The Pro Sound Awards are closing in with less than a month to go, and with that in mind, each of our ten Rising Star Award nominees have been explaining why they deserve to take home the coveted prize.
Among them is Stoke-on-Trent-based monitor engineer Andy Egerton, who tells us how one live music DVD changed his life and rocketed him towards a career mixing for the likes of The Wombats, The Maccabees and Mumford & Sons.
How did you start out and where did you study?
I always attended gigs but never really thought about the work and various roles involved in putting on a live performance. I was working in a warehouse driving a forklift truck wondering what to do with my life and the answer came in the form of a live music DVD: it was Familiar to Millions by Oasis and the bonus DVD contained all these interviews with the crew.
I looked into University courses on Live/Studio sound which led me to The North West Institute of Higher Education (NEWI) in Wrexham, North Wales. NEWI has gone through a name change in recent years and is now called Glyndwr University. Through my studies and the live music scene in Wrexham I soon began working at the main music venue in town called Central Station, along with the student union and Telfords Warehouse in Chester, as well as a few local PA companies.
What made you decide to pursue a career in pro-audio?
Originally I wanted to work in recording studios but with the power of computers and DAWs on the up, I quickly realised the landscape for small studios was about to change, which would saturate the opportunities within larger studios. Live sound appeared to be growing and I enjoyed the thrill of mixing, knowing it wasn’t something that could be fixed in the box later. I like the “get one shot at it” thrill of live sound.
Do you have any achievements you are particularly proud of? What are the big landmarks of your career so far?
I think the ones that stand out are the shows which have been highly technical or have been to very large audiences. I did a show in The Royal Festival Hall with Laura Marling and Guests. Laura had a different band play on each song – some of her own songs, some of their own songs – and it was a great concept, but technically very challenging. I had to cascade two digital consoles together as the channel count kept growing. I was a great show.
The Maccabees on The Other Stage at Glastonbury in 2009 was special – the crowd was huge and it was just a special gig. Mumford & Sons at Spender in the Grass in 2010 was also incredible – it was their first tour of Australia and I don’t think anyone was expecting the response; second from headline and they pulled the biggest crowd of the weekend.
The current US tour I’m currently on with Mumford & Sons has been special too – 'The Gentleman of the Road Stopovers', which are Mumford and Sons' own festivals, always have a great vibe as the whole town gets involved. The Stop over in Walla Walla, Washington, produced an incredible show not just for M&S but for Foo Fighters, who headlined on the first night. We also did two nights in The LA Forum, which were followed by a small show at The Troubadour in which Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) and T-Bone Burnett guested – that was a real career highlight for me.
Can you tell us about any recent projects? What are you working on currently?
I’m currently monitor engineer for Mumford & Sons. Before that I worked for The Maccabees for seven years in the same role, as well as The Wombats for four years. There's been a lot of other acts in between but these have been my main gigs. I first started with a band called Blood Red Shoes; they allowed me my first real touring experience as a monitor engineer and I became tour manager for them too. I’ll always be grateful to them for starting me out.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite gear? What do you find yourself relying on for projects?
For Mumford & Sons I use a Digico SD7, which I love. The main reason was the number of inputs and outputs available, and its layout. I also use Shure PSM1000s and UE11s, as well as d&b M2 monitors with the D80s driving them. These are my ideal and I love what I get out of this system.
If you could work with one artist or group, who would it be and why?
I have been very fortunate with the bands I have worked for as I have genuinely been a fan anyway. That makes the job a little sweeter if you love the music you get to mix. If there was one artist I would really like to work with it would be Noel Gallagher or Oasis if they reformed, just because it would feel like I’ve gone full circle; to go from watching a DVD which inspired a career to actually working with that band would be a great story, wouldn’t it?
To get involved in our Rising Stars column, whether you are an engineer who is new to the industry and would like to be featured, or an experienced engineer who would like to nominate a particular student/apprentice, please contact Audio Media International staff writer Matt Fellows on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7354 6001.