Recently our man, Tony Bryan, spent some time with the Digital Hitmen, Brad and Stev, to provide some insight into life as a Sound Engineer for some household names in Australian music and at Audio Technic.
Check out the podcast and transcript below for some insight into the ups, downs and daily life as a Sound Engineers for iconic Australian acts such as Jimmy Barnes, Birds of Tokyo and Grinspoon.
Stev: It’s time to turn down the music and face the music. It is Wednesday six o’clock and time for another episode of the diggity digital hitmen after hour podcast with me your host. But I heard it’s rude to name yourself first. I’m going to start with the boss man Brad Russell, Kurt Russel he goes with many names. Out on the street. Brad how are you doing.
Brad: I’m awesome. How are you?
Stev: I’m quite okay. I actually expected you to be a little bit sadder because you were almost alone in the studio today. Because Levi, the Superman, the Clark what does Superman’s name? Clark Kent. The Clark Kent of digital hit man because he always wears glasses. So yeah, he’s sick. So it’s up to us today. And we also have Tanya in the studio clicking some pictures in the background. I hope you people out there do not mind and our guest today is not just any guest. We have a guy who has seen it all. At least that’s what I have been reading Tony. Welcome to the podcast. How are you doing Tony Bryan?
Tony: I am great. Thank you.
Stev: A pleasure to have you here and a pleasure to talk to you in a second. But before we do that, we of course are going to mention our sponsors and supporters shout out to adrenaline involved the indoor bouldering place. Climbing, bouldering same thing different thing bouldering is a little bit more technical. A great place if you want to stay fit, get fit or just have a good time with your friends or want to work out. Also big shout out to beyond dressed, the float center a.k.a. Sensory deprivation tanks here in Perth and they are also located in Melbourne. They have a bunch of places all over Australia. If you want to relax, recover or just think about life and yourself you should go and float. So with that out of the way Tony it’s time to get some butter to the fishers as we say in Germany. Basically it means it’s time to chat. Tony what I have so far researched about you is that you are an audio engineer you work with audio and you work with concerts can you explain what exactly it is you do?
Tony: I am the front of house engineer which does the sound to what the people here in the room or the concert.
Stev: My first question here to Brad is that something you ever pay attention to? Because I know you’re a big concert fan and you always go out and you ever look behind you and see what’s actually going on behind you?
Brad: No I just listen to music and grab a beer and enjoy myself.
Stev: You see but there is so much more that goes into a good sound and a good concert. And I’m really happy that there’s somebody else in the House today that works with production. Because often when people, normal people, the average people. Sorry. But when the average people meet the production people, they never understand why we are so stressed out. We have run through. We have yeah rehearsals all this kind of stuff. How would you see yourself when it comes to rehearsal? Are you a guy like me who is just I say, and everybody does and then gets angry or are you a more relaxed fella?
Tony: Oh I’m pretty relaxed. Other people call the shots.
Stev: Okay. So how exactly did you get into audio? Is it something you like from the beginning in your younger years, or did you?
Tony: It happened from many years ago. Well I’d like to say around 14, 15, 16 ish I’d say somewhere around there. You know I just found a love for audio somehow.
Stev: So always had a love for music.
Tony: Yeah, I always had a love music, but I just felt love for wanting to make it sound the way I wanted to hear it.
Stev: That’s interesting though because normally when people have a love for music, they kind of start with I want to pick up the guitar, I want to play the drums. Never had that thought. Do you play any instruments?
Tony: No. A closet drummer.
Stev: Closet drummer. Did your parents allowed you to have the drums? Have any parents who would allow that. It’s just insane because that just makes a lot of noise. But Brad you also have a passion for music, and I have to ask you did you ever think of playing pick up a guitar or anything like that to become a musician?
Brad: Well in Year 7 I was actually forced, and I played the drums for one year and I was terrible, I was absolutely terrible.
Stev: Why did you get forced?
Brad: Well not forced. I guess that’s the wrong word. But my parents strongly encouraged me to play a musical instrument for a year and I was really really bad I could barely even hit the drums. So in the school band I got put on the triangle.
Stev: That’s right. That’s always the most important instrument.
Brad: Sitting here in the songs is like ding, ding.
