He’s a music producer/studio owner who has just built his own bespoke recording studio One30two in Holywood, Northern Ireland.
When not locked away and working his magic on all manner of recordings, you might find him performing as one half of blues/rock duo The Tragedy of Dr. Hannigan. Get to Know Dean Stevens.
Where you’re from: Holywood, Co Down
What do you like best about your job: Its ever changing. On Monday I can be recording a traditional folk album and the following week I am working on a funk record. No way could I ever have been in a job doing the same thing day in day out. I work primarily with singer/songwriters but each day throws up new challenges. It is definitely a job where you never stop learning.
Favourite album you’ve recorded: Oh that’s not fair! The diplomatic answer is I don’t have one. As long as the songs are strong and the musicianship good, I am a happy bunny.
Biggest accomplishment: Opening my own studio. it has been a very long time coming and it very nearly broke my spirit building it, but its done, open, and doing amazingly well. I had the studio professionally designed in Germany and it was by far the best decision I made during the whole process. The live room sounds absolutely incredible and for an audio engineer thats more than half the battle. The financial implications are hard to swallow sometimes but with everything you only get back what you put in. Which is about 80 hours a week currently..
Last gig you attended: Gareth Dunlop at The Mandela Hall. Gareth was best man at my wedding, so to see him perform a sell out show in our hometown was pretty damn special.
What you’re listening to right now: Chris Grey and BlueSpand. A Danish funk/blues trio that are currently blowing my mind. GO CHECK THEM OUT!
Which local music do you rate: We are utterly blessed in this tiny little country, with world class talent right on our doorstep. Folk really doing it for me at the moment are Dolbro Dan, Colm McIntyre, Janet Henry, and The Sabrejets.
If you weren’t working in music what would you be: A fat alcoholic.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less: Not a fat alcoholic. OK OK, erm, a scatterbrained perfectionist
Last gift you gave to someone: Cash to my stepson for his birthday. Not very original I know, but it was his 18th and I didnt think a voucher to Claires Accessories would have cut it.
The best thing about NI: Our wonderful dry black sarcastic wit. And the weather. I love the fact its been raining since November.
Most valued material possession: My knackered old Takamine guitar. Been with me for 20 years. Looks like its been lying in a ditch for 19 of those, but plays and sounds better than any other acoustic I’ve played.
If you had the chance to record any musician who would it be: That depends on the day of the week. Today though Im in an upbeat mood so I’ll say The Stray Cats. I’ve a full sleeve tattoo of The Brian Setzer Orchestra on my arm. Always been a fan. Always will be.
What’s next for you: Hopefully lots more of the same. I have been extremely blessed to have been invited to join the Aston Microphones Artist/Development panel, which has really helped open a few of the right doors for me. Im heading to Scandinavia later in the year to produce an album and then back to L.A to continue a project with guitar virtuoso Thomas Leeb. In-between all that its locked away in my own studio producing local artists.
You can catch The Tragedy of Dr. Hannigan supporting The Boomtown Rats at this Years Holywood Harmony Festival on Saturday 2nd June. Tickets and info here.