Guest Lecture – John Williams – Record Producer

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As well as highly successful careers in A&R and songwriting John Williams has produced records by The Housemartins, The Proclaimers, Petula Clark and Michael Nyman and Radio 1 sessions by The Cure and Killing Joke to name but a few. This week he came to Lincoln and talked to our Audio Production students about his latest production; Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott’s What Have We Become album.

John’s fascinating and insightful talk took us through the entire process of making the record – from budgets, to arranging rehearsals, to booking the studio, to tracking and overdubs, through to the mixing and mastering stage. Full of excellent advice and suggestions, John demystified the whole process, stressing the importance of keeping things simple and always focussing on the song and the performance. Rehearsal time is absolutely key to this along with not getting too caught up in the technology of recording and unnecessary audio processing.

For our budding record producers, this was a hugely valuable lecture which gave some great insights, not only into the technical and organisational aspects of recording an album but also highlighted the people skills needed to manage groups of musicians and performers whose (often fragile) egos of can at times be a bit of a handful!

Listen to John speaking about the role of A&R on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 programme here (20/01/15):

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About David McSherry

Senior Lecturer in Audio Production