Mike Beever is a man of many musical talents.
The UK born producer and piano tuner helped rock legends Coldplay find their way into the charts and has written numerous tunes for TV, radio and film.
Now he calls Nelson home, making sure the ivories around the region are sounding sweet, and this Saturday will be performing at Forbidden Radio’s live broadcast at Founders.
Mike made the move to New Zealand 15 years ago after purchasing a piano tuning business in Nelson.
There are just two piano tuners in the Top of the South, and he sees up to 700 clients a year, including the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts, various colleges and piano teachers.
The son of a church organist, Mike left school at 16 to study piano technology and tuning in Leeds.
After convincing himself it was an “old man’s profession”, he joined a touring rock band. During this time he learned the skills of recording and production and ended up as a house engineer at Station Studios in London.
One day in 1999, an unknown band by the name of Coldplay turned up to record one of their early EPs, ‘Brothers & Sisters’.
“I spent three days in the studio with them and it was a really cool experience. I remember driving them to a gig and only five people turned up to watch them,” says Mike.
In 2016 – almost 20 years later – Mike rubbed shoulders again with the multi award-winning band at their Auckland concert as a VIP guest.
“I chatted with them in their dressing room and at the after party I sat there eating sushi with Chris Martin and Neil Finn,” says Mike.
“It was pretty surreal.”
When he’s not tuning pianos, you’ll find Mike at his Nelson home, writing music for production libraries that go on to be used in TV, cinema, and radio.
Over the last six years he has written and mastered over 60 pieces for four different licensing companies, including Extreme Music.
“It all started when I was asked to compose a song for an Olympics 2012 ad. It got me onto a great thing.”
That same three-minute piece of music, called ‘The Farmer’, has now been used numerous times around the world.
“Top Gear used it in their ‘worst cars in history’ episode, it has been on a Johnson’s nappies ad and even MasterChef UK – as spotted by my mother-in-law,” he says. “You never know where they’re going to go.”
This Saturday, Mike will be the pianist for the Forbidden Radio Fresh FM fundraiser at Founders.
It’s the second live theatre, live audience and live broadcast radio drama after the success of their first sold-out show in April.
This time the crew will be performing The Lone Ranger radio classic ‘Fear’, along with 1949 drama ‘Richard Diamond Private Detective: The Leland Gibson Murder’.
Mike says he’s looking forward to what will be a rare live performance from him.
“It’s all really improvised and I’ll be helping to create the atmosphere, intrigue, suspense and ambience.”
“Thinking about all I’ve done, I would never swap New Zealand for a life in London.”
Forbidden Radio is on at The Granary at Founders, this Saturday, 30 June, at 7pm. Tickets are $15 and available from Beggs Musicworks, Richmond Mall or Fresh FM.