Stev: Yeah. I didn’t ever really appreciate the music classes when you had it in school. I just wanted to get it over with. And then later on I felt completely in love with music. Music is what feeling sounds like. It sounds cheesy, but it is correct. What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have a preferred Genre or you?
Tony: I am a rock n roll guy for sure. But you know if I’m a Fleetwood Mac Supertramp sort of person. Old school music. Heavy music as well.
Stev: Heavy metal. Once in a while it is okay.
Tony: A bit of Pantera, a bit of Parkway Drive.
Stev: All right. When the wife is not at home you can turn it up.
Tony: The wife likes it.
Stev: That’s cool. How did you meet your wife?
Tony: It was in the industry. She was friends with a friend and…
Stev: That’s normally how it goes.
Tony: Met her through a band many many years ago.
Stev: And she shares the same passion for music?
Tony: Oh she loves music.
Stev: It is interesting. Do you take her on the road because production life includes a lot of travel? And we open up is over here which is obviously a lot of stories to tell. But whatever happens on the road stays on the road. I heard a wise man once say.
Tony: that’s correct. It happens here in Australia as well.
Stev: Yeah actually I read that in your interview. You gave a bunch of interviews lately not only about your production life, but also product reviews from audio technica company you work with (Audio Technik) and Sorry Audio Technica is the microphone right. We’re going to put all the information below in the description test later on. So if you’re listening on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you are listening from just make sure to move over to YouTube if you are too lazy to write everything down and you will find the links below. Let’s talk a little bit about travel life. Obviously, you don’t start with concerts straight over in the States or in Europe. Tell me about your first step like when you started to get into working with music.
Tony: I just pretty much work for free in the very beginning just helping bands load their gear and pushing black boxes until someone saw fit in me that I could do the job for a paid wage. Took a few years, especially to learn.
Stev: I think that’s always how it started. It doesn’t really matter what Genre you work, and you always start as the guy who gets the coffee.
Tony: Actually, well I started as a lighting guy. I didn’t get the break in the audio straight away. That was something back you know back at when I started 30 years ago, there wasn’t that many opportunities for young people to have a crack at something that was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Stev: I give you an air high five because my base is also a lighting guy but within the photo industry.
Tony: Well I didn’t last that long. I went straight to audio because you know sitting behind next to the audio guys doing lights thinking you’re doing a shit job.
Stev: Can you appreciate light now?
Tony: I certainly can.
Stev: Because these are the people that I hate the most in the music industry are the lightning guys because red and blue are very popular and not so popular. Yeah for video graphics or photograph. When you made your step up to become an audio technician whatever you want to call it. And did your parents kind of support you because I can, I don’t want to attack you personally but you’re not the youngest guy, not the oldest either. But you have been around for a while. And what did your parents say when you say I’m going to make my money with sound?
Tony: Well I think they thought it was the devil’s music. We won’t go into that, but my parents really had nothing to do with me in the industry at all. Don’t know if they liked it or they didn’t like it. My nieces and nephews and all that think I’m cool. Before when both parents have passed but before my mother died, she realized how well I’ve done in the industry. It was good to see that she acknowledged that I made my living in everything that I own from my career.
Stev: Was that important to you as a person?
Tony: Very important.
Stev: Yeah, I can imagine that. Sometimes parents don’t understand what you deal with. We had the conversation before like if I would tell my parents that I deal with SEO marketing they would look at me and ask me what you are doing. What’s that. Again with photography. Took my parents a long time to understand what I’m doing. They thought…
Tony: They don’t think you’re going to make any money from it. I think. They think it’s all good fun and a hobby.
Stev: Yeah, it’s not necessarily they don’t want you to succeed it’s just they cannot see how certain genres develop with time and that there’s actually money in it. So it’s always good to…
Tony: You are going to remember the music industry’s only really being called an industry lately. It wasn’t really anything before.
Stev: When was it that people started to go to bars and clubs and music started? I mean you had music around in the thirties and forties?
Tony: It happened earlier than that.
Stev: And then Greece came out and John Travolta turned everything around. Do you miss the time back in the day, for me I always think my favorite band are the Rolling Stones and I kind of, yeah, I kind of think it sucks a little bit that I didn’t live through that time? Because if you listen to music today it’s so much different. Back in the day people had to really invent music. If you look at the Rolling Stones if you look at the jazz artists like Miles Davis is always a good example, Jimi Hendrix whoever you want to take. James Brown had to invent something new. Nowadays people just jump on that bandwagon okay this sounds cool, then put an equalizer on here and make my song sound funny and then you have Justin Bieber. Is that something that annoys you?
