Imaging In 2019 – Scott Banks
Scott Banks is one of the most talented CHR Producers in the world and currently works for “IMGR” from Wisebuddah in London, England. His ability to create catchy sonics within the work he creates makes him an obvious choice for the blog. A lot of his work has been stuck in my head for years (particularly his Song Intros!)
1. How did you get started in the business and tell us how you got started at IMGR/Wisebuddah
The amount of people that ask me this! And my response is usually along the lines of… I honestly don’t even know sometimes. I got involved with student radio whilst at university, then it’s the usual story of hanging out at radio stations, doing internships, then eventually I ended up at a small station back home in the north east of England. I got involved more with production when I was there, working on shows and making ID’s for my own weekend slot. I applied on a whim for the job of trainee imaging producer at Wisebuddah in London, just as IMGR was launching as a service, and I guess the rest is history – I’m still there 5 years later.
2. What's your opinion on the current state of play with regards to Radio Imaging?
I can only answer this on what I know from talking to people around me and from what I’ve heard and seen online. I do feel like there’s less new talent coming through lately. I’m unsure exactly why this is, but less opportunities to nurture young talent is most likely a reason. The recent deregulation of commercial radio in the UK is concern for me, as it means less opportunity for young people from outside of London to get the experience. There’s still some fantastic producers around, and you do see new faces all the time; its more of a case of making sure they get the training and mentorship that they need to make them the best producer they can be. Hopefully blogs like this, websites like The Imaging House, and communities online can help. Mentoring is also fantastic. I had George Taylor teach me most of the things I know now and if it wasn’t for having a mentor like that, I wouldn’t be half the producer I am today.
In terms of imaging in general, I’m really enjoying the move away from the “lets see how many whooshes and bangs I can stick in one ID”, and more towards a rhythmic and musical element of production. To me, they help brand the station and create a memorable motif without seeming jarring or overly in your face. I mean this differs to certain formats and becomes less of a thing the further you get away from pop music.
3. In 2019, what do you think is more important - creativity or technical ability (or both)
I got this exact question during my interview for my job at IMGR! It’s got to be both. Developing your technical ability, gives you new ways to develop to creative ability, and vice versa. You could have a great idea but if you don’t have the technical skills to achieve it, you’re kinda stuck! Conversely you could get a great mix on your promo but if the messaging is off, or the idea is boring, then that great mix of yours isn’t gonna matter one bit! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to identify what yours are, and both play to them and develop from them.
4. What was the best tip you know now, that’d you wish you knew when starting out?
So this is definitely more of a production tip. One word – frequencies. Everything in your mix needs it’s space within the frequency spectrum. Kicks/bass down the bottom, music, vocals in the middle, then hats and such up the top end. I mean that’s an incredibly simplified version but basically it’s about knowing which pocket everything needs to sit within – especially your voice over. We’ve done some IMGR tips videos on this, and there’s loads of tutorials on youtube and instagram. Beatspot are a great account to follow on Insta. The whole idea lends more towards music production, but if you want your ID’s and promos to have the same impact and pop out those speakers like the records do, then it really important to get a grip off.
Also, get other people to listen to your work and ask for advice. You will improve 10x quicker.
5. AWhat's your favourite type of production to produce and what format is your preferred.
I mean it’s gotta be CHR. That’s what I started on and where I learned to experiment and try new ideas with. I find with other formats like rock, classic hits, and country, they can lend heavily to more copy driven promos and ideas which I know other people can do much better than me! Copying and playing with ideas and techniques that you hear in the latest pop track is one of my favorite bits of producing, so you get to do that the most with CHR. I work across all the formats at IMGR so it’s nice to work with music from loads of different genres, country being another surprise favorite of mine.