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Leo Pearson originally made his name as a remixer with some of the coolest names on the circuit including Howie B. Such was his track record that he soon attracted the attention of, well, the biggest band on the planet...!
"U2 got in touch with me," Leo states simply. "I had a meeting with them, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois." So, quite some meeting then! "Yeah I was 22 or 23 and luckily I didn't really know anyone! I wasn't really a U2 fanatic and I didn't really know much about Eno or Lanois, so there were no real nerves or me being star struck. I ended up setting up in their studio for three months. They'd fire out demos and I'd rearrange them and put them into different shapes and that kind of thing."
Of course working with U2 is always going to help get other work and Leo's status quickly rose to producer as he was called in to help on more big projects.
"After U2 I co-produced a record for Elvis Costello called When I Was Cruel," he says. "That was great, a really interesting record to make. That was 2002/2003. Then I decided to work producing younger bands so I set up a studio at The Factory in Dublin. I'm now concentrating on that. The bands come to someone like me to give them that extra push."
The Cakewalk connection
Throughout his career Leo has been a big Cakewalk user, although he has, until recently, been using some quite old school software! "You're going to laugh but the Cakewalk software I was using until recently was from 1992. I didn't even know the name, it was just a black and white grid basically! I now have the super posh SONAR software which looks brilliant and I'm getting more into it."
And on the sounds front he is also using Cakewalk software, this time the mammoth banks of quality sounds from Dimension Pro. "Dimension Pro is the one for me," he says. "I basically use it as a module. It's great. The 'real' sounds on Dimension stand out for me your pianos and strings. I find those really good to get in and mess with. Up until now I was using an Akai and a CD-ROM which was just a pain in the arse loading it up all the time, and you can't get it instantly as with this. I don't have a piano but had one in the past and had to get it tuned every month. But with piano in a band situation I'd easily use Dimension."
And controlling both Cakewalk applications is Edirol's brand new PCR-300 keyboard. "I use it as a MIDI controller in my studio. The main studio I use has some MIDI stuff but I'm doing more guitar bands there so in my home studio I have all of the Cakewalk and SONAR software and I'm using the keyboard there. It's grand for that and has every controller you can want with all of the faders."
So what does the future have in store for Leo? "I've done three albums," he says. "There's a band called The Things, like a punk rockabilly, who are doing well round here (Dublin) and Berlin. There's another local band called My Pet Jeep who have big sounding records with big tunes. I'm also starting an album here with a country band with [Nashville producer] Jim Lauderdale and finally working with a band called Kopek who won last year's global Battle Of The Bands contest. They are brilliant and just did an EP with [top producer] Danny Saber in LA. "
And last but not least? "And I know every producer says this but I am nearly finished my own album as well!"