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Metal Producer, Scott Atkins

Review Zoo catch up with Heavy Metal Music Producer, Scott Atkins!

Metal Producer, Scott Atkins

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Hi Scott, welcome to Review Zoo and thanks for taking part.

Please can you tell us a bit about your studio?

The studio is called Grindstone Studio and I set it up in 2005, originally as a mobile rig that I used to travel around with. After years of touring I had so many contacts for bands it was easy to get work. I used to record bands in their rehearsal rooms and sleep rough there at night in between all the gear. It was really hard going like that for a year and then I managed to secure premises that became home for the next 4 years.

It’s now on a farm in Suffolk, I’ve been there since 2010 and it’s one of the busiest studios for metal in the UK.

Please can you tell us about your experiences as a musician before becoming a producer?

I played guitar in a hardcore metal band called Stampin’ Ground for a decade from 1995. We were signed to Century Media records and toured alongside bands like Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Agnostic Front, Hatebreed and Biohazard. Although we had minor success in most of Europe, we did well in a handful of countries like the UK, Greece, Germany and Belgium. We played the Main Stage at the first ever UK Download Festival. It gave me a solid insight into the music business and a lot of the contacts I made back then I still deal with today.

What got you into Music Production?

In 2003 we were recording our 4th album with renowned producer Andy Sneap at his studio in Derbyshire. We were working on the guitars one day, and I had mentioned that I’d been frustrated in the past with our previous albums and that I’d wished I could have been able to have more of an input into them and that it was a job I had always fancied doing. Andy kindly offered loads of advice on getting into it and set up with the mobile rig. He guided me along the way. I definitely consider him my mentor. He’s one of the best in the business and without him I’d be doing something else I'm sure. I looked into studying sound engineering when I left school but it was a very different situation back then. The courses weren’t state funded and there were hardly any of them.

Some bands you’ve worked with as a producer?

Cradle Of Filth, Sylosis, Venom Prison, Sermon, Elvenking, Divine Chaos. I’ve also worked with Behemoth and Amon Amarth in various roles.

Favourite plugin?

Fabfilter Pro-Q is my most used plug in by a mile. It's just so amazing at surgically improving a sound that I pretty much have it on every track. I also love the UAD Neve 1073. It's just so killer at shaping the overall tone. I'd love the real hardware but I'd need loads of them!

Favourite piece of studio gear?

Probably my TK Audio Buss compressor. I know people really go on about analogue gear etc but it's impossible to replace in the digital realm. It had to be repaired last year and I was without it for 3 weeks. I was really lost without it, and tried every compressor possible to get what I was looking for but I just couldn’t get it.

What are you currently listening to?

Amorphis, full discography. I love this band. So varied and so many instruments. I recommend anyone to at least check them out.

You’re stuck on a desert island and can have only one album, which album are you taking?

Judas Priest ‘Screaming For Vengeance’

Your biggest inspiration?

Probably Bob Rock and the Metallica ‘Black Album’ making of documentary. It had a really big impression on me and I’d say Bob is largely responsible for the overall sound of todays fatter metal bands. He was a real pioneer especially with regards to getting more low end into the mix.

I was also blown away by the work Terry Date did with Pantera. It was such a new sound it was a real game changer.

Are you in any bands or projects at the moment that you’d like to share with us? What hobbies do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’m unlikely to be playing in bands again, I’m just too busy in the studio, it really takes over.

When I do get spare time, my girlfriend and I are renovating a cottage we bought a few years ago. It’s in dire need of modernising and we’ve done a lot of the work ourselves. I think it's going to take another 5 years to get it where we want it!

Any funny studio stories you can share with us?

Recently Ed Sheeran came to the studio. Myself and Cradle Of Filth were working across email on a collaboration song and he’d sent some ideas over. Anyway, I’d made some suggestions and he was like ‘I’ll just come to your studio and get it done. We’ll go for a few pints after’. I thought it was pretty hilarious that someone so successful and from such a different genre was up for just coming over and laying it down. No managers, entourage or anything. He was just like any of the metal dudes I work with, so regular.

Thank you Scott, we really appreciated it.

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