At the age of nine years old Bill’s parents bought him a Christmas gift that, unknown to all, would kickstart Bill’s natural love of all things creative.
That gift was a guitar.
An item that he couldn’t put down; he persevered day and night to teach himself the songs that he loved at that time and at the age of fourteen stepped into a situation that would have one of the greatest effects on his life, a recording studio.
Bill was playing guitar in the local youth club band when one of the Fathers kindly paid for a day in a recording studio in Birmingham. Bill was excited but frustrated as he knew his ambition of being the next Peter Green, a guitarist Bill admired greatly, and still does, of his work of that time, was not to be, he could practice all he liked but that 1% of magic that all great artists have could not be found.
That Saturday, way back in the very late sixties impressed upon Bill his absolute obsession of sonic audio quality, be that a totally distorted guitar sound to create an emotion through to the sonic quality of his stereo so that those creative emotions could be reproduced for the listener.
The man at the controls of the studio, The Sound Engineer, was an inspiration to all in the band, not only did he encourage and help musically but he made them sound better than they had ever been, all in one day.
This was the type of person Bill wanted to be, at fourteen he realized he was sitting on the wrong side of the glass and so his journey to becoming a Sound Engineer began.
Upon leaving school Bill tried to contact the studio he had been to only to find out it had closed down, there was no business in Birmingham for recording studios in those days as all of that type of work was undertaken in London.
Bill was prepared to travel but his parents were less than keen.
To save money and create a better product Bill would build all his own guitar and stereo amplifiers and associated speaker systems which led him into an industry of electronics.
His first apprenticeship was with entrepreneurial scientist Clive Sinclair but he then moved on to The Ministry of Defence and three months before completing his BSc he upped shop and moved to London for a three-week contract with the BBC Ealing Film Studios Sound Department, a holiday relief job spotted in the Birmingham Evening Mail.
“Madness” all cried but Bill knew that this was a chance to enter a world he had longed for so packed his things and set off, not once has he ever looked back.
Whilst working his short contract Bill managed to enroll as a BBC Sound Supervisor Apprentice and after successfully completing the course went on to sound assist on many BBC Shows including The Old Grey Whistle Test – Top of The Pops – Nationwide plus many Drama and Light Entertainment shows of the time.
Although the BBC taught Bill an enormous amount his situation was a far cry from the man he wanted to be so he secured a freelance sound engineer position with a commercial studio in Central London that had just started specialising in recording music jingles for the Advertising Industry.
This was exactly what Bill had been looking for.
His vast knowledge of music and musical styles along with his obsession of getting everything as right as you possibly could went a long way with his ever growing list of clients to which one regular client, a copywriter at the time for Saatchi And Saatchi, said of Bill “…. the great thing about Bill is the answer’s always yes, now what’s the question?.…” this slogan went on to be used by the same said copywriter for a whole campaign they did together for Unipart the car parts people.
Bill found himself being offered many situations to “set himself up” something he was very grateful for and spent many times in discussion with relevant parties but eventually went into partnership with his two great friends and together they built an Audio / Video Post-Production Business that had Operating Facilities in London – New York and Los Angeles.
It was the very first one stop shop in Europe for Media Creativity and was known worldwide for its creative, technical and innovative excellence, durability and reliability to meet deadlines under what could be immense pressures, always delivering.
After many successful years of Business Partnership Bill decided to go back to his passion of being a Music Recording/Engineer/Producer his first love, business had been great but in an ever-changing world his original passion was still the stronger and for the last sixteen years he has been doing just that, helping and guiding those who wish to learn and experience from somebody who is qualified by experience; Bill’s explanation of QBE.
Then of course there is Bill’s Liverpudlian Film Composer friend whose understanding is,
“Quintessential Brummie Engineer”
But QBE was originally proffered to Bill by the brilliantly talented singer / songwriter / guitarist Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame.
After a grueling tight schedule to complete work on the last Dire Straits “On Every Street” project Mark sat and listened to Bill’s final work, got up and whilst hugging and thanking Bill for all of his efforts announced to the room,
“…….Bill Gautier QBE, Quality Before Everything…….”
…….Bill’s remarkable knowledge, combined with a Master’s ear and eye, have produced stunningly effective results….. causing, on a specific and difficult project, even Mark Knopfler to be impressed by Bill achieving what other World renowned, engineers had been unable to deliver…….
Gilly Tarrant – GTA Associates. / Damage Management.