Dean McCarthy
Academic Coordinator
Dip. Audio Engineering
MA. Music Industries
Certificate Online Teaching
Techniques User Certificate in Dante

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

My original background was working in theatre production and live events. I’ve worked as a production manager, technical manager and live sound engineer. I joined SAE in 2008 to open the Oxford campus and run the Audio Production programme. After completing my MA in Music Industries, I was part of a team that designed the Music Business Degree Programme that would launch in September 2014. Alongside my work with SAE, I still work on planning events with Music Tech Fest and consult on local projects around Oxford.

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

The music industry is in a constant state of flux. It is a very demanding but very exciting industry to go into. The fast pace of evolution keeps the topics and the lectures exciting. To succeed in the industry you need to stay up to date with what is going on, and it is exciting to see the ideas and output coming from our students.

Why should students choose SAE to further their careers in Music Business?

SAE has a history training students for the creative industries and our Music Business course has been tailored from both the knowledge we’ve gained over the years from our industry insight and the experience we have adapting to these types of courses. We have an ever growing alumni operating across the globe in many parts of the creative industry.

What is the toughest part of running a music business?

The music industry is very demanding. Working hours are often unsociable and there is high expectancy to be dynamic and adaptable. To be successful you need to be able to keep an eye on the constant changes and be agile enough to adapt to them.

Which music events do you admire?

I am a huge admirer of grass-roots music and those who push to sustain local music events. The development of local music scenes are the foundation of a thriving music industry and need to be supported by everyone.

Which musicians/producers inspire you and why?

I really admire the historical music producers from the 1960s and 70s, primarily because of what they were able to achieve with the equipment they had. George Martin and Geoff Emerick always get lots of praise for works like Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is a stunning piece of technical engineering. Personally, I love Paul A. Rothchild’s work with The Doors. His stand-out production for me is “The End”, which is a technical homage to the use of analogue tape and LP vinyl to create a nearly 12 minute composition that was captured in two takes. It shows the craft and skill of both the producer, the band and engineer Bruce Botnick to get such a high quality recording with only a 4-track tape machine to hand.

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

I was lucky enough to be a part of a London music scene that had Adele, Florence and the Machine, Laura Marling and many others who have managed to go on to have amazing careers. I’ve also been able to work with many current stars like Dizzee Rascal, Mumford and Sons, Chris Carrabba, The Script, but a highlight was definitely mixing for Sia.

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

With the music industry moving away from albums, I would hope this might be replaced with a very long playlist instead. But if I’m stuck to one album, it would probably be Deftones “White Pony”.

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

Over that past 3 years i have worked with Music Tech Fest, the festival of music ideas. In that time we have held five different festivals across Europe, including visiting the Funkhaus in Berlin, Umea University in Northern Sweden and IRCAM in Paris. I still continue to work on freelance recording projects and enjoy working with the roster of artists I have. I have also recently had articles published in Audio Media International.