AES143 Student Recording Competition Interview: Samuel Ramirez
1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?
I'm from Elk Grove, California, but spent most of the ol' teen years growing up in Denton, Texas. I'm a junior in the audio engineering program at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, with a concentration in music performance. I love the engineering and mixing side of music, but I also stay pretty active as a keyboard player and producer. I think being involved in music-making in different roles helps inform all the other roles! I'm incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to study here at Jacobs, where I've been able to learn from our immensely knowledgeable audio faculty, as well as mess around with, you know, a few decent mics.
2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?
I remember as a kid I used to carpool to piano lessons with my older brother and our friend. While we were waiting at the teacher's house for our turn, she would let us mess around with loops in Garageband on her desktop computer. I remember making some wacky, long, and probably god-awful arrangements using the built-in loop library. Then sometime around middle school, my brother got a little 2-channel M-Audio interface, and I began making actual recordings. Eventually I figured out how to overdub tracks, and I guess I've been doing that ever since.
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?
Moose Memories is a local Bloomington band (which I may or may not be in), and we recorded this session with help from our friend Jared O'Brien late at night during finals week last year. We had played the song at a few shows by that point, and just wanted to get a quick and dirty recorded version to have as a demo. Everything was tracked live, except for overdubbed vocals. We ended up not touching it for months, but I began work on the mix a few weeks before the submission deadline for the AES mix competition so it made sense to go ahead and submit it. I had a lot of fun trying to balance cleanness and clarity in the mix with the rough, distorted aesthetic we were looking for. This was my first time submitting in the mix competition and I'm glad I did!
4) What/who made you join AES?
Recommendations from faculty and other students, and of course being able to participate in the convention itself.
5) Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 143st AES convention in NY!
Stevie Wonder is one of my all time favorite musicians and songwriters, so it was really wild to see him strolling by, even though I was fanboying out way too much to try to talk to him. I also learned a lot from the judges' feedback on all the mix competition submissions, which was awesome.