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AES141 Student Recording Competition Interview: Kerrick Crace

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


I'm originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, but I've been in Nashville now for 6 years. After taking time off from school to try the "artist thing," I'm now back at Belmont University with a self oriented focus on film audio as I finish my senior year for a BS Degree in Audio Engineering Technology. Belmont boasts the only Dolby Atmos surround system in any university in the U.S. (possibly world, but I'm not positive) which has been quite exciting to learn about and have (sparring) access to.

 

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


I've grown up playing and writing piano music since I was 4, though I never really learned to read music. My piano teacher, after my stubbornness wouldn't cease, began to foster ear training and I learned to play fully by ear.  From there I learned to play guitar, bass, drums, etc. and developed an ear for how they all fit together. Recorded bands in high school with a super simple Zoom multitrack and maybe 3 mics and from that point on my perfectionist mind was always fascinated with making things sound better and better. But it was going to an IMAX to see Interstellar in 2014 that made me realize what I believe is my purpose. That film has some AMAZING sound done by Richard King and his team to make it visceral and powerful. However, hearing Hans Zimmer's score in that film was one of the most religious experiences of my life; the powerful organ from Temple Church, the intimate piano, the dynamic and patient orchestral movements seemed so clearly to paint the gravity of reaching out into space for a new home...You may have heard this if you're a fan, but Hans was only given one page describing the film before he began the score - the page described a drama about a relationship between a father and his son - although the film was destined to be a large scale Sci-Fi production. So, his score cut right to the heart of the film denying predictable Sci-Fi motifs  - learning this jettisoned me into a new world that made me realize the depth and emotional context of film music and how it has shaped me as an engineer and composer in my life. My goal in my life is to learn how to work this way - to cut through to the heart of a film to its most central and human element. I believe it's the one thing I can do well while also helping someone else to enhance and develop their vision, which to me is everything; to me it's purpose.


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?


Yes, this was my first entry into AES. My submission was the last 5 minutes of a beautiful film called "My Indian Rhapsody" - a successful thesis for Emerson graduate film student Abijeet Achar about a man conflicted with between love and success. For this project, I was asked to compose an original score, which ended up being 7 unique pieces that I began in January of 2016 and finished around March. I then took over most of the sound editing and fully mixed and mastered the film from March to May. I knew Abijeet from high school and when he contacted me about the project, I was incredibly excited as it is the longest and most creatively open film I had worked on to date! I was given an incredible amount of freedom to envision a score based on my own countless viewing on his cuts. As each new cut would come in, I would feel closer and closer to the film and began to take on its complex themes and meanings in my score creation. Themes that I felt I had experienced in my life; of love and loss, of following the right path, of daydreaming and feeling torn between two paths, of adoption and what that search entails, and many others - I could go on for days haha. The film is rich and incredibly well done, and made it to the semi finals of the student academy awards. I showed it to one of my professors, Dr. Doyuen Ko who won the AES Student Competion multiple times in his college days, and with his guidance I was able to select a section of the film which I remixed in Belmont's new 7.1 Film Mix Room. 

 

What/who made you join AES?


I joined our Belmont AES Chapter in 2013 when I came back to Belmont after taking some time off. I soon joined AES as a paying member after learning from Jim Kaiser of the endless opportunities they had for students to get involved and connected to professionals in the audio industry. I got involved as the treasurer in Belmont's chapter and now hold the current Belmont AES Chair position, though I'm sad to say I've been spread too thin been to put my full energy into it recently, though I plan for that to change as we gear towards some really exciting things next semester. I feel I haven't expressed this enough to our Belmont members, but AES is an incredible entity where you as a student can meet seasoned engineers and gain a wealth of knowledge from their experiences and I'm so grateful to be involved and have had the chance to take part in the student competition!


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 141st AES convention in LA! 


Oh God. Haha there were so many! Walking through the showroom I got to demo some gear that I've been dying to see for years (namely Jonathan Pines showed me around the Master Bus Processor and 5060 Centerpiece by Rupert Neve Designs - I didn't think i could geek out that much). I met the head engineer  of Sony PlayStation and talked about the future of VR audio for games. Outside of the conference, I toured Universal Studios' Post Production Facitities and met re-recording engineer Jon Taylor (The Revenant, Birdman, Unbroken, Babel) through one of our amazing Belmont faculty, Dave Warburton and was able to get some invaluable knowledge from him as well as hear his mix for Unbroken (as he soloed his stems individually for us). So. Mind. Blowing. The lectures on VR Audio, Game Audio, and Sound for Picture were some of the coolest talks I've ever heard. I'd finish the day of lectures and walk my 15 blocks back to my crappy hotel with a headache and a notebook full of barely ledgible notes as I tried to capture all the info I could haha it was epic. Getting to hear other student projects and hearing comments from the judges had to be my favorite part. So valuable. It was also amazing (and terrifying) to show my submission to my peers and hear the judges' comments on my work as well - I certainly left feeling empowered and felt I had some amazing guidance for my next projects! I will certainly be back for New York and if all goes well I'll make it to Berlin this May too - to summarize, I'm hooked for life. 

