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Meet Our Industry Partners

Our programmes are designed to prepare students for a career in the music and media industry. We do this by inviting our own professional contacts to work with our students on live projects so that they are exposed to a broad range of expertise and can develop their professionalism in the very same circles they will be interacting with when they graduate. They are our friends and colleagues from our own work as individual producers outside of University. Here, we call them our Industry Partners.

“Having close connections to industry partners is what sets this course apart”

Sean Smith2015 Graduate, BBC Creative Producer
Composer & Post-Production audio

Ben Mcavoy

Ben is the Director of Leeds based WMP, a team of five music composers and sound designers creating soundtracks for advertising, television and production music projects. In the last year, they have worked on 148 briefs. Highlights include bespoke campaigns for DFS, Vodafone and Tui as well as recording 16 strings at the Angel studio in London for “Documentary Soundtracks” with De Wolfe Music and creating the album “Eclectic Trip Hop” album for EMI. They are proud to be providing the industry with the highest possible standard of composed audio as well as being based in the North!

Ben is welcomed as a guest speaker on music and sound production for film and television, and he is the client on several annual student production projects, including a Music and Sound Design project for a TV Commercial.

Mix Engineer

Mike Cave

Mike Cave is a multi platinum award-winning mix engineer. His training at Liverpool’s legendary Parr Street Studios saw him working alongside producers such as Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, Gomez), Jeremy Wheatley (Space, Sugababes, Mel C), Mike Nielsen (Jamiroquai, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Baxter)  and Brendan Lynch (Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, Cast).

Mike has since built a strong reputation as a mixer, producer and mastering engineer, with artists as diverse as Professor Green, Lewis Capaldi, CamelPhat, The Lathums, JP Cooper, Foals, KRS-One, Riton, The Coral, Elvis Costello,  Noisettes, Tinchy Stryder, James Vincent McMorrow, Digitalism, Fatboy Slim, Rufus Wainwright, Yuksek, John Martyn, Gil Scott-Heron, The Charlatans, The Zutons, and Echo & The Bunnymen all making use of his production, mixing & mastering expertise and earning him a string of top ten albums & singles and numerous multi-platinum, gold & silver sales awards.

Mike delivers hands-on mixing workshops for our students who benefit from his wealth of production experience.

Music Industry Consultant & Producer

Heather Findlay

As an artist Heather is known for her magical, evocative voice and an ability to interpret and inhabit a range of styles with a mix of power and feeling. She came to international recognition as the lead vocalist in the influential UK Prog band Mostly Autumn who she fronted for 13 years before launching her solo career. As a vocalist she has collaborated with a huge range of contemporary artists including Ritchie Blackmore, Jethro Tull, Thunder, Fish, John Wetton, Uriah Heep, Shed Seven, Iona, Troy Donockley, and Marillion’s Steve Hogarth.

Heather is now a business person as well as an artist and runs her own label, Black Sand Records, to market and distribute her musical output. She has also initiated a range of humanitarian projects such as the She Rocks Secret Sari Dress Campaign whose profits support vulnerable women at risk of human trafficking in West Bengal.

Heather works with our students developing projects from the demo phase to the point where they are ready for commercial release. She supports students with her experience as a songwriter, artist and producer, and is able to use her label executive experience to advise on preparing musical product for the marketplace.

Music Industry Consultant & Producer

Chris Sheehan

Chris is the co-founder and CEO of Karousel Music, a boutique music publisher offering artist friendly short commitment deals with world class admin via Wixen Music (Neil Young, The Black Keys, Tom Petty).

As an artist, songwriter and producer he has worked with many artists including Chris Difford, Mark E Brydon (Moloko), Matt Deighton (Mother Earth, Oasis, Paul Weller), Kathryn Williams, Chris Helme, Marti Pellow, and Steve Nieve (The Attractions).

He consults to Big Group on events around the Brit Awards, Champions League Final and Mercury Music prize and is the Music Industry Liaison for Help Musicians UK, the UK’s leading independent charity for musicians. He also runs 50:50 Studios in North London and co manages Pat Dam Smyth and Ren Harvieu.

Chris is a regular contributor at our Industry Day events, and has partnered with us on large scale production projects at Abbey Road Studios.

Musician, producer & boutique analogue studio owner

Barkley McKay

Barkley is an exceptional recording engineer. Working from his extensive Valleywood Studio, Barkley works mostly in the acoustic and Jazz field. Clients have included Jaki Graham, Kirsty McGee, Matthew Bourne and Corrine Bailey-Rae. As a musician he has worked with artists as diverse as The Pretty Things, Crystal Gayle, Jon Langford, The Waco Brothers and The Mekons, touring extensively through Europe from the late 80’s through to the present – with two stints at Glastonbury, most recently in 2014 on the Billy Bragg stage. He also does extensive session work, collaborating with engineer/producer Ian Caple and Mike Hagler of Kingsize in Chicago amongst others.

As part of our Music Production courses, Barkley teaches various concert hall recording sessions and runs analogue production workshops in his boutique studio, Valley Wood Studios.