Student Spotlight – Ronan McStay
Tell us about yourself- what has been your relationship to music? Do you have any current projects?
I’ve always been fascinated by the process of making music, I remember listening to some of my favourite albums and immediately trying to find out how they came to be. I think that’s what inspired me to start producing music. I had pieced together my first recording rig with a USB Blue Yeti microphone, my laptop that took years to load anything and a DAW called ‘Mixcraft’. I would then use this to record my friends and make beats that I would then try to sell online through sites such as ‘Beatstars’ and ‘TrackTrain’, using this starter equipment really gave me the fundamentals I needed to realise that I could do this as a career if I really go for it. I then was able to upgrade to a much better set up which just improved my workflow immensely. I began to network and collaborate with a few other producers and artists through social media, we then all decided to come together and create a collaborative EP titled “To Infinity” which we would then release on Soundcloud. Recently I’ve been working with a few of the artists attending the college and mixing and mastering their tracks which I am very excited for you to hear and should be releasing very soon.
Why did you want to study at Riverside Music College?
Riverside was very appealing to me because I could get hands-on experience day in and day out. Just the opportunity to be working with music constantly and being surrounded by so many talented and hardworking people just makes me want to take every opportunity that comes my way.
Networking is a big part of the music industry as a whole- do you feel like you have made some good connections at Riverside?
Everyone is very willing to work and very approachable when asking them about a mix or asking if they want to come in and record. Also on my side of the course everyone wants to help each other out whether that’s offering feedback on mixes or sharing new plugins they’ve been using. To answer the question, I feel like I’ve made some great connections with people on both sides and I see myself working with these people in the future.
Your lecturers have commented on your passion and drive while on the course- what has been your favourite part so far?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the different aspects of the course and I’ve definitely got a lot out of each unit, but Recording and Mixing takes the cake for sure. Whether it’s being in the studio recording or mixing in one of the IT suites, every class you’re always working on something different and learning new techniques or something new about different plugins or even protools itself.
Also just being in that creative space and getting to put ideas forward on the recordings of different songs is always very enjoyable, especially when the idea pays off. Even Just being in that studio environment is just so cool, even now I still can’t believe that I get to to be in the position that I can work on music pretty much all the time.
What would be your dream job after you graduate?
My dream would probably be to work with The Paper Kites. To me they’re just one of those bands that can do no wrong and every song just sounds unreal, so hopefully by then I’ll be in a position technically as an engineer that I’d be able to do the record justice.
What do you think new students should know when coming onto the course?
You do kind of get thrown into the deep end right away and it is pretty daunting, but the best way to learn is by making mistakes and if you get them out the way early then those graded unit mixes will be fantastic. Also, having a basic understanding of different thing such as EQ, Compression and signal flow will give you that step ahead of most people and will definitely make life easier when joining the course. It’s definitely not a must but it did help me.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
There’s a of couple projects that I am very excited to share. The first being that over the last month or so, I, alongside fellow classmate Stefan Livingston, have been working with 2nd year band ‘Sherbet Starshine’. We have mixed and mastered a few of the tracks they recorded and they sound pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. The first of which being their amazing cover of ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush which might actually have been released by the time you’re reading this. Also I’m currently working on a project with Ross Mochan who is a very good friend of mine. It’s in quite an early stage but the plan for now is to get a whole bunch of songs recorded and by the end we will hopefully have a cohesive project to release to the masses. We do currently have one single out titled ‘My Shoes Have Holes In Them’ which is available on all streaming platforms.
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Extracurricular Project Development Programme
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