The last 13 weeks have been a whirlwind, a w-hirlwind.
I have arrived at week 13 having not noticed I reached 12 (or 7, or 5 etc.), it just happened. Which could be a sign I was having fun (as they say), or maybe I was just extremely busy... 'Time flies when you have so much to do that you are unaware of the passing of time' (as they more often say). Looking back though I am pleased I put in the time and effort I did - it has produced work I am happy with and proud of.
Especially the podcast. There were quite a few late nights spent working on this one.
It started with the rest of my group and I seeking potential interviewees in the music industry, which went fabulously - we thankfully were granted interviews with some insightful, interesting, intelligible and experienced individuals.
I conducted the interviews (with Jeremy recording), which gave me a great basis for constructing the narrative. The main question I thought would work to address, is HOW live music in Melbourne works (as well as it does) - then we could explore the ins and outs of the industry, whilst maintaining a particular theme and a purposeful point to the podcast.
The narrative developed as I revised what people had spoken about, cut the interviews into relevant parts, and began arranging it all. It was a fluid process - all the factors needed to adapt to accommodate changes and additions.
I was the producer so had quite a lot of work to do! Particularly in collating the individual interviews into a coherent piece of work - it was extremely taxing and very difficult. (Though, it was like a jigsaw puzzle, and those I like). The podcast needed a sequence that flowed well, so as to not have 20 minutes actually feel like 20 minutes.
I was constantly shuffling parts around in Pro Tools, re-listening, changing my mind, writing notes, drawing mind maps; trying to connect ideas! It was a great moment when there sprouted an actual concise story out of the fragments of each interview.
It was definitely one of my favourite moments of the trimester finishing this podcast. I started to feel like it was our baby / child / spawn, and I cared greatly for it developing in to an established teenager / adult - a matured entity that I would be proud to introduce to others as my own.
The podcast delves into the industry in a way that many gig-goers, music lovers and appreciators, even musicians, may not be attune to (ha music pun), so I am very pleased with the product being, hopefully, something that many would be interested in listening to.
... On that note, take a listen below -
The completed Venue Menu! Listen on SoundCloud
This tri has been the most difficult yet for me, there were countless moments of being pushed beyond my perceived ability. But that’s allowed it to be one of great self-discovery - I’ve learnt a new console (and conducted some successful recording sessions by myself), I’ve put on a gig as part of a live sound team (which involved learning a new console and software), and become much more confident and capable in using Pro Tools (with all the podcast, sound-replacement and studio work editing and mixing).
Hot Rod was a blast to create, I think my group and I found it one of the most enjoyable assignments. I still don’t think I’ll be a Post-Production professional though - I found the editing of the foley quite tedious and frustrating at times - there is just so much to think about and process and mix that isn’t music. I can spend hours editing music and not get irate - it feels more creative to me, there’s individual expression and experimenting, to create a product that in itself is the art.
I do prefer being in the studio, working with instruments, sounds, that can be creatively constructed into songs. The studio unit this tri was extremely validating for me - I felt more at home working in the studio and developing a song from the ground up.
I also had the opportunity of working with Spec 8 in the studio, and have worked on (and continue to work on) recording them and producing their music.
They are two very naturally-talented individuals, so I worked on allowing that to shine without over-saturation of added sounds and effects.
Here's one of the tracks - Ain't No Sunshine (recorded in the Neve, edited and mixed in Pro Tools)...
Ain't No Sunshine Cover, by Spec 8 (Reinette and Leeroy).
I would absolutely love being a composer for film though. I think music is heightened by visuals (and visa versa), so making music to extend the feeling of a scene would be so satisfying for me. The process is highly creative but also involves much thought, and consideration of how humans think - it is deeply psychologically-informed. I find this highly interesting and appealing as a possible profession!
I also now consider live sound as a potential career option. Which is funny to me because I originally didn’t very much like the thought of it - its fast-paced nature, the pressure! But since putting on our gig - which I felt very good about - I’d like more of these sort of live music experiences. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a gig developing from set-up, to sound-check, to audience to performance… packing up with a job well-done. I am also now quite enticed by the idea of being involved more in the organisation side of it, like tour managing!
It was very informative and engaging to hear Andy Shillito (a live sound engineer for over 20 years, and tour manager) talk about live sound. He was wonderful to hear from, and a few points struck me in what he said. One being the ‘intuitive’, simplistic nature of live sound mixing; that you mix the gig and you’re done - there’s no over-thinking, over-analysing, over-producing - it’s the music and the musicians, their art is what is reaching people.
This process of working is very attractive to me! There have been points during this course I have felt frustration at working so in depth with certain aspects of a track - this or that frequency, messing with plug-in parameters, editing every transient - and just deleted everything and started again more simply. It's more important to focus on recording quality and then augmenting the beauty already there (by also attenuating anything hindering that).
This ties to the importance of giving your ears rests, which is another point Andy emphasised - to not overwork the music, because our ears and mind adapt to the sounds and almost become immune to their full effect! I found Andy’s example surprising and made me re-evaluate how I work - that 10 minutes spent on a kick, for example, is just too long. It is true that we judge sounds best when our ears are fresh, and should trust our first instincts!
It is better not to over-complicate music.
This reminded me of a conversation a few of my peers and I had recently, that some of the greatest songs of all time were mixed straight to tape. Indeed, most of the songs I listen to and enjoy are raw - it’s their feeling, the song’s character, its drive, that appeals, that so many of us latch on to, that makes them in any way memorable. I don’t listen to a song and criticise the kick (assuming it was recorded reasonably), but rather, experience the entire track, as a whole.
I would love to be able to work with music in this way - to communicate an artist’s feeling and honesty through music, and keep it simple (stupid).
Overall in this tri I learned I need to doubt myself and my abilities less - doubt and restraint just causes a blockage to constructive learning. I need to be happy working at my own pace and not feel pressured to be as others are, or be as adept as others, but rather focus on developing my own learnings and practices. And the more I do that, the more I will develop, and the more I will allow myself to just enjoy the genuine splendour of working with music.