When did you know that you’re going to become an Audio Engineer?
Well to be honest, I am still trying to do justice to the title of being an audio engineer and educator on a daily basis, by trying to bring the best ineducation and audio over all the teaching and mastering projects I undertake. However, it was from the early stint of DJing that I knew I wanted to pursue and learn more about music production and audio engineering in general. Post a diploma course in the same, which surely has been life changing, there hasn’t been a day I have looked back, if at all only to be grateful for making the decision to pursue my love for music and this long awaited nudging interest that I had to wait on through my graduating years until finally being able to take it up full time. Worth it!
Tell us a bit about your journey?
It started with wanting to learn how to DJ from the obvious attending of gigs and festivals back in college. I really loved the music, It moved me and I always felt I would like to take up and do something to give back to the scene. It started with DJing for about 4 months right before my 12th grade board exams (everything is packed up around that time, except eating and sleeping, so DJing was out of the question) then I pursued a graduation course in B.com, alongside pursuing a diploma in public relations and corporate communication. I was just walking the known path all this while, until working alongside graduation gave me a chance to realise that there is something different I would like to pursue and that lead to the Diploma in audio engineering course a year post graduation and it was all too new and I was all too fresh for it, so that helped to pursue it relentlessly and the rest is history. I worked for a year in Live Sound and another year freelancing as a live sound engineer, location sound recordist and post production audio engineering assisting my much respected faculty at the time in completing a FTII diploma film, which is when I got offered a teaching role at Seamedu and although initially I was hesitant, I took it up and I could find myself bridge the gap between the student and teacher as it hadn’t been long since I myself was a student and I think that is huge advantage. Students and I are able to connect the theoretical, practical and real world situational aspects of audio engineering which now has become a mission for me to help each one understand the nuances and to realise that they can absolutely do it too. I take that upon me.
How did you get into Recording and mastering?
Mostly that was just mastering, it was from my students having finished tracks awaiting release and so their requests actually lead to this and with successful releases, feedback from my peers and betterments with time, I grew more confident and now pretty much have a well set client base for mastering. I do not advertise it much as I like the word of mouth and only like to work with artists and known friends rather than “clients” I don’t like that word too much, they trouble and exploit the passionate, plus friends and known people from the industry know and trust you, so you don’t necessarily sell anything out, but help them help you in working toward a common vision of a good lasting release.
What are some of the challenges your face inside a Studio Environment?
Generally it’s the ergonomics, the familiarity of sound and the equipment which I think are challenging If I were to step in a new room and work. I really like being comfortable with both my space, and gear.
What is the one piece of gear you can’t live without?
An EQ if anything, I love it, it is most essential and the things one can do with it are amazing. So definitely an EQ and definitely I have an all digital workflow and Fab Filter’s EQ are really amazing.
What is going to be your next gear purchase?
Some software instruments and more tape emulation are a likely Purchase.
Advice to Audio Engineers who want to make it in this industry?
Yes, plenty, learn your basics well, be dexterous, experiment, but most of all learn your basics well. There are more tools to produce music today than there are fish in the ocean, but you do not require them all. Some of the lasting records were made with very little gear but good musicality and know how. Please focus on that so that with time you can develop your own method of working, as the tools are all the same and available to everyone, the know how and understanding of the same is what will set your process and thereby sound apart.
If there was one thing you wish Musicians knew, what would it be?
That engineers are here to help facilitate the production, but please don’t make em work a better sound magically, work with them, listen and take their advice where it counts. More than ever, I would love to see musicians and engineers work as a team toward the same common goal, of producing audio gold and practise, If you think you’re good, practise more, if you know your great, still practise! Just until you hang it up. Keep away from people’s biases and listen to our own voice too! But listen none the less.
What are some of the most challenging and rewarding projects you’ve worked on?
I think the converse road to rubber tracks was quite the challenge, recording 7 bands in the day alongside sound check, recording them live too and having the earlier recorded mixes out and released by the show end on the same day. I worked with the Gray Spark team on this itself and it was a great learning experience and lots of challenges nonetheless. I think Ronak will recall this day. We were 4 engineers working only to record and have it mixed, the live mix engineers too that day were mindblowing with their craft making such days unforgettable. Live sound had its days too rigging sound for NH7 was no easy task, we worked night and day to keep it running and man were we exhausted. I remember being the last person at the venue sitting on amp Karnivool had used at 6 am the next morning, waiting for that last piece to be moved before we called it a day, quite rightly.
Where do you see the future of Audio Engineering headed?
The future of the entertainment industry is destined to grow worldwide and with that of course a lot many opportunities for musicians and audio engineers will come by. A lot more competition also with more and more young people becoming interested in our field and which is why learning well is imperative. Even independently, one can do so much, make music and perform live, design sounds, produce jingles and even mix and master. There is a lot of work afloat waiting for the right set of ears and passion to take it on.
How do you deal with creative differences and communicating this to your clients? Where do you draw the line?
I have been lucky to have clients who listen, and take my feedback very sincerely. I also keep my biases in check when listening and giving feedback so to keep an objective perspective and I would tend to draw the line by suggesting at best and if there is still an insistence for it to be heard a certain way, I oblige only so the music and vision of the client reaches its full potential and will obviously improve with time. So there’s no holding back with honest feedback usually.
Also, how is it working with your close friends/band members and how do you deal with creative differences there?
I too try and listen to their take and perspective and we just understand what’s going to work best and why, else we try ideas and compare them to really hear and decide the way forth. I like it when there is less talking in general but more specific to the outcome or results we are hearing.
Tell a fun story from an experience in the studio
It’s a space I am usually super serious in, so unless I am assisting someone, I am far from thinking of anything but the task on hand and how to best execute it while thinking of and trying out as many possibilities so to engineer the production audio as best possible. But yes, this one whole post production project I was the eyes and ears for the chief engineer and wow just pointing out the stuff he’d leave out while being absorbed in the finer detail of the work he was executing was insane fun. I think he needed the extra set of eyes and it brought a lot of light moments and jokes at the time. I have to say there’s always light moments and joy in and around completing sessions that then balance the rather serious but productive studio time.
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