As the full-time assistant at Booka Shade’s favourite UK studio, Henry Broadhead is learning his trade in one of the most creative recording environments we’ve ever visited. He tells us about daily studio life and the best way to go about getting into the industry.
Place of work
EVE studios, Stockport.
Studio assistant and company director.
How long have you had the job?
One and a half years. I got the job when I was 19.
Describe a typical day
I start with a coffee and cig, let some light in the windows, stick Spotify on and listen to a few tunes. We usually have breakfast with the producer and artists, check the plan for the day, then I load up the Pro Tools session and turn on any valve mics and amps we’re going to be using.
The rest of the day’s spent engineering the session, configuring foldback mixes and always trying to keep one step ahead. There’s a lot of running up and down many stairs moving/adjusting microphones, instruments and amplifiers. I keep detailed notes of takes and hardware chains used but most importantly listen intently to everything. I try to keep smiling… but not in a sinister or sad way.
Later on I’ll usually find time for more cigs and Yorkshire brew over some YouTube distraction, then catch a bite where possible. At the end of the day I turn off the gear, make backups, shoot some pool with the band or listen to vinyl, maybe have a game of darts, a few more cigs, then crash out.
Highs of the job
Innovative music, talented musicians, experimental producers and discovering new sounds. Studio black cat, good food, amazing equipment. Other than that, I’m lucky to get to play with all the synths in the Radiophonic studio.
Lows of the job
Losing track of what day it is, sleeping standing up, no milk in the fridge.
Do you think working at EVE is a lot different to working at other studios?
The ideology and vibe of EVE are not typical for a recording studio, but the knowledge and experience I’m gaining here are all relatable to other studios.
Who are the people who’ve had the biggest influence on your career and why?
Kanye West – he just does his own thing. Same with Flaming Lips. Prince for everything else.
On a more personal level, Tim Bran, who’s a producer from London, gave me my first real opportunity. He encouraged me to take the engineering reins on an EVE session, telling me that’s how he started in his career. One of the great things about working at EVE is that the producers who come here are open minded and up for sharing tips and advice.
How did you get the job?
I guess I was in the right place at the right time. I’d just got back from travelling and heard good things about EVE on the grapevine so I dropped them an email. I didn’t have an interview as such, I just turned up and started assisting. I was thrown in at the deep end. More than once.
Had you studied production or engineering before you started at EVE?
Not really. I’d been studying in sixth form, teaching drums and working other non-music-related jobs. In terms of music I’d been playing with numerous bands from a young age, recording demos at home as well as in some studios and making my own music at home.
How could we get your job?
I think it’s most important to do anything you can to get involved and get experience in the career you want to pursue. Studying has its benefits but nothing beats practice under pressure in real working conditions. Motivation and persistence are really important.