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We were pleased and excited to welcome Ben Hillier to Metropolis Studios for a Masterclass in May.

Ben Hillier is a songwriter and renowned music producer, having produced albums by Depeche Mode, Blur, Doves, and Elbow. He kindly took the time out of his busy schedule to hold an exclusive Masterclass for ACM students, hosted by our Head of Industry Development (and the guitarist in Skunk Anansie), Ace.

Ben kicked things off by explaining how his work with Blur came about: “It came about through meeting Alex the bass player. I helped him do a remix on a track and then he introduced me to Graham and got me to do some solo records with him. Then they were looking for someone to help write some B sides for a greatest hits album, so we went and did that and the B side turned into the A side and ended up on the greatest hits. After that we went on and did an album together.”

During the class, Ben showed students a multi-track recording, giving them an insight into his unique production style. When asked about how he records vocals, he shared with them his belief that the rhythm of a vocal performance is far more important than the tuning, and that he likes to record them in the control room with a hand held mic, like an SM58 or SM57.

Going on to speak about his current studio set up, Ben revealed that he has built his own facility in the Brighton area. “We used straw bales to create the walls for the control room as it creates a great dead sound.” When asked about his favourite gear, he shared that he likes both Crainsong and Urei 1176 compressors.

The class was a useful one for the students in attendance, with Ben sharing plenty of tips and tricks throughout. Some of the students’ favourites included using an arpeggiator instead of a click, and the use of automatic double tracking in place of reverb to ensure clarity in the mix.

We’d like to thank Ben for the excellent masterclass!

If you’d like to study at ACM, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

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