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Meet this year’s winner of the MPG LIPA prize

LIPA graduate and 2019 MPG LIPA Award winner Will Mason lets PSNEurope's Fiona Hope in on his experience at the prestigious performing arts university and his plans for the future

Pictured above (L-R): Tony Platt, Steve Levine, Will Mason and Jon Thornton, head of LIPA’s BA Sound Technology programme

LIPA graduate Will Mason was recently awarded the much-coveted 2019 MPG LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) Prize. The annual award is granted to the most promising LIPA Sound Technology course graduate of the year.

The accolade provides the winner with an abundance of opportunities in the industry, setting them up for their future career with plenty of networking, shadowing of industry professionals, financial support and high-quality studio equipment. Specifically, Mason will get the chance to work with the industry’s finest, including MPG Recording Engineer of the Year 2019, Matt Wiggins, who has worked with Adele and London Grammar, and the opportunity to attend recording sessions at London’s Strongroom Studios (MPG Studio of the Year 2019). Other benefits include being gifted an AMS Neve 1073 Mic Pre, a visit to Avid’s UK Headquarters, one year’s associate membership with the MPG, and tickets to the exclusive MPG Awards ceremony.

MPG executive director, Olga FitzRoy, said of the award: “We’re proud to sponsor this award, as it will give the winner the opportunity to learn from the best talent in the industry. We hope that this, combined with PPL’s generous support will give talented students from all backgrounds a real boost in this competitive field.”

Originally from Leek in Staffordshire, Mason first got into music when his dad taught him to play the drums and his music production skills blossomed while part of the band, Delamere. Mason then quit his job as an IT technician to join LIPA. Here, Fiona Hope found out from Mason himself about his win and how he’ll make the most out of his newfound opportunity…

What is your background? What made you pursue an education and career in audio?

I was taught how to play the drums by my dad at a very young age and played non-stop as I grew up. I began to take music more seriously as a teenager when I joined a band which would later become Delamere; this is where I quickly found a passion for music production. As the band went from strength to strength, so did my music production skills. In 2016 we released our debut album which I co-produced alongside recording engineer and LIPA grad Rich Turvey. Songs from the album received plays on national radio and appeared on high profile TV shows such as Made in Chelsea and Soccer AM. The experience I gained from this gave me the confidence to pursue a career in music production professionally, studying Sound Technology at LIPA.

How was your experience studying at LIPA?

My three years at LIPA not only sharpened my technical abilities but also allowed me the time and focus to produce a portfolio of work which showcases my abilities as a songwriter, engineer and music producer. It was this time, along with the targets and deadlines that LIPA gave me, that was most valuable to me.

What advice would you give to those about to embark on an audio education?

To make the most out of the three or so years you have and to work hard on improving your skills in your chosen field. I focused on improving myself in all aspects of music creation. For me, it was important to have an end goal to reach a level of hyper-focus. On the other hand, if you’re not sure what your end goal is, it’s a great way to find out where your skills lie and what you enjoy.

What experiences have you had so far in the pro audio world? Any current projects?

I’ve done a few stints at various studios as an assistant engineer but my main focus right now is to set up a small production space to create and record music.

Who inspires you?

There are three people from the school and small town I grew up in that are all doing well in the music industry as producers; Rich Turvey, James Ford and Paul Yarrow. I find people who I know or people who have had similar paths in life to me to be the most inspiring, as it makes your ‘pipe dream’ feel achievable. Other than that, I’m a big fan of mix engineers David Wrench and Spike Stent.

How do you think the win will impact your career?

It’s a really great opportunity for me to kickstart my career. For an introvert like myself, making connections in the industry doesn’t come naturally. Although I’m not shy, I think the award and opportunities I’ve been given will help me make some solid contacts and mentors.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To just keep making music. I don’t aspire to become a millionaire through my work, I’d be foolish if I did. I just want to do what I enjoy for a living while constantly improving myself as a producer, musician, and person.