To hear Kerrick's score project, click here


Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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AES141 Student Recording Competition Interview: Kyle Holland

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

 

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, but 3yrs ago I moved to Nashville to pursue my education and career in audio from Middle Tennessee State University. I’m currently working on my Masters of Recording Arts and Technologies at MTSU. I also serve as a graduate teaching assisting at MTSU and I run my own project studio called The Crooked Switch, where I freelance record, produce, and mix local artists. 

 

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


Like most audio engineers my passion for audio started with being a musician and having a love for music. Ever since I was a child I was always involved in music. I took piano lessons as a kid, I played clarinet and trumpet in my elementary school band, I studied music theory at a grammy winning high school (Neuqua Valley), and I played guitar and wrote music for a handful of rock bands throughout high school and college. While playing guitar, I became obsessed how things sounded. I was always fiddling with the settings on everyone’s amps, and I would leave shows constantly commenting on the quality of the sound. At the same time, my high school also had a small MIDI lab that it used for its music theory classes which was my first introduction to audio technology and the power it provided. Once I reached college I had enough money to buy Ableton live and an interface of my own. I was immediately hooked and knew that music production and audio engineering was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, and as they say, the rest is history. 


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?

This song was inspired by a free release of some space themed samples by NASA. I’m a geek at heart and love outer space, so after sifting through some of these samples, I thought it would be really cool to base a song around the Apollo 11 landing. I was living in an apartment at the time of this song’s creation so most of my productions were done in-the-box using either MIDI, sampling, or DI guitars. This song was no exception. I work in both Pro Tools and Ableton live, but I prefer Ableton live for my own compositions and electronic based music that I make when I’m not doing production or mixing work for other artists. This song took a couple of months to create which is about normal for me. I wear many hats and juggle many balls, so I only devote time to my own productions such as this, when I have free time in my schedule, which is becoming much more rare these days.


What/who made you join AES?


I joined AES back in 2013 when I started school at MTSU. I had heard about their AES chapter through the departments website. I wanted to be as involved as I could in the audio community so it was a no brainer to join. I’ve been a student member ever since. In 2015 I also competed on MTSU’s mixing team during the AES Spring Mixer. 


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 141st AES convention in LA!


As always, one of the best parts of AES is just being in the same room with so many like minded and talented audio professionals where the exchange of new knowledge is commonplace, new friendships are formed, and the opportunities are provided to talk about new technologies with your peers. Above all, I would say the highlights of the convention for me would be either making finalist in the recording competition, or listening to top producers like Greg Wells, George Massenburg, Darrel Thorp, and Al Schmitt, talk about their productions and recording techniques. I’d also never been to LA before so it was really cool just getting see such an influential and historic city that has had such a major impact on the music and entertainment industries. 

To hear Kyle's project, click here


Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2016

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AES141 Student Design Competition Interview: Owen Campbell

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

 

I grew up in Michigan and studied music production and composition in the Performing Arts Technology department at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. I had also been getting into programming and ended up earning a minor in computer science as well. Later, I got to pursue my interests in computer science and music in the Media Arts and Technology program at UC Santa Barbara, where I focused on software development for real-time audio applications. 

 

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

 

My interest in audio grew out of my passion for music. During my first couple years of college I started writing and recording my own songs, and I became fascinated with the process of composing and producing music. This eventually led me to apply to the PAT program in the music school. Though I was mostly focusing on studio production and composition at the time, I also got to explore audio processing using Max/MSP and Csound. During graduate school I began studying signal processing and further developed my software engineering skills in the context of effects processing and music information retrieval. I think I've been motivated by a desire to really understand the tools I use to make music, and as I've learned more about how these things work I've been inspired to develop new techniques for music production and performance.

 

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?

 

The project was developed over the course of my final year of grad school. I had been learning about music information retrieval and audio effects processing and made the connection that controlling the behavior of effects based on the musical content of the signal could be really interesting. Though there are many existing examples of adaptive effects, at the time no one had attempted to generalize that concept in a way that could be integrated with digital audio workstations, so it seemed like a good idea to pursue for my master's project. This was my first entry in the competition. 


What/who made you join AES?

 

I originally joined AES to get access to journal articles, but I've since found it to be a good resource for meeting like-minded people and keeping track of what's going on in the audio industry.


