London, UK – April 28, 2021 – The past several months have been a whirlwind for rising superstar pop producer Pete Rycroft (aka Lostboy), despite industry-consuming global Covid-19 challenges. Having signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music two years ago, Lostboy is currently one of the most in-demand producers in the UK, and his work has seen spectacular charting success — even in the midst of a lockdown.
“When Covid hit, I was really lucky to have this space to work in,” he says. “The first thing I did in lockdown was an album here for a band from the UK called The Vamps — kind of like a boy / pop band, but in more of a rock or alternative direction,” he recalls. “The whole album was done on ZOOM, and I never saw them in person.” Despite these challenges, the album, Cherry Blossom, hit number one in the UK charts. Lostboy had further success with Tom Grennan, whose single “Little Bit of Love” has been in the top ten for the last five weeks. This is in addition to all of his recent work with artists like Little Mix, Rita Ora and Anne-Marie — all of which have had success in their own right.
A ‘Journey of Learning’ with PATCH
When describing his approach to production and gear, Rycroft says he has been following a ‘journey of learning’ that began when he acquired his first mixing desk at 12 years old. “I didn’t understand what I was buying, but it looked cool,” he says. Since then, he has been drawn to technology that can help expand his writing and production capabilities, and this is what drew him to Flock Audio’s PATCH system. “I am naturally drawn to the science behind the tools I use, but it is a constant battle to not let the technology overtake the creativity.”
Lostboy finds that PATCH helps keep the creative flow in play: “I am conscious of downtime in a creative environment, and PATCH helps me minimize this,” he says. “Downtime can affect everyone’s energy, and hitting a creative roadblock is not ideal. In my studio, vibe is everything.”
He says that setting up and learning the system was seamless — particularly, the PATCH App, which is based on an intuitive drag and drop user interface, compatible with both Mac and PC. “For someone who has used any DAW, it is obvious what you are doing straight away. As long as you’ve got everything plugged in in the right way, you can’t really go wrong,” he says. “Set up was really fast — I just made a spreadsheet and figure out how my gear should be routed. All told, it took about a day, and since then, I’ve been integrating new bits of gear piece by piece.”
Lostboy’s workflow consists mostly of writing and working on the fly. “I want to build in soundscapes while I’m writing, and many of these sounds will end up getting used on a real track,” he says. He appreciates PATCH because the path to finding ‘the right sound’ is a lot faster, since using the PATCH App he is able to access all of his outboard gear at the click of a mouse: “If an artist comes and plugs in a guitar, it doesn’t take long for me to get the guitar to sound good because I can route it through anything,” he says. “I just don’t have to think about it as much, so it makes the creation process much more fluid.”
While his signal path varies depending on the artist, instrument or performance, some of Lostboy’s favored gear includes his Manley and Neumann microphones, his Chandler and Neve preamps and his Tube Tech CL1B compressor before going into a Universal Audio Apollo x8 interface. “These elements are usually my main chain — I’ve always had a lot of ancillary gear, like my Strymon Big Sky reverb pedal. When I’m using PATCH, it’s suddenly it’s like, ahh, remember all this gear you bought? Now I can send it from Pro Tools and back again because it is just a preset on my PATCH. It’s unbelievable.”
A novel approach to equipment routing
Perhaps the most important benefit that PATCH has imparted to Lostboy’s production process is ease of workflow. “When you are writing, which is what I do every day in a high-pressure environment, you don’t have time to try and work out if something is routed to the right patch point, or if a signal is muted — it just has to work. The fact that I know I’ve got a few chains I know will work in certain instances is very reassuring.”
Like many artists and producers who have been using analog patch bays for decades, Lostboy was skeptical when he first heard about PATCH: “Patch is truly a new idea,” he says. “The first time I saw it, I thought to myself, ‘How come nobody has invented this yet?’ It’s just great, and it helps me find the sounds I am looking for faster.”
About Flock Audio
Flock Audio Inc. is a pro audio manufacturer based in Kelowna, Canada, founded in 2017. The company is best known for its PATCH System Series, which is a Digitally controlled, 100% Analog Patch bay routing solution for professional audio environments. For more information on Flock Audio and its products, please visit the company website at http://www.flockaudio.com.