Burnley-born music producer lands huge breakthrough deal

Ady Hall and Lee McCarthy
Ady Hall and Lee McCarthy

Getting your foot in the door of the music industry is no easy task.


A fact Burnley-born producer Ady Hall knows only too well having spent almost two decades throwing his weight against it.

However, the hard-working 38-year-old could well have finally broken through after the production company he co-runs landed an exciting new deal.

Sugar House, run by Ady Hall (38) and Lee McCarthy, has been added to the roster of Big Life and 140db – two management companies representing some of the biggest names in the producer world.

It is a breakthrough that means the duo, based out of Catalyst Studios in Merseyside, will now have access to a well of contacts giving the bands they work with an even better chance of hitting the big time.

“It all started really when we started getting bands played on Radio 1 and Radio 6,” said Ady, who has worked with artists including Hanover, Viola Beach, Larkins and Glass Caves. “It led to more and more making connections in London. And so we knew we were doing something right.

“140db had been on a radar for a while. We had a meeting with them and they liked the work we had been doing and the fact we were up here in the north.

“We always thought at some point we would have to move to London so it’s great that we can carry on doing what we are doing here.

“When you’re working with unsigned bands, the biggest thing obviously is getting them heard. Now we have this gateway to London, it makes that process easier.

“There are a lot of bands that we are working with who are on the verge of doing big things. It’s an exciting time. A lot of people think there is going to be a shift soon and guitar music is going to come back in a big way. The glossy synth-pop looks like it is on its way out and there will be some sort of backlash, like there was with punk/Brit Pop. There are so many good guitar bands around at the moment. And we might be in the centre of it, who knows?”

Ady, a former pupil at St Ted’s and Burnley College, left the town in 2005 to move to Leyland with his wife. It has been a long, winding but ultimately rewarding road.

“I’ve been doing music a long time,” said the dad-of-two. “Played in bands in my early 20s but that never really worked and so I ended up going into the production side of things. I’ve been lucky that I have been able to stay in this world.

“The funny thing is I never did music at school or college. I always studied art. Music was something I did on the side. I started drumming more and from the age of 25; it was a full-time profession. I earned enough at the weekends to dabble with music production during the week and it has come on from there.

“Over the years, with more experience it does become easier but it still involves a lot of hard work.

“Last year I got to stage where I didn’t need to gig at the weekends anymore.

“It wasn’t my plan to be a record producer when I started out in bands but I am really proud to have done something like this .”

He is not taking anything for granted though.

“When you’re a struggling musician, you’re always chasing money, wondering how long it can go on for. Now it feels a bit more secure. We can start looking to the future. I may even get a pension.

“We’ll remain grounded though. We don’t know where we are going to end up but we know we are heading in the right direction.”