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 141st AES convention in LA!

Aside from being a valuable opportunity to get feedback on my project, it was great meeting the other students in the design competition and learning about their work. I also enjoyed wandering the exhibition hall and catching up with some friends at the Real Industry after party. 

 

To see Owen's project, click here


Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016

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AES 141 Meet the Sponsors PSP Audio

AES 141 Meet the Sponsors PSP Audio

Many thanks to PSP Audio for sponsoring the student competitions!

PSPaudioware develops high quality audio effect and processor plug-ins. Their products garner rave reviews and endorsements from every corner of the music production, engineering, composition, and post-production worlds and become staples in professional and home studios worldwide. 

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Posted: Friday, November 18, 2016

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AES 141 Meet the Sponsors MathWorks

AES 141 Meet the Sponsors MathWorks

Many thanks to MathWorks for sponsoring the student design competition!

The MATLAB and Simulink product families are fundamental applied math and computational tools adopted by more than 5000 universities and colleges. MathWorks products help prepare students for careers in industry, where the tools are widely used for data analysis, mathematical modeling, and algorithm development in collaborative research and new product development.  

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Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016

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AES 141 Meet the Sponsors! Antelope Audio

AES 141 Meet the Sponsors! Antelope Audio

Many thanks to Antelope Audio for sponsoring the student competitions!

Antelope Audio

Analog clarity / Digital warmth
Antelope Audio has packed more then 20 years’ experience in digital audio, clocking and analog circuit development. We are dedicated to helping people achieve high-definition sound both in the recording studio and home environment.

Our 20 years in the industry brought us to the development of our 4th generation of Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) jitter management algorithm, responsible for our flawless clocking. You probably know it from Antelope’s signature crystal-based master clocks, that clock even our competitors products.

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Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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AES 141 Meet the Sponsors APS

AES 141 Meet the Sponsors APS

Many thanks to APS - Audio Pro Solutions for sponsoring the student recording competition!

APS - Audio Pro Solutions 

Manufacturer of professional monitors and High End Home speakers. APS was born from an encounter between a composer and sound engineer/producer, brilliant speaker designers and a group of highly motivated audiophiles and music lovers. 

APS was established in 2006 as a project devoted to studio sound production technique. As we use professional project and measurement tools, we have total control over the final effect at each stage of the product creation. Ready-made projects are implemented into production with maximum attention paid to the quality of the final product. Our present offer includes active studio monitors.

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Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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AES 141 Thank You Sponsors! D16 Group Audio Software

AES 141 Thank You Sponsors! D16 Group Audio Software

 Check out D16 Group, sponsor of the Student Recording Competition at AES 141

 

D16 Group Audio Software officially launched in 2006 with the aim of producing virtual instruments and effects for producers and musicians who required top quality and inspiration in their music.

 

Today, D16 Group Audio Software have become a premium audio plug-ins vendor. Continuously high level of quality and will of improvement allow us to deliver virtual instruments that set a new standard of sound perfection and effects that take creativity to the next level. Solid trust from audio community and respect for products fruitful in many rewards make D16 Group Audio Software the company of choice for many musicians around the globe.

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Posted: Monday, November 14, 2016

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AES 141 | Thank You Sponsors! Sweetwater

AES 141 | Thank You Sponsors! Sweetwater

Check out Sweetwater, sponsor of the Student Recording Competition at AES 141

Sweetwater began business in 1979 in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is the USA's most respected dealer in high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios, and broadcasters - from microphones and digital recording systems to electric guitars to electronic keyboards and electronic drums. Sweetwater customers range from beginners to rock stars. The company's equipment can be found in Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville recording studios, TV and radio stations all across the country, as well as in tens of thousands of home recording studios nationwide. Sweetwater is built on a commitment to the highest level of customer service in the music technology industry.

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Posted: Sunday, November 13, 2016

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AES 141 Thank You Sponsors! Sonnox

AES 141 Thank You Sponsors! Sonnox

Sonnox is a market-leading audio software company devoted to designing innovative, high quality audio processing plug-ins. The award-winning Oxford Plugins are used by professionals worldwide for mixing Music, Film, Television, Radio and Live Sound. 

 
The Sonnox Oxford plug-in range includes invaluable tools such as EQ, reverb, dynamics processing, loudness maximization and de-essing. In addition to these mixing plug-ins, Sonnox offers award-winning restoration software - Sonnox Restore suite for the removal of noise, buzz, clicks and crackles; and a pair of plug-ins developed in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for the real-time auditioning and encoding of audio to multiple formats, such as mp3 and AAC.
 
Sonnox plug-ins support most popular native DAWs including Pro Tools HDX and UAD-2 platforms.

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Posted: Saturday, November 12, 2016

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