Get to know the team: Simon’s Interview

Rosa: Simon, what is your background and what led you to work at Matrix?

Simon: My background? I studied audio engineering at SAE in Auckland in 2007-8 and then I didn’t do much with that for a couple of years. I started mixing gigs in Wellington in 2011 and then ended up here in 2019. A friend of mine, Katy used to do the office management role here and I lived like 100 meters away so I would see her outside quite often around the place. Then she just hit me up one day and was like “Oh, our engineer is leaving, do you want a job?” and I was like “Oh, yeah okay yeah, I’ll take the job” *laughs* 

Rosa: Just a nice little slot in then! What are the biggest challenges you face as a studio engineer? 

Simon: As a studio engineer? Hmm, I feel like I face a lot more challenges as a live engineer than as a studio engineer. Stuff is a lot more controlled in the studio or a lot easier to control. 

Rosa: Well there you go. Yeah, that was my next question – are the challenges you face in studio engineering different from live engineering? I imagine that is the case with so many different factors involved. 

Simon: Yeah, a lot of different factors. I mean, in the studio you can go really deep on something and really hammer on and work, work, work to try figure something out. When you are doing stuff live, it’s like – you fix it now or you don’t fix it at all. You know, if you don’t manage to fix something in sound check, you’re going to struggle to fix it during a set. 

Rosa: Yeah, that makes sense. If you could work with anybody living or dead, who would it be? 

Simon: Hmm, living – Hiatus Kaiyote, I love that band, I have seen them a couple of times and they are always amazing. I’ve seen Swooping before as well which is like everyone except Nai Palm, I think they were called Swooping Duck back then. I’ve also seen Nai Palm live once. Just an epic amazing band – they’d be dope to work with. Dead – maybe Hendrix. 

Rosa: Yeah, nice. What musical projects of your own are you working on? 

Simon: My band Sheeps have got an album coming out in early 2024, we’ve signed a record deal with a local indie label, an NZ based indie label. We’ve made a couple of music videos, the album is done and all mastered, we just got the album artwork done and it’s going out for vinyl pressing. We will also be announcing a tour in the new year and releasing that and hopefully, people listen to it. I have got a couple of other things that I’d like to do, like projects that I’ve been meaning to start for a long time but I’ve never gotten around to. 

Rosa: A lot of exciting stuff for the future! Tell me, what are some of the coolest projects that you’ve got to work on? 

Simon: So my brother Shaun has a solo project called Hemi Hemingway. He was living in London and recorded an EP of stuff in his flat during a really long lockdown in 2020. He asked me for feedback on his mixes because he hadn’t done much of that before. So I gave him a lot of advice over Zoom, we workshopped some stuff and then I mastered it for him here at Matrix and it ended up getting him a record deal. So he did a similar thing with his debut album, he recorded it himself, very lo-fi and mastered it here. That’s been released now as well. That’s been a really cool fun project to work with him on. And then maybe some stuff I’ve done for Revulva, who are good friends of mine and a band that I do live sound for a lot of the time. I’ve done a couple of live recordings. There was one where they played a song on the Sea Lion Vessel RIP, in the harbour and that was recorded by Joel Cosgrove on a very windy day. I got the files to sort of try desperately to clean up the wind noise and mix and master it. We did another one where we recorded them playing a song on a tennis court and filmed it. The tennis court was up in Mt Vic. That went off and got mixed by CJ Serebii who is a local producer, he was Wellington-based until recently, and he’s now in Auckland. Yeah, and then those came back to me for mastering. Yeah, those are probably my favourite things I’ve ever done. 

Rosa: Amazing! Thanks so much for the insight, Simon. 

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