excuse the mess
extra mess • Mandy Parnell

extra mess • Mandy Parnell

February 24, 2019

Mandy Parnell, the mastering engineer legend, is the next guest for this very special 'extra mess' episode. She is one of the most respected and in demand mastering engineers in the world. Many of you working in music have probably heard of her, for those of you that haven't you need only look at the artists she has worked with to get a sense of the level at which she works: Bjork, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Jamie XX, Max Richter, Lianne La Havas, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Glass Animals, Manu Chao, Sigur Ros, Jungle...the list goes on for miles.

I visited her iconic Black Saloon Studios in early December to get the music from series one mastered as well as capturing an abundance of conversation for this podcast.

The episode is a real education for anyone that makes music. Mandy covers a bunch of topics on good mixing practice and how to be best prepared in the lead up to a mastering session. Don't be keeping all these wise words to yourselves, share with all your producer, mixer, musician mates - there are so many things we can learn from Mandy.

I can't express enough how grateful I am to have Mandy on the podcast.

Two final notes...
Anyone that know's Mandy will love her colourful language, she's a swearer, so be warned!
And ironically, for an episode featuring a guest that champions the highest quality of sound, the audio I captured isn't the best at a few points. Especially when we're playing the etm music in the room. Apologies audiophiles!

I hope you get a tonne of inspiration from this episode - thank you for checking it out.


More interviews for Mandy wisdoms:
Red Bull Talk 
Loop | Mandy Parnell In Conversation 
Sound On Sound: Mandy Parnell 

Mandy Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram 
etm links: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Get subscribed on your podcast app and join the mailing list!
This podcast is gratefully supported by Noted Fellowship and iZotope. 

extra mess • Hannah Peel

extra mess • Hannah Peel

November 19, 2018

I’m extra excited to bring you the first of a bunch of bonus episodes, some ‘extra mess’. The first features one of today’s leading composers and songwriters, Hannah Peel. Her musical explorations will transport you into the far corners of the universe. She expertly blends electronic and acoustic elements, blurring the lines between them; the results are beautiful.

We talk about her last album Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia, the album proceeding it Awake but Always Dreaming and how these two are interlinked. Hannah shares personal stories of her Grandmothers Alzheimer's and how Awake But Always Dreaming is rooted in this experience. This leads us to talk about the power of music and it’s positive effect on those suffering from Alzheimer's.

I really loved to talking with Hannah and I hope you love hearing from her. The episode is brimming with her exquisite music which might whet your appetite for further listening. So a huge thank you to her for being part of this podchat.

I asked Hannah if she could send over some links that relate to a few of the topics in the podcast and ideas that are behind her music.
A bit of further reading for those of you that are interested.
Dr Selina Wray - Dementia Researcher
Making a playlist for someone with dementia

Other relevant links:
Seven Brief Lessons On Physics  (Carlo Rovelli)
Memory Playlist (a collection of words and playlists “a time capsule or even an insurance policy for music”)
Mary Casio Live
Tubular Brass

Hannah Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Spotify
etm links: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Thanks for listening to excuse the mess!

Get subscribed on your podcast app and join the mailing list!
And do go back and check out Series 1.

This podcast is gratefully supported by Noted FellowshipiZotope and Red Dog Music

#9B Matt Calvert [MUSIC MAKING]

#9B Matt Calvert [MUSIC MAKING]

October 1, 2018

Welcome to the music making part of the podcast. In only a few hours Matt and I make a new track from scratch using nothing but his shiny new resonator guitar and Ableton manipulations. Listen to it unfold.

If you’re an Ableton user this is a good one for the likes of you - Matt knows what he’s doing, I learned loads of useful tricks so hopefully you will too.

I had a blast making this piece with Matt, he’s one of my favourite guitarists and composers - it’s possibly the most ‘electronic’ sounding track so far in the series.

Subscribe to etm for more music chat and music making.

Final word. Check out Matt's album Typewritten HERE

Cheers! Ben


Matt links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify
etm links:  Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Ableton Simpler (slices) Tutorial

#9A Matt Calvert [CHAT]

#9A Matt Calvert [CHAT]

October 1, 2018

Here it is - the final episode of Series 1!! What an incredible bunch of months it has been and I'm excited to bring you this jam packed, final episode featuring none other than guitarist, composer and electronic music wizard, Matt Calvert. Three Trapped Tigers, Strobes, Heritage Orchestra, Ma & Evil Ex are all projects you’ll see his name attached to and these are some of the most progressive music outfits around today (many of them favourites of mine). You’ll hear interludes of this great music along with some more in depth chat about Three Trapped Tigers, how Matt approaches writing for that band and why Brian Eno is a fan of TTT. 

The main focus of this episode is something new and exciting - some fresh sounds. Matt will be releasing his debut solo album, Typewritten (Truant Records) on 12th October. It’s a beautifully crafted album that has been a long time in the making. It’s also a step in a new direction for him, completely acoustic but sitting amongst a body of work that is rather electronic heavy. However, the electronics have left their mark in different ways. Have a listen and learn how.

