Phil Allen – Producer, Engineer, Multi Instrumentalist and Grammy Winner for Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’.
Hey friends, I hope you’re doing marvellously well! We’ll get to the Vocal Mixing tutorial in a minute, but since Phil Allen is a close friend of mine I wanted to give you a short introduction and tell you a little bit about him first:
Every now and then you meet truly hardworking and gifted people, the combination is incredible and always creates amazing results. Phil Allen is one of those people. He was my intern at aged 19, who was recommended by a good friend Mike Flynn, A&R at Epic Records. Mike has a great ear, he signed The Fray when no one else was interested and he and I have made many great records together, so when he recommends someone I can trust his word implicitly. Having those people in your life, like Mike Flynn, that always steer you right are worth their weight in Gold, I built that relationship from doing demos with bands that ended up getting signed. My working 15 hour days for free or cheap over the years nurturing and developing talent is what built this relationship.
Phil and I spoke on the phone one evening and the next day he was up at 5am to be ready for work! We had a 7am downbeat to set up a Festival!
It was about 12 years ago that we put on a 2 day festival in Santa Monica, it was a huge endeavour! We had amazing artists play in a huge parking lot in a an Arts Area! Two main Stages with full PA’s had to dragged from storage into a truck and then erected, cabled up and tested, that’s where Phil came in! Talk about a baptism of fire!
Phil loaded and set up two stages, two PA’s, concession stands, you name it! Back breaking work and he finished in the early hours of the morning! That was a heck of a first day as a ‘Recording Intern’!! Yes, that’s our industry, it’s one where we are continually multi tasking, proving our worth, day after day in so many different ways.
Phil interned with me for around a year while going to college, USC, which he gained entry through a Scholarship. After College he took a job at Blue Microphones where for a while he manufactured microphones and mic pres. I had a Studio with two main control rooms, but it was busy and the live room also doubled as a long term rehearsal room so often I couldn’t get into the Studio to track and even when I could, Iggy Pop would be rehearsing in the live room so loud that I couldn’t track a vocal effectively! It wasn’t all bad, some days we would be editing a track and Morrissey would be the other side of the glass, or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Audioslave and many more!
I was getting busier and busier, I had made the first two Fray albums and worked with James Blunt and others, so we needed a room to expand into. One day I heard a tip of a cool studio close to my studio that had come up for rent, I ran over there (it was a block away!). The studio, Harmony was a small private Studio it had a live room with a Grand Piano, a control room and two over dub rooms! Perfect! I immediately called my friend Mike Flynn and we went in together, we decided to share the room, we ended doing many projects there.
To run a Studio effectively you need a Studio Manager and a full-time Engineer, with a small studio like Harmony, that position is invariably just fulfilled by one person. So we called Phil, he jumped at the chance and left Blue to become our full time Engineer and Studio Manager.
Harmony soon became a sort after writing room, a place where Writer/Producers such as Fraser T Smith and Dan Wilson came and wrote with many Artists like, Adele, Pink and Miley Cyrus. All of these tracks were Engineered by Phil Allen and he started to accrue a great credit list. One of these songs he recorded was Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, the song is a live Piano and Vocal performance they completed after finishing writing the song at Harmony.
Phil and I have formed a great partnership, recording and writing with Artists such as Marc Broussard and Josh Radin together. He is an extremely talented, hardworking guy and his biggest asset is his likability, his willingness to try out ideas and make the artists he works with feel comfortable to express themselves.
Now that you know all about Phil Allen, I want to share an excerpt of a tutorial that Phil has created for Pro Mix Academy. In this tutorial Phil teaches you how to use vocal effects creatively to make your mixes sound modern and unique:
I hope you enjoy the tutorial! You can check out Phil’s course “Mixing In The Box” at Pro Mix Academy.
It’s an amazing song and you get to download all of the files and mix it for yourself!
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,