Pennyhill’s Regret is a multi-faceted musician, producer, and digital artist. His YouTube and social media channels have amassed over 100k+ subscribers with artwork, gear reviews and guitar industry insights.
Hi Andrea, it is great to speak with you today. I’ve obviously been following you for a while on Instagram, since you collaborated with us in our NFT competition last year, with Aurovine and MusicArt, who I know you work closely with. So, I am already quite familiar with your great work both with music and visual art. It’s really great to finally meet you, following your review of SpeakerMix Pro.
To start off, can you tell me a bit about yourself.
Strangely enough, I actually spent about 15 years working in a completely different world. I worked in finance for many years, whilst having a strong passion for music and art at the same time. I was caught in this rhythm, as often happens in life, and feeling frustrated not being able to spend more of time expressing my creativity. Luckily, the pandemic was a great opportunity for me and gave me time to reassess things. I think this was a positive outcome from a very difficult time – that many people embraced to reflect and reset their lives.
And so I gradually started working on a number of different projects at the same time. The two main things, obviously, were music and art. Those are my two main pillars. I started thinking, in terms of the musical side, I’ve always played guitar, bass, piano, and I’ve always had a vast catalogue of songs I’ve composed.
Through that I started getting in touch with companies, especially on the music side and slowly building relationships to collaborate on products reviews and other projects. My art really helped differentiate me from other musicians out there, doing similar things and I started getting good endorsements from major companies, which was very satisfying. Working with companies such as Blackstar Amplification and now yourselves, bouncing ideas around, has really helped me (and them) innovate and grow. So, it is a win-win cool place to be right now!
So that basically brings us up to today – where I have recently reviewed your SpeakerMix Pro plugin, which I have also created a video for:
So having reviewed Speaker Mix Pro, what was your overall experience of it? Did you like it?
Absolutely. I was very, very satisfied with the product. It depends on each individual person, but for my personal flow I think it was fantastic because of simple things like the layouts and the overall design of the plugin. It made it very straightforward and very easy for me to use. I didn’t necessarily have to think about what button to press; it was very natural. It mimics real life, having the mixer in front of you and having the cab, so I really appreciated the visual design.
I think it’s a very simple product to use, but with a great deal of depth to it. I can only imagine the amount of work that went behind producing something like this. The variations in sound and the varieties that you can get from this product, for me, is incredible.
The sound quality is the number one thing that I look for in this kind of product. I was expecting it to be good, but I was surprised at how fantastic it is. Especially the dynamic side where you can actually manipulate various parameters to change the tone. That for me is a complete game changer. Impulse responses are very nice, but I think they’re basically a capture in one moment of time, of a sound, but I think what you have done with the dynamics side is that it’s like a thousand impulse responses put together and you can tailor the sound according to exactly what you want. It’s having that creative ability to tailor the sound; you’re not forced to go with the static nature of an impulse response.
Also, I think the fact that it’s an all-in-one package is fantastic. It’s not just an impulse response loader. It’s not just a cab simulator. You can EQ things, you can load third party IRs and you can load your own IRs.
It’s a fantastic product and I think it is the top of that sort of product personally. It suits the way I play, and it suits the way I record as well. You can tweak things actually whilst you’re (or someone you’re recording) is playing. And it’s really, really nice. And I think that’s the interface. So, the design is fantastic, and the sound quality is exactly what I expected from Celestion. Because, you know, I kind of. I have experience with both with your speakers in real amps and using your IRs, and you’ve been fantastic on other platforms and hardware, but now this is the whole package. I use it on all my tracks and currently, with the Laney demo that I’m doing, I’m running the amplifier into SpeakerMix Pro.
I just plug it in; done. I don’t need to worry about anything else, so it just makes life so much easier.
Would you say SpeakerMix Pro is intuitive to use, for everyone from professionals to beginners?
Absolutely. If I remember correctly, I did specifically want to make a point in my review video about this. SpeakerMix Pro is professional-grade software. It’s as good as any professional piece of equipment or software you will find in a pro recording studio.
But I think what’s really amazing is that it doesn’t have a learning curve. It’s not a steep learning curve – It’s so easy to get good sound out of it that, if I were a beginner in my first six months, I would have no problems using it because it’s so straightforward; it’s so easy and it solves so many problems, I wish I had that when I was learning!
You’re sometimes sitting there as a guitar player and you hear all these great records, and you think ‘how did they get all these sounds when mine sound like crap?’, but it’s because they have these great tools available – professional tools. And this, essentially, gives guitarists those professional tools for very little money, because it’s relatively inexpensive and amazing value for what you get. I think in terms of learning curve, the availability, how easy it is to download and use – I think, for a beginner, it’s perfect – absolutely perfect.
So it would be prefect for the younger generation of guitarists?
Definitely – kids these days are far more technically advanced than I’ll ever be!
So with your music, you’ve obviously you’ve been doing it a long, long time, but since you launched Pennyhill’s Regret, have you been using a mostly digital setup, or a hybrid one?
I would say definitely hybrid, and more physical gear rather than digital, quite frankly. My journey into the digital stuff actually went hand in hand with me kind of exploring different avenues and getting into the technology side of things – I discovered gear and companies that I had no idea existed, you know?
At the beginning my setup was very simple, with more of a home setup. Then, as I built my studio, I had the opportunity to get more professional in terms of gear. That’s when I started to explore more digital gear, whether it was through your digital products or companies like Waves, who make plugins more centred around mixing & mastering music. 20 years ago it would’ve been crazy to think what opportunities we have do all these things with a little computer.
The digital software that I’ve stuck with and the companies that I’ve worked with are actually the ones that produce products that are very complex on the inside but can actually make your life easier on the outside – making it really simple to record things with very little previous experience, helping you get amazing results.
That’s been my experience using SpeakerMix Pro. When I started using the product I thought, “where was this all my life?” You know, you’re sitting there with a microphone trying to mic up an amplifier, and you’re thinking, “why would I spend time doing that if someone’s gone through the hard work of making it sound just as good!?”
It’s enabled me to try out a volume of different cabs that I’d never have the money to buy physically, vintage stuff that might be hard for me to find – it’s incredible!
If I record a new song or a theme for something, I think 82% of what I’m using is digital products, so usually for guitar I will still use a tube amplifier, but the rest is all digital and it’s fantastic.
That’s really positive feedback – thanks!
And, last but not least, where did the name Pennyhill’s Regret come from?
That’s an interesting question and something many people have asked me. I think the ‘regret’ is not focusing on my passion sooner than I did. The Pennyhill’s bit, I just liked the sound of it. If you wanted to analyse it, you could say that I was trying to not make it about me and make the project about a different being or person.
In my first three months on all social media, I never showed my face, so I wanted it to be not personal to me. Ultimately, the ‘Regret’ is the most important bit out of the name, the rest I just because I liked how it sounds!
I like it! And at least you made the jump and have a success of it!
Thank you and YES!
Thank you so much Andrea, it has been a real pleasure speaking with you – and I look forward to working with you on some further videos – to further help our fans to benefit from your personal experience of using it so much!