The A&R Awards: Producer of The Year - Dan Carey

The A&R Awards: Producer of The Year - Dan Carey

21st October 2022
The A&R Awards returns for a sixth occasion and, once again, Abbey Road Studios is the headline sponsor as well as sponsor of the Producer of the Year award. The importance of these awards is emphasised by Abbey Road’s Managing Director Isabel Garvey who says “We've seen some extraordinary talent pass through our doors over the last year. So we are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of the A&R community by continuing our association with the MBW A&R Awards."

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spotlight the 10 nominees for the Producer of the Year award and speak to them about how they got started, their favourite gear and their advice for anyone starting out.

Dan Carey

Look at many of the most exciting, buzzed-about artists coming out of the UK and Ireland right now and you’ll be surprised to find how many have something in common – London-born producer Dan Carey.

From righteous Dublin punks Fontaines D.C. to London art-punks Squid and the dark knights of post-rock, Black Midi to revelatory poet and rapper, Kae Tempest, Dan Carey is behind many of the most vital albums of the last year, including Wet Leg.

While you may know that Dan owns and runs the record label Speedy Wunderground, you may not know that he began his career making dub records with Nick Manassa and Lee Scratch Perry to then writing hits with Si (Breathe Me) and Kylie (Slow) while mixing Hot Chip, Santigold, Dizzee Rascal and MIA songs. His discography is a timeline of his diverse taste in music and people – relationships that will last a lifetime and music that will outlive us all.

More recently, aside from garnering acclaim for his productions of two Mercury Prize-nominated albums (Fontaines DC and Black Midi), Dan has been bolstering his parallel career as a songwriter. As well as his own artist releases (under the guise Savage Gary, through Speedy Wunderground), he has co-written Kae Tempest's upcoming album The Line Is A Curve and created a rich catalogue of awesome tracks, beats and soundscapes for other artists, including the slow burning 2021 hit Wet Dream by Wet Leg. He also produced Wet Leg’s debut album Wet Leg which smashed straight into the charts at No.1 in the UK, selling more vinyl copies in week one than any other album released in the past 30 years. More recently he’s been working closely withSlowthai, Hak Baker and many other exciting UK projects.

1. How did you get started? And what would your advice be to anyone starting out?

I started by writing music and learning as many instruments as I could. I taught myself and became obsessed with recording technology. I could never sing so I was constantly looking for singers to work with.

For a while I existed as an artist who had lots of featured vocalists, until somebody pointed out that I'd be better off working as a producer/writer for those same people. My advice would be not to feel you have to conform to current practice, unless a mastering engineer tells you you've made an error.

2. What are your five favourite bits of gear or software?

- '66 Fender Mustang
- Modular synth
- A rack of 1081s

3. How do you approach collaboration?

I try to give equal and utmost respect to everybody I work with, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are.

5. What does it mean to you to be a finalist in the Producer of the Year category?

I'm always happy to have any association with Abbey Road Studios.
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