Matt Steele mixes live sound for more and more Island shows
Matt Steele’s first love is making music with his band, Bad Mountie. But there’s already been a Buzz article about them so I decided to sit down with Matt to chat about his second passion: doing sound for live events. He simply calls it “making other people sound good,” and make them sound good he does.
He almost became a lawyer or professor, or something “boring and sensible.” He ended up doing a mentoring project in high school where he learned about recording, and would also get together with his cousins in the summers and jam. It was after some prodding from these cousins that he realized he loved “making sounds” as a musician. He decided on a Performing Arts Technology degree from the University of Michigan then started doing sound at a local all ages venue. Here he learned an appreciation for music above caring about money.
“It’s not about the $15,000 Yamaha digital mixer, or the DVX compressor, it’s not about the fancy piece of equipment that you drool over all day, and I drool with the best of them. Not in music, recording, performance, in live sound. It’s always about making it sound good and doing your best with what you have. Art from adversity. The Beatles had 4 tracks to make Sgt Pepper with and that sounds better than the best studio L.A. recording because the songs are so good and they cared so much about making it sound good.”
Matt moved to PEI in 2010, spent a summer in a cottage in Rustico practicing, then got a gig doing sound at Baba’s. This lead to gigs at other places, Solid Rock Cafe for a Music PEI Showcase, Fishbones, Haviland Club for the Wild Cats’ farewell show, among others. Watching people rock out and have a good time turned out to be a fairly fulfilling job, even if it’s far from a get rich quick gig. Hearing people walk away from a show talking about how great it was makes the night worth it. He was also the head videographer for Festival of Small Halls for the past 3 years where he helped capture and spread their magic to everyone on the internet. And he has a solo EP coming out, which Mark Geddes and Thomas Mears helped him record.
During the recent ECMW in Halifax, he worked the Radio ECMA Opportunity Stage in the Delta Halifax lobby where he did sound for 60 bands in 3 days.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Every time I’d wander through the lobby, I’d see him there hard at work. He even asked twitter to bring him some supper so he could keep going. (Don’t worry, a slice of pizza was brought to him.) I watched as he wandered around, making sure things sounded nice, then dive for the sound board to turn someone up for a solo. He not only had to make sure every person on stage sounded good for everyone in the lobby, but this was also going directly to radio.
Whether he’s on stage with Bad Mountie, as a solo artist, or behind the sound board, he believes in promoting the artists around him.
“In music, arts and culture industries you just gotta keep doing what you love and promote who you love and promote your scene. Good things will happen.”
“A gigantic thank you to all of the musicians and music industry and people, bar owners, booking agents, fans, and random people on the street who’ve made my new home in PEI such a wonderful place to be and such a wonderful community.”
(Don’t forget to thank your sound guy!)