Mike Cave is a real asset to the Liverpool City Region music industry but remains largely unknown to many people despite the vital role he has played on tracks they know and love.
Mike is based in the city where he retains a relatively low profile but nationally and internationally he is much in demand for his mixing and mastering work.
He is a local boy, brought up in Litherland and Thornton and involved in music from a young age. He played in local bands before moving to London to study at the London College of Music.
Mike takes up the story from there. ‘I came back to Liverpool and worked at Parr Streeet Studios for ten years as an in house engineer. I made loads of tea but I also watched and learned from some great producers.’ We chat about a mutual friend, Ken Nelson, who was one of those producers ( Ken produced the first two Coldplay albums at Parr Street).’ Every time I worked with Ken I learned something new. He is an amazing producer’.
Mike then went freelance and now works from his own, recently revamped, studio in the city centre.
He specialises in mixing and mastering records which means he works with a large range of artists and record labels who look to Mike to bring that finishing touch or gloss to a recording.
As Mike describes it: ‘When I’m brought into to do a mix of a track or an album its largely already produced. Im looking at how I can enhance whats there. That might be elements like the balance of instruments or looking at the arrangements.’
‘When I’m mastering something its essentially a quality control stage. Im looking to offer a sheen and ensure that finished tracks sound as good as they can be.’
This skill means Mike can be approached directly by artists themselves who like what they have heard of his work or record labels who want that sheen’ that Mike can bring.
Rather than being associated with a particular genre Mike has worked across a diverse range of artists and genres and has worked with a lot of big names including the likes of Camelphat, Lewis Capaldi, The Lathums and John Martyn (which gives you an idea of his range). ‘I love working with new artists too. And working across a wide range of artists keeps it fresh and exciting for me. ‘
Mike is really clear on his niche in the market. ‘Now I’ m less a producer, and more of a finisher. What i do now plays to my strengths and i can deliver mixes that labels and artists love.’
It isnt me saying Im better than them its just that everyone has different strengths and I focus on what I can bring. In reality it is unusual for someone to be great at all stages of the process.’
Mike loves being based in his home city. ‘Ive had opportunities to move to London but Liverpool as a base is a lot more enjoyable and affordable which means I can work out of a great space here. Techology means it actually doesnt matter where you are anyway. I can work with artists on tracks through streaming and remote work. With international artists I can do realtime audio so it isnt an issue. But I do love it when towards the end of process I try to get the artist or label in for the final stages and we are all in the studio listening to it together. ‘
Liverpool is lucky to have someone as talented and well regarded as Mike living and working here. His high level work with artists and record labels from across the world adds to our reputation as a place where music businesses can flourish and add value to our Music City brand.
Mike sums it all up succinctly: ‘My aim is to deliver a great record. That’s all I can do. And its even better than I can do it from Liverpool.’
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