Keith Hennigan
Audio Production Lecturer
Oxford
Qualifications:
PhD (Music)
BA(Hons) Music
Dip. Sound Engineering & Music Technology

Please tell us about your background in Audio and what route you took to get where you are today?

I started, like many people, playing in bands while I was a teenager – from there I quickly realised that the textures and timbres of recorded sound were fascinating to me, and I set about learning how to recreate them. I completed a classical music degree in Trinity College Dublin, and returned there in 2011 to undertake a PhD in interactive music. Along the way I’ve always kept working on music recording and sound design projects.

What excites you about passing on your knowledge and expertise to the next generation?

Developing my own skills is enjoyable, but it has always been far more rewarding for me to help someone else develop theirs! As soon as I learn something new and interesting, my first instinct is usually to think, ‘who can I tell about this?’ Sharing knowledge and seeing students meet their potential, or surpass their expectations for themselves, is easily the best part of a career in teaching.

Why should students choose SAE to further their careers in Audio?

Audio was the original focus of SAE (it’s there in the name), and it’s still right at the center of everything we do. The creative industries are growing every year, and audio is extremely important across the board – as a key component for music, film, TV, video games – so it’s important to get the training that will allow you to succeed in any of these areas. At SAE we have excellent facilities, equipment, and staff who can make sure that students have all of the skills and knowledge they need to advance in their professional careers.

Which musicians/producers inspire you and why?

I have a very broad musical background, so there’s centuries of inspiration there for me! I suppose I’d have to pick out John Frusciante as a real influence, and the likes of Elvis Costello or Jack White; people who talk and think about music in an engaging way, as well as making great music.

On the production side of things, I like a lot of the names involved in the ‘80s and ‘90s rock scene. Flood (Mark Ellis) has probably been behind my favourite albums from a production standpoint.

What is the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment of your career?

I’ve met some famous musicians, and have a few anecdotes – but honestly, I was probably the most excited when I got talking to one half of the Irish band We Cut Corners after their gig in Dublin a few years ago! They’re one of the best live acts I’ve ever come across.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only one album to keep you sane, what would it be?

I don’t think being stuck with one album would keep me sane, I’d end up hating anything after a while. Something long and complex might be best… St. John Passion by J.S. Bach.

Projects you have worked on outside of SAE and any publications:

I’ve played and recorded with some great bands, like HERM and Little Puzzles; I’ve been involved with mixing and mastering two albums for (Wicklow-based band) The Hounds, which was probably the most enjoyable job I’ve done to date. Quite a few bits of post-production and sound design, with an honourable mention for the no-budget feature film ‘A Fistful of Diamonds’ (2011).

Academically, I’ve done a few conference papers on video game audio and interactive music; I’ve written a journal article on ‘When Music Becomes Game’; and there are several books of fiction and non-fiction in the works at all times…