The two years Jon has so far spent with Miloco has seen him continue to build a whole catalogue
of memories and experiences in the music industry. He's worked on a whole load of sessions as an assistant
engineer whilst continuing to build his admirable list of engineering credits, and is now perching prettily on
Miloco's new in-house engineer roster. Jon...
A) A few starters:
MILC: What do you do here at Miloco?
Jon: Try to make hit records, change light bulbs, that sort of thing.
MILC: How long have you been at Miloco?
Jon: 2 years
MILC: You've worked with loads of cool artists - can you name a few of the projects/artists you've worked with since joining Miloco...
Jon: Oceansize, John and Jehn, Soho Dolls, Jarvis Cocker, Engineers, Ms Dynamite, Maps, The Klaxons, M.I.A.
MILC: ...and of which are you most proud?
Jon: Ernest Nkabinde (Roots) - my first session mixing and engineering for Miloco although I must mention working with Chris Sheldon and Ben Hillier from whom I've learned a lot. It's always a pleasure to be on sessions with people who can help you see music in a different light.
Favourite music section:
MILC: What was your favourite album of 2007?
Jon: MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Portishead, Foals, Black Kids, Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend have all impressed me too.
MILC: What's the first record you remember buying?
Jon: Adam and the Ants - Stand and Deliver (am I showing my age?)
MILC: Which track in the entire history of music, are you the most goddamn relieved
not to have any involvement in making? (this if course shouldn't really be in the
'Favourite Music Section' but hey...)
Jon: Tough question! There are 2 categories that spring to mind, the novelty records (Jive Bunny, Keith Harris
and Orville, Birdie Song, Black Lace etc) and those that were incredibly arduous to make eg Rumours - Fleetwood
Mac, The Stone Roses - Second Coming, Metallica - The Black Album. Clearly the former category wins but both
were phenomenally successful and it's never a bad thing to be associated with success. Let's go for There's No
One Quite Like Grandma - St Winifred's School Choir since it includes the children element (never work with
them or animals).
MILC: Similarly, is there any track which whenever you hear, and whatever mood you
are in, actually does turn you green with envy?
Jon: Well it's an album, Kraftwerk - Die Mensch-Maschine, a technological triumph, way ahead of it's time and
yet still exciting and relevant. I'll give someone else the opportunity to say Sgt. Pepper - The Beatles!
MILC: What piece(s) of gear have you come across recently which you'd recommend
to fellow engineers and producers, and why?
Jon: The Really Nice Compressor (RNC) - for the money (under £200 new) it offers the biggest bang per
buck of anything out there.
MILC: Staff knob of the month. Of all the switches, buttons, effects and tools at your
disposal during recent Miloco sessions, which single one has given you most satisfaction?
Jon: Any button that leads to the illumination of a blue LED
MILC: Besides knobs and your previous recommendations, what other pieces of
Miloco gear are floating your boat currently???
Jon: The Hi-Watt custom amp has a superb tone as does the Ampeg B15. The Neumann M149 valve mic is great.
It's silly time:
MILC: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Jon: Impossible to describe
MILC: When was the last time you lost your temper with someone and what did they do?
Jon: I don't really lose my temper as I believe in diplomacy and when that fails controlled aggression is usually more successful. Having said that I wasn't best pleased a few years ago when someone threatened my life.
MILC: What's your biggest regret so far this year?
Jon: Je ne regrette rien
MILC: Any ideas for what your tombstone might read?
Jon: The meaning of life is that life should have meaning (deep huh?)
Final music section:
MILC: If you could turn back the clocks and re-visit ONE gig that you went to in the past, which one would it be??
Jon: Radiohead at Brixton Academy during their OK Computer tour. Yes I bought the T-Shirt and no I can't fit it
I've been fortunate to see many great bands at arguably the peak of their careers in small venues (which I much
prefer) including Oasis in Bournemouth the week after What's The Story was released, Blur at Clacton Pier
during The Great Escape tour, The Verve at Hammersmith Palais just before Urban Hymns came out and the
Stone Roses at the Cambridge Corn Exchange promoting The Second Coming. The Charlatans touring their eponymous
album supported by The Bluetones and Cast was an amazing gig from start to finish. Other more recent great gigs
are still fresh in the memory so I don't feel the need to revisit them just yet.
MILC: What's the worst behaviour you've ever witnessed in a studio?
Jon: This industry applauds what mainstream society would consider bad behaviour and I've seen all of that eg.
turning up for work several hours late, being drunk, high, breaking equipment out of frustration so this
doesn't really count. Worse sins include being under prepared, lack of imagination, not taking personal
responsibility for mistakes, panic under pressure and doing jobs for which you're grossly under-qualified and
yet in denial about it.
I recently witnessed a rather ugly argument between a producer and a staff engineer resulting in the sacking
from the session of the said engineer. I hasten to add this did not happen at Miloco.
Another episode of note was when I was at a residential studio and a band stripped and jumped into a
swimming pool (outdoors and unheated) in the tail end of December.
MILC: What's the longest studio time you've ever spent on an, ultimately pointless, task?
Jon: A month. I worked on an album for a big act on a major label which wasn't released as the band split before it could be completed. The plus side is that I gained a lot of experience working with one of the UK's
top engineers for a substantial length of time.
The end bit:
Thank you very much, Jon, for opening up to Milc Magazine. We hope you have got some issues
off your chest, and more-importantly enjoyed your brief but very worthwhile interview. Your
time, effort and patience is very much appreciated.
Jon: Thank you for the opportunity.
Jon Olliffe was talking to MILC in July 2008
Jon's CV can be viewed here: www.miloco.co.uk/management/jonolliffe.php
© MILC@Miloco 2008