An Interview with Mason Hill Drummer, and Riverside Alumnus, Craig McFetridge
As you may remember, Glasgow band – Mason Hill recorded their most recent Single “Hold On” with us at Riverside last autumn, prior to it’s release in October 2018.
We featured a story at time of release, but there was much more involved in producing the track than you may think!
Mason Hill are a Glasgow-based rock band who have been on the scene for a few years now. They most recently embarked on a UK tour supporting the Dan Reed Network, during which time their latest track was play-listed and heavily featured on various radio stations while they were premiering the song as part of their live setlist, following its launch via Planet Rock.
As well as being recorded and mastered in Riverside’s Studio 1 by our Senior Recording Engineer and Head of Education, Duncan Cameron, the Studio was prepped for recording and a session was set up with help from some of our current HND Sound Production students, as part of their second year unit “Advanced Studio Techniques”. This gave them real life experience of setting up a professional session for a commercial recording, an incredible opportunity for those involved, and a great addition to their active CV.
Mason Hill Drummer, Craig McFetridge is a former HND Sound Production Student with us at Riverside.
We asked Craig a few questions, following the release of Hold On, about his experience at Riverside as a student and now as a recording and touring artist.
Why did you choose a recording and engineering course rather than a practical, more performance-based course?
Yeah, I guess from an outside perspective it would look a rather strange choice! I’ve always seen myself as a recording performer/artist, so getting experience on both sides of the glass is definitely beneficial, being able to use that knowledge from a Sound Production course and understand your instrument more for getting exactly how you want the kit to sound on a record.
How do you feel your time studying at Riverside benefitted you when going out to work in the industry?
I feel that nothing can prepare you for the music industry apart from gaining some experience from someone whose already been there and done it, which is definitely apparent with everyone working at Riverside. Dunc (Duncan Cameron, Head of Centre) especially has been around the block a few times, so it’s good to listen to these people and take it all in. There has been some times in my career so far that have made me realise how important some classes were, which at the time didn’t feel really relevant! You really need to pay close attention to what’s being taught in both practical and lecture based classes, there’s so many useful things you can learn.
Do you think there was a specific class/element of the course that has really stuck with you and benefitted you when working as a musician?
I wouldn’t say there was a specific class. In one way or another it’s all benefiting. For example in Creative Industry classes, all the legal and case study work is hugely beneficial for a musician to learn, just as much as how to record and mix your own instrument in the studio is.
What was it like being back in Studio 1 with Duncan now working with you professionally rather than a lecturer?
I’ve known Dunc for years, I starting attending courses at Riverside from when I was in 5th year at school, and even before that I’d used the rehearsal suites with bands I was playing in at the time. He’s the ultimate Guru and vibe master in that studio, working with him professionally and cutting records is exactly where I want to be.
Some of our HND Sound Production students helped set up the rooms for recording and assisted Duncan in prepping the session – how does it feel knowing that students worked to set up a professional recording for your band, when you could’ve been doing this only a few years ago?
To be given a professional experience as a student is very cool, I know I’d have been right into it when I was at Riverside. It was definitely strange and cool not being the student in the room that day!
How did the other band members find their time recording here?
The guys were very impressed with the size of the studio and the size of the recording booths. When we were tracking bass and drums together we put them down live which means the whole band playing together from isolated parts of the studio. You can’t do it as well in most other studios around that I’ve been in. All the guys were all very pleased with the whole experience.
The band been working on new material at the moment, if you can tell us anything, what are your upcoming plans?
We are going to be recording an album very soon and there is a lot of work being done in the background currently involving pre-production which is sounding mega! It won’t be long until we start recording again. Then after the album drops we’ll just gig like mad!
Mason Hill recorded Hold On with us over a few days, and once the desk mix of the track was completed, it was sent to Brian Sperber in the US (of New York’s Electric Ladyland Studios fame) who in the past has worked in tracks with artists such as Ozzy Osborne, Whitney Houston, Feeder, Alter Bridge, The Lonely Island, Dinosaur Jr. and Patti Smith to name a few.
Following Brian’s mix, the track was sent back to Duncan to be mastered in Studio 1 prior to release.