Tony: A little bit. The music you know it’s all got to change. You know evolution and all that. So it’s always going to be different. I think everyone striving to be different. But I noticed the music today is striving to be like the old music.
Stev: That’s interesting. Do you still keep up to date with new music?
Tony: I don’t keep up to a lot. But I keep up to who I’m working for. I’m still an older gentleman that likes listening to older music.
Stev: I like that you called yourself a gentleman. That’s something notable. Because normally production people are kind people outside when they do not work. But when they work there as I said before I’m talking about myself can often be a dick.
Tony: That I think was stereotype from the 80s and the 70s. I think that’s changed a lot these days.
Stev: Yeah that depends on, I do a lot with, I do some music but mostly sports and in sports you only have that one moment, so I feel like nothing has changed over there. Everybody is still the same.
Tony: It can be like that.
Stev: And it’s good to have these moments sometimes because you need a leader sometimes, not always but sometimes you need somebody to tell you this and this and this now and then you can talk afterwards. However did you ever have people coming to you and say hey I want you to produce the sound for my concert, but you didn’t like the music that they were playing and said no.
Tony: I wouldn’t mention any names but that does happen. It has happened and you know I’m a professional and I’ll do my 100 percent that I can give every time whether I like it, or I don’t like it. But any music. How could you not like music?
Stev: That’s interesting. Well you haven’t met my parents. My parents are not big music fans. But music is very important I feel, you connect so much with the music. If you’re younger or in your younger years and you drive past the place for the first time it looks completely different after you pass there every day but you will always remember this song that reminds me of when I kiss that chick when I was on that festival or when I had eaten too much. It creates a lot of stuff. Did you ever think that music will be replaced with something else? It’s really unique. I mean you have pictures and you have videos.
Tony: I don’t think music could ever be replacing.
Stev: I don’t know how to explain that question, but audio goes in so many directions nowadays it’s not just music it’s radio.
Stev: It used to be big on music, now big on video.
Brad: It could be AI, virtual reality or something like that I don’t know.
Tony: But still you still have music. I think you could ever take music away.
Stev: But the whole concert thing maybe because with virtual reality you will have the capability of you know what I mean my friends we sit at home.
Tony: Let’s hope that doesn’t happen because that will put a lot of people out of jobs.
Stev: You still have to produce audio.
Brad: There’s nothing like going to a live concert and I actually went to one on Sunday and it was awesome.
Stev: Oh where did you go?
Brad: I went to a band called Karnivool,
Stev: An Australian band?
Brad: Here in Perth in Perth in Fremantle and It was awesome. Like just being there live. Really like a really heavy sound, really interesting band. Yeah, It’s really awesome.
Tony: Kenny up the front, brilliant, brillian front man. Golden pipes.
Stev: You didn’t work out, did you?
Tony: No I worked for birds. I did work for Karnivool about when they first started but then I left Karnivool to go to Grinspoon. Grinspoon offered me money to you know go bigger, tour more of the world.
Stev: How big can you go? How big did you wanted to go when you were younger? What did you vision?
Tony: My vision really is to mix Wembley Arena. That was what my vision is. We’re going to Wembley Stadium next month. So I’m close.
Stev: The old one or the new one?
Tony: The old Wembley Stadium not the football. We play in the arena indoors. That’s with easy top so that should be good. Jimmy Barnes and ZZ Top together.
Stev: Yeah. Jimmy Barnes just got introduced to me by Brad here because I am not familiar with too much of Australian music. And that’s the song we played in the beginning and you can tell me a little bit more about Jimmy Barnes, what kind of character is he.
Brad: Well I think every Australian born Australian knows Jimmy Barnes they know of him. They know his songs. You know you go into a pub or a club and one of these real iconic sorts of songs starts playing and everyone just starts singing. You know if you are my age or you know a little bit older or a little bit younger, Yeah, I just think you’ve sort of grown up with Jimmy Barnes and some of his songs are absolute classics. So you know I’ve seen him live as well and he’s awesome.
Tony: He’s still got it.
Brad: He’s definitely got it.
Tony: I’ve only been with him for two years.
