Rising Stars: James Hill

Sheffield-based engineer tells us about his new recording company, and the gear he's been getting to grips with lately.
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We've found another worthy subject for the Audio Pro InternationalRising Stars section, our regular focus on the best young industry talent from around the world.

Our first Rising Star of 2013 is James Hill, a freelance engineer currently working at Corporation and West Street Live in Sheffield, UK, and the founder of Hangman Productions...

Where did you study?

I studied Popular Music Production at the University of Huddersfield and graduated in 2012. I also did a placement year at Sheffield Corporation, which is what got me particularly interested in the live engineering side of the business.

Which project/band are you working on/with at the moment?

At the moment I'm a freelance engineer for a couple of Sheffield venues, but I am also just starting up a live recording company called Hangman Productions. We're trying to give some of the local up-and-coming bands decent multitrack recordings of their live set. It really helps them out if they can't afford studio time, but want to get their music out there, or just want to have the live tracks to show off on their Facebook pages.

Where are you based?

I'm currently based in Sheffield, mainly working at Corporation, which has 800- and 200-capacity live rooms, giving me a variety of local, up-and-coming and international touring bands to work with. I also work at West Street Live, which has bands playing every day of the week. There are many different styles and genres to work with, so I get a different challenge every day.

I am hoping to try my hand at touring with a band at some point. I think the challenges and experiences would help me improve my skills as a live sound engineer.

Which console are you currently using?

Im using the in-house consoles. At Corporation they have recently upgraded to the Avid Venue SC48 for FOH, as well as the Midas Siena for monitors. I'm using the trusted Allen & Heath GL2400 at West Street Live.

Why did you choose this console?

I think they decided on the SC48 due to it's ease of use. Everything is laid out nicely so you can get to what you want quickly and efficiently. I personally like the ease of applying gates and compressors to any channel at the press of a button, and being able to see the EQ and dynamics on the screen helps get precision editing on every track.

Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?

With the SC48 there isn't really any need for any outboard as the effects and processors built into the desk are all great. I really like using the Smack compressor on vocals and the sans-amp plug-in really helps give a dull bass DI some life in the mix.

What is your favourite ever piece of audio equipment?

I think I'm going to have to go with a microphone. I really like to get a strong, solid kick sound, so either the Audix D6 or the Shure beta91 would be my preferred choice. Both mics give a great sound with minimal EQ and dynamic tweaks.

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?

I would love to tour with some of the awesome up-and-coming bands in the UK right now and work my way up through the different size venues along with the band. A few personal favourites would be POLAR and Marmozets. I've already had the chance to work with both of these bands when they have passed through the various venues I have been at, and enjoyed mixing them.

Website: www.facebook.com/HangmanAudioProductions
Email: JamesHillAudio@gmail.com

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 Pro International editor Adam Savage on adam.savage@intentmedia.co.uk or +44 (0)1992 535646.

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