Rosa: Phill, as the big boss you’ve been in the game the longest, I imagine you have been involved in some memorable projects – what are your top 3 favourite projects from the last 30 years?
Rosa: I’m putting you on the spot!
Phill: Working with Uncle Monkey was definitely a good one, from years and years ago. We also had a producer come over from L.A that worked on a project and he actually worked with Michael Jackson quite a bit.
Phill: Yeah, so he had proper producer credentials and was a really experienced and talented person to work with. We worked with a few other international artists over the years which have been good fun. We worked on a blues album that became #1 in Germany, which you know, Germany is a big place so that was a pretty big deal.
Rosa: Yeah, that is a big deal.
Phill: Yeah, that was good fun. So, yeah, I’ve worked with all sorts of people from all over the world at random times which has been good fun.
Rosa: Yeah, definitely tricky to narrow down.
Phill: Well yeah, when you say top three it’s difficult you know, I’ve been doing this for over 20 years.
Rosa: Well, those sound like a good few key moments there! When you started Matrix Digital, what did you set out to accomplish?
Phill: Uhhh, just avoiding getting a real job, was the goal and I sort of managed to do that.
Rosa: I’d say it’s a pretty real job, you go pretty hard *laughs*.
Simon: Phill does go hard!
Rosa: Phill, how do you rate your success at “avoiding getting a real job”
Phill: Yeah, I’d say pretty successful in the sense that most of the studios that existed 20 years ago, don’t anymore. I could almost say that I’m the only studio left from the last 20 years. And you could equate that to globally, you know, a lot of really famous studios around the world that have done very famous albums, don’t exist anymore. So, to survive all that is a pretty good achievement.
Rosa: Yeah, absolutely. Has the revolution of low cost digital audio recording affected the business do you think?
Phill: Yeah definitely. Right up until the 90s, pretty much any serious band had to go to a studio to record and I sorta missed that, because I set up in the 90s. So, we’re being affected by that whole cheap gear scenario. Many bands can’t afford to come to a studio and there’s a lot of options for them to buy some gear cheap or go to a mate’s place and record. So, if we solely relied on music, we wouldn’t be around here.
Rosa: Well, I mean it’s great because obviously Matrix Digital offers so many diverse services. So once again, surviving this period is something that is very impressive. In terms of high-quality gear, what would you say your favorite pieces are?
Phill: Definitely the System 5 console is my favorite toy, it’s technically our most expensive toy. Other bits of gear – we’ve got this Amek Neve Compressor which I use quite a lot. Yeah, probably that, I‘m not a big gear nerdy person.
Simon: Yeah, I’m the gear head.
Phill: Yeah, talk to Simon about that.
Rosa: What advice would you give to somebody who wants to work for you?
Phill: I guess, you’ve got to be flexible, the work hours are pretty crazy sometimes. We work around client hours so for someone who doesn’t understand the industry, that can be very weird to be working at midnight or whatever. The other thing is, I guess to be motivated to learn. There is so much gear and there’s an artistic side to what you need to do so you have to be really confident with the equipment so you can focus on what you are recording. We’ve got a massive amount of equipment, so there’s a lot of things that can affect how we do things and you’ve just got to put the energy in to learn all of these systems and work confidently so that you can focus on the artist/client because they are here for a limited time, so they’re not here to watch us fix something *laughs*.
Rosa: Yeah for sure.
Phill: So we want to make sure that everything’s working 100% and the staff are 100% on it every time. So that is part of our quality control, that any people that work here need to really invest in that.