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Interview with the Sound Engineer Hugh Longley

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 3:30 AM

What inspired you to follow this career path? Where you involved in something similar as a student at school?

I never really saw myself doing an office based job, seating behind the desk. So I ‘ve always looked for other careers other than the norm. When I was at school, I was very much into how music sounded and the way that it could be manipulated and I guess that must have stuck with me because now I ‘ve become involved with K2K (Kilburn to Kensal) radio, studio managing and sound engineering for 492 Korna Klub project.

What tasks does your role as a sound engineer generally includes?

Generally speaking my work when I am not working for 492 korna klub includes co-hosting a couple of shows. I co-host the Tuesday night 8- 10 on K2K for the Shred Show which is a metal show and the Leo Fenn Serious Show on Tuesday nights which is a comedy show ironically and I studio manage that as well, making sure that everything is broadcasting OK. I also help out the show on Wednesdays which is a show with live recordings. It’s flavor of the week basically; whatever I am needed to I help out on, I generally do. It’s not only recordings, it’s maintaining radio stations and helping out my boss Max Graef with his work Radio Active.

Is there a presenter that you have as a role model?

Patrick Nicola from Shred because he is a friend of mine. Basically he is not only a fine presenter who manages to keep his cool and keep things on track, but he is also working hard during the show and he is constantly on twitter promoting the show. He is helping me out on issues concerning the technical aspect of the show as well and the fact that he has know-how of that, really helps. He is just an ideal person to work with because if anything goes wrong and I can’t work anything out, I know for a fact that we both will be able to figure something out.

Can you describe a typical day working for 492 Korna klub?

Typically, when we are recording voices we get a lot of actors in the studio, which is lots of diverse personalities and is good fun. We go through each of the scenes methodically one by one, a couple of takes on each. Once we ‘ve got all the takes we need ,we clean up the clips which we’ve got and then I take it over to Tony the director. Tony makes sure that he has the take that he wants and which take he wants and then afterwards I add the ambient effects and do various other engineering tasks and the clip is ready for radio space.

What do you find the most difficult part of this project?

I would not say that the project has been challenging. It has taken up a lot of my time because sound editing does take a lot of time but it terms of actual difficulty I think the main problem was making sure that all the actors could be here in one space to record all their scenes at one time. I think that this is one of the hardest fundamentals for any form of performing radio drama as it’s not like performing on stage where if you need to rehearse lines for a scene you just need to get together with the other actors over coffee and bring a script and then you just make sure that everyone can make it on the final performance night. With radio drama you don’t necessarily get the clip you want on the day that you record it and then actors might need to come back. But again that is purely the most difficult part of the project. Otherwise it’s just technical stuff that I do not find particularly difficult.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I think it ‘s the fact that I become not only very intimately aware of the actors, the voices, their different talents and how they feel about themselves on a personal level but also I become deeply involved with the story because I am looking at scenes and I am thinking what sort of atmosphere, am I meant to be giving off from this and how can I improve that message without adding anything obvious. Sometimes you need to make it subtle, sometimes you need to add an ambient effect, sometimes you need to change the pitch in the voice slightly to add something to a scene and I think that ‘s the most interesting part of the project. It just gives me unlimited creative license with the material I get to work with.

Is there something that you think you have learned from this experience that you feel has helped you in a personal or professional level?

This is one of the first radio drama projects I ‘ve done and it’s been an interesting experience seeing how everything fits together behind the scenes. Because normally the sort of work I do, involves me seating in a studio for a couple of hours and it’s done; it’s gone out live. This process had me looking more in depth at the actual material that I ‘ve recorded and taking a lot more care in my work to make sure that everything becomes perfect. I was talking to another member of the crew the producer Richmond Trew and he was saying that I was becoming a massive perfectionist and I don’t think before this project I was.

If you had the opportunity to work with someone from the music industry who would you choose?

If I have to pick I ‘d love to have the opportunity to work with Clean Bandit. They are a band which has recently come up the i-tunes charts. They are at the top at the moment and they actually operate out of South Kilburn Studios. So they are right next to me every day when I ‘m recording but I haven’t worked with them yet on any of their projects. They have a creative sound , a good atmosphere and they are really wonderful people as well, so if I had the opportunity I ‘d love to work with them.

The last question is where would you like to be professionally let’s say in 5 years since you are very young?

That’s an interesting question because I usually don’t think that far ahead. If I have to think about it, I ‘d like to be doing more of this sort of thing (like 492 korna klub project) full time. Hopefully generate a different array of projects not simply just recording. Maybe do my own producing as well, sound editing for other people and maybe even start my own little sound editing bureau. I don’t know I guess we ‘ll have to see.


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