Andrew Hickey has held a considerable number of exciting roles within the music industry. An established keyboard player, he has toured and performed with such names as Alexander O’Neal and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Outside of the keys, he has built up a reputation as a revered producer, DJ, composer, and is also a lecturer at the Leeds College of Music – his alma mater.
We recently invited Andrew to BIMM Manchester with the intention of learning more about his remixes and commercial work, for which there has been plenty. Having grown up and later trained in Manchester, the producer was inspired by the now legendary Hacienda nightclub.
It was these early experiences and influences that crafted his later remixes for Hed Kandi, Ministry of Sound, and major commercial clients, like Boohoo. But by far his most famous work to date has been for Rihanna.
His remix of ‘Hate That I Love You’ has earned Andrew a credit on the sleeve note of her deluxe chart-topping album, ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’. He was approached by pioneering British duo, K-Klass to do the remix, which gained much acclaim on its release.
Using the track as an example, Andrew spoke about the difficulty of “turning a ballad into a dance track”, before opening up more about the remix process. “It’s like starting with a blank canvas every time – all you have is a faint drawing, and that is the a capella vocals,” he said.
Using this example and his past remixes of Jocelyn Brown’s Believe, Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, and Earth, Wind and Fire’s September, Andrew gave a valuable analysis and insight into the importance of harmony and melody, as well as specific techniques like bassline alteration.
A jazz and Latin music enthusiast, Andrew also laid bare the secrets of groove and tonal variation while our students listened with intent – all keen to learn the secrets of the industry from the dance music legend.
“This masterclass was really eye-opening,” revealed current Songwriting diploma student Anna Stephens. “It was a general introduction to remixing in the style of house music in particular – where to start and what aspects to focus on. It’s offered a new direction and understanding.”
“It was interesting to hear how Andy works, sometimes as a composer alongside producers – it was great to hear and offered a new, colourful way of looking at the arrangement of music,” added fellow BIMM Manchester diploma student Dominik.
We’ve had exceptional masterclasses at BIMM Manchester throughout the years, including musicians and leading figures within the music world. Andrew’s workshop was no exception.