You are a freelance producer, can you tell us a bit about what you’re currently working on?
I just got home from a trip to WA and SA for the WAM and Proof Of Life festivals. I partook in a Producer Series and a bunch of panels and round tables. In the studio I’m half way through an EP for Smoke Rings, and about to start an album for Co-Cheol and a mix for Ryan Downey.
Describe a normal day in the life of Anna Laverty.
Every single day is different because I’m constantly working on new projects but a studio day would look something like this:
7am – Get up early and get ready before my baby needs to be fed
9:30am – Head to the studio and start setting up whatever instruments we’re recording that day
10am – Welcome the musicians and let everybody know what the plan is for the day so they can be ready to go when required
10:15am – Start tracking
1pm – Grab something to eat (on the go)
1:30pm – Continue recording or psychologising….whatever needs working on at the time!
8pm – Pack up
9pm – Go home and have dinner!
How did you get your start in the music industry? Did you choose to work in music or did it choose you?
I did a lot of work experience to get into the college course I wanted to. Then I studied Sound at WAAPA for 3 years before heading over to London where I got an Assistant Engineer role in a recording studio. The music business very much chose me and I’ve never stopped loving it the way I did when I was 13 years old. I never really feel like I’m going to ‘work’.
“…it is a VERY male dominated industry so I felt for a long time that I had something to prove. Now I just get on with my job and make sure it’s my best work.”
Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the industry and specifically people who would like to get into production?
Work really hard, use common sense and always be the last one standing.
What are the issues that you feel the Australian music industry is currently facing, and also in particular the sound production side of things?
The music industry is in a time of massive change and people haven’t really figured out how that’s going to work yet. Specifically for production there’s a shortfall between the need and demand of recorded music (it’s higher than ever) and the financial compensation that people receive – from artists to assistant engineers.
Do you feel that higher education is necessary to get into the music industry/become a producer?
Absolutely not! I went to University and studied for 3 years, but most of what I learnt about production was on the job learning through mentors or people higher up the chain than me. The studio scene is and always has been a hierarchy. Artist – Producer – Engineer – Assistant Engineer – Tea boy/girl. I worked my way up from the bottom over at least 10 years.
“…production is very much about being a people person. You work with new people almost every week and have to instantly start talking about very personal things to them.”
Were there any skills that you had to develop that you didn’t originally think you’d need?
Yes, production is very much about being a people person. You work with new people almost every week and have to instantly start talking about very personal things to them. People have to feel like you’re open and there to help. You have to be gentle with people and their feelings. It doesn’t matter how great you can make a snare sound if you can’t get the best out of a lead vocal take.
Have you had to overcome any challenges/adversity throughout your career? If so, can you tell us about them and how you approached them?
There are many challenges. There’s huge competition for my job – so many people would love to be a music producer and you have to constantly evolve and change to stay at the top of your game. Also, it is a VERY male dominated industry so I felt for a long time that I had something to prove. Now I just get on with my job and make sure it’s my best work, but at the start of my career I felt like I was constantly being judged harshly for daring to work in a typically male role.
What does the rest of 2015/2016 hold for you? Any exciting things that you can tell us about?
I’m very busy for the next 6 months. Something I’m really excited about is heading up to Alice Springs early next year to produce the next Desert Diva’s album! Plus, I’m working with a bunch of new young bands over the next few months, can’t wait to get into it.
Who are your role models in the industry whether they be international/Australian?
I have many – Nick Launay, Steven Schram, Paul Epworth, Adam Rhodes, Ben Hillier, Ethan Johns – all amazing at their craft and hardworking guys. Most of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years.
Top 3 Artists to watch in 2015/2016?
Warmth Crashes In
…Elli Belle, Youngs – honestly there’s too many to mention!
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
You will never, ever find me on that side of the mic 😉