Brad: And he’s like he’s a real old school sort of rocker with a real heavy raspy voice but it just works it’s really awesome.
Stev: That must be an amazing feeling if you’re in a position like this when people are still singing your songs after so many years and you just yeah, you just play the first tune and all of the sudden the whole…
Tony: They know what it is from the first keyboard part, like Working Class Man.
Stev: Yeah. So I assume that what made queen so big. Because Queen really integrated as shown in the movie the audience and that kind of changed the game a little bit. I personally love these moments when you have a track not saying that I’m singing along, because you don’t want to hear me sing. But I like when they have this goose bumps feeling. What is the most important feeling for you Brad when you go to a concert like what is it you look forward to the most. Not except for the band obviously. Otherwise you wouldn’t buy the tickets.
Brad: Well It really depends on the music for example the Karnivool concert that we went to, it was a very small stage and a very small room. But they’re sort of a band that’s coming back you know they’re producing some new music. But for me that was, it was a lot heavier that sounds. For me it was just getting amongst it, getting in the so-called mosh pit which was probably packed 10 people and just you know just going crazy and just having fun and bouncing off everyone and just that really loud sound I really enjoyed that. The band before actually described as the most remote heavy metal band in the world. So they are from central Australia somewhere and they were called death metal band and they were just like incredible. They were all round Aboriginal death metal band and also it was really really awesome, and they were just so loud and energetic. So it depends what concert I go to. That particular one actually went with Levi and we had a lot of fun.
Stev: That’s probably why you got sick now. But let’s talk about the opposite as well. Is there still something Tony that you not look forward to when you work today?
Tony: Probably the travelling.
Stev: You don’t like the travelling?
Tony: Well you’ve got to see how much I travel.
Stev: How much do you travel?
Tony: Well most weeks every week.
Stev: Damn that’s a lot.
Tony: I’ll be going over at least once a week most times didn’t actually go last weekend.
Stev: Is the travel itself like flights and bus or road life is what bothers you the most.
Tony: The road life doesn’t bother me. Just the travelling, sitting in a you know in the aeroplane for four hours, commuting is a pain.
Brad: I think you said you were going to Darwin tomorrow. Darwin’s like the top of Australia, Central Australia right at the top.
Stev: OK. What are you doing over there?
Tony: Jimmy Barnes is planning on Saturday night.
Stev: See talking about the devil, the angel appears. So how long will you be gone for?
Tony: I’ll be gone just till Sunday, I come home Sunday.
Stev: Okay and you take all your gear with you or do you rent it at location?
Tony: It all gets trucked up and a lot of it from Sydney my console and things that I get trucked up from Sydney. But we use some Darwin stuff and add to it.
Stev: So take me through the process a little bit now. Let’s say Brad wants to give a Digital Hitman concert in Sydney and he’s a great singer I heard. And how does the process work like you make, do you ask the musician what kind of speakers do you want, or do you recommend how many speakers do you want? Take me through that process.
Tony: They’ll send out a specification page or a rider page which explains what they need to perform their show goes out to the promoter. Basically the promoter provides buys that show and provides that, sends out onto the audio company, also the lighting company or the video company and says this is what the band needs to put their show on. So basically the promoter pays for it.
Stev: Sounds like a lot of people. How many people would be on that show?
Tony: On just on the Jimmy we have three stage guys, a drum tech, two guitar techs. We have a monitor engineer, front house engineers me and a lighting engineer.
Stev: Do you always travel as a crew?
Tony: Yeah, we always travel as a crew mostly.
Stev: So basically becomes a small family.
Tony: Yeah it does. We do smaller corporate shows where we cut the crew down. But most of the time we’re all together.
Stev: Yeah, I said it before what happens on the road stays at the road. What if you have to talk a your most special memory, what would that be? I know it’s a difficult question to ask you on the spot.
Tony: It is a hard one actually because a lot of memories on the road are good. There are so many good ones.
Stev: What’s the one that made you laugh the most?
Tony: We laugh at a lot of things. I work with some really good people you know that are just awesome to be on the road with, end up becoming your best friends. Brothers, you know.
Stev: I saw on the interview giving 20 questions with you, there was something you mentioned about the stage diving and naked stage diving I believe it was. Do you remember what that was?
Tony: I don’t know what that was. Oh Courtney Love, she stages dive in Metro Freo.
Stev: How do you react to something like that? Because then does she have the mike with her?
