A few weeks ago, our VO talent Harry sent me some great stuff from an Ozzi newcomer and I was really digging it, so I finally connected with him and interviewed him for you guys. Dom is based in Melbourne and with his 23 years he’s one of the upcoming talents in Australia’s imaging scene.

Hear some great Ozzi style imaging, learn what plugIns rock down under and how much a great recruiting and training system can make a difference! Enter Dom Evans!

1. Which production system do you use and why?

I use Pro Tools. Why? That is an excellent question! It is what I was told to learn to make it big! I was using Audacity, until I was put on to Audition, and then Pro Tools.

I purchased my first M-Box with Pro Tools back in 2004 when I was in community radio and I first used it in a commercial environment in February 2008 when I started at Hot 100 in Darwin.

I definitely conformed to the industry on this. I wanted to work in production, and was told that Pro Tools would get me there, so I learnt it!

Since then I have realized why it is the industry standard. It’s such a powerful program and for what we use it for, it’s perfect.

2. What are your favorite plugIns (including screenshots)?

I can’t live without Pitch n Time. It is without doubt the best plugin to beatmix and time shift with. If you are trying to create a scientifically accurate mix, Pitch n Time is for you.

I also use Pitch n Time to pitch down voice overs to sound evil and dark in certain parts of my promos.

I use Focusrite D2 for my EQ and RComp for my compression. They give a really crisp sound to the mix.

I have to give props to Filterbank. I use it everyday, whether to pull some bass out of a part of my mix, or create a cool filter on a hook, Filterbank is definitely part of my daily toolbox.

I could go on all day, but I’ll leave it at just one more, the C4. It takes a good mix and turns it into a great mix, bringing in all that warmth.

3. How do you schedule your work (priorities…..)?

I use my iPad to keep track of all the requests and ideas I have on my table. I can move them up and down with a swipe of the finger and color code them based on their origin/priority. The app is called Sorted – and I was put onto it by Blacko (Matt Nikolic). Strangely enough, I’m not sure if it’s still available – I recommended it to a friend recently and it wasn’t on the app store – so if you have it, don’t delete it!

In terms of prioritising, it may seem obvious, but it is a matter of urgency. And often, you and your Program/Content Director won’t agree with your prioritising.

Our job is to help them prioritize their requests and maximize their access to us. Saying ‘no’ is a bad thing, but saying ‘how about tomorrow?’ or ‘how about we just make 3 sweepers for this?’ is ok as long as it’s justified.

4. What do you love about working as Today Network Imaging Producer at SCA?

I love a lot of things. But two things spring to mind.

Firstly, I love the creativity. I have two very empowering content directors who will often call me with vague instruction such as “Dom, can you give me a promo that promotes our {thing} tomorrow“. I then get to go and create that promo. They know that I know what they want, and they allow me to go and script and produce something to meet that tactical decision. I love the freedom attached to such instructions and enjoy helping them achieve their objectives.

Secondly I love the culture. The team is absolutely fantastic, and the equipment and facilities are world-class (or better). You have days where you get fatigued with the task ahead, but the team beside you are just amazing, I’d have a hard time walking away from the team.

5. What is the best Pro Tools or production trick anybody should know?

For CHR production… Are you on The Grid? If not, what the hell are you doing? If you are putting beats to tunes without The Grid you are doing it the slow way. Get on The Grid! It takes a little while to adjust to, but once you are on it, you will wonder why you wasted time doing it any other way!

Counter-argument: Sometimes, songs are too different in tempo to use The Grid to its full potential. In such cases (think Rihanna, Ed Sheeran), build what you can on The Grid, and leave the slow Rihanna/Ed songs off The Grid and “slip“ the slow song in to your grid mix.

I must acknowledge Matt Nikolic again here for showing me everything I know about The Grid.

dom evans C4

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

I like to listen to a lot of music. Any station, any genre, just to hear different styles. I also love watching movie trailers and TV shows for inspiration. Sometimes I’ll hear something random in my head and go to Pro Tools to try to recreate it. You find yourself conforming to the culture also. So when David Guetta and Flo Rida start using Dubstep in their songs, you can bet your bottom dollar, Dubstep will appear in radio imaging as well.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?

I first decided I wanted to get into imaging after listening to the amazing stuff on Fox in Melbourne. That would have been in around 1999-2000 with Matt Nikolic, who’s still there and continues to be a mentor. I also listened to a lot of TT-FM before it became Mix FM.

