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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr 2019 > ALEXANER ARCHER

ALEXANER ARCHER

With an impressive roster of artists including Kasabian, The Cribs, Phoebe Bridgers and Sigrid on his CV, producer and engineer Alexander Archer is working in a variety of recording situations, from sessions with unsigned musicians to heading up Vevo UK’s live video recordings. Here, he talks about life behind the desk…

INTERVIEW ALEX ANDER ARCHER

Derby-born Alexander Archer’s entry into the professional world of music production stemmed from a combination of an appreciation for the art of music-making and a fixation with just how records are made.

Working across both studio and front-of-house sound engineering, Alexander developed a knack for working with a diverse range of artists, keeping two simple and vital philosophies at the core of his approach: always give the artist your full attention, and don’t be too transfixed by your gear. Using a wide variety of recording technology, Alexander has settled on a translatable system that works very well for his frequently out-of-studio career, with Cockos’ Reaper being his DAW of choice.

His work as both a recording and mixing engineer incorporates sessions with new bands as well as a regular stint recording a plethora of artists for Vevo’s live videos. This has seen Alexander oversee recordings with some of the biggest names of the moment in the music industry, from Sigrid and Phoebe Bridgers to Tom Walker and Sam Fender. Alexander’s attitude is that, fundamentally, everything should be focused on the artist and that the production needs to serve that artist’s performance.

MusicTech How did your interest in music production begin, Alexander?

Alexander Archer Well, I grew up playing with a jazz big band, learning to play music with this really fantastic educational programme in Derby, where I’m from. With them, we went to a recording studio in Derby one day to record a small album of songs. That was the first time I’d ever seen a recording studio – I just lost my mind.

All the lights and the spaceship-like presentation of this mixing desk; I just thought, ‘I want to be around this,’ and got a real kick out of it. I’d inherited a love of music from my dad. My mum’s a very good pianist and a good player of music, whereas my dad is a great listener of music. From a very early age he was playing Fleetwood Mac records and that got me really interested in the art of music-making. I’d read the liner notes and wondered about the producer and what happened behind the scenes. So, by the time I first saw that recording studio, I was fascinated by the idea of being a person that helped other people make music and to help bands facilitate making records.

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About MusicTech

Aside from the art of writing a melody, crafting the perfect lyric and finding the most suitable chords for your music, beatmaking (or sculpting the rhythmic elements of your track) is perhaps the most important stage to get right, particularly if you work in the EDM arena. It’s often, however, something that can start to feel quite ‘samey’ and characterless for some, as those musical elements tend to take priority. In our cover feature this month, Martin Delaney explores a variety of routes to making your own distinctive beats in unique ways. Follow his do-it-yourself guide and before long, your tracks will have extra oomph and rise above the din to sound unlike anybody else. Also this issue, we speak to the fascinating Cleaning Women, a Finnish band who adopt a similar DIY approach to beat and music-making. They have built their own instruments out of former household appliances and have performed with them for over 20 years. Elsewhere, we catch up with Alexander Archer, a young producer who is currently working with some of the industry's hottest names as he engineers recordings for Vevo UK. On the review front this month, we dive deep into Native Instruments’ veritable ocean of delights, Komplete 12, as well as Ableton's latest hefty point update to Live.