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Interview: Peter Kerry talks about Audio Production, Voice Over and Music Composition

Peter Kerry has over 20 years in the music industry as an acoustic consultant, audio production and voice over work. He is currently working on 2 books to be published this year.

He was born in Kent, England and has a Post Graduate in Acoustics. Since the age of 4 he started playing the piano and then later during his teens he got his first keyboard and this inspired him to explore electronic music and equipment. He then learnt to play electric guitar from age 16. Whilst studying electronics and acoustics, during the 90’s and early 2000’s he performed as a keyboard player in various music groups in South East England including The City Cruisers, Just Us, IQ.

Peter Kerry gained experience as an acoustic consultant and went on to specialize in the high end design of recording studios working for many well-known clients including BBC AudioGo, RIA Novosti, The Feeling, KT Tunstall, Side UK, DCAS and individual musicians such as drummers Paul Stewart and Ricky Russell. He has travelled to many places and lived in UK and South America.

He developed skills in music composition and wrote an instrumental album leading up to the 2012 Olympics. He is also the Chair of the judging panel for SABA 2020 #saba2020

He continues to provide audio production services, recording studio design, music composition and voice over services to UK and International clients.

1              How long have you been working in the music industry?

                As a keyboard player, I performed in small local bands since I was 17 in 1990 and then between 1995 and 1998 I worked with the City Cruisers which included doing some larger gigs indoor and outdoor. After 2001, I concentrated more on training as an acoustic consultant and developing skills in designing and sound testing high end sound proof projects including recording studios. So it’s been over 20 years that I have been working in the industry.

2              What is your favourite kind of work?

                I love to compose music and also I enjoy designing and building sound proofed rooms and projects for clients who need recording studios, drum booths etc. I have had good success even with projects that other professionals shy away from. For example 2 of my clients are professional drummers and they wanted outdoor drum rooms to practise and record in their back gardens. The amount of sound proofing skills needed to design and build an outdoor drum room that doesn’t disturb the neighbours is very high. I completed the one for Paul Stewart in 2018 and Ricky Russell in 2020. (See links at the end of this interview)

3              What is it like working for celebrities?

                Great! All the clients I’ve worked with have been easy to work with. I know that sometimes in the press, you hear some celebrities are demanding or hard to please or even look down on others. Yet, I have been really happy to work with many down to earth celebrities that treated me like an equal human being. It’s amazing to be around a relaxed celeb who makes ME a cup of tea in their studio!

4              How have you coped during the Covid-19 pandemic?

                I have been working out of South America during the Covid -19 pandemic. I have a small recording studio where I stay and this works well for my voice over, music composition and studio design work. Obviously restrictions on travel mean I can’t physically visit client locations. However, using skype, zoom, WhatsApp etc helps to achieve what we need to do.

5              What genres of music do you compose?

                Predominantly instrumental easy listening and themed music. However, it depends on client requirements. I have recently completed 2 dubstep tracks, 1 of which is used in a travel documentary.

6              What services are you offering clients now?

  • Voice over services – for audiobooks, TV and Radio commercial, Documentary, corporate videos.
  • Music Composition – for TV and radio, documentaries, corporate videos, film, private videos
  • Recording Studio Design – this includes full live and control room sound proofing, internal acoustics, AC, AV wiring, electrical, lighting etc. I obviously am also designing for drum rooms, vocal booths and home studios.
  • Audio editing and mastering – clients send me their audio files to clean up or generally edit and master to a professional standard. These include voice over artists, songwriters, musicians, bands, small studios etc.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic has started, I have been offering clients a subsidized rate for providing these services (20 – 30% subsidy). More is explained in the following article: https://jamsphere.com/news/peter-kerry-voice-over-artist-and-acoustic-consultant-provides-audio-production-services-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

7              You do voice over work. What kind of voice over work do you prefer?

                If it was possible, I would love to only do TV and Radio commercials or movie trailers. However, realistically these only come along occasionally.

8              What was your very first keyboard you had?

                My first keyboard was around 1987 ish. It was made by a company called Cheetah. I think it was 61 or 76 key and was one of the early MIDI controller keyboards available. A cheap way into electronic music. Then you could add a sound module to get sounds. I remember I was really excited to get it especially as I was a teenager and still at school. Not many kids had MIDI keyboards at that time.

9              What places have you visited in the world, and which is your favourite and do you like the music in these countries?

                I have been to many places from UK, Southern Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Turkey, Kenya, Venezuela, Suriname, Brazil, Guyana. My favourite is difficult because some of those were holiday and others were where I lived for a time. I think my overall favourite is the South American countries, although Kenya was amazing!

                I love listening to a whole range of music from different cultures. It helps my creative process when I am composing.

10           Your album in 2012 was instrumental. Have you done music composition since then?

                Yes. I sometimes write music for my own enjoyment but also for set projects i.e. documentary, corporate video or a privately commissioned piece of music. It is mostly instrumental.