The album will be launched at SET in Dalston, London on 15th October. Info HERE

***The album is now out and can be heard HERE

A huge thank you to Matt for helping me round off series one, giving up his time to talk and make music. I learned many lessons in this one and I’m sure you’ll find some thought-food for yourself.

Thanks to you for downloading this episode and for listening to etm throughout the series. I hope you've got something from each guest. If you're new to the podcast then do go back and check out the rest of series one. 


excuse the mess is gratefully supported by iZotope and Noted Fellowship.

Matt links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify
etm links:  Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Relevant Links:
Obique Strategies App
Blood and Biscuit 10th Birthday Gig (Oct 6th/7th): London Leeds 
Keyscape Keyboard Library (used by Matt in Typewritten)
Izotope RX 7 - Latest version of this genius software

#8B Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch [MUSIC MAKING]

#8B Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch [MUSIC MAKING]

August 13, 2018

Follow Emilie and I as we co-compose a new piece together. Like in every etm episode we only use one instrument; for this episode we're using piano, getting into it's inards and playing with lots of extended techniques and layering. As part of the rules we can manipulate the recordings electronically but we only have an afternoon to finish the music. 

I should say a special thank you to the composer Danny Mulhern for generously allowing us into his studio to use his piano and record the music there.

This is the second part of excuse the mess podcast. An opportunity to hear how each guest operates when in music making mode. Don't miss the first part of which is more a of a general ramble chat all about their careers and projects.

Thanks for listening!

To keep up with Emilie news:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


#8A Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch [CHAT]

#8A Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch [CHAT]

August 13, 2018

Episode #8 is the penultimate episode of Series One. I was overjoyed to speak to and write music with the amazing composer, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. Emilie's practice focuses mainly around a central piano sound (being a pianist) that acts as a spring board for expansion into electronics, sound design and beautiful string writing. Emilie has released two album, both of them using an instinctive writing process beginning at the piano before evolving beyond. Like Water Through The Sand and Époques were released on FatCat Records, the latter was released July this year. Both have received much critical acclaim. 

Her music finds it's way into other artistic circles including writing film scores - 'Only You' being one that is set for release this year - as well as collaborations with visual artists, for example a recent piece for an exhibition at Knole called, 'A Woman's Place' where she teamed up with Alice May Williams to provide the soundtrack and sound design for Alice's film. 

She has also been commissioned by innovative ensembles like the London Contemporary Orchestra.

I'm splitting up the chat part of the episode and the music making into two episodes. 

In this first episode we meet at a quirky cafe in North London called Edith's House, apologies for any distracting background noise.

We had a lovely casual chat about many topics, the one's that made the edit are: her coveting of free plugins, the process behind Époques, the shifts in film music tastes, experiences of gender inequality in music, sampling the oldest playable organ in the UK and so on...

Please do continue sharing excuse the mess with your friends, leave positive reviews & ratings on iTunes etc etc, it all really helps.


Ben x



Huge thanks to Emilie for getting involved in etm.

To keep up with Emilie news:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook



More links
Smirnoff Equalising Music
Resina - cellist and ELF collaborator
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch - The Minutes (World Première)



#7 Mira Calix

#7 Mira Calix

July 17, 2018

MIRA CALIX is up next on excuse the mess.
Mira is a multidimensional artist that first gained prominence for her experimental electronic music released on Warp Records. However, her projects go beyond the electronic world. She has worked with many prestigious contemporary classical ensembles, choreographers, theatre companies, robots, scientists, festivals and venues all over the world.

As her career has progressed Mira learned she is "an environment builder". Works have become more immersive, exploring a variety of art disciplines and influences in her creations. Along with the music Mira has a strong vision for the visual elements in her pieces and the overall experience for her audience through these "environments" she builds.

The last 10 years have seen a number of these large scale pieces, traditional albums haven't been her focus at all. It's tricky to give you a sense of her more recent projects in a podcast as so much of their impact is in the visual element. I've included a 'watchlist' with links to a number of videos of her pieces. Please do check them out, they're brilliant!

We talk about:
Social media and it's significance in our lives and her work (8mins)
Creating ‘environments’ (18mins)
Ode to Joy - a recent piece taking data from foetuses in utero (20mins)
Nunu - a piece using insects and the London Sinfonietta (30mins)
Mira’s background (34mins)
Plus more!

For the music making part of this episode (47mins) we took a different approach to all previous etm's. Mira isn't an instrumentalist so in order to have sounds to make a track we decided to head to an ice rink in London to record our source material. The music making really gives you a sense of her process.

