Audio Engineering and Sound Production Alumni Matt Slater discusses the importance of networking and the inspiration and attitude that allowed him to open his own successful studio and audio business.
“The saying "What goes around, comes around" is as true as ever. To continue to grow and expand, you must foster relationships, and encourage your clients to share the experience they had with you, with their own friends and their own networks”
Why did you want to get into Audio?
I had an interest in audio & music from an early age. Like most kids I listened to lots of different music, and was a member of our primary school band. Later, while in high school I did Media Studies including Film & Television. I’ve also been a ‘gamer’ since early on, and I became particularly interested in the audio element of gaming and the creation of sound effects for my high school assessments, though at this stage I still knew very little about sound design or audio in general.
After high school, I worked a few different jobs but none provided the sense of career satisfaction I was looking for. During this period I studied a Certificate 3 in Music Industry Technical Production which I really enjoyed, and I think provided more catalysts to pursue my musical interest.
Finally in 2013 I enrolled at JMC to complete my degree in audio engineering.
Tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating?
I started investigating possible work opportunities and began network building while I was still studying at JMC.
After graduating I was fortunate to get some work experience with a small local recording studio which provided practical experience in recording and mixing skills, the opportunity to work with a cross-section of artists, and more network building.
Although I greatly appreciated this experience, it was only part-time and wasn’t paying the bills, but it taught me enough to know that to move forward and be successful I would need to start my own studio & recording business.
In 2017 I started Matt Slater Audio (MSA) and since then I've continued to work with a number of very talented local musicians and audio professionals on a range of projects - EP's, full Albums, live performances and even some audio for interactive media.
Highlights for me so far have been:
- Working with the crew at dLIVEr Online Media Streaming to record and broadcast Brisbane’s annual Riverfire Festival in 2016;
- Working with the Melbourne-based game development studio GOATi Entertainment on some interactive audio for the 2017 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix
- Applying the acoustic theory I learned while at JMC to build my own recording studio which officially opened for business at the start of this year
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since working in the industry?
One of the lessons that my lecturers at JMC made abundantly clear was that success in this industry has a lot to do with networking. This is so true! Artists, producers and other professionals can help to provide leads to further experience and opportunities.
I've also found that transparency and a willingness to listen to the artists you work with is extremely important! Explaining to a musician why you’re using a particular piece of hardware or plug-in can help to create trust with your clients, which in turn helps them feel more comfortable with you as an engineer. Once you've nurtured those kinds of relationships with your client, that’s when the magic really starts to happen.
What were your favourite things about JMC?
My favourite part of studying at JMC was my lecturers and class mates. I met some amazing people and made some very good friends who helped and supported me. We were all in it together, and the sense of camaraderie is something that strikes a chord.
How do you feel your time at JMC prepared you for the industry?
My experience and learning at JMC was vital to creating a solid foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge from which to launch my career.
JMC has great resources – people and equipment – and their emphasis on getting students into the studio for hands-on learning is a great leg-up for the future.
What advice would you give to current students?
My advice to current students is simple; don’t give up, be brave enough to take risks and never stop learning. Our industry is constantly evolving as new technologies and techniques are developed. Having a willingness to implement these into your projects can put you ahead of the curve.
Finally, network...network...network! We live in the age of social media, take advantage of it. Use every available resource to showcase yourself and your work to potential clients and help local artists you meet and work with to promote their work. If you get an opportunity to record an independent artist, use your network of industry professionals to help them network and promote themselves!
To find out more about studying Audio Engineering, click here.