Jake Gosling: the Windlesham-based music producer who helped Ed Sheeran conquer the world
PUBLISHED: 14:47 31 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:09 01 November 2016
A couple of years ago, footage emerged of musician Ed Sheeran playing a new song in a Windlesham pub. That song appeared on his album, X, which went on to sell more than ten million copies worldwide. But why was he in the village in the first place? Matthew Williams speaks to his producer, Jake Gosling, whose studio just happens to be located in this quiet little corner of Surrey...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2016
Tell us how your partnership with Ed Sheeran first came about?
When MySpace was a social hub for checking out new music, I heard a rough demo of You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, along with some other tracks, and was immediately blown away and wanted to get him into my studio, Sticky Studios, in Windlesham. My publisher at the time, Sarah Liversedge at BDi Music, was setting me up with different artists to work with and it all went from there. We actually first met at Sunningdale train station; he had a travelling guitar on his back and he was just 17 years old.
Did you have any idea of just how huge he would become?
I sort of did. I really did believe in his immense talent and drive, and one thing that really stood out for me was that he was different. When we worked together, it was very natural and fast.
Are there any particular songs of which you’re most proud?
I think Thinking Out Loud. It’s a track that seems to connect with so many people in so many ways. It’s the second most streamed track on Spotify and the track received two GRAMMY awards in February this year, including song of the year, which was incredible.
You took him to a pub in Windlesham after recording the song – where he’s said to have played a few tunes for the lucky punters. Is that your normal routine when he’s in the village?
Ed’s very down to earth and, after recording, it’s nice to have some down time – and who doesn’t like a nice English pub, especially when you can play back tracks you’ve just made?
So how was it that you found yourself with a world-conquering music studio in Windlesham?
I guess I always wanted to be successful in music. When all my friends took their years off and travelled the world, I was here working. I found myself in Windlesham, where I grew up, and worked from an old summer house in an apple orchard. I took the risk to carry on because you have to have that belief; that’s what drives you forward.
Which other artists/albums will people know your work from?
I’ve worked with One Direction on Take Me Home and produced Little Things when they came down to Surrey. The fans somehow found out and were ordering pizza to the side of the road and paparazzi were hiding in the bushes. I’ve also recorded Paloma Faith’s album, Fall To Grace, and not so long ago spent six weeks in Thailand with Pete Doherty and Carl Barât recording and producing Anthems For Doomed Youth, The Libertines’ latest album. Most recently, I’ve been to upstate New York working on an album with a new artist called Shawn Mendes, which came out in July.
Are there any future projects you can tell us about?
I’ve always believed in working with new and developing artists, and I’m currently co-writing and producing for NUUXS, Tay Salem, Skinny Living and Jasper Steverlinck. At Sticky Studios, we also have a team of people dedicated to researching and discovering new talent. Under Sticky Management, with Adam Coltman, we have signed Matt Woods, Mikill Pane and Young Sierra. Matthew Gooderham is developing a fresh young artist named Holland (who is actually from Surrey too) and Tommy Culm is also part of the Sticky team. In addition to all that, I have also just completed work on the future Shania Twain album, which I’m really excited about.
If you could record with any music artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to have recorded with Michael Jackson! He was such an awesome talent and one of the most amazing performers. The songs he wrote touched millions of people. Likewise, Joni Mitchell, who is a true artist in all senses of the word.
What do you make of listening trends continuing to move away from buying albums and towards online streaming?
I think, ultimately, it’s not a terrible thing. Obviously, the finances are nowhere near what you’d receive from buying a physical album but what it has done is cut out a lot of piracy and makes the music a lot more accessible.
Has it changed how you work?
It hasn’t changed the way I work at all; I work exactly the same way that I always have done.
Finally, what is the secret of Sticky Studios’ success?
One thing that artists have always said to me when they come down to the studio is that they love the atmosphere and vibe of the place and the people. I guess that’s why they keep coming back.
• For more about Jake Gosling and his Sticky Studios, visit stickycompany.com
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• Ted Dwane from Mumford & Sons and Dan Flint and Chris Miller from You Me at Six are among the other most famous alumni from the ACM.