EP03 – Mixing Audio for Live Shows w/ Steve Mitchell
In Episode 3, we talk about mixing audio for live shows with Steve Mitchell, seasoned audio designer from The Audio Distillery. Located near Nashville, Tennessee, The Audio Distillery provides refined audio consultation, design and production for all types of live shows and events.
Steve started out as a musician with rock star dreams but became interested in studio work after realizing that “keeping a band together was like herding cats.” He began developing his audio chops in a music store studio, and he also started recording band demos for his friends in high school with his father’s hoard of music equipment. Just after college, Steve got his first job with a large company when his roommate dared him to interview with Walt Disney World representatives on campus. Months later he got the call to move to Orlando, Florida and continue his professional career.
“The biggest experience I got from working at Disney is what it feels like to work in a company that is so huge and you just feel like small fish in the pond.” Steve expresses how working in a large operation has its pros and cons. While the stepping-stone experience of Disney exposed him to big productions and high-end gear, he quickly learned that the standard operating procedures were sometimes inflexible. He said that he often heard, “You know, it doesn’t make sense that we do it that way, it’s just how we do it. I’ve learned to accept that.”
After a few years working for The Mouse, Steve moved on to LMG, a smaller gear and production company in Orlando who had recently hired some great audio technicians he met at Walt Disney World. He says working for LMG helped him expand his horizons as an audio designer because he had more free reign. “I think a lot of these big companies, you see them bogged down in the big corporate aspect of things…I think it’s a breath of fresh air that we’re not bogged down in that, and we think outside the box.” As an audio lead, he talks about how he became more familiar with the non-technical side of production such as working with labor unions, labor companies and the important aspect of risk management.
Currently producing live shows with The Audio Distillery proves to be a constant learning experience when working with different generations, like millennials, for example. They changed his frame of mind. “They’re skilled at what they do, it’s just that they approach it a bit different.” At any level, exposure to new and innovative ideas is important. Steve claims, “I love working with other people and being able to pick up on what they know and what they do. I learned something. If you’re not learning something, then it gets boring, right?”
Listen in as Steve gives Stephen and Clem his feedback on the importance of down time, “growing his brain” by learning about new technology, and doing the projects that are “better for your soul.”
“The definition of making it in the business is making a living doing what you love to do.”