After graduating from a sound production course in Perth, Anna landed a coveted role in London at Miloco Studios working under the guidance of award-winning producers Paul Epworth (Adele, Primal Scream, Foster the People) and Ben Hillier (Blur, Elbow, U2), as an engineer on albums for household names like Florence and the Machine and Depeche Mode.
After perfecting her production and technical skills under Epworth and Hillier at Miloco Studios, Anna relocated to Australia to carve out her own niche as a music producer. Fast forward to 2017 and Anna has become one of Australia’s most sought after and respected producer/engineers, with a list of clients that include Cut Copy, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Courtney Barnett and many more.
We caught up with Anna to find out the key to her success and her advice to those looking to create a career as a music producer and engineer.
1. Talk us through what you’re currently working on — and what’s next?
I’m working on a collection of songs for TinPan Orange. Plus doing songs for Sasha March and Tori Dunbar. I’m in the middle of Songmakers season for APRA/AMCOS and am about to head back to Alice Springs to work on another special project for Music NT.
2. What was the first job of your career as a music producer/engineer/mixer, how did it come about and what was the most important thing you learned there?
I was an assistant engineer for many years. I eagerly awaited my first producer/engineer role…it probably came about when I was assisting and the producer couldn’t be there for whatever reason. I actually can’t name my first time, it’s all a blur. I didn’t sleep much back then.
3. What got you from that first job to where you are now?
It sounds cliche but it’s really just down to hard work and experience. I just kept on doing my best work and eventually, some people noticed — my manager Cath found me working away in the engine room at Sing Sing and bands asked for me because their pals in other bands who I’d worked with recommended me to them.
4. Talk us through two highlights or favourite moments of your career so far…
Being asked to work on the Bad Seeds album was a career highlight for me because I’m such a big fan. And repeat work is nice, for example, I’ve worked on three Peep Tempel albums. They could have gone anywhere after the success of their second album but they came back because we work really well together.
5. If you could travel back in time, what career advice would you give to your 18-year old self?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and the main thing I can think of to say to my 18-year-old self is, “take more money to London, you’re going to run out in 10 days!”
6. Across your time in the industry, how have you experienced the role of producers, mixers and engineers changing — and what changes do you expect to see across the next decade?
Yes, it’s constantly changing. Mostly due to shrinking budgets. In Australia people generally have to be the Producer/Engineer now whereas these were separate roles when I started out in London. In the future, I think producers are going to have to be more versatile. I’m already jumping from recording at someone’s house, then recording in a big commercial studio, to recording on a laptop etc etc. Just be ready for everything and I think that comes down to having your basic skills up to scratch.