A SOUND engineer who worked on Tom Jones’ European tour is to open a new studio in Dumbarton to help prepare fledgling bands for life in the music business.

Neil McClafferty from Castlehill has just completed his HND in sound production at West College Scotland and will realise a long-held dream when he opens the doors to Band Vandal Studio at Leven Valley Enterprise Centre Unit 4 at the end of this summer.

The studio has all of the recording equipment needed to record demos, and will specialise in one-on-one songwriting workshops with Neil, who was formerly the main songwriter and frontman for Dumbarton band Strange October.

The 38-year-old told the Reporter: “I’ve been involved in music all my life, but I’ve always wanted my own studio and that was one of the factors behind my decision to go back and study.

“I wanted to get all the technical aspects and learn things from an academic point of view, so that I could take that knowledge into a business venture.

“There is a good music scene in Dumbarton and there always has been. The dream is to slowly build it up, help the local scene and end up as a management record label type service because I know how to prepare people for gigs, tours, demos and rehearsal.”

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The former Our Lady and St Patrick’s pupil will bring a wealth of experience to the studio, having been part of several bands over the years and touring with Strange October, who played gigs down in London for Allan McGee, the man who signed Oasis.

Last summer after he had finished his initial HNC, he got invited to the hub at the BBC’s studios to mix sound for their end of year exhibition for an acoustic performer.

One of the staff at the college then put him forward as Welsh band and Voice 2017 runners up ‘Into the Ark’ were looking for a sound engineer for their upcoming tour with Tom Jones, their mentor on the ITV programme.

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Neil then spent a whirlwind summer working for the band as they played top venues, making top contacts along the way including Tom’s sound engineer Matteo Cifelli, who is currently on the Spice Girls tour doing the sound for support act, Jess Glynn.