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Engineers’ songs of the month

Real World Studios is run by music lovers. The team strive to ensure the ‘anything is possible’ attitude that Real World is famous for remains at the forefront of everything we do. An assistant engineer is provided for every studio session to help make visiting engineers comfortable – they know the studio and equipment inside out. We also have experienced engineers who can be booked onto your session.

Oli Jacobs, Head Engineer

Oli studied classical singing, drum kit and piano and graduated from the Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey. Following a placement year as the assistant engineer to Peter Gabriel, he joined the Real World Studios team in 2014. Since then he has worked up to head engineer and records/mixes many of the projects that come through Real World – as well as in other studios and on location.

Recent highlights

  • Recorded and mixed two live albums for Madness, the first of which was recorded Kenwood House with 40pc orchestra (arr. David Arnold)
  • Mixing records for Paul Woolford, including a platinum-certified collaboration with Diplo ‘Looking for Me’, which was BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record In The World’ in June, reached #4 on the UK singles chart
  • Additional electronic production on Penya’s LP – Penya
  • Engineered Sub Focus & Wilkinsons LP ‘Portals’
  • Produced and Mixed Minihi’s debut album – Recaptures
  • Mixed renowned Italian musician Renato Zero’s LP Settanta which was #1 in Italy
  • Restored/mixed an 8-track live recording from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performing at WOMAD Festival in 1985. The concert was re-played in 360 immersive audio at WOMAD Festival in 2019, closely mimicking the original sound from the 1985 show
  • Assistant engineer on Harry Styles’ second solo album Fine Line, earning credits on six tracks
  • Recorded & Mixed Stonoway’s Farewell Show LP, live in Oxford
  • Produced & Mixed a series of singles for renowned guitarist Marcin Patrzalek on Sony Masterworks; the first of which was released in June to critical acclaim
  • Recorded & Mixed three albums for Amira Medunjanin, including sessions at Abbey Road and in Trondheim, Norway
  • Recorded & Mixed an album for renowned pianist, RIOPY, on Warner Classics
  • Worked on three albums for Erland Cooper – mixing one and adding production to two

As well as recording and mixing records, Oli is interested in immersive audio. He recently submitted a successful funding application for a series of live immersive headphone concerts from WOMAD Festival.

He also likes walking, climbing and still occasionally gets to hit a drum kit and bash a piano.


Full list here


Engineering or Mixing – Madness, Guy Garvey, Cat’s Eyes, Aqualung, Harry Styles, Alexis Ffrench, Eliza Carthy, 9Bach, Liam Payne, Erland Cooper, Chris De Burgh, The Breath, Bløf, Toto La Momposina, Simon Phillips, Algiers, Snow Ghosts, Hannah Peel, Stornoway, Sub Focus, Wilkinson, Cara Dillon, Gary Barlow, The Vamps, Paul Woolford, Diplo, Amira Medunjanin, Akira Inoue

Assistant Engineering – Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Paloma Faith, Marillion, Michael Ball, Neil Cowley Trio, Peter Gabriel, Courteeners, Boy & Bear, I’m With Her, Algiers, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ida Mae, Freya Ridings

Katie May, Engineer

Katie joined us in 2020 as a fresh graduate of the University of Surrey’s Tonmeister course after completing her placement year at Real World during 2018/2019. Hard-working and cheerful, she prides herself on her attention to detail and technical adaptability, always taking the time to ensure every client feels welcomed in the studio.

Her engineering credits include: John Smith, Gabrielle Aplin, Clive Deamer, Headie One, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Ferris & Sylvester, Martha Lewis, Some Bodies. 

Katie has worked on sessions for a number of artists including: Maggie Rogers, Elbow, Florence Welch, J Hus, Hannah Peel, Indigo Girls, The Comet Is Coming, Roger Waters, Alan Clark, Seafarers, Michael Ball, Bexey, Deno Driz, Liam Payne, The Breath, George Ogilvie, Sub Focus, Tony Anderson, Erland Cooper, Alexis Ffrench, RIOPY, Marillion, Snow Ghosts and Alan Power.