Thanks to Mira for being an thought provoking guest and thanks to you for checking out excuse the mess. Please do give it a rating on iTunes if it was to your liking. I hope you enjoy this episode!
Thanks, Ben

Ode To The Future*
Inside There Falls
Moving Museum 35
Making of Nothing Is Set In Stone*
My Secret Heart
*Mentioned in episode

Discover more from Mira on her online portal and website. Also Twitter and Instagram.

etm website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook


excuse the mess is gratefully supported by Arts Council England, Noted Fellowship and PRS Foundation

#6 Douglas Dare

#6 Douglas Dare

June 11, 2018

This episode delves into the mind of a much loved singer songwriter, Douglas Dare. A key artist on the Erased Tapes label. If you’re a songwriter or interested in learning how one of these song driven creatures think then hit the play thingy, don’t waste any time because it’s a bit of an epic episode (but hopefully a good companion for your daily commute).


Douglas let’s us in on his composition process and explains a variety of themes and inspirations behind his past, present and future music. Including George Orwell’s 1984, Black Mirror, queer culture, storytelling through songs and using unfamiliar instruments for writing inspiration. We also talk about the great artists he shares a label with, the music he is currently working on, we attempt to discuss pop culture and some Netflix documentary favourites.


Around the 50 minute mark we move on to the second part of excuse the mess, where I write a new piece with the guest using their instrument, so in Douglas’ case, his extraordinary voice. We start with a blank slate and you’ll follow us as we create a track together bit-by-bit, hearing the finished thing at the end. It was really amazing to collaborate with Douglas, I learned loads from him and his approach to music making and I’m sure you will too!

Enjoy the podcast and don’t forget to subscribe/review if you double enjoyed it.

Thanks for listening!
(Hosted by Ben Corrigan)

Get in touch
email: ben@etmpodcast.com



Douglas’ website: www.aforger.com

Twitter Instagram Facebook

Aforger on Spotify

Whelm on Spotify


Darling Music Video

Candy Darling On Her Death Bed (photo that inspired 'Darling')

Patti Smith: Advice to the Young

Douglas on Strrr.tv

#5 Mark Lockheart

#5 Mark Lockheart

May 24, 2018

Mark Lockheart is up next on excuse the mess. A composer and saxophonist primarily working in jazz but always finding himself in very different worlds due to his adventurous tastes and versatility as a musician and collaborator.

He has been at the forefront of the British Jazz scene (somewhat of a legened!) via his work with some of the most pioneering musicians. Working alongside the likes of: Loose TubesJah Wobble, Kenny WheelerBilly Jenkins, June Tabor, Perfect Houseplants, Polar BearRadioheadMark Anthony Turnage.

In our podcast convo we talk about much of the above, the lessons learned whilst working in Polar Bear, previous works like his album Ellington In Anticipation where the lines between composer and arranger are well and truly blurred. Also, more current projects including his trio Malija (with Liam Noble and Jasper Høiby), You'll also learn how many records Mark has stashed at home. 

Later this year Mark will be releasing his next album, 'Brave World' [Edition Records], a full orchestral album featuring, of course, some incredible musicians (Seb Rochford and Tom Herbert for example). We start our chat with Brave World, delving a little deeper in to the concept behind it. 

Have fun listening and remember to spread the word. Any reviews on iTunes are hugely appreciated and will massively help support the podcast! Go on.....like-scribe!



From this episode onwards I've decided to add links to all tracks heard in the episode (for your further listening enjoyment):
Polar Bear - Be Free
Polar Bear - WW
Mark Lockheart - My Caravan
Radiohead - National Anthem
Mark Lockheart - Surfacing
Mark Lockheart - Not In My Name
Malija - Hung Up
Malija - TV Shoes
Polar Bear - Peepers


#4 Robert Ames

#4 Robert Ames

April 30, 2018

Hello there! Episode #4 features one of the most important voices to emerge in contemporary music culture in recent years. Robert Ames is the co-artistic director, co-principal conductor and violist of the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Since the LCO's creation 10 years ago they have collaborated with some of the biggest names in music and have gained a reputation as one of the most innovative groups around.

Their performances and projects are anything but the norm, they are no standard 'orchestra'.

Rob’s collaborators include [now, brace yourselves]: Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Actress, Mica Levi, Jed Kurzel, Shiva Feshareki, Edmund Finnis, Emily Hall, CHAINES, Danny Mulhern, Anne Nikitin, Frank Ocean, Vivienne Westwood, Spitfire Audio, Beck, Cat Lamb, Daniel Wohl, William Basinski, Claire M Singer, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Foals, BadBadNotGood...i'm definitely missing a bunch, it's hard to keep track.

In this episode we discuss a lot of the above, the Actress writing process and their upcoming album release with Ninja Tune. We chat about their film music work, creating a sample library with Spitfire Audio, London's booming young composer scene and plenty more.

*For the uninitiated, in each episode I spend a day with a different music maker. We chat music then attempt to write a piece of music together using only the instrument that the guest brings along.

Rob made for a brilliant guest - so much interesting chat and it was exciting to make a track with him. We hope you like it!

Enjoy the episode - like, subscribe, share if you feel inclined, it’d be much appreciated.

Thanks for checking out etm!