Hello World! Welcome to the Let's Talk...Audio Podcast. This is a home for minorities in the industry to talk audio and share their stories! Our host Tangela has been a live sound engineer in Texas for some ten years, and she loves connecting with interesting people and getting their two cents. We release episodes bi-weekly or so. Also you can find us on IG @letstalkaudiopodcast, and our website www.beatsinabottle.com
Frases De Cajon | Let's Talk ... Audio with Juno Black
Hello World! Juno Black is an audiovisual technology production expert. With a background in music composition, engineering, and events production, Juno’s curiosity has led her to venture into new and advanced audiovisual technologies.
This episode opens with a proper introduction from our guest!
Tangela asked Juno about her expertise in multimedia production.
Juno started her audio career in Colombia, before immigrating to the United States, going initially to Boston. There she attended Berklee College of Music. Eventually Juno finished her Bachelor's degree with Southern Utah University and now she is pursuing a Master's degree, as she wants to teach audio at a college level.
Before moving to New York City, Juno opened a recording studio with a couple of friends, in an apartment's garage.
"If I hadn't been so naïve...it wouldn't have happened."
The studio led Juno from producing music to commercials and film. Then she started getting work with independent film projects in NYC. Since most of her work was coming from NY, she decided to move there.
While in NY, Juno got into working live sound, and closed her studio in order to work on tours. She worked for https://www.jazzreach.org/ (Jazz Reach) for some time. While touring with them she discovered Austin. Juno thought the change of pace suited her.
After moving to Austin, Juno began teaching and working for https://oneworldtheatre.org (One World Theatre) as production manager. They did close during the pandemic lockdowns. She's working with them again now, in a smaller capacity. Tangela's been trying to focus on the learning opportunities the pandemic has shed light on.
Juno thinks that life was too comfortable in America before coronavirus. While the situation is polarizing, she thinks the future is more positive, that good people will prevail.
Tangela asks Juno about her business, and does she have a team? Juno has some sub contractors she uses, but otherwise is a one-woman show.
"I really encourage people ... create that moment in which you put yourself into a position in which you can bring people along and create something."
Juno tries to leverage the unique strengths of the people she knows. She references the Queer Riot Festival as an example.
Tangela asks about quality standards. Juno talks about education, feedback, and quality communication.
Juno dislikes the term "minority" and describes why. From there they speak more generally about language, and briefly touch on the Census as an example. The cultural reclamation of words gets discussed too.
Juno brings up a saying from Colombia, "frases de cajon" which means "phrases in a drawer." This refers to short sayings that people use, which don't have room for depth of meaning or nuance, and often serve to shut down conversation. The increasing polarization today leads to conspiracy theory and victim mentality.
Tangela brings up her recent talk with https://www.beatsinabottle.com/letstalkaudio/episode/3e977021/signal-gain-announcement-or-lets-talk-audio-featuring-lisa-machac (Lisa) about an oft repeated statistic about women in the audio industry. These kinds of bite sized data points get used without context, without understanding of the context they came from.
After some further discussion about "where are you from?" as both an important and a misused thought, Tangela brings up the topic of "echo chambers." Juno thinks this time period has caused people to seek refuge in more extreme positions.
Tangela brings that topic back to the craft of audio. Juno illustrates the difference between the analog days versus today with regards to choice limitations. Limiting yourself to a few choices is helpful in comparison to choice-paralysis.
Juno: "My girlfriend thinks that I am a little bit of a hoarder."
Juno points out that gear is expensive, so one should understand the concepts before focusing on the new shiny thing. Juno also points out that as price increases, the amount the sound quality increases...
Signal Gain Announcement! | Let's Talk ... Audio featuring Lisa Machac
Hello World! In case you missed the previous episode with Lisa from the Omni Sound Project (https://www.beatsinabottle.com/letstalkaudio/episode/29dafa8e/omni-sound-project (LINK)), this interview starts with an introduction about Lisa and Omni. Lisa is a musician in Austin, TX, and had first started exploring audio to learn how to record. In an effort to get more educational resources in this area, she started Omni Sound Project in about January of 2020, becoming an online community in March of 2020.
