“All I knew when I left high school was that I was infatuated with music. It’s all I wanted to do.”
In a world where music is both a passion and a profession, Connor Massey finds himself among the fortunate few. He stands at the intersection of doing what he loves and making a living from it.
Hailing from the dynamic Central Coast, his musical journey spans genres from indie to heavier beats, reflecting his versatile approach.
At The Grove Studios, Connor is right at home. He fine-tunes the atmosphere, ensuring every detail is in place for a touch of creative magic. Mixing upcoming bands isn’t just a job; it’s an exploration of new musical territories.
Linkin Park lit the fire of Connor’s love for music in his early years, guiding him to where he stands today. The Grove Studios Academy served as his gateway after high school, propelling him into the music scene.
Connor understood that music is a collaborative endeavor, an expression that knows no bounds. Alongside industry greats like Scott Horscroft, he learned to appreciate imperfections, finding beauty in the human touch within every note.
With a roster spanning from One Four to Tori Forsyth, Connor thrives in blending diverse genres. They come together, giving birth to a fresh wave of creativity. His unique touch shines through in songs he holds dear, infusing them with a resonant energy.
From breakthroughs in drum editing to finding the perfect blend of vision and skill, Connor’s journey is a testament to growth. In his world, music isn’t just a job; it’s a wellspring of boundless joy. As he navigates the industry, one truth remains clear: for Connor, music isn’t merely a profession—it’s happiness personified.
Happy: What are you up to today?
Connor: I’m helping artists make their music the best it can be in the studio. Im having an awesome time with some awesome people
Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?
Connor: I’m from the northern end of the Central Coast. The scene is pretty versatile around there, obviously a lot of indie, but some heavier and dirtier genres are starting to perk their heads out
Happy: Describe an average day?
Connor: Every day I go to work at my dream job at The Grove Studios, and I help to make some of Australia’s best music.
I make sure the property looks awesome, I make sure the vibes are right, and at the end of the day I get stuck into mixing some really cool up and coming bands
Happy: What did you listen to growing up that fuelled your passion for music?
Connor: I listened to a lot of different genres, from Ed Sheeran to The Used, but the band that really got me hyped was Linkin Park.
I used to try and cover ‘What I’ve Done’ when I was 6, obviously not well but it gave me that excitement to play and make music that lead me to where I am today.
Happy: Could you share how you initially got involved with the Grove Studios Academy? What motivated you to join their program?
Connor: All I knew when I left high school was that I was infatuated with music. It’s all I wanted to do.
So when I saw the application for The Grove Studios Academy at a high school careers expo, it was a no brainer.
Studying music at the best recording studio in the country, why wouldn’t you?
Happy: Looking back on your time at the Academy, what are a couple of important lessons or experiences that have had a lasting impact on your artistic growth?
Connor: I think the realisation that music is a collaborative project was really important to my own learning, and also crucial to my own writing and producing.
You can learn a lot from the artists you work with, and that’s something I always find super special
Happy: Can you talk about a specific project or accomplishment that stands out from your time at the Grove Studio Academy?
Connor: Being able to watch Scott Horscroft talk about how he crafts songs out of multiple demo tracks was a really eye opening one.
Seeing how he took tge best parts from each to form one really incredible track still sticks in the back if my mind every day.
Happy: Grove Studios Academy is known for its sense of community. How has being a part of this community contributed to your creative journey?
Connor: My entire professional career has been through The Grove Studios. I worked as a freelance engineer for years, bringing bands over to the studio, whilst I worked my way up the ranks at the Grove, from Intern to In-house.
I recommend the Academy to everyone that has any interest in the music industry.
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Happy: What do you think distinguishes the Academy from other educational experiences you’ve had? Is there something specific that sets it apart?
Connor: The fact that you learn in a commercial environment and from industry professionals is an irrefutable difference from any other audio school.
Instead of learning in a classroom, you do the damn thing in an actual studio.
