Capturing a great sounding performance is just one of the benefits of being an Audio Engineer, and JMC Alumni Nick Riley, who has recorded artists such as Meg Mac and Georgia Fair, knows this only too well.
“Since graduating JMC in 2014, I’ve worked on a variety of projects including co-producing this track with singer-songwriter Rhianna Dews, recording backing tracks for the Musical Theatre stage show ‘The Producers’ which included tap dancers and vocalists, recording various tracks for upcoming Georgia Fair record, and operating the sound and stage for Festival Return To Rio.”
But the most recent sessions for Nick have been working with the well-known Australian singer-songwriter Meg Mac.
“I met Meg for the first time a few years ago when I was living in Melbourne. My brothers’ band and Meg shared the same management. They got in touch to see if I would be audio operator on a couple of film shoots as Meg wanted to play a few songs and film the performances. Doing the clips with Meg has been great because we were on location and had to think about multiple camera angles as well as audio setup. We also had to think about the best monitoring setup for her to be comfortable. It is really important as an audio engineer to work quickly but not frantically.
This means knowing your stuff so that you can capture the vibe without fuss. If you are slow at getting things going you can end up losing what could’ve been a great performance.”
What are your favourite parts about working in the industry?
Jumping in the studio and recording great music is the best part.
I also enjoy the different scenarios you end up working in. One week I will be in the studio with a song-writer or a band and the next week I will be working on a festival. It can be stressful at times but it keeps things interesting and when you get the job done it is so rewarding. But it does mean you have to be on the ball. I mainly love being around creative people, especially in terms of music and constantly thinking about how you’re going to pull the best sound.
How did studying Audio Engineering help you prepare for the industry?
JMC helped me hone my audio skills and understand a range of facets of the industry where I could expect to find work. They demonstrated that being adaptable is the key to being successful in the industry. I learnt that you have to put yourself in to as much as you can to make things happen.
It is an industry that is based around people you know and work often comes from people who have recommended you as networking and making good impressions will give you the best chance of continuing to get work.
Having the audio skills I learnt at JMC has also allowed me to push the boat out further in terms of writing and producing my own music.
What advice would you give to current students?
Take full advantage of the facilities at JMC while you have access to them. As a student you have access to studios that are very costly when you are looking at hiring commercial facilities.
Also push to get a handle on the concepts that are taught at JMC as thoroughly as you can. Knowing how something is done is one thing, being able to do it proficiently takes heaps of practice.
Once you are shown a technique, take it and run with it and practice it as much as you can.
Find out more about studying Audio Engineering and Sound Production
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