Our Stories: Chris Sherwin

Aisling Kiely

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After graduating our Studio & Live Music Production course in 2018, Chris now works as a Studio Assistant at Spirit Studios. Eager to hear about his time in the industry so far, we caught up with Chris for a quick chat.

From working behind the scenes at some of the UK’s biggest festivals to becoming a resident Sound Engineer for Night & Day, Chris Sherwin is certainly keeping himself busy.

So Chris, before we find out what you’re up to at the minute, let’s get a bit of a back story.

Sure, I’ve been at Spirit Studios for nearly 6 years now. I studied BTEC Music Technology here, before going on to study Studio & Live Music Production in 2018. Since graduating, I’ve been working as a resident Sound Engineer for Night & Day – a venue at the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, working as an engineer for my own band, Bards, and also working as a Studio Assistant here at Spirit Studios.

It sounds like you have your hands pretty full at the minute! Tell us, how did you become a resident Sound Engineer for Night & Day?

Before working at Night & Day, I worked for a small PA company called dbnAudile. While I was working there, the guys at Night & Day were looking for an engineer to work a gig later that evening, and got in touch. After the gig, I was invited back time and time again as they really liked what I did. From there, things just snowballed and before I knew it, I was their resident Sound Engineer.

I’ve also worked quite a lot of festivals, such as: Parklife, Bestival and Blue Dot which has been pretty cool. During my time working as a Stage Technician, I worked with some big names, including; The 1975, Jess Glynne, The Pixies, Jamie T and Twin Atlantic. It’s kind of weird because when you’re handing over the mic to the artist, you almost forget there’s millions of people on the other side shouting their name.

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That’s impressive. Forgive the broad question, but what do you say you enjoy most about the industry?

 The freedom and the creativity, definitely. Even though I’m an engineer, I still have a lot of fun and creative freedom when I’m mixing.

It’s a tough industry to be in. You have to be stern. And, if it means a few late nights or missing out on nights out with your friends, then so be it – you have to sacrifice things.  It’ a hard job to do and 16-hour days with next to no sleep can take its toll.

 Working in the industry, what do you think of the Manchester music scene?

 There’s so much going on. There’s so many different genres, from grime and hard-core to jazz and trance. Manchester’s music scene is so open and there’s so much happening to get involved in with.

 You’re also in your own band too. Tell us a bit more about your band, Bards.

We started out as a 3-piece and have recently grown into a 5-piece. In fact, it’s kind of strange how we all met – but I’ll save that for another time. I guess, if I had to pinpoint the genre, I’d say experimental rock, but we literally go from noisy and sludgy to ambient and peaceful. Lyrically, the music we write is similar to storytelling which is where the name comes from.

We’ve just finished recording our latest EP in Spirit which was really fun. It took two months of hard work and late night sessions, but it was worth it. I did the recording and mixing while Harry Park – who also works at Spirit Studios – took charge of the mastering.

Leading on from that then, how do you cope with big projects – do you have a go-to way of doing things?

 When I’m working with bands or artists in the studio, I always make sure I’ve planned beforehand. Before any session, I sit down and make all my Pro Tools sessions, pin down the mics I’m going to use and list the types of techniques I’m going to play around with.

I would say pre-production is the most important part. I’ll always speak to the band before the session to find out if they have any reference artists and the type of sound they’re trying to achieve.

Last but not least, are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?

 Yeah, I’m doing some session work for a guy called Jack Dawson who’s involved with BBC Introducing. We’ve just recorded a single at EVE Studios – a vintage studio where everything is from like the 1970s – which has recently been played on Radio One.

A tough question, perhaps. But, if you could work with an artist, either past or present, to collaborate with, who would it be and why?

 I could talk for days about this. But, I’ll keep it short and say, Bob Dylan. Since I was 5, I’ve always adored him. In fact, I can’t think of a month where I haven’t listened to him or read something about him.

Also, Pink Floyd because of the way they changed and progressed the band they were. And, there are so many influences from the late 80s and 90s, too – everything from folk-acoustic music in the 60s to hard-core emo in the late 80s.

But definitely, I’m going to stick to Bob Dylan.

Well, you’re definitely not short of things going on at the minute. Good luck with everything, and we look forward to seeing what you get up to soon.