My website is here to give you a little information about myself as a sound engineer, some of my history and credits, and allows me to talk a little about what I do and why I do it.
I have been playing music ever since primary school, and I also have a strong interest in technology and the 'hows' of making things work - so I guess it isn't surprising that I have taken the music & the technology and used them both to become an engineer!
As a Recording and Mix Engineer, I largely follow the traditional methods and approach. I aim to record the sound we want to hear right from the start by using the right mic, in the right place and manipulating the instrument itself, rather than having to bend it all into shape later with lots of plug-in or hardware processing. The same is true when I'm asked to do a mix - I rely heavily on analogue consoles and outboard processing, but combining it with a powerful Pro Tools HD rig. The sound of analogue gear is something I've always loved, and the combination of digital and analogue allows both the artist and I the greatest flexibility, while still keeping the sonic characteristics of high quality analogue gear.
When it comes to production, I consider it a process that needs to involve both the artist or band and myself equally, and I work closely with the artists to achieve a result that reflects who they are musically. I am not a producer that will necessarily dictate parts, but rather someone who will offer encouragement, ideas for improvements and make sure we capture the best possible performance.
During my career so far I have been fortunate enough to work with some great musicians & songwriters, and have had the opportunity to work in some great studios here and overseas. From Jimmy Barnes and Human Nature to 360 and The Twoks, In Melbourne, Sydney or LA, I've enjoyed every minute and am still as passionate and enthusiastic about making records as ever!
As a free-lance sound engineer, 'what I do' can cover a lot of ground and often translates as 'whatever I have to' to get the artist the product that they need. It means I need an extensive degree of knowledge about all the technical aspects of a recording, but it also requires me to listen to the music and the artist - I need to be able to use my technical skills to achieve an artistic goal. Over the last few years my main focus has been building & maintaining a reputation as recording & mix engineer capable of delivering top shelf professional results.
My engineering philosophy encompasses a number of elements that are often associated with a 'producer'. Microphone choice & placement, preamp selection and processing of signals will largely be left up to an engineer, even when there's a specific producer on the project. Frequently, engineers' are told something like "Make it sound big and fat!" and while it is a technical task, it is also equally Production. There can be more than one way to make it 'big and fat', and opting for one method over another because of the way it sounds is entirely a production decision. The same is true with mixing – every decision made during a mix, regardless if it's about using this plug-in EQ, that hardware compressor or in what order to put them in, has an effect on the sound of the track. Every fader move, pan placement and use – or intentional miss-use – of the outboard gear is all about how it sounds, and you can't be mixing and not producing at the same time. The in-between stage, the actual recording of a performance by an artist, is where production and engineering roles can become more clearly divided. A producer will be listening to the takes, offering suggestions for improvements and, importantly, giving the artist confidence and encouragement. Meanwhile, the engineer is watching levels, making sure the headphone and control room mixes are right, keeping track of the multiple takes and which ones people liked and generally making sure that they're at least one step ahead of the producer. These days, recording budgets do not always allow for both a specific Engineer and a Producer on a project, so it has become commonplace for the two roles to be combined in the one person.
I see Producing as an un-avoidably collaborative process. Everyone in the studio has a production role to play, from the tracking to the mixing, and I expect the artists I work with to not only perform as best they can, but to also consider their musical skills and taste as being equally important Production Values in creating a great record. I am not a song writer, and not the kind of producer who will sit down and write a song on my own. But, I do get involved and work closely with artists during a session, offering suggestions, ideas and feedback on performances. Sometimes it's an arrangement or tempo thing, sometimes it's a guitar part, or a melody and harmony line. The good ideas tend to stick – the not-so-good are thrown away. Overall, I encourage and support people while they are performing behind the mic, and together we make the best possible record we can.
Working predominately out of Studio 1 at The Base has given me multiple advantages. Not only have I been able to equip and setup the studio with some of the best digital and analogue gear available, but I have also developed an extensive familiarity with the studio and it's 'sound'. This extends from the recording space and the selection of microphones to the Amek console and outboard gear in the rack. For clients of the studio it means sessions get setup quickly and with a minimum of fuss, and can be very confident that what is being recorded and mixed will translate into the 'real world' sounding exactly the way it's intended. I love the sound of high end analogue gear, and combined with the industry standard Pro Tools HD setup it allows me both the sonic quality and flexibility that is unachievable with a 'home' setup. It also allows me to bring in sessions from other studios or smaller setups for mixing, and still get that analogue 'sound' on those records. While having a quality facility like The Base is great, I don't limit myself to it's 4 walls. I have extensive experience in many different studios from Melbourne to Hollywood, and even recording in places not designed as studios has given me some fantastic results. When I'm asked to record a project away from The Base, I take on the role of production manager. I talk to the artist, the venue or location, figure out what the technical needs of the project are and what I need to bring to the session to supplement what's available. If I can't supply all the gear, I source the rest and make sure it can do the job.

I began my career in music initially as a woodwind player, completing VCE & AMEB exams on flute. I had also joined some local bands as a guitarist, as well as gaining a chair in the local theatre orchestra, performing productions of Evita, Wizard of Oz & Jesus Christ Superstar. I was also mixing live sound - often for the groups I was in with the mixer on stage beside me – but I was also doing the odd gig as the sound guy for other groups as well.
I had had my first taste of the music industry, and I decided that a career as an Engineer was what I wanted to do!