What is the primary goal of Omni?
"Right now the driving force is achieving gender parity, but we do also focus on all types of inclusion. We wanna make sure that everyone feels welcome in the recording studio ..."
Omni's classes aren't necessarily about music or the studio. They have also done classes on podcasting and even on-set recording for film.
Lisa is discovering, going into year three with Omni, is that they need to balance including basics-oriented classes that have been covered before with new classes on new topics.
Tangela and Lisa remember how naïve their last interview was with regards to Covid's trajectory.
The https://www.omnisoundproject.com/signalgain.html (upcoming Signal Gain event) will be totally online again this year, excepting a potentially live viewing party that may or may not take place.
While Texas law prevents business from requiring proof of vaccination of their customers, https://www.sll.texas.gov/spotlight/2021/06/can-a-business-require-me-to-wear-a-mask/ (they absolutely can still require masks of them).
Signal Gain is a celebratory event, kind of like an online conference, with classes from accomplished teachers. This year Omni is adding "speed sessions" to run in between events. These are prerecorded, short form videos.
Omni Sound Project has adopted a "core faculty" model with lots of guest teachers, chosen with a strong emphasis on communication skills, generosity and enthusiasm. Lisa has also adopted a practice of holding sponsors to account for gender representation.
Omni was originally modeled after organizations like Sound Girls and https://womensaudiomission.org/ (WAM). While those organizations are geared towards education for professional audio engineers, Omni is a little more community minded. They talk further about differentiation and competition in the online space.
Talking about things learned. Lisa has learned to trust her gut more regarding who to do business with. The lockdowns have taught Lisa to prioritize taking care of herself and to be sure to find joy in her music making.
Also, Lisa is in Montana during this interview, surrounded by smoke from the west coast fires.
Tangela and Lisa like the human element in their respective spaces of interviews and music. Tangela shares a short takeaway from an upcoming episode of http://www.cinnamondenise.com/podcast (The Music Executive podcast) which Tangela edits. The host, Cinnamon Denise is also a core faculty member for Omni Sound Project.
Finally, you can get in touch at https://www.omnisoundproject.com/ (omnisoundproject.com) and https://www.instagram.com/omnisoundproject/?hl=en (@omnisoundproject) on IG
As usual you can find Tangela on IG @letstalkaudiopodcast and @beatsinabottle, and on her website beatsinabottle.com
NEW - support options!
Don't forget there's an Apparel store!
Make Space to Fail | Let's Talk ... Audio with Daniy Oberle
Hello World! Welcome back to Let's Talk ... Audio
This interview was recorded online with Squadcast.fm back in April, and begins with Daniy introducing herself as a sound designer at Bioware. She worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anthem, Mass Effect Andromeda, and currently on the new Dragon Age title. She also has some background in live sound and she enjoys field recording.
Daniy and Tangela had previously met at an Austin Engineering Society meeting.
She went to Madison Media Institute before moving to Chicago for an internship. Afterward, she moved to Dallas for an internship. Before eventually coming to Bioware in Austin, TX, she had also worked at Gearbox and a couple other places including some live sound work.
They talk a little bit about persistence, work ethic, luck, and the strange journeys we take into audio. This includes the job of honoring mentorship advice.
But also, you can't know everything about a domain, so embrace being a lifelong learner, and make friends with specialists. Teamwork!
The cooking/baking metaphor in this part of the conversation is gold!
On the topic of learning, talk to people! Don't take learning from other people's failures for granted. Tangela suggests a book called https://www.amazon.com/Proximity-Principle-Proven-Strategy-Career/dp/0978562038 (The Proximity Principle) about Steve Jobs' story of getting pushed out of Apple.
School seems to teach us "if I can't do it to 100%, then don't do it" - this is a bad habit! And prevents you from growing. Daniy points out "The space to fail is really important."