Tony: No she takes the mike, yeah with her and then you just go to retrieve her and the microphone.
Stev: Okay and you panic back there and just say go back to the stage.
Tony: You don’t panic.
Stev: Not with loads of experience but were you nervous in the beginning when you realized how much responsibility you actually have back then?
Tony: I’m still nervous today when I’m working. Because you don’t want to let anyone down you know you don’t want to let the band down, you don’t let the crowd down.
Stev: Did you ever fuck up? I’m sorry.
Tony: You know I wouldn’t say all the time.
Stev: Wait a second the light just went out; I don’t know what that is. Tanya can you just please grab a battery it’s here. Your face is okay. It’s Brad. It’s getting dark. Thank you. I’m just going to change this really quick.
Brad: Do you work with Karnivool at all?
Tony: No I don’t, I work with Birds of Tokyo a bit, but I haven’t worked for them for a little bit because I’ve been so busy with Jimmy.
Brad: His voice is, I still think it’s the best voice in Australian rock. It’s really awesome.
Stev: How big is the music in Australia. There is some good music coming out. Do you ever get tired of music? I mean when you go with somebody.
Tony: When you work all the time. Definitely. You want to have a break.
Stev: Not of the person but I mean the tracks.
Tony: Just tracks it’s never of the person but yeah, the tracks can get a bit long if you’re doing gig after gig after gig.
Stev: Do you do anything specifically like to prepare yourself when you go on the road or do you do anything.
Tony: Like eat junk food.
Stev: It’s hard to stay fit in production life.
Tony: it’s really hard to stay healthy on the road. I find it very hard. I try and look after myself but it’s very difficult.
Stev: I know that a lot of artists always have requests like when I play, I want to have two Snickers and I want to have a cold beer and whatever they want to have. Is there something that you always need to have?
Tony: My Red Bull.
Stev: Yeah that’s always good to have. It keeps you awake.
Tony: People will laugh, I always have a towel.
Stev: Why do you have a towell?
Tony: Just when I’m concentrating when I’m mixed, I just seem to sweat a lot. Probably from all the red bulls I drink.it become like a ritual you know like I grab my drinks or roll them up in my towel. I walk out the front of house through the crowd. You know, I have my routine and then bang we’re into it.
Stev: That’s cool. And on the way back is there something you do to calm down when are at home?
Tony: You mean after the show?
Stev: Yeah. Let’s say you go to Darwin or you go to Wembley and you come home, do you immediately go to the shop or do you just say for two days I’m going to stay home.
Tony: I am back into life straightaway.
Stev: Would you consider yourself a workaholic?
Tony: Not really. Some people would say. You got to enjoy what you do. That’s why I like working Audio Technik as well as being a freelance engineer. It’s great to have something to come back to since I come back to Perth, I’ve got a job.
Stev: Do you have any hobbies outside music or is it also?
Tony: I like hitting golf balls. I’m not that good at it. But I like watching motor racing.
Brad: Oh yeah. So Darwin be perfect.
Stev: Darwin has a racing track?
Tony: that’s why I was there.
Brad: t’s the V8 Supercar event.
Tony: And then it has a concert in the Saturday after the race and they have a big concert.
Stev: Can you enjoy the race before?
Tony: Yeah, I can.
Stev: Because normally when you’re out and travel you have to do as I said in the beginning you have to do all the rehearsals.
Tony: we do set up tomorrow night. And then we line check everything, line check all of our mark lines and make sure everything’s working. And then we come in the next day do the show. So we’ve got time leading up to the show to have a look around. I’ve organized a pit walk with my wife and my kids.
Stev: Oh they coming along?
Tony: Yeah, they’re coming, I’m bringing them along.
Stev: How old are your kids?
Tony: Fifteen and eight.
Stev: And they want to step in your footsteps one day?
Tony: I’d like to think one of them would, but you never know.
Stev: Who’s the biggest musician of your kids?
Tony: Probably my oldest daughter, Ella.
Stev: What’s she into?
Tony: She’s into everything, hip hop, all the stuff that I’m not into.
Stev: So let me ask you about hip hop because it could be quite an interesting question since you were more of a rock guy. What’s your opinion about hip hop?
Tony: I haven’t got an opinion. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t like it. You know I’ll listen to it and put up with it in the car with the door but it’s not something that I’ll go and put on myself. Mm hmm.