Oli Middleton, Associate Engineer

Oli was an in house engineer at Real World, quickly established himself as an accomplished member of the Real World engineering team. A graduate from the University of Surrey’s Tonmeister course, Oli also completed a year’s placement at the studio during 2017/18. Always smiling, he is full of energy, and combines his broad technical knowledge with a keen ear and diverse musical taste. Oli left the studio team to become freelance at the end of August 2021, but continues to remain closely connected as an Associate Engineer.

His engineering credits include: Indigo Girls, Liza Pulman, Lewis Capaldi, Jacky Naylor, David Mrakpor, Young Waters, Lili Cros.

Oli has also worked on sessions for a number of artists including: Harry Styles, Tom Jones, Robert Plant, Nick Mulvey, Jorja Smith, Van Morrison, HYUKOH, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Hannah Peel, Blue Lab Beats, Roger Waters, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, Steel Banglez, Liam Payne, Richard Spaven, Alfa Mist, Loney Dear, Neil Cowley, Elbow, The Vamps, The Breath, Ethan Johns, George Ogilvie.

Patrick Phillips, Associate Engineer

Patrick began his career in the recording studios of the North of England, before studying at the University of Surrey, where he graduated from the world-renowned Tonmeister Music and Sound Recording course. Recruited by Abbey Road Studios as an assistant, he spent two years working on large-scale orchestral recordings, before joining the Real World Studios team in 2011. With his passion, creativity and ability to think outside the box, Patrick quickly garnered acclaim for his innovative approach to recording music in all genres.


Engineering and/or Mixing

The Breath, Nick Mulvey, Rag’n’Bone Man, Marina and the Diamonds, Peter Gabriel & OneRepublic, John Metcalfe, Thomas Bartlett, 9Bach, Chris De Burgh, Kairos 4Tet, The Smoke Fairies, Stealing Sheep, Blue Lab Beats

Assistant Engineer

9Bach, The Gloaming, Alison Sudol, Elbow, John Metcalfe, Spiro, Ludovico Einaudi, Kate Bush, Susan Boyle, Tom Jones, Guy Garvey, Van Morrison, Lady Gaga, Bruno Major, Goldfrapp, Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, The Heavy, Taylor Swift, Mark Ronson, Anna Calvi, The Strypes, Pretty Vicious, The Courteeners, The Vamps

“The superb team ensure that all you have to think about is making a great record. The house engineers really know their stuff and, most importantly, totally engage with sessions; making my time at Real World incredibly productive and enjoyable.”
Chris Porter (Take That, Wham, George Michael, Chris de Burgh, Elton John, David Bowie)

Support Staff

Tim Oliver, Senior Consulting Engineer

With over 35 years of recording experience and 20 years running his own small but successful studio, Tim is well qualified to ensure that Real World Studios maintains the standards expected of a world-class recording facility. He keeps a watchful eye on the quality of the rooms, equipment and engineering, supporting and balancing the youthful energy of the staff engineers.

Starting his career in Manchester, back in its heyday, Tim engineered for some of the city’s biggest names, including New Order, ACR, Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. With his own project studio now based on the Real World site, he’s recently worked with Robert Plant, Ludovico Einaudi, Sinead O’Connor and Brix Smith.

Lisa Murton, Bookings Coordinator

Lisa has devoted her life to working at Real World, ensuring sessions are easy to book and run smoothly. Arriving fresh out of school and working her way up to the post of Studio Coordinator, she knows the Studios inside out and is on hand to cater to all session requirements.

Bob Leadbeater, Studio Technician

A valve amplifier enthusiast, Bob joined the engineering team in 2020 and maintains the equipment in the Studio.

Frey Turner, Assistant Engineer

Frey joins us on their placement year from the University of Surrey’s Tonmeister Course. Real World has a long association with the University; the Peter Gabriel team have been employing a placement student from there for around 10 years. The commercial studio only began taking placement students in 2016 and it is a tradition we hope to continue.

Past studio placements:

Ioan Hazell (2020-21)
Dom Shaw (2019-20)
Katie May (2018-19)
Fraser Latimer (2017-18)
Oli Middleton (2016-17)