Happy: As a young producer at The Grove Studios, how do you approach shaping the unique sounds of the bands you work with to contribute to the evolution of Australia’s music scene?
Connor: Listening to the artist is an integral part of my work flow. People in general have a hard time being able to convey exactly what they’re hearing in their head, and being able to interpret that as best as you can is so important.
No one creates the same way, so as long as you listen, it’ll be unique
Happy: Could you share some anecdotes of your time working alongside renowned producers and engineers in the country? How has this influenced your own production style?
Connor: One of my favourite ones is from my boss Scott Horscroft on editing. I once asked if he’d like me to edit the bass completely to the grid and he replied, ‘Why? This is human’.
It completely changed my viewpoint of trying to constantly create a ‘perfect product’, to creating something that’s real. Imperfection is art
Happy: Having delved into the underground music scene, what key insights have you gained that you believe are crucial for uplifting the next generation of musicians in Australia?
Connor: Write good songs, get them well produced, and then play the game. From my own musical ventures, I’ve found that no matter how amazing you think your song is, it’ll never carry on its own.
You need to network, make friends, do favours and usually that will come back around to help you.
Also, everyone seems to forget about the importance of promotion. PR companies get your music in front of the audience that you’re trying to turn into fans.
Happy: You’ve been involved with acts like One Four, Pacific Avenue, and Tori Forsyth. Can you discuss how collaborating with diverse artists has contributed to your own growth as a producer?
Connor: It’s great being able to work under producers that work with such different artists because learning different genres is what leads to fusion, which seems to be what everyone in the scene is trying to do.
If I can learn how to fuse the sounds of these different artists together, that brings a new level of creativity to any and every project I’m part of.
Happy: ‘Forevermore’ by Deadshowws and ‘Respect’ by Wurm are notable works you’ve been involved in. How do you infuse your own creative signature into the projects you produce, engineer, and mix?
Connor: It all comes down to making it a song that I love as well. With the band or artist, I’ll push and pull things until they feel right to me.
I’ll make tones dirtier, melodic lines simpler, until it feels like a song that I’ll listen to on the way home from the session.
For me, that usually means making things either heavier, or ambient, just like the differences in sections in Forevermore.
Its just really making sure there’s a specific energy wherever that energy needs to be
Happy: Looking back at your journey so far, how have you seen your skills evolve and your approach mature from your early days in the industry to where you are now?
Connor: Could you shed light on a particularly memorable studio session or production process that challenged you and helped you refine your techniques?
It’s day and night how far I’ve come. At the start of my production journey I didn’t even know about drum editing.
I honestly just thought every drummer on the radio was insanely tight with their band. And once I found out about drum editing, I was hopeless at it.
But after many a session with out of time bands, I’d had enough and spent a full day practising drum editing until I got it the way I liked it.
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Happy: Working with emerging artists like State Ripley and Spinning Cupids, how do you strike a balance between honouring their unique visions and bringing your expertise to the table?
Connor: I bring balance by making sure when I have ideas, it’s not a demand but a discussion. It’s super important to me that I don’t outright tell a band what to do.
It’s more, ohh I have an idea, what if we tried this? Which I feel is way more comfortable for everyone involved, and that way it’s a collaboration.
And at the end of the day, every single idea has to be agreed upon by the band. This way the artist is in control of their music
Happy: As an assistant engineer on ‘Easy Love’ by Pacific Avenue, what did you learn from the experience of contributing to a project of that scale and impact?
Connor: I learned that no matter how big an artist gets, at the end of the day they’re just people. Big musicians get put on a pedestal all the time and they might be really cool, but they’re just people.
Happy: Do you have any Engineers/Producers that you took to for inspiration or guidance?
Connor: I really look up to Andrew Shepes, I really like his philosophy on working in the music industry, and remembering that it’s just a job. He talks about how you should never miss Christmas, birthdays, or big family events for your job, and I really respect that.
Happy: What makes you happy?
Connor: Music. Music makes me happy.