Tangela asks Daniy for an example of a failure in her audio career. Her answer is about the process of having to scrap a project because someone else built something better.
The next topic is about areas where we can grow as audio engineers. From there Daniy shares her interest in field recording. Also she loves to travel, and has been to most states in the US.
As part of the field recording discussion, Daniy shares some knowledge about noise pollution in the ultrasonic range.
Tangela shares a story about getting custom ear plugs and learning about the loudness levels (a damaging amount) of some everyday experiences like riding the bus. They continue to talk about hearing and health.
From there the conversation turns to diversity, advocacy, and the problem of being treated as a spokesperson for the demographics you belong to.
Foley art! Tangela and Daniy reference Alena Lecorchick from Rooster Teeth who was interviewed in episode 11, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-talk-foley-art-in-audio-with-alena-lecorchick/id1501111841?i=1000514107781 (Let's Talk Foley Art in Audio with Alena Lecorchick).
The next topic of discussion centers around: How do you balance what's good for your career with what's good for your happy and healthy? Also Tangela and Daniy talk about rural - urban divides and perceptions.
Tangela asks Daniy to lay out some advice for people new to audio. Her freewheeling answer revolves around being open to learning broadly.
Finally they spend some time talking about post-processing workflows a bit before the end of the episode.
As usual you can find Tangela on IG @letstalkaudiopodcast and @beatsinabottle, and on her website beatsinabottle.com
Don't forget Beats in a Bottle has an Apparel Store too!
Your Best Opportunity is in Your Next Place | Let's Talk ... Audio with Chance Sampson
Hello World! Welcome back to Let's Talk ... Audio
This interview was recorded online with https://riverside.fm/ (Riverside.fm) on July 27, 2021, and it starts with an intro from Chance Sampson. He first got into AV as a guitarist who wanted to record his music. He recorded on standalone recorders like the Tascam.
Later he joined the high school show choir as a guitarist. Show choir would use two old Yamaha 16 channel digital consoles, daisy-chained in some strange manner. He ended up trouble shooting and learning how to set up their system better.
He went to the Art Institute in Austin for a degree in Audio Production. The school would let him take their gear off campus and throw pop punk shows at skate parks. After graduation he worked at Guitar Center, before getting on with the Renaissance Austin Hotel's AV team, doing conferences and things of that nature. From there he went into corporate audio installation work, building a team and becoming an operations manager.
Chance and Tangela both have been substitute FoH engineers for their friend Tim Weaver (who will be in an upcoming episode). He later worked for WeWork's division in Dallas.
Most recently he's been working in retail AV installation, so doing installs in department stores and such.
As a result of seeing all these things, he's developed an appreciation for the diversity of vertical AV product lines, depending on application.
He will be working for Peloton's AV in their Dallas office as of the week following this interview.
The past year and a half has been so long and crazy, Tangela and Chance had to look up just when exactly it was Colby Bryant died.
Chance's work ethic has been partly centered around finding problems to fix, without waiting for customers/clients/personnel to find them. This has been a source of career elevation as well as some small amount of coworker conflict.
"I really had every intention of not getting into stuff at WeWork ... because I wanna just be some schmuck that goes to work. It's really hard."
Tangela says "... leaning into your natural skills and natural personality ... A lot of times people don't lean into who they are naturally..."
Chance recognizes he's seen more than a few rare opportunities including the monetary compensation for his time at WeWork.
What he likes about AV more than anything is the problem solving and system design aspects. Getting to be in the field installing things and using that to inform design has been a pleasure for Chance as well.
Chance and Tangela talk about transferable skills, and using them in different contexts. Recognizing how skills transfer is key to recognizing opportunities.
They follow up by talking about bringing up/mentoring/handing opportunities to people new to a domain. Chance recalls that one of his previous jobs hired him because he was new to that particular area of audio but had the "go get 'em attitude" towards the work.
