November 9, 2010
From Snow Patrol to Gary Go, Johnny McDaid has the best job (and mics!) in music
Johnny McDaid must smile whenever he steps into his bespoke studio because this man has one of the best jobs in music. One day he’s remixing U2, the next he can be playing live with the Snow Patrol, and the next he could be writing with dance megastar Paul Van Dyk (on huge anthems like Time Of Our Lives and Home) or recording the current darling of the music industry, Gary Go – “he’s infectiously talented – a joy to work with,” notes Johnny.
Johnny used to be in the band Vega4 but since signing to Snow Patrol’s Polar Patrol publishing company, he has been establishing himself as one of the UK’s foremost songwriters and building a recording studio packed to the rafters with the best gear.
“A couple of friends of mine had sE mics a while back,” he says, “and when I came to choose mics for myself, one of the first on the list was the Gemini. As soon as I plugged that thing in everything seemed to come to life. It has a huge sound. I use it for very specific vocalist sounds when I want a fat, warm sound. It has this belly and you can hear and feel the valves in it.”
But while the Gemini has the sound, Johnny’s GM-10 is his songwriter choice…
“When you’re writing you are constantly grabbing things like an acoustic guitar to put an idea down but you’re moving around so much. The GM-10 is brilliant, and one of the best inventions for the singer/songwriter. You clamp it on there – it straps to anything – and it stays in the same place no matter where you move. I really do use it every day. I’ll put it on there even if I’m using other mics – it’s a great safety track to have as well as a really great sounding microphone.”
Then there’s the sE 4400a… “Such an amazingly versatile mic – you can put it in front of pretty much anything; a Vox, a Marshall, or it will perform just as well as picking up every nuance of an acoustic guitar. It’s also perfect for female vocals.”
Finally, Johnny is a fan of the Reflexion Filter and sE’s professional mic stand, the Stand 1…
“That mic stand is great!” he says. “I wanted something like the old Abbey Road mic stand and this is the only thing I can think of that allows you to strap big heavy stuff to it without tipping over. I use the RF for a variety of things. With the Snow Patrol John Martyn track I just worked on, I used it on a glockenspiel and it helped get this real swell of tone – it was really cool actually.”
He continues: “I also did a performance with Paul Van Dyk in Germany with a massive symphony orchestra doing some of my songs and there were RFs everywhere!”
Johnny is currently working on tracks for the new Gary Go album, Paul Van Dyk, album and Example album among others.