Stev: Would you consider yourself as somebody who says Dad you have no idea what music is. Let me tell you about back in the day.
Tony: We tried to get her into Led Zeppelin and everything in the beginning. But it’s been very difficult.
Stev: Especially for girls. Tanya let me ask you really quick, are you a rock fan? Because normally it’s a guy thing, rock is more a guy thing. I don’t know why that is.
Stev: Yeah. Rolling Stones as I said my favorite band. Do you have a favorite band that you would love to work with one day?
Tony: Oh I’d probably love to work with Fleetwood Mac just their sound.
Stev: What makes their sound so different from others?
Tony: It just has a lot of air in it.
Stev: Explain that to somebody who has nothing to do with music production.
Tony: You can hear nothing in the mix. It’s hard to explain. You can hear nothing in the mix which is air.
Stev: That’s interesting.
Tony: Instead of just being a wall of noise the whole time. Buzzes and hums and whatever you can hear. The depth.
Brad: So their typical concert. How much dollar value worth of gear would they have?
Tony: Millions these days.
Stev: That’s crazy.
Tony: And also in the very beginning of starting my career we probably were looking at PA’s and everything in the hundreds of thousands and now we’ll be looking multimillions.
Stev: What do you think about the growth of the music industry? Did you ever think back then that it’s going to become what it is today? Because now you see musicians of all genres and they are just bawling like it’s insane what kind of money they do.
Tony: Well I was certainly hoping it was going to go like that.
Stev: But also with despite the fact that you can download stuff nowadays people still make millions of dollars.
Tony: Well we’re lucky there. That could have ruined a lot of the industry I think in the very beginning there where, it wasn’t controlled. I still like to buy CDs.
Stev: I would have expected LP, but not CDs.
Tony: All of them. You know like just to support the artist. There’s a lot of artists out there that just do an LP on a CD. You know whether or not you’re going to play it every day it’s good to support them and buy it anyway.
Stev: That’s true. Like I have to admit, never that I would download anything. But like my favorite artist I always buy the LP. I love Al peace. I see a lot of people. They like the artwork. Mm hmm. I’m especially on the LP so it used to be way better than on CDs.
Tony: It did. But you get the booklets in the CDs which in the LP Sometimes you miss out on the booklets. You get the two.
Brad: What’s an LP?
Stev: Wait a second. What’s going on here. You know the small CDs and then you have the big ones, the black ones.
Brad: Yeah. Okay. Why is it called an LP?
Tony: Long play.
Stev: But there’s also smaller versions of vinyls. But that’s fascinating that it didn’t. Never heard LP before. Do you still have CDs and LPs at home?
Brad: Not LPs. I don’t think I’ve ever owned one. But I have CDs, but I don’t use them.
Stev: When was the last time you actually went home and said you know what I don’t want to listen to wifey, I don’t want to listen to kid I want to put on a nice CD.
Brad: Look I generally just play music in my car. I don’t really listen to that much music so I that I don’t work with music or fund, I can’t. So generally it’s just the car or sometimes I put it on the TV and just chill out at home. Depending if you know my wife and daughters around. That depends what music’s on.
Stev: Yeah. When my girlfriend talks it’s always louder and always heavy metal. Do you feel underestimated sometimes Tony that people don’t appreciate what kind of work you do back there and that you make that guitar sound that great. Because a lot of people don’t pay attention to them.
Tony: I think sometimes but I try not to let that worry me. I’ll still go out and do what I’ve got to do and I’m doing it for the artist really. And I’m doing it for the people to hear and if you know, hopefully they enjoy it. You know you get people coming up always high fiveing and saying it’s a great gig. You know you don’t get, you sometimes you get a bit of criticism, The bass isn’t loud enough or you know I can’t hear his vocal or you know it’s easily worked out by where he is standing and over there, well that’s because there’s no speakers, it moved this way or whatever.
Stev: So mostly the musician itself is the one that comes over and gives you a high five or I want the bass louder.
Tony: No, the crowd. The crowd because I work out in the front with the crowd. So they’re in the mix if they enjoy it in the end.
Stev: But how do they come up to you. Because normally you sit in a tent.
Tony: I’ll come to the front. No I’m down on the ground, I’m always on the ground level. I come up to the front of the barrier and wave or get the security to contact us.
