Next Generation Spotlight: Oliver Shillito

Audio Media International, in association with Genelec, is delighted to present our Next Generation Spotlight on producer, composer, mixer and mastering engineer, Oliver Shillito.

What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Oliver Shillito and I am a producer, composer, mixing and mastering engineer. I also run a YouTube Channel.

What inspired you to get into studio work?
I grew up around music and I have played drums for going on 15 years now, maybe more. When going into the studio as a teenager with my bands, I was always really interested in the technical side of making a record and then around the age of 18 I unfortunately suffered a back injury, which meant I basically had to give up playing the drums for a while. This lead me down the path of audio engineering and I began to aggressively research and teach myself how to make records.

Tell us about your route into the industry?
I started off in a bedroom, trying to get my recordings to sound like my favourite records and failing. I repeated this process over and over again. A few years back I decided to attend some events where I could meet like-minded people, with the aim of improving my skills. There’s loads of free Facebook groups out there, let alone YouTube. Through events and Facebook groups I met a bunch of industry figures, producers and general heroes. This opened a series of doors for me both in terms of business opportunities and friendships. It also gave me an avenue into understanding how to charge properly for my work, and some of the skills I gained there helped me to create my business offering and launch myself as a professional producer.

Tell us about some of the key projects you’ve worked on over the past 12 months?
I have had some of the music I have composed used on Fox Sports, NHL, NBA and Nascar to name but a few. I also worked on an album for a band that got them label interest from Sumerian Records, which lead into an opportunity for me to do a test mix for them. I haven’t heard back yet but my fingers and toes are crossed.

What is your approach to work in the studio?
I become an extra member of the band. The better you are with people, the better the record will be. The band needs to be able to trust you as their producer and to know that you have their best interests at heart. I always make sure I take the time to get to know each member, their influences and what they are hearing in their heads and then take a mean average and try to create that sound. I am a firm believer of getting it right at the source. If you spend the extra time really dialling in guitar tones without relying on a DI for reamping later, I find the results are much more musical as the players can play to the tone and that is where the best performances come from.

Who/what have been some of your biggest influences in your career to date?
I have to say a huge thanks to Rick at Kings & Creatures for giving me the opportunity to get into the TV licensing and composition game. He showed a lot of faith in me and has acted like a mentor at many important points in my career. I’d also say Chris Lord-Alge and Will Putney for constantly inspiring me to do better. Just when I thought I had the best mix I could get, they release another banger and I know my work is not yet done. Finally, I’d like to shout out my closest friend and collaborator, Paul Copestake. Without him I might not have been where I am today. Thank you brother!

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the industry?
The music industry itself. It is a very difficult industry to break into and sometimes it can feel like there are forces working against you to hold you back. Just know that you will get your chance. The most important thing is that you keep a good work ethic and a professional approach and keep on grinding. Your time will come if you keep your eyes and mind open to new things.

What projects do you have coming up?
I am currently working on the new single by an up and coming Manchester based Indie band called Rosellas, which I am really excited to be working on. I am also currently writing and composing some new material for a trailer album due to be released soon as well as mixing a heap of other albums as well.