After I was in the industry, I discovered Dave Foxx at Z100 by recommendations. I was blown away by the unique sound and creativity. I have been an avid Dave Foxx fan for many years. There is no doubt that he has been a pioneer in shaping the sound of CHR radio worldwide.

Brendan Tacey was one of the first people from Austereo production that I spoke to. I stayed in regular contact with BT and he actually played a huge part in recruiting me both in Perth and in this position in Melbourne.

David Konsky at 2Day is a star and his world-class sounds will always be a source of inspiration and motivation to keep on chopping!

8. What would be your 3 key advice for a youngster?

I’m still a youngster myself, but most importantly, you must find a point of difference.

In an industry that is arguably shrinking, with technology and networking making it so easy to re-tag a promo or sweeper with another frequency, if we are to survive, we must be different.

You can have your mentors and your idols, but if you sound just like them, you’re not particularly useful. Rod Malon (the iRod) once spelt this out to me, and it is one of the most useful pieces of advice I have received.

I idolize my superiors Matt Nikolic and David Konsky, but if I sound just like them… what’s the use? If I sound just like Dave Foxx, what’s the use? We already have those guys. If I am to thrive and survive, I need to be different. Not too different as not to not fit into the sound and design of the station, but I must be different enough that I can add something more.

When building your brand, think about what you’re going to be. For example, can you voice your own stuff? Can you write your own scripts? Can you compose your own music?

All these questions are good indicators of how likely you are to find a place in a competitive industry. Don’t worry about being better necessarily, just focus on being the best you can be, and find a point of difference. Different is important.

Secondly, make life easier for other people. You are not the breakfast talent. By making your colleagues lives easier, you will realise a long career in this competitive industry. In a way, we are a service provider. Brendan Tacey talks about helping others achieve their prerogatives, and he is right.

If we can help our superiors (and colleagues) achieve their goals, we will flourish ourselves. Don’t say yes until you pass out, but be cautious about saying no as well. Instead of saying no, how can you say yes without being home to your family late? Absorb that liability into your schedule cleverly so that you aren’t disadvantaged, but they are satisfied. It’s smoke and mirrors sometimes.

Last, don’t give up on yourself. There will be plenty of people along the way who tell you that you don’t have it. Tell them to #### off. If you believe that you have it, if you know it’s in you, keep it up. David Konsky shared a fantastic video here http://vimeo.com/24715531 about creativity. Give it a view, and keep it in your favourites. Whenever you feel like you’ve lost it, view it, and remember that things take time.

If you believe in yourself, the industry believes in you. No one is born a Picasso. Good luck and have fun!

Tell us a bit about yourself, Dom.

I’m 23 years old. Melbourne is my home town, and where I am based now in my role. I work alongside Konsky and Blacko (I’m the junior of the 3) and I image B105 in Brisbane and SAFM in Adelaide. Both are today network stations like fox and 2Day. I also do some network stuff for Melbourne and Sydney as required, but I’m not their main producers.

I started in community radio 10 years ago this September. A university station called SYN FM came and did a presentation at my school. I was interested straight away and signed up. I used to get my sisters CD player (she hated that) and combined it with mine so I could play DJ in my room when I was 10. I loved the idea of radio and was always fascinated with it from a young age.

When I was at SYN I hosted some shows etc, but gravitated towards production. Whenever they let me, I’d go to the studio and make some ads, sweepers, anything! I always idolized fox and wanted to work there.

Began to network and before I knew it I was panelling at fox fm. I’m not sure if they call it panelling overseas, but that’s what we call operating the studio console and playing all the songs and ads. Loved this… Really hands on role. Did that for about 1 year (6 months of which was for free because they couldn’t employ me until I was 18).

From there, got offered a job at hot 100 in Darwin. Made all production (imaging and commercials) for hot 100 and mix 1049 for 4 months before I got offered a job at k rock in Geelong. Didn’t even make it to Geelong before I was offered a job at 92.9 in Perth (bigger market and with Austereo so I jumped at it… Geelong were not impressed!).

At 92.9 for 10 months before I moved back home to Melbourne. Personal reasons brought me home. Death in the family and my girlfriend was in Melbourne so I moved back without a job and BT gave me casual work for a year until this role came up.

Now I have been in this role for 3 years!

In terms of hobbies I don’t play sport or collect stamps, but I love hanging out with my girlfriend, best mates, and drinking beer and scotch. I love crime shows like CSI, Breaking Bad and 24. I love flying and traveling whether it be for work which I do about 8 times a year, or for pleasure. I’m going to the states in November for a holiday with my best mate.

Thanks to Dom for sharing his knowledge and audio.

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