I do music and performance and stuff

Hello. I am Steve Pretty. This is my website, on which I attempt to explain my confusing 'career' to you. I do mostly performance,  music composition, arranging and production, and sometimes photography and writing.

If you're confused, think how I feel.

Drawing by Darren Hayman

Drawing by Darren Hayman


I play the trumpet. Also the flugel horn and things like that. I do it quite a lot, and people have been paying me to do so since 2006, and a bit before too, though nothing to write home about then to be honest.

In addition to running and playing about 150 gigs a year with Hackney Colliery Band, as a freelance trumpet player I have played and recorded with lots of people. You want examples? OK, be like that: 

Kelis, Sam Smith (the singer one, not the excellent value UK pub chain), Paul Epworth (Adele), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Cure, Paloma Faith, Jamie Cullum, Baaba Maal, Roni Size, Jarvis Cocker, Billy Bragg, Charlotte Church, Eliza Doolittle, Eric Idle, Redlight, Jim Bob (Carter USM) and more, quite a few of whom I have also arranged music for.

I have played in pits for touring and West End shows, though that's not really my thing, and toured for a year with a musical about Elvis. I was young, and needed the money. And I learned a lot about Elvis.

If you're interested, I use Monette, Eclipse and Selmer trumpets and a Yamaha flugel horn. I also have lots of associated bits and bobs like a herald trumpet and pocket trumpet and cornet which are mainly used in theatre and comedy work as no-one would take me seriously in the music world otherwise. OK, it's likely they don't anyway, but still.

Trumpet with electronics

These days I do a lot of work with electronics augmenting my sound. This side of things can be heard all over the 2016 Hackney Colliery Band album Sharpener which I co-produced. Check out an example here:

You can also hear it on our Sky Arts Christmas Special from 2015, especially on my arrangement of In the Bleak Midwinter.

If you would like to hire me to do live trumpety things for you, let me know.

Studio and sessions

I have a nice home studio with some great mics (ribbons, condensors, tube condensors etc.) running into a Neve Portico II preamp/channel strip and Apogee interface (giving the option of using world class emulations of more Neve, SSL and other preamps) and then Pro Tools 12 or Ableton Live 9, plus some tasty plugins, so it'll sound good if I record at home (you can even sit on Skype while I do if you're fussy, and see my production page if you are interested in getting me to mix too), or I can of course come to your studio.

Here's an example of a track which I added trumpet to from my home studio, including arranging and overdubbing the harmony parts and a couple of passes of improvising (which is where are the trumpety interjections were taken from). Communication was all via email, and the session was completed and signed off within 24 hrs:

Photo by the always brilliant Idil Sukan. Taken on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo, December 2014.

Photo by the always brilliant Idil Sukan.

Taken on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo, December 2014.

Education work

I am a trumpet and improvisation tutor for Goldsmith's College and Brunel University from time to time, and have also run education projects with The Roundhouse, Royal Opera House and Hackney Empire. In 2014 I was artist-in-residence at ACS Cobham International School. From 2012-2014 I ran a collaborative unauditioned band for the Oslo Mela Festival. I give private lessons from my home studio in Dalston, London, and can also give lessons via Skype. I like teaching but these days don't have a whole lot of time to do it, so regular lessons are a bit tricky, but if you don't mind them being infrequent or at irregular times, drop me a line using the buttons above.