I’m Steve Bernard, a BA (Hons) Audio Production alumnus from the Class of ’13. Since I graduated, I’ve been employed at Cooz’s Recording Studio, in Oxford. My relationship with the studio actually began almost three years ago, after my first summer at the University of Lincoln, when I did a week long work experience there to enhance my CV. This led to an internship which I maintained around my degree, and I was offered a job at the studio after I finished my third year. (Photo: I’m with the director Kevin Cousineau, aka Cooz, mixing the Bad Company documentary.)
Working at the studio has been a great experience and I’ve recently found the most success as a Hip Hop producer – we were fortunate to have a break with a South African rapper called Rowan Groom, and his contacts and reputation in the emerging local Hip Hop scene has meant that business in this genre has skyrocketed. In the last 6 months, I’ve worked with a wide array of talent, producing mixtapes and EPs local rappers and singers such as Apt Ochiela, Carby, Manny O, Ellie Robbins and Rifle.
Getting business for my work relies heavily on word of mouth and networking. Whilst I have had success in building my reputation in the Hip Hop genre, Oxford’s music scene is much better known for the rock outfits it has produced over the years – most notably bands like Radiohead and Supergrass, and more recently Foals and Stornoway – who all had humble beginnings in the live music circuit around the city. Because of this, I started an initiative at the studio called Cooz’s Live, which offers bands the opportunity to have their live shows around the city recorded with our mobile rig. We’ve built up strong working relationships with a number of venues and promoters in the city, and eventually led to us working at the o2 Academy, recording touring bands such as My Life Story and Stiff Little Fingers.
Working at the studio has placed me right at the heart of the Oxford music scene, and allowed me to network closely with a number of bands and artists. On top of working on their recent recordings, I am now the live sound engineer for two up and coming Oxford bands, One Wing Left and Fracture, and I’ve started putting on my own gigs to support the continued success of local artists. I’ve also given workshops and lectures on music production at Oxford Cherwell Valley College.
Outside of music, I continue to work in sound for other media; I mixed the sound for two documentaries recently, one of which was picked up by the BBC. The Lincoln School of Film & Media prepared me exceptionally well for life after university. As a student, you get a broad range of in depth training in a variety of media, from experts who have been out and done it themselves, on industry standard equipment. Studying there was such a rewarding experience, but it’s only the beginning and I’m very excited by what I’ve been able to do since then!