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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Nov 2019 > STEVE MACKEY


Steve Mackey was the bassist in Pulp and a long-time musical accomplice of the band’s ubiquitous frontman, Jarvis Cocker. He’s also a producer and remixer, energising everyone from the lo-fi ragga of M.I.A. to the stadium guitar pop of Arcade Fire. Time to talk tech with this most multi-faceted of producers…

“I think it’s tough for new artists to do what Pulp did, which was to be very unsuccessful for a long time,” laughs Steve Mackey. The former Pulp bassist, now anarchic production auteur, is dissecting the music industry and how it has mutated since he, Jarvis, Candida and the rest of Sheffield’s most notorious band of mis-shapes were at their height.

“We were grossly unsuccessful for 10 years, but it was an important time to be gestating. You pick up things and get better. But today, economics would make that more difficult to achieve.”

As any Pulp fan will know, Steve was a core member of the Britpop titans when they were at their biggest, performing on era-defining records such as Different Class and This Is Hardcore as well as near-legendary live performances at the likes of Glastonbury, V, Primavera and more. Since the group’s demise, Steve has trodden a singularly intriguing musical path, working as a producer, remixer and collaborator with an array of musical renegades: from the incendiary M.I.A. and the smoky, enigmatic electronics of Dean Blunt to pop heavyweights Florence + The Machine and, of course, Arcade Fire – for whom his work on their record Everything Now earned him a Grammy nod.

Alongside his studio sorcery, he’s worked as a musical director for fashion designers such as Tom Ford and created colourful sounds to accompany the work of artists including Damien Hirst. With such an eclectic CV, it’s obvious that an obsessive thirst for new music rattles right through him.

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About MusicTech

It’s pretty much certain that if you’ve bought this magazine, then you will have parted with some of your hard-earned cash on gear for your studio. And let’s be honest, it’s a safe bet you’re not done yet. Unfortunately, our wallets aren’t bottomless, but even though we might think we have to spend ever-increasing fortunes on new tech to enhance our studios, it’s actually far cheaper to branch into the world of free software. In 2019, there are near-mountains of free software available – tailored for each part of the production process. But it can be a time-consuming quest to amass (and test) the right tools for your needs. So in this issue, we’ve rounded up the very best freeware that you can download to create your own free virtual studio. You might have also noticed that this issue comes with an added extra! We’re celebrating a whopping 200 issues of MusicTech – and to mark the occasion, we’ve put together a brand-new, freshly written guide to mixing. We hope it will serve as a companion to you in the studio, should you need to refresh your knowledge of key principles, mixing approaches and more. Elsewhere, we’ve got the final part of our Synthesis Masterclass series, which details how the computer became the ultimate synth! We also speak to former Pulp bass player and now Grammy-nominated producer Steve Mackey about his diverse career and also to the astute people at Black Lion Audio, who have combined the very best of modern technology with vintage designs. In our reviews, we spend time with Behringer’s Odyssey and discover a faithful and competitively priced recreation of a classic. We’ve also got our usual in-depth tutorials, tips and guides, so I hope you enjoy our 200th issue!

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