And the OSCar goes to... Lee Groves

Artist Name: 
Lee Groves

Lee Groves (Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Madonna, Basement Jaxx and more)


(...but Janet Jackson gets the booby-prize!)

Lee Groves is a programmer to the stars and Mark 'Spike' Stent's right hand man. He's worked with some huge names including Texas, Gwen Stefani and Natasha Bedingfield, but just one huge synth, the GForce impOSCar. Just don't mention the Janet Jackson incident..!

Lee Groves' career in music is pretty varied, to say the least. He's produced sample CDs, programmed sound cards, had a record deal with his band Teminalhead and remixed Madonna and Britney. But after his band broke up, his music career could have been over but a chance meeting meant the start of another successful chapter...

"I was approached by the brilliant Mark 'Spike' Stent (mixer for the stars) to be his programmer," remembers Lee. "We had known about each other for years, but I was always in the middle of something or other and so finally we got to work together. I've been really lucky in my career as I've been able to work with some amazing people."

That list of people now reads like a who's who of rock and pop including Gwen Stefani, Janet Jackson, Craig David, Goldfrapp, Texas, Black Eyed Peas, Fischerspooner, Natasha Bedingfield and Depeche Mode among many others. Programming for the best artists means using the best tools and Lee is a huge fan of GForce software, in particular the impOSCar...

"I've always been a great fan of the original Oscar synth and this sounded so good that I had to have it!" says Lee. "I use it with Logic on a lot of my projects. When I'm working on my own, I simply use it as an awesome sound and texture generation tool. When I'm working on something with Spike, I tend to double up existing sounds with something from it, just to give them more of an 'edge'."

"I love the way the impOSCar sounds," he continues. "It's raw and it sounds very much like a real one. The filters are vicious and I also love the way you can sync the LFOs and create massive moving sounds and also spectacularly tough but beautiful sounds too. No-one else makes a soft synth that gives me the sounds and flexibility that this one does!"

One notable instance when Lee used the impOSCar was unfortunately overshadowed, as it were, by other events...

"I was lucky enough to remix and produce the music for Janet Jackson's infamous Superbowl appearance, the one where at the end she got one of her boobs out. There's a really cool synth sound in that production and it came off the impOSCar. Of course, no-one will remember the Rhythm Nation remix that I did for that show - everyone was too interested in her boobs!"

And the future is just as busy for Lee, including a big move... "We are in the process of relocating to Sydney, Australia. Other than that, I've recently finished a mix of Enya's new single, some production for an Aussie singer called Deni Hines, some mixes for dance gurus Vandalism, some mixes for US band United State Of Electronica and there are several other writing/production projects on the go too a busy year so far!"

And what's on his wish list, gear wise? "Is it possible for GMedia/GForce to make a Roland Juno 106 emulator?" he asks. "It'd sound great!" Indeed it would...

Lee's top production tips "I think it's really important to use your ears. Simply put, if it sounds right, it is right and stop looking at the meters! Obviously with slightly more critical recordings, there's always an element of 'doing the right thing' technically, but I've pretty much based my career on a philosophy of 'push it to 11 rather than 10' or 'how can I get in there and really get it to do something different?'. Think outside the box and push the envelope, otherwise there ain't no point making music!"

"Something I learnt from Spike was definitely the notion of 'fresh ears'; it's good to change perspective regularly so that you come back to a track fresh and I think using Logic and software synths means that you can do that."

Interview by Andy Jones of Feedback PR

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