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The Essential List: Gary Turnbull

Music & Sound
London, UK
Grand Central Recording Studios' creative sound designer and chief engineer on films, food and the kit he can't live without

In his teens, Gary spent all of his available cash on synths and samplers. Never having any intention of being a musician or joining a band, the appeal was purely to play with sounds. This naturally lead to an interest in the recording studio, but access was somewhat limited. A couple of years into his mechanical engineering degree he switched to sound engineering at SSR in Manchester. Two years later, he found himself handing Thierry Henry a coffee at GCRS.

As chief engineer, as well as a talented sound designer, he mentors and trains junior engineers to ensure the incredibly high standards of the business and the work produced are maintained. 

His own sound design work is impressive and wide ranging, having worked with all of the major advertising agencies across brands such as Adidas, BT, Jaguar, Ford, Warburtons, DHL, Heineken.

One of the campaigns of which he is proudest is his work for M&S, being integral to the creation of what was a completely new approach to food advertising, selecting the voice for the famous ‘food porn’ commercials. 

In 2012 he won a D&AD Yellow Pencil for a promo for the BBC's Wonderful World.


Place of birth: Doncaster

Hometown: London

Staycation: Peak District

Vacation: Philippines

Pet: Dog, Lola.

Place of work: GCRS

Place of workout: Garden

Side project: Place of workout

Mode of transport: Motorcycle.

Bonus travel essential: Gilet


Artist: Giorgio Moroder

Musician: Martin Gore

Commercials / music video director: Jonas Åkerlund

Film director: Too many to choose a favourite.

Photographer: I appreciate photography, but there’s no one specific

Film: Anything SciFi. Star Wars / Interstellar 

Series: Better Call Saul

Commercial: Nike Write the Future

Music video: Smack my bitch up.

Video game: Uncharted

Board game: Too many arguments.

Podcast: Chequered Flag.

Newspaper (off or online): N/A

Magazine: Erm…

Bonus culture essential: Travel as much as possible.

Food and Drink

Breakfast: No thanks, I’m late for work

Restaurant: Too expensive

Cheap bite: Kati Roll

Working lunch: Chicken Caesar Salad

Favourite dish: Thai Green Chicken Curry

Signature dish: Lasagne

Snack: Nuts

Guilty pleasure: White Bread

Bar: Star & Garter

Booze: Gin & Tonic

Not booze: Coffee

Bonus food: KFC

Bonus beverage: Lime & Soda


Phone: iPhone 6s

Computer: MacBook Pro

TV: Sony A90J

Headphones: AirPod Pros

Camera: Keep promising myself one

Soundsystem: Audiolab / B&W

Pen / pencil: Pencil of any colour please

Where you document an idea: Garage Band

Casual clothing: Chinos & Hoodie

Smart clothing: Chinos & Shirt

Footwear: Trainers

Watch: Never wear one

Collection: Trainers

App: YouTube

Website: YouTube 

Favourite social media feed: Instagram

Work program: Protools /Reaper

Digital work tool:  Neve DFC

Analogue work tool: Sequential ProOne

Morning grooming / makeup essential: SSS

Bonus kit essential: MKH 416

Work from Grand Central Recording Studios