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AES143 Student Recording Competition Interview: Noah Kowalski

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

I am from Portsmouth NH, and I went to school at Emerson College studying Audio Post Production/Sound Design for Visual Media Arts. At school I worked on audio post-production for student films with the occasional foray into production recording. Additionally I explored music editing for a dance organization on campus and podcast editing for EdTech Times in Boston, so I really tried to explore all sorts of audio while at school - except for music production. There was very little at my school offered for music production, which I think is a shame, but Emerson is not a music school so I guess it makes sense. Regardless of this, in my time at Emerson I was able to focus my time on post-production and learn from some really knowledgeable professors and I am grateful for all of the experiences I had there.

2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start? 

My passion for audio began in High School when I started playing with synthesizers and experimenting with effects units. At this point I had really just dipped my toes into recording. It was all so daunting and I kind of just jumped into it and taught myself subtractive synthesis on a Roland SH-201 keyboard that my dad had given me. I was always interested in music during school and I was unquestionably a band geek but I didn’t want to pursue performance as a career so audio felt like a natural alternative. It wasn’t until I arrived at Emerson that I became interested in sound for film, but I really enjoyed it and that is how I came to be where I am now.

3) Tell us about production of your submission? What is the story behind it? What inspired it? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry?

My AES submission was a product of my final semester in which I had already taken every audio related class at Emerson. Unfortunately there was no real capstone project in my program, so I decided to create my own audio capstone. I always loved the show Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it seemed like the style of sound design would be both challenging but also achievable and so that was my pick for a sound replacement. Deciding to do an entire episode was biting off far more than I could chew at the time, but I just had to chip away and learn as I went. I spent roughly 400 hours on it in total and it really was the only thing I worked on all semester. It was my first AES submission and so I was quite proud to have been a finalist.

4) What/who made you join AES?

I had joined AES the year previous when I had heard my friends discussing going to AES 139. At the time I had never even heard of AES, but we all decided to go and check it out. It was honestly overwhelming at the time because there was so much to see, and I did not get nearly as much out of it as I did this time at AES 143. I was glad to be back again with a better sense of the convention!

5) Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 143st AES convention in NY!

My favorite experiences at AES 143 were the all of the conversations had between other people just like myself who are trying to get into this industry. I met so many amazing people who are doing amazing things, and I made a lot of friends that I know I will stay in touch with. In addition, meeting so many experienced minds within the industry and having the opportunity to have some of them critique my work was really an honor.

Posted: Monday, January 8, 2018

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