Audio Pro International’s focus on the best of the industry’s young audio engineers continues this week with the latest addition to our Rising Stars section.
This week we chat to audio engineer Giles Stocks…
Where did you study?
When I was around 17 I helped run a club night with live bands and DJs performing, and there were some massive old Turbosound boxes in there with a 16 channel mixer and some basic dynamics. Nobody knew how to switch it on and there was no in-house guy, so I appointed myself the sound engineer with almost no knowledge about live sound reinforcement. I eventually figured it out and luckily the bands I was trying to mix were trashy garage/punk bands anyway. After that first night I was really interested in live sound, so I enrolled in college at Bradford university studying a B-Tech in music technology, before going to Huddersfield University to study music production and sound recording. As they had limited classes on live sound, I somehow managed to get a job at The Cockpit in Leeds working in the 3rd room, then slowly working my way up to the main room, all the time learning from some of the amazing engineers that worked and came through there.
Which band/project are you currently working on?
This year I have been doing a lot of work on the road with great bands like Turbowolf, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Pigeon Detectives, Hawk Eyes and Truckfighters. It’s been a great festival season so far because most of these bands have been playing the same festivals, so I've been very busy. Also this year I've been working with a Pink Floyd tribute band called The Pink Floyd Show UK formally known as The Spirit Of Pink Floyd and it’s been great fun and quite a challenge to try and reproduce that authentic Pink Floyd sound. I'm currently in the middle of mixing a live Cancer Bats album of them performing Black Sabbath songs that I recorded at the Forum in Nottingham.
Where are you based/working at the moment?
I'm living in Leeds but working most of the time on the road. At the moment it’s festival season so I get a few days at home most weeks.
Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?
When I get to choose, I’ve been requesting the Digidesign Profile or the Allen & Heath iLive t112 because I have some show files saved for them after some pre production I did. I love both of these consoles and I've had some great customer service from the guys at Allen & Heath - they will bend over backwards to help you! To be honest, it’s quite hard to find a digital desk that disappoints; they all have their strengths. When I've been using analogue I've been lucky enough to have the great Midas XL4 on a number of occasions, and that is audio heaven - the preamps sound super smooth and unlike anything I've ever heard. I used to use the Soundcraft MH3 as the in house console at the cockpit and I grew very fond of that. The highest number of channels I'm using nowadays is with the Pink Floyd Show UK and it requires 32 channels exactly!
What decision process was behind the choice of this console?
The Allen & Heath iLive series was a no brainer for me, as it was the first digital console I ever really worked on, and looking back, it’s one of the most user-friendly surfaces around. The on-board FX sound great and the preamps are not brittle sounding. I like the Digidesign Profile for the same reasons as the iLive and they are both so accessible when faultfinding. Both desks also have the option of using waves plugins as well.
Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?
Like I mentioned before, I've been more than happy with the built in FX on the iLive series and having the option to ad Waves plugins is ideal. With Waves plugins you can really hear the tiniest adjustments; it’s getting to be more and more like mixing in a studio environment. With regards to EQ, I really believe that if you have a good system/system technician, source of sound and the microphones are thought about, then that's half the battle. I've just got involved with Audio-Technica and the mics they have sent me are incredible. They are so versatile and transparent sounding, most of the time you don't have to touch the EQ
What is your console of choice?
All The consoles I've talked about previously. I would love to try the Digico SD8 though. I love the Midas XL8 as well. I really feel that we are in a great era for mixing consoles and there are so many great options for different applications.
If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?
Post ‘70s era Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 would have been mind blowing and quite a challenge. I often think about this and if I had one choice to mix a band today I think it would have to be Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. I think Nick Warren has that properly figured out anyway, he does an incredible job.
Giles Stocks: G.S Audio, live sound and production // Hassle Records // The Pigeon Detectives // Ginger/The Wildhearts // Pulled Apart By Horses // Turbowolf (UK) // The Computers (UK) // H A W K E Y E S (UK) // Truckfighters (SWEDEN) //Pure Love //
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 Daniel Gumble on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01992 535646.
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