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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Oct 2019 > MATT JONES

MATT JONES

We talk to Abbey Road recordist Matt Jones about recording techniques, mixing as though you’re making stems and what the role of recordist actually is…

Matt Jones began working at Abbey Road in 2012 straight out of university, rising the ranks from runner to assistant and now to recordist. However, his journey to the iconic studio arguably started when he first picked up the trombone, aged seven. He learnt guitar through his teens and played in brass ensembles and metal bands; his interest in recording led him to the highly regarded Tonmeister degree course at Surrey University.

In his time at Abbey Road, Matt has worked with such composers as Danny Elfman, Stephen Price, James Newton Howard and on projects including Amazon’s The Aeronauts, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and the David Attenborough Netflix documentary Our Planet. We sit down with Matt to talk about using reverb, keeping on top of big sessions and what a recordist actually is.

Phoebe What is the recordist’s role? How does it differ from an assistant or an engineer?

Matt Jones At Abbey Road, the recordist title is a halfway house between assistant engineer and engineer roles. It’s kind of an extension of the assistant job here, in that you find some bits of engineering here and there, but also, you’ll be the guys that they get in to do the more high-profile film scoring projects and run Pro Tools on them. A big part of it is just being that trusted point of contact for an engineer in those situations.

MT Does everyone have a clear idea of what their position is and what they are responsible for, or is there ever overlap?

Yes and no. I think everyone has a solid idea of what their primary responsibilities are. At Abbey Road in particular, if you come and do a session there, you’ll find the runners are runners by name – and they’re doing that job – but they’re more than capable of doing the job of assistants. And you’ll find that all the assistants are more than capable of doing the job of a recordist. Everyone understands everyone else’s role, but focuses in on what it is they are supposed to be doing. And they have the knowledge and experience to do everything else, which is good, because it means they know how they can support the people in those roles.

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About MusicTech

The art of writing songs is something that is all too often ascribed to some mythical gift that manifests itself within people at a certain age, with little thought given to the long periods of trial and error, dedication to the craft and persistence to forge a career in the industry that mark out many successful songwriters. In this issue, we have a thorough exploration of the topic, featuring a dissection of the building blocks of every hit song, as well as industry insight from a range of experts who illuminate the professional songwriting world of 2019. We discuss maintaining a career balancing writing with being an artist in your own right with Ed Harcourt and learn from Bernard Butler, Paul Statham and others about their approaches to educating the next generation of hit-makers. Elsewhere in the issue, we continue our journey through the world of synthesis. This time, we focus on wavetable and vector synthesis as well as a foray into the birth of drum machines and their intrinsic relationship with the synth world. We also put several of our go-to budget small-diaphragm condensers to the test in our very first microphone shootout. In our review section this month, we get rhythmic with IK Multimedia’s UNO Drum and wallow in the sonic delights of the Dreadbox Nyx V2 among many other new pieces of kit. Of course, we also have a range of tutorials and tips, too. I hope you enjoy the issue.