Sound Learnings


E6: Amlak Tafari. Reggae bass maestro shares tales of a musical, educational and academic life

Season 1, Ep. 6
A podcastabout Education in Audio, Music Production, and Music Technology.In this episode we talk to Amlak Tafari, English-born Jamaican and ‘International Reggae Am-BASS-Ador’. Amlak is bass guitarist for Grammy award winning roots reggae band Steel Pulse, he has also played extensively with Pato Banton and a huge list of other international musicians, as well as being an educator, academic and all round great guy to chat with.We talk about Amlak's rich musical past, his experiences in the music industry and cultural issues of bigotry and racism. We also talk about his route to Higher education and the problems he experienced.At Sound Learnings we are keen advocates for effective higher education and a key part of that is being unflinching in discussing core problems of higher education, in particular the snobbery and racism discussed with Amlak in this episode.As well as that there are some great stories of life as a true muso with funny and surprising insights.Links and Sources:Amlak's IMDB profile: Pulse website: most recent album Mass Manipulation available nowLink to call for contributions for the Perspectives on Education in Audio and Music Production (POEM) book Podcasting & Education: Concepts, Communities & Case Studies (Routledge) mentioned in the intro to Tim's new plugins

E5: Bill Evans. Tales of prog rock super stars, tech development, research and HE advocacy

Season 1, Ep. 5
A podcastabout Education in Audio, Music Production, and Music Technology.In this episode we talk to Bill Evans, producer, researcher, educator and entrepreneur. Bill is the executive producer who brought together the American supergroup Flying Colors, with musical giants such as Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, Casey McPherson, Neal Morse and Steve Morse. Their first album, released in 2012, debuted at No 9 on the Billboard’s Hard Rock Charts (No 11 on BBC’s Rock Album charts).In our chat we discuss the world of the hard-rock music scene and Bill shares some fascinating stories and anecdotes that contain some serious name dropping! Bill also explores many of the 'secret sources' of his work in our chat, specifically his Harmonic Phrase Analysis and his technologies for live performance production. We also talk about how research (specifically a PhD), balancing the search for new knowledge with the day-to-day needs of the industry, the teaching and learning of students, and the day-to-day work of producers in the industry can all be mutually beneficial.Links and Sources featured in this Episode:MMU (Nov 2015) New technology puts concerts in your pocket, Colors about Rock (2019) Flying Colors – Third Degree Colors Wikipedia Entry (2020) Tim's technology projects also get a mention too, for more information please see

E3: Mike Exarchos (Stereo Mike). Lessons of a major label HipHop artist, an academic and lecturer

Season 1, Ep. 3
S1E03 – Mike Exarchos (Stereo Mike)A podcastabout Education in Audio, Music Production, and Music Technology.In this episode, we chat with Hip Hop Artist and MTV Award winner Mike Exarchos. Mike was born in Greece and came to the UK to study in Leeds and London. During his studies, he continually worked as a sound producer in the British hop hop scene, including working with names such as Klashnekoff, Bury Crew, Skinnyman, Taskforce, Iceberg Slimm, Mike GLC and JMC.His first album attracted industry attention and he was nominated at the Mad Video Music Awards in 2005 for "Best Hip-Hop Video Clip" and in 2008 for "Best Hip-Hop Video Clip" and for "Video Clip of the Year". He also featured in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest Final, and being signed by EMI, in this episode we thus will be talking about that juggling act of allowing a high-profile industry practice to interact with an academic practice.Additionally, we chat about how we in our universities allow industry and the educational space to become much more interlinked than ever before, how our universities become more permeable. This of course despite some challenges of being both an academic and a industry practitioner at the same time.Links and Sources featured in this Episode:Watch Stereo Mike as part of the Team which came 7th in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011: Mike on Wikipeda Exarchos on Soundcloud, W. (2006). Giving up Hip-Hop's Firstborn: A Quest for the Real after the Death of Sampling. Callaloo 29(3), 868-892. doi:10.1353/cal.2006.0149.Correction: Tim mentions a survey by NME showing percentage of artists from private schools, the survey was actually conducted by the now defunct The Word magazine, but is quoted as follows in the Daily Mail article referenced below: “A survey from 2010 by The Word magazine found that at least 60 per cent of chart pop artists went to private schools, but 20 years before this figure was just one per cent.”, (2018). BBC slaps down DJ Cerys Matthews over her BAN on public school-educated bands from Radio 6 show that sparked MPs calling for her to quit.

E2: Tim 'Spag' Speight. Pro studio tales and educational insights

Season 1, Ep. 2
S1E02 – Tim (Spag) SpeightA podcastabout Education in Audio, Music Production, and Music Technology.In this episode, we meet up with Music Producer and Educator Tim ‘Spag’ Speight, a professional both in the music industry and in further education. Spag is a freelance recording and mix engineer and a course leader at Barnsley College. He’s worked for some of the greats, Pete Waterman, Simon Cowell, Donna Summer, Steps, Westlife, McFly, Kim Marsh, S Club 8, Dannii Minogue and many others.We start off exploring the rather bleak industry forecasts for our creative sectors, currently suffering and expected to be suffering for some time to come due to the global pandemic.Spag chats about his career, how he regained his creative spark, and we ask the question if music production is exclusively a young man’s game. We also discuss how the industry has changed with the availability of smaller, more mobile technology.Our discussions also revolve around that elusive link between academia and industry, the differences and the similarities, and how we - as educators - allow the next generation of upcoming talent to be inducted into a professional community within the industry. We also end with the revelation of just how some pro vocals manage to sound as pro as they do: its Vocal-gate, but not that kind of gate!..Links and Sources featured in this Episode:Tim Spag Speight LinkedIn Profile - Economics (2020). The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries. [Online]. Oxford. Available from: [Accessed: 21 July 2020].

E1: A decade of Music Technology degrees

Season 1, Ep. 1
S1E01 – Introduction to Sound LearningsA podcastabout Education in Audio, Music Production, and Music Technology.In this first episode, the hosts of this podcast introduce Sound Learnings, a new audio-oriented podcast with a roundtable of experts in music production and music technology. We discuss news, stories and publications with one or more guest presenters - people who are top of their game in either Education, Audio, Music Production and or Music Tech development.And yes, we will fight about terminology, haggle about where the industry is going, laugh about some of the techy excesses of the past, and try to understand the role of universities in all of this.At our roundtable in this episode is lecturer, musician and tech developer Tim Canfer, music producer and academic Russ Hepworth-Sawyer and Carola Boehm, Professor of Arts and Higher Education at Staffordshire University.…. and do not... ever … mention the lossless/lossy debate...Links and Sources featured in this Episode:·Boehm, C. (2007). The discipline that never was. Journal for Music, Technology and Education. Vol 1, 2007 (Journal Article).·Hepworth-Sawyer, R., Hughes, N., Ziemba, D. & BOEHM, C. (2018). The discipline that ‘became’: developments in music technology in British higher education between 2007 and 2018. Journal for Music, Technology and Education. [Online]. (Journal Article).·Garland, C. (2008). The McDonaldization of Higher Education? Notes on the UK Experience. [Online]. 4.1. Available from: