I was going to Eton but my mother didn’t think it was for me and I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be so involved in more arty subjects. I was a lot happier when I went to Leighton Park after prep school. I have very fond memories of Leighton Park and I can’t remember a single teacher who wasn’t supportive of me. I studied English, Art and Music. I played the piano from age six but lost interest at LP. Instead, I started to play the guitar and Peter Lincoln was my peripatetic teacher (he runs the Marvellous Festival in Reading) and he was one of the biggest influences for me. I remember seeing Eric Clapton on telly in 1986 and I thought that is what I want to do. I loved Drama classes – they were brilliant. I was in the Rocky Horror Picture Show; I used to hijack Collect and there was a member of staff who used to walk out as I made a bit of row playing the guitar. I was in the production of The Seagull, Westside Story (I played Benardo), Ibsen’s Ghost. I also remember the school discos being entertaining. In my art A Level I turned the photography dark room into the Amazon rainforest for a week. It was quite evident that I was going to do something musical when I left. I was a massive fan of Yes and Genesis. I was quite obsessed with Roger Dean from Yes and so I did my personal study on him and I decided I would interview him. I sent a letter and he responded positively. It was the opening night of our Guys and Dolls and Simon Williams (Art) and I went down to Brighton to interview him and I got back just in time for the dress rehearsal. (I had a meeting with him recently and he is designing my new album cover). I had a band at school with James Hearley (R 1989) and I have always been committed to making music.
After school, I thought I would be a music producer and I set up my mixing studio in my house. I inherited some money as my father died, so at nineteen, I bought a house with an annex to it and turned it into a recording studio. I did a nine month course at the Gateway School of Recording on the campus of Kingston Poly where I learned the basics. After four years I was quite good. A welsh band Funeral for a Friend came in and played a few tracks, which I recorded. Then I got friendly with Atlantic Records and my work took off. Since then I have produced and or mixed music for McFly, Architects, You Me at Six, Lower than Atlantis, Don Broco, One Direction and others. I also started playing guitar with Arena and then for John Wetton from Asia and travelled the world. I joined It Bites (my favourite band at school) and I fronted that band for six months. Lonely Robot charted quite well (we had two albums) and I also fronted Keno. I have worked extensively with Steve Wilson who also had a number 1. Last December I recorded Russell Brand’s podcast. I wrote an album for my band It Bites in 2012 called Map of the Past which is currently being turned into a musical, which will be out in the West End around June. As well as recording I also do voice overs. When I did the first Lonely Robot album I managed to get Go West, Nick Kershaw and others on my first solo album – everyone I used to listen to in my study at Leighton Park. I have never had a nine to five job; I’ve always worked for myself. My son is interested in being a music producer so I feel quite flattered that he is expressing an interest. John attended the last JBH competition and said: I’m thrilled that Rauf Bayraktaroglu (G 1991) invited me to the JBH competition as he was a judge. Robert Smith (R 1991) and I had a most wonderful evening. The JBH was highly entertaining and the standard was much higher than I remember it being back in the day! I have to be honest, going back into the main hall it felt like no time had passed at all, and loads and loads of memories of performing at Collects there came flooding back. Equally on going into Peckover, I have very fond memories of buying Nice and Spicy Nik Naks from the tuck shop and slightly anarchic maths lessons with Paul Seed (F 1971) in the end classroom.
It’s odd, I fel