As you all know by now, the judges have voted, and chosen Sean Galbraith from Z103.5 to touch gloves (scratch that)…touch mouses… against reigning champ Dan Kelly in the 3rd Annual Benztown Iron Imager Contest in Hollywood, California. I got a chance to get to know our competitor a little better and hear how he plans to take the championship belt to Toronto, Canada.

First, how do you feel to be the official contender for Iron Imager 2015?

I am super excited and grateful for this opportunity! I’m actually still in disbelief, nothing has ever happened to me like this in my career. Sure I have been nominated for awards in the radio industry, but to actually win a trip to Hollywood to compete against the Iron Imager Champion Dan Kelly, I feel like I won already. Dan Kelly needs no introduction, he’s truly a gifted producer and V/O artist. I was actually there at the Worldwide Radio Summit when he took down Paul Duffy. I already know what the contest is all about and how exciting it is. I can’t wait to represent Z103.5 and my Evanov family down there. Thank you to Benztown and the voters that made this possible!

How do you want to defeat Dan Kelly?

By unplugging his machine and all the contents for it! Haha. That is a great question, I heard his motto is “less is more” I plan on bringing “more” to the contest! It’s a fine line of what is needed and relying on instinct of delivering the message to the listener (judging panel). It will be my goal to sell the message of what I am producing, clean, fun and something to help the judges remember the piece. Nothing is off the table and I hope that the production gods are with me that day!

What is the production system you work on ? What system will you bring for the competition? What would be your format of choice (SIDE NOTE ANDY : We will never pick that one, as Iron Imager is to get uncomfortable 🙂

I use Reaper mainly and Sound Forge for editing voice tracks and mastering my mixes. Reaper and Sound Forge are coming with me to Hollywood. My format of choice would be CHR and it’s what I do best, but nothing is a stretch.

What is the best prod trick everybody should know?

The major one is being able to count music, after that you can be a star. Especially if you know the BPM of a song/music bed you are working with. So many things open up, working with a grid, being able to program your delays on beat. If you can find the down beat, you can use that to punctuate your production and make your message stick out. Whether to stop down in the music or start back up. People will pay attention to those stop and starts. It also allows you to transition into other pieces of music. I use this technique or trick on almost everything I do.

What is your favorite plugIns?

I love filtering V/O and my go to is Waves Q10 Paragraphic EQ:

Q10

Pairing that setting with the Waves’ SSL Channel Stip and you end up with a cool telephone effect:

SSL

This sounds crazy to a lot of people I tell, but using Waves Super Tap 2 for a chorus effect. If you use my settings and having a normal V/O copied directly below it sounds awesome. You have to bring down the volume of the Super Tap and find the sweet spot. Usually around minus 9 or more dB. It brightens the v/o and makes it pop.

Super Tap

Working in Toronto, what makes this radio market special?

Multicultural and a huge market for EDM is the most amazing thing about our audience. I work for one of the last independent broadcasters in Canada (also of European background). We watch the audience from a street level and not by what is charting. We watch the movements of music and have always been a huge supporter of EDM. There is always a celebration of going on for many ethnic backgrounds. It’s the best thing about being a Canadian living in Toronto. My wife is Polish and came to Canada as young woman, and heard me on the radio 8 years ago. Who knew, I’d find my wife doing what I love? For that Toronto is extremely special to me. We celebrate our backgrounds and the great people that built this Country into what it is today.

Favorite Voice Over person?

I have worked with some of the biggest names in the business, all them are great, amazing and overly talented, but if I had to pick, Rachel McGrath. Anyone who has worked with her knows the effort she puts in to make things shine. You give her 3 lines and you get 50 in return. She always has a better line, and a better spin on a script. She owns her job in every way. She has a huge heart and I am happy to call her my friend.

3 Advices for Up and comers?

1. Stay humble and stay hungry! It’s taken me 15 years of hard work and I feel I have so much to do and accomplish (like winning the Benztown Iron Imager). It sounds cliché, but for me it’s the best advice I can give. Everything you do in world amounts to trust, and trust is not given overnight. You build relationships with people, showing them your skill set, loyalty and passion. When I say humble; except the small tasks and embrace them. You never know when you are going to be called to do the important promo or sweeper. I have been fortunate to work for a company that has taught me this. Be the guy who everyone trusts, goes to for help and never says no.

2. Rhythm and Flow – take a music lesson (piano) learn how music is put together. Learn how to count it. It’s one of the most important things to know.

3. Read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. The man is a genius, he changed the way I approach radio imaging and things in life. If you want to successfully brand/market your radio station (or even yourself) you need to read this short book. If you don’t believe me watch him speak. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZnYRaQfjK4

and NOW….What is your message for Dan Kelly :)….

Dan Kelly it’s an honour to be your contender for the coveted Benztown Iron Imager belt. What happened in Salt Lake City in 2002…. and what happened in Vancouver in 2010 is about to go down in Hollywood!!! Get ready my friend, the first ever Canadian Iron Imager is coming for you – “EH”?!?!. In the words of Bret the Hitman Hart “I’m the best there is… the best there was… and the best there will ever be in the Benztown Iron Imager Contest” – haha

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