11            What is your studio setup?

    • Computers 1) i5 (9th gen) 64 bit with 32 Gb RAM and SSD

2) i7 64 bit with 16Gb RAM and SSD

  • Screens 2 x 27 inch monitors (1 x HD, 1 x 4K)
  • Software (Recording) – ProTools 12.5 (2020), Ableton, Audacity, various plugins
  • Software (Instrument samples) – EastWest, Native Instruments, Avid and others
  • Mics – Large Diaphragm Condenser mics
  • Monitor Speakers – Genelec
  • Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
  • Interfaces – Presonus, M Audio
  • Controllers – Maschine Mikro
  • Controller Keyboards – 1) M Audio 88 note 2) Fatar SL1100 weighted hammer action 88 note
  • Miscellaneous – Yamaha modules, other bits and pieces
  • Recording space – Acoustic treated space with low RT60

12           If someone has never heard your music, which 5 keywords would you personally use to describe what your music is all about?

The keywords that encompass the variety of music I compose would be: calming, dramatic, thematic, cinematic, ambient.

13           Which social media platform do you prefer to use?

                I don’t use social media every single day, but I do keep fans updated on Twitter. I also use Pinterest, LinkedIn and also some other blog type sites including Quora, Medium, Tumblr, Slideshare etc depending on the need.

14           You have recently been writing a book. Tell me about that.

                Actually I am working on 3 books. The first one is almost complete and is titled: ‘Work at Home as a Voice Over Artist’. I have put together my experience over the years working with studios and also in this field. The book helps anyone who is new to voice overs, maybe they are a singer or actor and need extra income.

                So the book provides real value guidance on setting up a basic area at home to record voice overs, what microphones and other equipment is needed, how to find voice over work, freelance vs agency options, voice training etc. It will be available in Amazon / Kindle and so anyone can access it using Kindle device or the App on android and Apple.

15           Wow – So what’s the second book about?

                This is exciting! It is called ‘How to Create a Home recording Studio’.

                It’s a great resource for any musician or other audio/sound techs who need to setup a home recording studio at home. It is something I been thinking about for years. I have designed and built so many studios and worked with celebs that I wanted to share my experience to help others.

Normally this consultancy would cost you hundreds of dollars or more but you can now get it for just a few dollars by purchasing the book. I estimate it will be available in July 2020.

                The book helps cover, sound proofing, understanding basic acoustics, internal acoustics for the home studio, equipment, floor plans and many other things.

What is really exciting is that for all these books I am writing, I will be running online workshops to expand on people’s learning and they get a more interactive and personal training.

I don’t know any other opportunity like this in the industry where people can buy a book like this and then get workshop time directly with the author!

16           That is excellent. I know our readers are going to want to know where can they find these online workshops?

                Sound Advice are promoting the books and hosting the online workshops. They have much more info on their website https://www.sound-advice.org/

                I believe that the plan is to start the workshops from August or September and eventually we will be publishing 6 books in the series, each one having it’s own workshop. There will be special offers because some people may want to sign up for 2 different workshops to round out their understanding. So they will get the 2nd workshop at 50% discount.

Best to bookmark the sound advice website, or even better, sign up for their newsletter to keep updated on upcoming dates for publication releases and online workshop dates.

The books will be available through Amazon throughout their worldwide network.

17           You certainly keeping busy. What’s next for you?

                I am still currently doing voice over work, sound design for musicians and studios and for next few months concentrating on writing and producing these books and workshops. Also working with the SABA 2020 book awards

18           What’s SABA 2020?

SABA 2020 is the Sound Advice Book Awards that is open for anyone that has written a book to enter. #saba2020 It is free to enter or you can nominate someone else if you have a friend or acquaintance that has written a book about music or any other topic – fiction or non-fiction.

It is going to be an exciting event and tickets are a fraction of the price that they would normally be for being in the audience at an awards ceremony. If anyone reading this magazine wants to enter a publication or wants to be at the awards ceremony, they just need to go to the website. https://www.sound-advice.org/saba-book-awards

19           What are the key qualities an artist needs to succeed?

                Determination, perseverance, patience, respect for others.

20           What advice would you give new musicians, voice over artists or any creative person?

Always respect your family and colleagues. It can be a stressful industry. Never lose sight of your priorities. It takes a lot of effort and persistence, the same as any self-employed job. So, include your family as much as possible and get their support. Your parents have life experience that you may not have yet. You can’t buy that from anywhere. So involve them in your decisions if possible. Don’t try taking short cuts. Develop real friendships, not fake ones. True friends will stay with you for life!

Links:

Website: https://www.acoustic-consultants.co.uk/

Services: https://www.acoustic-consultants.co.uk/services

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MusicPromotionI

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/acoustic_consultant/

Industry Website: https://www.mandy.com/voice-artist/profile/peter-kerry

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/peterkerry

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBZ1nVRAT9Ar74A1hDEtq0Q

Medium: https://medium.com/@PeterKerry

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/peterkerry-voiceover

Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Peter-Kerry-3

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sound-Advice-104542941321824/

Publications and Workshops: https://www.sound-advice.org/

SABA 2020: https://www.sound-advice.org/saba-book-awards

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