Rising Stars: Mathew Acreman

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 catch up with engineer Mathew Acreman…

Where did you study?

I didn’t actually study sound at university, I’m a firm believer of learning in the real world by working with and shadowing established engineers on real shows. I first got involved in the music industry in 2003 when I opened my own rehearsal studio. This then sparked a massive interest in music production and live engineering. Whilst running the studio, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to shadow some great engineers at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach venue, where I went on to start my first paid sound engineering job and still do shows now.

Which band/project are you currently working on?

I’m currently touring with a great Cardiff based band called Kids in Glass Houses. In the last year we’ve done loads of shows across the UK and Europe, from small, sweaty club shows, right up to full production tours and big festival slots.
I’m also covering FOH for Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals at the moment, which is at the complete other end of the scale to the Kids in Glass Houses stuff, where there’re no big drums and loud electric guitars. It’s more synths, loops, gadgets and crazy noises!

Whilst at home I work with a welsh PA company called AB Acoustics, who have given me some great opportunities over the years. Recently I have taken more of an active roll with AB, which sees me more involved in the planning and speccing of shows as well as the mixing side of it. It’s given me a massive insight into the side of the job that I never actually got to be involved in as a touring/in-house engineer.

Where are you based/working at the moment?

I’m currently based in Cardiff, but as a touring engineer, I find myself all over the place. I’ve just recently returned home from a run of UK and European festivals.

Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?
When I get the opportunity to tour with production I always opt for a Soundcraft Vi6. AB Acoustics have also recently bought some Midas PRO series desks, which are pretty amazing too. Everything you expect from a Midas analogue console but in a neat, digital package. As for channels, I’m currently mixing Kids in Glass Houses on anything between 30-36 channels, depending on setlist and band line-up.

What decision process was behind the choice of this console?
I just love the sound of the Vi6 pre-amps, the EQ works well, as do the comps and gates. Its functionality, layout and ease of use are also massive plus points for me.

Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?
When touring the Vi6, I use all of the on-board effects, EQ, compressors and gates. This negates the need for big, heavy racks of outboard gear. I also tour with all of my own mics and clamps etc. I think that putting the right mic in the right place is half of the battle. Once I have a good sound from source, I find there’s little need to do a great deal at the desk stage.

What is your console of choice?
Again, the Vi6 is my current touring desk of choice and I’ve used it at every opportunity for the last year. I’m possibly looking at going down the Midas route in the near future though; the new PRO2 packs a lot of punch for its size and price.

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?
In all honesty, that’s something that I’ve never really thought about. I think something like Björk or Sigur Rós would be pretty cool though, loads of different layers and textures with a mixture of modern electronic instruments married with more traditional string and brass sounds. That sort of thing gives you plenty of room to think outside of the box, which always keeps it fresh and interesting.

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 daniel.gumble@intentmedia.co.uk or 01992 535646.

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