Soundgas at The MPG Awards 2019
WRITTEN BY: Tony Miln
UPLOADED: 4th Mar 2019
We went to the MPG Awards for the first time (as sponsors no less!) – this our report on what we heard, what we saw, and why we support the work that the Guild do.
The Soundgas Team at the MPG Awards: L to R – Tony & Jo Miln, Joel Kidulis, Declan Kitts
At Soundgas we’re very keen to support good causes and as well as our giving impacts, we seek to help and encourage artists, engineers and the music community at large. The MPG (Music Producers Guild; see below for more info) is an organisation that celebrates and recognises the diverse range of talents working in the UK music scene and is a progressive force for good in our industry. We were proud to attend this year’s MPG Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel In London and to sponsor the Studio Of The Year Award. This was our first visit to the MPG Awards and was a great occasion to meet up with friends old and new and spend an evening in the company of like-minded individuals. Suffice to say, there was a great deal of nerdy gear/production talk amongst the banter.
The evening was presented by Shaun Keaveny who was on fine form, and I found myself seated next to Georgie Rogers – BBC 6 Music’s roving reporter and a presenter in her own right. We discussed how vital 6 Music is to the scene, and how it seems scarcely credible that it was nearly axed a few years ago. I bent Georgie’s ear with my gripe that there’s not enough new blood being allowed through: large chunks of the schedule remaining dominated by the same people (who have been there playing the same music since the beginning and were originally shuffled over from Radio 1). I believe fresher talent should be allowed more airtime and often find I enjoy guest presenters more than some regulars. It requires great energy to spend a decade or more presenting the same show and to remain vital and current.
Dec & Joel try Strongroom’s award for size…
Diversity in the music business is improving, but studioland seems to still remain a male-dominated environment. It was very heartening to see more women amongst the attendees, nominees and winners; there was an all-female shortlist for Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year (won by Dani Bennett Spragg) which bodes well for the future.
It was great to see David Wrench win Mix Engineer Of The Year (again) for his work on the XX and David Byrne albums (amongst others) and Dilip Harris and I were laughing at the incongruity his being named Breakthrough Producer after so many years. Damon Albarn delivered a very refreshed presentation to UK Producer Of The Year James Ford (Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino) and national treasure Jarvis Cocker was on hand to present Mandy Parnell with her richly-deserved award for Mastering Engineer Of The Year (again). Jo and I were delighted to announce Strongroom as winners of Studio Of The Year presented by Talvin Singh OBE. Soundgas plan to make a special presentation to Strongroom later this year in recognition of the vital role the studios play in the UK music scene and we’re looking at making an additional presentation for breakthrough engineer of the year.
Strongroom & Soundgas
There were many notable guests and presenters, and I nearly fell off my chair to learn that Carlos Alomar was on Hugh Padgham’s table and had flown over especially to see Hugh pick up the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music Award presented by Peter Gabriel. I later spent a good twenty minutes talking studios and gear with Hugh at the after party (unsurprisingly there was a surfeit of gear/studio talk all evening – nerd heaven!).
The undoubted highlight of the evening was Kingsley Ward’s speech on behalf of his family and Rockfield Studios on receiving the Special Recognition Award. He informed us that they’d never won an award and that he had sixty years of acceptance speeches to cover in two minutes. A feat he spectacularly failed to achieve, only reaching 1973 by the time he was relieved of the podium following hilarious tales of he and his brother (a pair of Welsh farmers) journeying to see George Martin at EMI in London to play him their demos. They took their own reel to reel tape machine with them (not realising that he might already have such a facility). The good humoured reaction of the crowd inspired him to go well beyond the allotted two minutes, and I believe we’d have kept applauding and encouraging him to continue had he not been somewhat forcibly-removed by his wife and family. I wasn’t the only one doubled over in mirth; Shaun Keaveny nearly fell off the stage at least once during Kingsley’s speech.
This award and acceptance seemed to sum up the vibe of the MPG event for me: there was a great deal of warmth, and mutual respect and admiration amongst attendees. For a full rundown of who won what, see the MPG website, and if you’re eligible, I urge you to lend your support to their work while you’re there.
For further information about the Music Producers’ Guild (MPG) see below (from their website):
Who Are We?
The Music Producers Guild was conceived and is supported by producers, mixers, recording engineers, re-mixers and programmers who are passionate about all aspects of making and recording music. It is a not-for-profit company and is run by volunteers from the membership.
The achievements of this creative community are celebrated through the annual MPG Awards event, and we hope to stimulate development and evolution through the discussions and debate at our events and via the website.
We see it as providing a community for us to share our collective experience and collaborate with other like-minded people.
What Do We Do?
Formed as a Guild rather than a Trade Association, MPG has no party political agenda, but we do represent our community to government so that our voice is heard. We actively engage with other music industry organisations, to develop a dialogue about, and exert an influence upon, matters of mutual interest and benefit to our members and our industry.
We are…(amongst many others…):
Brian Eno Cameron Blackwood Catherine Marks Ethan Johns
Flood Gil Norton Jake Gosling Mark Ronson
Mick Glossop Nile Rodgers Paul Epworth John Leckie
Tom Dalgety Tony Platt Tony Visconti Trevor Horn
Charlie Andrew Mandy Parnell David Wrench Mark ‘Spike’ Stent
Tony Miln is the co-founder (& Head Gear Head) of Soundgas. See/hear him in action on Instagram.