Art & Design blog: sound

XETH meet recording & mix engineer Olga Fitzroy

Artist / designer:   Olga Fitzroy

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Article author:   Charlotte Bradford
Published:   Tue, 15 Aug 2017

Photographer: Nigel Jopson

Photographer: Nigel Jopson

Olga Fitzroy is a recording and mix sound engineer who joined AIR Management in 2013. In 2016, she won the MPG Award for Recording Engineer and has worked on many projects with different artists, most notably with Coldplay on Ghost Stories and A Head Full of Dreams, Guillemots and Noah & The Whale.

In 2012, Olga mixed many of the performances featured in the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony and accompanying album. She also provided pre-production for Coldplay’s Paralympic Closing Ceremony performance and also engineered on their live album/DVD. Olga’s film credits include Atonement, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Hobbit. XETH were delighted to catch up with the engineer this month and hear how she juggles such a busy schedule.

XETH: At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in? 

Olga Fitzroy: Probably from about 15, I was really into my music at the time, and had just completed a week’s work-experience working with Sound and Lighting technicians at a local theatre.

X: What’s your proudest achievement so far? 

O: It’s difficult to choose. Engineering Ghost Stories for Coldplay was pretty cool, as was mixing the music for the Olympics Closing Ceremony in 2012.

X: What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?

O: I guess the most challenging thing is trying to figure out what the client wants or needs when sometimes they don’t even know themselves. That’s where experience comes in. The chances are, that after 14 years in the studio, I’ve probably seen a similar situation before or been faced with a similar decision to make and can sometimes guide the client into making the right decision on something.

X: What are your top three favourite songs?

O: Really difficult this oneDreaming by Blondie, Faith by George Michael and Broken Heart by Spiritualized. Not necessarily the top 3 ever, but the top 3 that pop into my head right now.

Photographer: Rianna Tamara

Photographer: Rianna Tamara

X: What is your favourite London music venue and why?

O: I like The 100 Club for small things. The Electric Brixton I think is fantastic. It’s like a smaller and better version of the O2 Academy Brixton.

X: Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?

O: I think Chris Martin is inspiring as he always challenges himself to try something new. It may not all be to everybody’s taste, but he does stuff that he loves and that is new to him, regardless of what people think. I think Nick Cave is amazing and I love Billy Bragg as he brings politics into music which I think is important.

X: Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?

O: I’m working on a couple of projects this summer that unfortunately I can’t talk about till they’re announced, but I’ve just finished mixing the Mario Grigorov‘s score for  Look Away by film director Assaf Bernstein. A gorgeous orchestral score with some darker electronic elements as well.

X: If you weren’t a recording and mix engineer what other career would you have chosen?

O: I think politics is really fascinating. I wouldn’t be a front-line politician as I don’t really like being centre of attention, but maybe working in research or journalism would be interesting. I’ve recently started a campaign for Shared Parental Pay for self-employed people and during the course of this have been lobbying politicians and getting a little glimpse of how it all works.

X: What advice would you give to younger people who want to work in the music industry? 

O: Only do this job if you really really want to do it. There absolutely are opportunities out there, but you have to be incredibly committed. If you go about it in a half-arsed only-interested-some-of-the-time kind of way you won’t get anywhere, and just end up wasting your time.

For more information, visit Olga Fitzroy’s website

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