Sean, who was to be trained by Dennis to take some of the load off him. Sean worked out very well and I believe that today he is a very good CD Mastering engineer.
After a couple of years Dennis left and I believe that he has set a Studio in his house up in Scotland and is doing good business. I wish him well.
While Sean was working for me we took on another trainee CD engineer, Matt, who seemed like a really nice guy. He worked hard and studied hard, and I sent him on courses to increase his knowledge so that he could become a fully fledged CD engineer.