Coming from a musical family, where his great grandfather was taught to compose by Chopin himself, and now with two older brothers entering the music industry, it’s no surprise that Frank Pescod decided to pursue a career in music. While his early career centered around producing music for commercials, Pescod is branching out with the release of his first studio EP under the pseudonym To Be Frank. But beyond his career as a musician and producer, Pescod is also known for his collection of rare and vintage gear, with a vintage Neve 542 mixing console at the heart of the studio he co-owns with Andy Pullan—Solebay Music, in Suffolk, UK.
“It’s a nice, old world Neve console,” Pescod said. “There’s been rumors that it was used by Coldplay, and Mumford & Sons mixed some stuff on it. The desk has traveled far, but the main thing is that we got it.”
The studio is also fixed with a Neve 1070 mic pre and Avalon Stereo compressor, and Pescod said he specifically spent time trying to locate a Rode mic he used regularly while performing. “One of my main aims was to locate an original Rode mic. I always thought my voice sounded great on it. I was able to locate a Rode Classic,” Pescod said. “Andy and I have an addiction to (vintage) equipment. We’re also big fans of unusual instruments.”
With his new EP, Pescod reflects on his collection of rare and vintage gear through the music, but also uses modern software and digital equipment, including Logic, Ableton and Native Instruments. “We’re always looking for things that have character and soul to them,” Pescod said. “To Be Frank reflects that. My voice carries a lot of soul and character, and I mix that with electronic sound.”
Because of his collection, Pescod said he has a few tricks to maintain his equipment beyond keeping a regulated temperature in his studio. “I have a few secrets (to maintain my equipment). To keep my mics cozy, I use fuzzy slippers—when people come to visit Solebay, I give them a pair of slippers, but if they’re not wearing them, I let my mics wear them. The slippers keep my mics warm,” Pescod said.
At the moment, Pescod said his studio is mainly used for his own projects, and that he doesn’t make it available to other clients. “It’s not that we don’t rent it out, but I mainly use the studio for my own projects. If I’m not doing commercial production, I’m writing (music) all the time,” he said.
Pescod first got into writing and producing music when he joined a local blues band onstage when he was only four years old. He said as he got older, his love of music also grew, and he continued to educate himself about it. “In terms of production and recording, I got interested in that during my teens when I moved to Oxford and became involved with the Oxford music scene,” Pescod said.
Working closely with long-time Supergrass producer Sam Williams, Pescod learned the ins and outs of how to operate a studio. “Sam really opened my eyes to becoming a producer,” Pescod said. “Eventually I ventured off on my own path producing for bands.”
After touring with a few local bands and producing commercials, Pescod teamed up with Pullen to open Solebay Music, with Pescod’s home studio at the center. To Be Frank will be the first artist to be released off Solebay’s label with his EP Nothing. “I’ve got a lot of songs, and I’m just now starting to show them to the world,” Pescod said. “I’ve released one single, ‘If You Love Her,’ and the response has been really positive.”
To Be Frank