Dave is one of Australia’s most hidden secrets, a mastermind for all imaging. He works closely with Benztown’s Matt Anderson to create the best custom imaging for stations around the globe. I met Dave a while ago when an old friend introduced me to him. Thanks Daryl ! You are a rock star, too! Now it was time for a catch up! Learn about Dave’s session setup, what plugins he loves and how many Rubik’s Cubes can be put on one speaker :)! Enter Dave!

1. Can you give me some background on yourself, your career, and your achievements? 
 
I started in radio when i was 16. There was a radio station in town that was run by school kids, and they offered a day a month off school to go and learn about broadcasting. Of course I did it just to get the day off school, but quickly found it was what i wanted to do. I started learning audio production and imaging there. Once I’d finished school I stayed involved with the school station for a year or two before I landed my first radio gig at a commercial AC station as “cart boy”. This was back in the very early 90’s, so it was back in the days of working on tape. I spent 2 years at that station learning as much as I could off the other producers before heading to my next gig at a rock station. After 2 years there i was off to Sydney to work on the city’s number 1 breakfast show on 2DAY FM, which is where I started learning digital production. After that I moved to Brisbane for a few years to run the production department at B105. Then in 1999 I moved back to Sydney where i freelanced for a while before being asked to join the team at NOVA 969, a brand new station in Sydney, which launched in 2001. From there i moved an hour up the road from Sydney to the lovely Central Coast (where I still live) to work at STAR 104.5. After a few years I went back to a Sydney to work on WSFM’s breakfast show, and also wound up making imaging for another of the network’s stations called THE EDGE…. where i stayed for 9 years before heading back to STAR, which is where I am today!
 
I’ve won a few awards for stuff over the years, but it’s not what it’s about for me. I don’t even enter awards anymore. I’m just in it for the fun of creating great audio.
 
2. What is your favorite thing about being on Benztown’s Custom Imaging team? 
 
Working on different formats. I never know from day to day what i’ll get to work on. It’s always fun to try out new stations and see what I can do for them. Hopefully it’s something different. I really love working on the Chuck FM format. That silly sense of humor really appeals to me, and it’s way different to anything that we do  here in Australia. The guys I’ve worked with are also a great inspiration. Matt has a unique way of imaging that I’ll happily admit to copying for the radio station here from time to time!
 
3. What do your days look like from beginning to end?
 
I wake up early, always have. So by 5am I’m up and about either working on imaging for Benztown or reading, or playing my PS4. I get my kids up for school and herd them out the door then head into the radio station. I look after commercials and imaging at STAR, so it’s fairly constant but rarely so busy that it’s unpleasant. I’m home by 5 or 6 for dinner, then either relaxing for the night or making more imaging in my home studio. In bed by 10, then up and do it all again! I work some days on weekends, but only for a few hours.
 
 

4. What has been a project you are most proud of?

While I was making imaging for THE EDGE in Sydney I put together an image package using Dave Foxx’s (Z100) voice. He asked to hear what I’d done so I sent him some examples. It was some of my favorite imaging I’ve worked on over the years and I was really proud of it. Very rhythmic and lots of flow. I had complete creative control. Dave loved what I did and asked for mixouts so he could use bits and pieces of it on Z100 in New York. There was no payment involved, but it’s without doubt one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in radio. To get positive feedback from one of the industry greats like Dave Foxx was amazing. 
 

5. What DAW do you use?

I use Pro Tools at home and also in the studio. At home I work off a MacBook, using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 for an audio interface and some JBL monitors. The MacBook is handy because I can go and sit outside in the sun if I want and mix using headphones. At the radio station we have Pro Tools HD 12, so there’s a lot more grunt there if I need some extra power.
 
 
6. What are your favorite plugins?
 
I use all sorts of plugins for creating vocal fx. Metaflanger is a good one, as is Lo-Fi. The AIR suite of plugins are great as well. For mastering I like the Renaissance RCompressor, C4 Multiband and L2 Multimaximizer.
 
 
 

7. What is your inspiration?

Many people have inspired me over the years. My good friend, Daryl Missen who I worked with at B105 years ago is still a great inspiration to me. I still remember specific promos of his from 25 years ago that I was blown away by when I heard them the first time, just so clever. Also just a great guy all round. Another mate of mine, Sam Phelps, who at a time a few years ago when commercial radio in Australia was stale and boring, was trying really cool production techniques and finding different and original ways to cut stuff together. His fresh way of thinking has been a great motivator. An old mate of mine who sadly passed away a few years ago…. Vic Davies was half of a show called Club Veg. He’s the funniest man I’ve ever met. His comedy writing and production was the best I’ve ever heard. Even now if I’m stuck for a funny punchline for a comedy sketch or jingle, I just think “what would Vic have done with this?” He’s still getting me out of jams and making me laugh. And my longest serving boss, Charlie Fox. Probably the smartest radio mind I know, and one of the greatest guys I’ve known in this industry. Completely supportive, and always willing to let me try new things. Great for a laugh and endlessly caring. There aren’t many around like him.
 
8. Any new tools you have discovered lately?
 
I found a plugin recently called Speakerphone. It mimics all kinds of telephones and speakers and stuff. It’s really fun to play with. Useful for commercial production!
 
 
9. Your favorite piece of imaging or production ever?
 
Of my own, I think the launch piece I wrote and produced for STAR FM when the station started up in 2004. It was a real pisstake of Australian history. Lots if fun to write, cast and produce. It’s around 20 minutes long, so one of the longer things I’ve worked on. I listen to it now and the mix is a bit rough, but it still makes me smile.
 
10. What has been the best advice you have received? 
 
If you’re making a promo and it’s taking too long and just not working, and you’re getting frustrated…. the audience will probably feel the same way when they hear it, so scrap it and start again with a fresh head.
 
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Check out Dave’s soundcloud for an excerpt of his work!
 
 
 
 
 

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