I accepted a place at Box Hill’s College of Music, studying for the ‘Advanced Diploma Music/Production’. It was a very comprehensive 3 year course and gave me a solid grounding in the skills needed for an engineer. Working on the analogue console & tape machines at the college gave me the abilities I needed to begin assisting at Sound House Studios (Richmond) once I’d graduated.

Sound House had an SSL 4000E, a 2-inch Studer and a Pro Tools TDM system in Studio 1, as well as a rack of outboard that included things I’d only ever seen pictures of before! Studio 2 was our digital suite, based around another Pro Tools TDM system and the original Pro Control.  Being the in-house assistant gave me the opportunity to increase my knowledge and skills with both large format analogue consoles, and the digital equivalent, at the same time.  I had been using consoles and tape at Box Hill, but being able to track through an SSL onto 2”, then bounce it all into ‘tools for edits, and still be able to decided whether to mix on the console or ‘in-the-box’ was an eye opener at the time!

After I left Sound House in 2002, I joined the team at Kick Studios in Port Melbourne. Again, I was lucky to have a large collection of gear at my disposal, including some classic outboard, a powerful Pro Tools rig and a number of great microphones. I had moved up from an assistant and was building my own client base and extending my skills as an engineer and mixer - but I was missing working on a large console and the ‘sound’ it gives a record. So, I found an Amek G2520, fell in love and installed it in the studio. - and I still use it every day! It was also during my time at Kick that I began to work with Dennis and Darren Dowlut, Andrew DeSilva, Gary Pinto & Jimmy Barnes. I also began spending some time in other studios – notably 301 and SingSing - engineering various projects that required the larger recording spaces these studios provided.

In 2006 I was offered a position with a production company that needed a full time engineer and I jumped at the opportunity! Two of the albums I subsequently engineered involved a stint at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, as well as many more sessions at SingSing & Trackdown (Sydney).

After 2 ½ years I wanted to return to the free-lance engineer world, and I had the opportunity to form a partnership with The Base Recording Studios that allowed me to focus on my own career, with the support of a great facility behind me. So, in July of 2008 I installed the Amek and all my gear into Studio 1 at The Base, and set about engineering and producing records as a free-lance engineer.

This happy arrangement continues today, and with some of the great artists and awesome records that I’ve worked on continuing to build audiences and fans, I am looking forward to what the future will bring for myself and the studio.

phone : 0409 854 713
email : phil@philthrelfall.com

Illy - Cinematic (Album)
Mix Engineer. Realeased 2013

Diafrix - Rest Assured
Mix Engineer. Realeased 2013

Bliss 'n Eso - Circus In The Sky (Album)
Mix Engineer
#1 Aria Chart, Gold Accreditation

Owl Eyes - Diamonds In Her Eyes
Mix Engineer, Realeased 2013

Diego Vilalta - Tierra Allestree (Album)
Mix Engineer. Realeased 2013

I Am The Riot - Working Man's Blues (EP)
Produced Recorded & Mixed. Realeased 2013

Compliments of Gus - The Black and the White Of It (Album)
Produced Recorded & Mixed. Realeased 2013

The Twoks - Two (Album)
Produced Recorded & Mixed. Realeased 2012

Anne Wood – Divine Discontent (Album)
Vocal recording engineer, album released 2012

Meow Meow – Little Match Girl (Album)
All material featured in the ‘Little Match Girl’ cabaret show, recorded live at
The Malthouse Theatre. Released January 2012

Lesle Lewis – (Album)
Recording engineer for Lesle Lewis, Mumbai based singer songwriter
Album to be released mid 2012

360 – Falling & Flying (Album)
Recording & Mix Engineer.
Released 2011, #4 Aria album charts & certified Platinum 2012.

Zoe Badwi – Zoë (Album)
Vocal Recording Engineer, album released 2011

Electric Empire – Electric Empire (album)
Recording Engineer on numerous tracks from the album. Independent band touring nationally & internationally, including Glastonbury Music Fest 2011

Diafrix – Simple Man (Single, 2011) Running It (Single, 2012)
Mix Engineer for leading singles from ‘Pocket Full of Dreams’. Album planned for release mid 2012

The Twoks – 240 Volts (ep)
Recording, Mixing and Co-Production. Independent group, Touring nationally & internationally, featuring sold-out shows at Glastonbury Music Fest 2011

Jimmy Barnes – What Will They Say
Recording Engineer, track appears on the Double Happiness album. Released 2005, #1 on the Aria album Charts

Marcia Hines – Life (Album)
Recording Engineer for the full album. Released 2006 and charting at #26

Human Nature – Get Ready (Album)
Recording Engineer for the full album, released in 2007 and reaching #2 on the Aria album charts. Accredited double Platinum in 2008

Dennis Dowlut – Avenue of Roses (Album)
Recording and Mix engineer, Independent album released 2008

Pete Murray – Blue Sky Blue (Album)
Preproduction Engineer for album sessions.

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