Earlier today I spoke via Skype with legendary music producer, composer, mix engineer, composer, musician and studio owner Steven A. Williams, who has worked in the music industry for over 20 years.
Steve has worked with a plethora of influential artists including Sting, Eric Clapton, Britney Spears, Seal, Freddie Mercury and Gary Barlow and had his formal music training at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall where he studied Jazz and Rock.
He has also worked in film music on many Hollywood films including Johnny Depps “From Hell” and “Crossroads” starring Britney Spears.
With his vast array of musical knowledge Steve is ready to impart his wisdom on behalf of Films & Music LLP’s “Get Developed, Get Recorded” scheme in December.
Steve works from “The Chapel Studios” in London, and it was from this location that we conducted the following interview …
Films and Music LLP: What was the most integral moment of your career?
Steve Williams: If I didn’t apply for a melody maker advert for a drummer made by Midge Ure I would never have got the job and then I would never have gone on tour with him and from there I worked from job to job.
F&M: You studied at the Royal Academy of Music, how important is education to a career in music?
SW: I think education has its place, but it not essential, it depends on the person. For me, it helped me think deeply about music, some people don’t need that, but I did. It inspired me to thin deeply about things. I think that if you think things through rather than work intuitively from project to project its more likely to have a better outcome. I believe in applying your cerebral capability to pieces rather than just acting like an animal and also these schools are filled with great minds who help to inspire you and broaden your knowledge, but again its not for everyone, it was for me …
F&M: Nowadays you can just but a studio that you can use on your computer how important is experience?
SW: Experience is just as important as education, if you only have the theory you might as well be in a laboratory without any equipment.
F&M: What do you listen out for in new music?
SW: It always the same thing for me, does it capture my attention in a good and wonderful way. The thing is with new music is that it has to be different is some way rather than just a remake. Be in its presentation or production … and if it also captures my attention then brilliant.
F&M: Is there a particular genre that interests you more?
SW: I don’t know I like, Mumford and Suns, Noah and the Whale, bands with a fresh approach, but then not wildly different. It must have a relation to what’s come before otherwise people cant understand it. I don’t know what those genres would be … I mean they are folk but poppy at the same time. Any music that completely moves me at all, and I think that’s the same for everybody, whether they ostensibly agree with me or not.
F&M: Do you feel that there is prototype to a successful music career now?
SW: Well if you look at the greats, George Martin came from a classical background and The Beatles didn’t. So that shows that pop music is made up of different people from different areas because people from fashion often move into music like Pulp and Bryan Ferry and I think its just whether you have the background or upbringing that has made you sensitive to music from an early age.
F&M: From working as a Producer to Musical Director and your work in Film, which has been your favourite area?
SW: Producing without a doubt. Creating and making a song, composing a mood and a sound is just so rewarding and that’s why I love doing it.
F&M: Has Social Networking changed your approach at all?
SW: Nope, I usually play my pieces to my wife, son and a few close friends. See how they respond. I wouldn’t want to just throw everything out there that I have done, but of course some people absolutely love it and I agree with it, but I just don’t use it myself.
F&M: What are you listening to at the moment?
SW: Handel, Anything that is recommended to me by friends, Radio 4, Radio 2, Radio 1, but of course 8-10 hours a day I listen to my and other people’s music so silence is important.
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