Welcome to The Compressed Interview #33! Today, I am happy to show you the interview with Iván García, who I met in College and has been a great friend ever since. I had the chance to talk to him about his experience in audio as an audio engineer, a freelancer, and in Sifón 70, the company he co-founded.
Here’s what we talked about:
Threshold: Getting Started
J: How did you get started in audio? What was your first job and how did you get it?
I: I started in audio back in 2010. My first gig was as sound technician for a professional musical play in Mexico City.
One day, I approached to the FoH engineers at a play I attended as a spectator and expressed my interest about audio. I didn’t know anything, but I knew I wanted to be the guy behind the console one day. They kindly gave me a quick tour backstage and explained how the play worked audio wise. Later, they invited me to a montage that would take place a couple months after. So, what started as an invitation to get to know the process, became my first gig. The interest I put to learn as quick as I could, and a bit of knowledge in electronics from being an engineering student got me an invitation to stay during the whole season as a miking tech; I spent some time miking actors and learning about monitoring.
Attack: Things to discuss
J: How did you know this was the industry that you wanted to work in?
I: I just couldn’t stop feeling curiosity about it… and I’ve been trying to explore as many aspects of the industry as I can… I think every new knowledge we get as audio professionals can be implemented in different contexts from technical to creative, so suddenly concepts become clear, and a better understanding of the craft emerge.
As for the exact moment I realized I wanted to be an audio professional, I probably cannot tell. I remember enjoying EQing every song on my dad’s car radio (when I was 8-12 years old)… just three graphic EQ bands, it was fun. But I was probably too young to realize.
Later, I felt enormous curiosity on all the technology behind concerts and started to develop a “sonic taste”. I was able to decide whether any given gig was something I enjoyed or not, audio wise. Also, started to pay more attention to the FoH engineer (probably even more than I was looking at the show).
I think it’s being an immersion trip. Now, I work more in audio post, music (studio) and audiovisual production and I feel the same passion and curiosity. My dream is to sound as good as the incredible professionals leading the industry; being able to translate the technical side of audio into artistic and emotional content that people could relate with.
Release: Talking about the good stuff
J: What’s the next step in your career? Any project you are working on?
I: As co-founder of Sifón 70 I’d really like to get us involved in bigger and more meaningful projects. We’ve been around for 4 years mainly learning, adapting, and taking part in the Advertising, Corporate, Music and Film industries. Even during the pandemic, we somehow managed to stay in course, healthy, and with some work going on, which given the global economics and social environment, has been great.
So, while we are looking to keep stability going, we also look to take part on projects that give us the professional growth and demand us to develop the skills needed to get the job done.
As for the projects going on right now… Sifón 70 have some advertising stuff going on (which I cannot tell due to NDA), basically producing animation and audio-post for different outlets: TV and Digital formats mainly.
In audio post we are also working with a very talented Mexican film-maker Alejandro Ríos, who is producing stuff as part of his master’s degree.
We are also producing animated Yoga classes for kids as part of one of our clients’ productions. Among other regular stuff such as podcasts, radio spots production and corporate productions.
J: Can you let us know a little about your creative process? Anything about the technical process?
I: Well, from Rosino Serrano, one of my former faculty professors I learnt: “Creativity must find you working”.
So, whenever I’m going to start a complex project, I try to study and prepare as much as I can. I consult books, videos, technical papers, ask peers or use any piece of information I find useful.
References are also great starting points, whether to communicate better with clients, with colleagues from different disciplines, or as personal guidance. Being able to understand what somebody else did in the past helps imprint a personal taste to the process.
The fact is that it takes a lot of experience to become the one setting trends. It just takes a very wide understanding of aesthetics, technique, and experience to achieve that. So, while we, as creatives, find the way to reinvent the wheel, references are my way to approach a new challenge.
J: What are the biggest life lessons learned in your personal and professional career?
I: Well, to me… I think learning the patience it takes to see some results , to work on becoming a dependable professional, being passionate and grateful for being able to work in fun stuff, learning to let go some ideas, becoming better at listening, being more compassionate to myself, understanding that becoming better is a personal process, and not a competition, and being able to take some degree of risk, have paid off. I believe not everything has to be measured in terms of income. I value some other stuff.
With all that, the importance of building a dependable team has become key to us, it’s not about how many people work in a company, it’s about the quality of the team that makes us as a company. So, either an entrepreneur, a freelance, or a collaborator within a company, dependability, transparency, and respect are key to better collaborations.