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  Independent Music in Glasgow - Eddie Macarthur

Stealth Studios exterior

Eddie MacArthur is an independent producer who owns and runs Stealth Studios in Glasgow. Stealth Studios is concealed behind a disturbingly ordinary door in a converted school. he has undertaken production duties on several excellent releases from independent bands (Gum's "Seven Feeble Alibis" and Colette McKendrick's "Etheria", for example) and has achieved - to our super sensitive bunny ears - some remarkable results. Like many people these days, he started off in a completely different line of work. Being an illustrator did not suit him however and a career change was in order. He had been in a couple of bands but the technology bug got him starting with the early 4 track cassette based devices. After his first taste of success, he decided to quit his day job and see if he could make a living in the music business. The first step was to get his degree in music technology and electronics. Given that he works extensively with independent artists, these qualifications have not proven to be as useful as would have been thought. Through word of mouth and some not inconsiderable personal effort, he has built up an impressive client list working with many local luminaries including the 

Hugh Trowsers Band

Vivien Scotson


Susan Mahoney


It was surprisingly easy to interview our Mr MacArthur despite his claim that this was his first press interview. His enthusiasm for his work was obvious but he proved to be surprisingly modest about his achievements. He regarded his production work as falling into two categories - working with musicians that regarded the studio as a tool for experimentation and the "flattering photograph" approach where they were effectively trying to capture the essence of a live performance in the studio environment. We asked (what we hope were) some intelligent questions of Eddie.

Has technology made it easier for musicians to produce themselves?
Technology sometimes gets in the way because it gives too much to think about. In my case, because I'm not a musician, I love going to town with the technology. The hard thing about being a producer is to keep your head around everything that is going on so that the job gets done.
Has technology made the production of an album, for example, more affordable for the independent artist?
It has. I'll give you an example. Recently, I had a band in called Retrofrets. They're a young band. They did 4 songs in an eight hour session. That was from start to finish - from walking in to leaving with something of a quality to get on the radio. Certainly didn't sound like a demo. This is something that I always try to get across to bands. People say that they want to do a demo. If you think of it as a demo then it will sound like a demo. I always try to get them to think of it - sometimes I feel that is wrong to say this - as a product. It almost sounds like a kind of business thing but it is like a product, a finished product. If you have to hand somebody something and make excuses for it then you've not done it right.
Does how you work depend on the band?
In the old days, with tape, if you had a young band come in and there were problems with studio time you were pretty much forced to deal with it. You didn't get another shot. What I tend to do now is get them to do the songs maybe 3 or 4 times. Then I get them to listen to the drums, for example, and decide if the fill on version 2 is better than the fill on version 1. The better version is then chopped out and pasted into the first version. Stealth Studios interior
Other bands like to come in and pretty much do it live. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It all depends on their level of experience. The studio experience is about learning how to do things and how to make it easier for yourself. It is a bit like making a film really. Some bands don't think they need a producer. We are good musicians - why do we need a producer? We don't need somebody telling us what to do or whatever. It's not a case of telling people what to do but, to use the film analogy, if you get a bunch of the best actors in the world in a room with a script, they still need a director to tell them how to make a film. Otherwise they would all be jumping in front of the camera at the same time.
And the cult of the producer?
Eddie MacArthur at the desk
It does still exist but again there are different types of producers. Some producers actually have said that they can make a band sound like anything they want to. Don't see the point in that. Surely you should make a band sound the way that they want to sound. As I said before, I'm not a musician but I can describe what I think a song needs and let the songwriter come up with the changes.
Bluesbunny Says...

Bluesbunny would like to say this is a refreshingly modest approach to the art of producing. And make no make mistake, it is an art. Although the producer is key to holding it all together during the recording session, the role is very much akin to that of the drummer in a band. If it's done well you barely notice them. So we don't think you'll be seeing much of our Mr MacArthur! The Invisible Producer, perhaps?

Bluesbunny would like to thank Eddie MacArthur for taking the time to be interviewed. Contact details for Stealth Studios can be found below.

Contact Details

  Email:  Send email to Stealth Studios
Telephone: 0141 5549244
Mobile: 07910 725716
Address: Strathclyde Business Centre, 120 Carstairs Street, Glasgow, G40 4JD

Author: Bluesbunny
Date: February 17 2007