Monday, September 12, 2022

DJ Interviews: Robert Mcracken

 Here's my interview with Robert Mccraken an audio producer you can check out his stuff below in the following links

How'd you get started in music? 

Oh that’s a difficult one to explain. Over the years I have learned various instruments such as the piano and bass, and even though I still play bass I have never developed that full on passion for the instrument. I always knew I wanted to work in music but I struggled to find what side it was I was passionate about. I tried composing a few times and was just never happy with anything I made. When it came to leaving school all the teachers pressured us to have a college or university to go to. I am sure most of us have had that experience! So the stress is kicking in and I feel I have to find something fast. Even though I never took music in my last year at school (school sucked all the fun out of it) I knew I still wanted to do something with music. I also had a love for physics. A friend suggested I try this questionnaire that helps find a career path. So I filled it out and some of the top suggestions were; Film Director, Photographer, and Audio Engineer….oooh what is that?! 

I looked into it more and I fell in love with the idea of helping musicians create the sound in their heads! So I applied to one Uni, SAE Glasgow. I got in, got my degree, paid my debts. As much as I had some good times there and look back on it fondly. I feel it was a waste of time and money. It helped me learn about the technology that is involved in audio engineering but it misses some crucial things. Like how to break into the industry, learning the business and marketing side. When it did try to teach those sides, it was outdated information. Like back in the 70s and 80s to get a job in a recording studio you just had to go to them and volunteer your time, you would get a mentor and work your way up. I tried finding a place to volunteer and all I got was old men with the ‘I’ve done my time’ attitude sticking their noses up at me. Then I went to Chem19 and did the same pitch I had done so many times before. To my surprise the guy on the other side of the door was pleasant and accommodating. He explained to me that’s not how the industry works any more. He explained it’s a good idea to start practising mixing at home and start finding musicians to record, then book the recording space. Ugh… mixing, I didn’t want to do any mixing, I wanted to be a recording engineer and throw up mics and all that fun stuff. If that’s what it takes though, I’ll start there. So I downloaded some multi-tracks and began mixing again (hadn’t done any since uni), looking up mixing tutorials on YouTube. Let me tell you, those mixes were awful! But each mix was less awful than the last. A few years went by. Done a few courses, met some people, applied for jobs, and searched many other avenues. Then the Pandemic hit. I did what everyone else did and wasted time. 

The hotel I was working in was paying out furlough so I had nothing to worry about. Then that hotels parent company went bust and I lost my furlough after one month. I started panicking and I had to find a way of making money fast. One woman on a Facebook group pointed me in the direction of an audiobook publisher who use freelance editors. It was good money and consistent. I then stumbled upon a podcast called The 6 figure home studio (now the 6 figure creative) and it gave many ways to find clients and what to improve on and business dealings. That podcast gave me a drive to start finding musicians that were making home recordings and give them a hand where I could. Whether it was advice, critiques, mixes and masters. Nothing feels better than when a client comes back and says ‘This sounds amazing!’. So that’s how I got started In music 

Who are your inspirations or influences? 

Oft most of my influences are people that have built a business from nothing rather than other engineers. However I would say my idol that made me want to engineer music was Alan Parsons. He engineered Dark side of the Moon and produced his own music with Eric Woolfson as the Alan Parsons Project. I got to meet Alan once! Nice guy, just watches TV these days. 

Others that inspire me are Chris Graham and Brian Hood. With some of their music but mostly about their approach to freelance as a business. They made me realise that you are better off being genuine with people rather than being salesy. Great, I hate the salesy pitch! The great thing with this I have not only gotten clients from this approach but made genuine friends and got the chance to meet some great people. I always considered myself an introvert and still do, but I’ve realised that I actually love meeting and talking to folk. Even if it does exhaust me at the end of the day haha! Lastly is Jamie Savage from Chem19. He has been a good friend even though we don’t keep in contact very often. He has always been willing to give me some advice and critiques on projects. I can’t thank him enough, because he has helped me up my game! 

What advice would you offer aspiring performers? 

My first bit of advice is to start learning new skills other than just your musical ones. You may need to learn more about marketing and sales. I’ve been working very hard on improving my social skills by reading books such as The Like Switch and How to Make friends and Influence People. This may sound disingenuous but I promise it’s not! All of these books explain how being genuine is the most important part of the whole thing. 

The problem that a lot of performers and creatives face is that we get into this mindset of ‘create it and they will come’. Then when they don’t, we think it is because we suck. Neither of those points are true! Well the second one may be, but you will never know if you can’t get people to listen. Start reaching out to other musicians, take an interest in them and they will take an interest in you. Start bringing people along. Work on content platforms such as YouTube and Tik Tok. Build your following. 

How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers? 

I set myself apart from other bands and singers by not being one, what a way to ostracize yourself! In all serious, I push to help the underdogs. I am not interested in working with people who have this fleeting fantasy of being a rock-star, but to work with those who are passionate about their craft and maybe unsure how to take that step or level up their music! I don’t bundle myself with those stereotypical sound engineers that take your tracks, then send them back without a care of how it sounds, it’s just another pay-check for them. I am just as passionate about the tracks I mix as you are when composing them. When working with me you will get honesty about the tracks and sometimes even advice on how to improve your recordings with what you have got! 

Any new gigs or albums in the future? 

Absolutely! I am in the middle of working on two EPs for Adaman and Ritterskamp. Look those guys up on Bandcamp, you wont be disappointed. If you want news about the work I am currently doing, follow me over on Twitter @RFM_Audio as I love keeping my followers up to date on releases I have worked on. 

Lastly I love giving the bedroom musician a helping hand so feel free to email me or you can check out my website to hear my portfolio at I hope this has been an insight to you all about a S








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