The choice to leave Austin for Dallas came about after the church Chance and Tangela attended/worked audio for, organized a focus group to help members think about their priorities and aspirations. A lot of good things lined up for Chance's family after that focus group, towards their goal of moving to Dallas.
Chance: "I just had a mustache at the time. I looked like a f*****g idiot. And, they still hired me ..."
Tangela: "I wanna know what it was like for you ... transitioning into these more corporate jobs, how did you manage what all you were will to do with family and what all you were willing to put your family through for your dreams and your careers?"
Chance: "That's a good ass question dude ... I more or less chose my wife over that stuff"
Chance: "We lived in the coolest city ever and never did anything, cuz we were always broke!"
Chance and his wife have been together for 13 years and married for 8 of those. He figured out early that he needed to prioritize stability and family over flexibility and on-the-road career choices.
Be A Kind Imposter | Let's Talk ... Audio with Akash Thakkar
Hello World! Welcome back to Let's Talk ... Audio
This interview was recorded online with https://riverside.fm/ (Riverside.fm), and it starts after Akash asks Tangela how she got into podcasting. Akash Thakkar is a sound designer based in Seattle, WA. He talks about how he segued into gaming audio from initially going to college at the Berklee College of Music to be a touring drummer. While in college he also put a lot of effort into learning "charisma" as he had been extremely socially awkward.
He graduated in 2012 and moved to Seattle. He found audio work very quickly after moving there. He's worked on a number of games including https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny_(video_game) (Destiny), https://store.steampowered.com/app/268130/Heat_Signature/ (Heat Signature), https://store.steampowered.com/app/257850/Hyper_Light_Drifter/ (Hyper Light Drifter) and most recently the new https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt9M6WumjtE (DLC for Outer Wilds).
He's also just recently launched his own https://www.akashthakkar.com/post/sound-business (podcast). Akash talks a bit about false starts as practice.
Tangela realized Akash is her first guest who has a podcast (however her previous guest Cinnamon Denise subsequently launched her podcast http://www.cinnamondenise.com/podcast (The Music Executive)).
They talk about how releasing content like podcasts and YouTube and blogs and such are a source of networking.
Tangela recommends https://thegogiver.com/ (The Go-Giver by Bob Burg).
Akash realized during college how important a great teacher is (shoutout to https://online.berklee.edu/faculty/michael-sweet (Michael Sweet) and Jeff Faust at Berklee) for learning new things. Coupled with the Buddhist concept https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudita (Mudita), the joy of seeing someone else succeed, this is the impetus behind his content he has produced over the years. "I want other people to make me irrelevant because they're doing so well."
They also talk about sources of bad advice and how/why that happens. But as for good advice, most of the time a person simply needs to do the thing and do it as simply, as babiest, smallest thing imaginable.
"It's the equivalent of doing one pushup, not a hundred"
Also, most of the time, you don't need to buy anything beyond the simple stuff. Doing the simple stuff, starting, is better than most of the people who say they "want" to do the thing.
Moving on to Impostor Syndrome! Akash thinks it can't be gotten rid of, because doing new things makes us impostors.
"If we aren't feeling impostor syndrome, we aren't being creative, period"
Next up, talking about how to interrupt those internal negative self-talk thoughts.
Akash is an avid reader. Books were one of the avenues he used to learn to get over his shyness during college. Self education is underrated!
"The best professionals know when to drop the ball"
Perfection happens with iteration, not with the first take. This section is about getting things done so that perfection can happen later.
Can a CRM save Tangela from retyping the same email ten times?
"What's the correct speed to drive?"
This analogy is about consistency, knowing when to slow down on things, and following your interests. Also, are you a fox or a hedgehog?
Flailing, plans, and those people close to you who are helpful sound boards.
Goals! Some peoples' goals change; Tangela's don't.
Advice for foxness, and pivoting thru the world right now: Grow an audience! Creative people with diverse interests do interesting things, and the world wants to see it! And the best way to build an audience is to give.
https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ (Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income) says "the riches are in the niches". Tangela points out: "When you try to reach everyone, you basically reach no one, because you're speaking to too many people."
