A Day In Football…..

The glitz and glamour seems a million miles away when I arrive at Pitreavie – a small training facility used by Dunfermline Athletic FC – the team I now play for.

The truth is the game is struggling financially all over the world and the true cost of overspending and debt will only become apparent over the next few years.  I’ve been involved in professional football for twelve years now, playing for Aberdeen, St Johnstone and now Dunfermline, and although admittedly a very enjoyable job it comes with its own pro’s and con’s.  Over the coming weeks and months I will talk to footballers, managers and coaches to try and give you an insight to the highs and lows of one of the most sought after careers of many of today’s teenagers, both male and female.

Music also plays a big part in my life.   As a singer/songwriter myself, I’ve been witness to both sides of the industry, which I have to say, has surprised me in some ways.  My blog will give you an inside look at the music industry, talking to both performers and the guys behind the scenes – This will hopefully open your eyes (and ears) to a world only a few get to live in, but most dream of.

Aspiring musicians find it hard to break through these days but don’t panic!!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and if you’re serious about it and up for the challenge then read on!!!

Can I become the next big music artist??………

Having recently released my first single Fair Drawin’ In from my debut album ‘Handwritten’, I’ve become aware that the industry is much more accessible to upcoming artists.  Gerard McCafferty (Ged) is someone who has been involved in music for many years, achieving great success through hard work, enthusiasm and the determination not to be put off by idea that you need big money to succeed.

A talented musician and producer, Ged worked tirelessly on my album demonstrating you can reach the standard required without a big label behind you.

This short interview with Ged will prove to young musicians all over that breaching the music world is possible!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin: Where did you learn about music production?

GED:  I’ve been involved in music recording and production for around 15 years now. It all started at school on old Atari computers with floppy disk drives using an early version of Cubase, then hands on mixing desks and video tape style ADAT machines at Glasgow University where I studied Electronics with Music.

I learnt about a lot of the equipment and how to best use it. That helped me build my own studio in the house. For anyone interested in music I would say the combination of learning an instrument and music theory would give you a good solid basis to understanding the power of technology over music.

The hardware and computer programmes today can be daunting, so a good understanding of music and music theory would be a good start. Incidentally, that Glasgow Uni course was a great was to get an Engineering degree whilst still doing music and of course there are plenty of short courses out there to teach you the basics of music recording and production.

Kevin:  Do you think young musicians should try and learn about production as well as performing?

GED:  Writing any popular modern music tracks now requires musicians to know about technology. For anyone who goes and sees their favourite artist at a live gig, and comes away wishing their songs sounded more like the CD or album – you have just figured out what production does to a song!

If you want to achieve a truly unique sound that fits in with the modern sound of our time, it is imperative musicians learn the art of mixing and producing their own tracks. Only then can you have complete control over your sound.

Kevin:  You’ve been involved in music for a long time.  Could you tell us a couple of memorable experiences you’ve had?

Some of the most memorable experiences have usually been bizarre and mainly involve gigging with an incredibly talented singer, Mick Drain. One festival that stands out was the first of its kind on the Hebridean Island of Benbecula. During a period of publicity about one of our songs to be used in the Sex and the City film, we were invited out to the ‘Mermaid Festival’ in the most western UK Island before you would reach the US. We got flown out there, provided with our very own chef and were filmed by BBC Alba throughout the day and evening. We headlined the festival, that ran over 4 nights and ended the trip with a chauffeur driven personal tour of the island! On the back of this festival, we were invited out to New York to play at Times Square on New Years Day 2009. How can you beat that!?

That was a very proud moment – having started out playing guitar in 1997 I managed to do that in just over 10 years! And the first band I started with my best friend included 3 backing singers, one of which was Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus. I think I still have some dodgy recordings somewhere!

Kevin: EMI or SONY???  Music productions seems a million miles away when you first pick up a guitar and write a song – can you achieve the quality without the thousands of pounds worth of equipment?

GED:  It’s amazing what you can create with a simple digital recorder and microphone nowadays.

It doesn’t take thousands of pounds worth of equipment to get a nice polished sound. Various well know bands like Gomez have actually recorded their full albums using a simple 8 track digital recorder and some mics. A basic setup and some ‘know-how’ might only set you back £150.

My first setup just included a Fostex digital 8 track (£100) and a cheap condenser mic (£50). I made some great recordings with these, a guitar and keyboard. As long as the songs are good, production only makes them better!

Once you get a handle on the basics and have some ‘fun’ money to spend, there is a whole world of sound to enjoy from a PC digital audio workstation setup. That needs a whole new chapter in itself!

© 2011