Akash used to talk sound design on his YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr1pdADQRWMks2checkZxBA (channel), but felt that he
A Baby Bird in Looavul | Let's Talk ... Audio with Destiny Carter
Hello World! Destiny was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and teaches Tangela how to pronounce the name of the city like an insider.
They talk about age and technology, and how the generation gap is increasingly fine grained in comparison to the tech innovation curve over the last couple decades.
Destiny and Tangela discuss finance, budgeting, the starving artist mentality and the learning curves they have each experienced in this area.
Book Recommendations by Michele Cagan:
https://www.amazon.com/Investing-101-Essential-Profitable-Portfolio/dp/1440595135 (Investing 101)
https://www.amazon.com/Stock-Market-101-Dividends-Margins_Your/dp/144059919X (Stock Market 101 )
https://www.amazon.com/Personal-Finance-101-Investing-Essential/dp/1507214359 (Personal Finance 101 )
They discuss financial literacy in minority communities and how that relates to the creative community.
How did Destiny get into the world of audio? She played trombone in school, studied Arts Administration in undergrad, and studied abroad in Spain for grad school. There she chose to focus on audio technology. The final months of her program were accomplished online during the 2020 lockdowns.
How is Destiny continuing to grow in her craft?
Webinars and books on audio have been great resources for Destiny. Two books she recommends are:
https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Live-Sound-Reinforcement-Practice/dp/1460238907 (Introduction to Live Sound Reinforcement by Teddy Boyce)
https://www.amazon.com/Need-Know-About-Music-Business/dp/1501122185 (All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S Passman)
Tangela also recommends:
https://www.amazon.com/Live-Sound-Reinforcement-Bestseller-Hardcover/dp/1592006914 (Live Sound Reinforcement by Scott Hunter Stark)
https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Sound-Operators-Handbook-Guides/dp/1617805599 (The Ultimate Live Sound Operator's Handbook by Bill Gibson)
Destiny describes her initial misgivings about trying to read a manual. Tangela's advice: "Gurl, it's like readin' the Bible ... you think people sittin' around readin' Deuteronomy like that?! NO!! ..."
Next they discuss festivals and other live shows. One of Destiny's favorite shows she's been to was George Clinton.
Destiny shares her experience being nearly the only woman of color studying audio in her college program. She says it's been empowering to see and talk to other women in audio.
They both are very interested in exploring the idea of summer camps or other kinds of education programs for middle and high school aged kids, to illustrate the breadth of kinds of career around music and audio technology.
Destiny contributed to a music project with an artist named Widdo. Destiny contributed some backing vocals and writing to this https://open.spotify.com/track/4pcmsKGjV13b2KYO8Deptu?si=HkDEMkwxQxqIkMKuuh4mLAandnd=1 (song).
Tangela mentions the https://www.subpop.com/artists/the_postal_service (band The Postal Service)
Destiny's audio setup:
PreSonus Eris E3.5 monitors
Tangela used to use the PreSonus Audiobox; now she's got a Motu M2, Rode PodMic, and the KRK monitors.
"Working with the resources you have access to is the biggest thing."
Destiny's advice to the world: Be open to opportunities! Everything you do doesn't have to correspond exactly with your destination.
Destiny can be found on IG @dnasti_
Destiny Carter better known by some as "DNasti" is a multiple-faceted arts enthusiast, with a passion for the Music Industry and creative curating. After receiving her Bachelor's degree in Arts Administration (with a focus in Trombone Performance) from the University of Kentucky, she continued her love for music overseas, studying Music Production, and Technology at Berklee’s Valencia campus. From making strives as a Musician, DJ, Lyricist, Sound Engineer and Craft Maker, Destiny aspires to freelance within the industry to create spaces for POC and creatives alike to showcase our collective...
A great show that feels genuine on both ends. Love!