Stev: That would be a little bit weird if people start climbing up the tower. Just to tell you put up the base man.
Stev: Is there any. I know this is once again one of those questions but as I said before we started recording. I’m full of questions. Do you have a dream gig that you would like to perform? You mentioned Wembley, which is a legendary, Woodstock?
Tony: That’s just something that I was drove for all my life. Wembley Stadium would be something pretty amazing for me. Some other person wouldn’t think so, but I do.
Stev: And when is Wembley? You said you going to go.
Tony: We play in there on the 15th of July at Wembley Arena.
Stev: Can you get me tickets? Because I’m flying to London on the 14th of July.
Tony: Well I have to look. I’ll give you my number. I will see what I can organize.
Stev: Now I’m excited. I just have to tell my mom that I haven’t seen for six years wait one more day.
Brad: Thasts a good way of doing it Stevo. Ask him on camera on the podcast. You can’t really say no.
Stev: Exactly. That’s why I did it. That’s how it works Brad. You’ve got to put people on the spot sometimes. So when you come back from Wembley you make a big hook to do and then you’re done with your life and said I did everything in my life that I wanted to do.
Tony: No we’re on a tour. So we go from there to Netherlands to Amsterdam. We’ve got a few other gigs to do.
Stev: So for how long are you on the road for?
Tony: Two weeks we are in Europe and then we come back and then we go to, we’ve got Maldives, I think. Then we’ve got Singapore and then we start our tour which goes for like three months. It’s like four shows or something a week or three to four shows a week.
Stev: Have you been to Europe before?
Tony: Yeah with Parkway Drive, a heavy metal band.
Stev: Favorite country anywhere?
Tony: So you know I’ve got some friends in Germany. I actually do like Germany.
Stev: That backfired on you Brad.
Brad: I like Germany as well.
Tony: The countryside is amazing. Just being on the bus being away driving through the countryside during the day is amazing. Views and the little towns.
Stev: And you can drive as fast as you want in Germany.
Brad: I always said if I was going to move anywhere in Europe it’d be probably around Munich.
Stev: Yeah definitely. The guy loves beer has beer and so that’s where you go.
Tony: But not at the moment because I had the big hailstorm yesterday. Size of golf balls or tennis balls I recon.
Stev: Yeah. We have a lot of hail in Germany. Also I read an article today funny wise there’s a German island that is slowly disappearing because of the ocean just as Holland for example. Holland is a great place. Because Holland has a huge history in music. They always have big festivals. They have not only music itself but everything that’s related to music from dance to theater to whatever it is. Yeah, I would like to repay the favor so if you get me a ticket then I get you a visit to the Red-Light Radio in Amsterdam it’s a fantastic place. Shut out red light radio it’s a little radio station, it’s in the middle of the red-light district in Amsterdam, a friend of mine plays there. He’s a DJ and you know these windows where you have the ladies and they do their thing and then you just walk there and then all of a sudden you have a DJ standing in the middle. That’s a really cool place, really funky, really soul a lot of jazz.
Tony: I get a day off in Amsterdam.
Stev: A day off can be very dangerous.
Tony: Well travel to there the night off.
Stev: Yeah. Amsterdam again I’m looking forward. It’s another place where I would like to go and visit some friends during my time in Europe. Can you, what’s the music industry like today with the TV and everything happening online. I asked before do you feel threatened about this. Where do you see the music industry going from here? I mean the development took from the 50s 60s and 70s obviously is huge to today. You think we reached the top or is there so much more to go?
Tony: There must be more to go. They come up with you know computers you know you buy a computer two days later it’s obsolete. So I think it’s the same as music industry. We’re going to continue to move forward and technology will get better. Whether or not I mix from home over the Internet not just studio speakers in a room like this and you’re in London listening to me mixing from Perth. You know, who knows.
Stev: Do you think it’s harder for musicians to actually come up today. Because there’s so much to listen to and It’s harder to actually make it.
Tony: I think it is. But I think the, I think the people make it easy for the bands these days because they really enjoy the music. They’re a lot more open to music. You know the younger generation.
Brad: I’ll give you an example. There was this busker in Byron Bay called Tones And I and she was discovered on the street and then now she’s been playing on triple J and now my wife wants to go visit her on tour. So this is just a busker that’s gone from you know nothing, working on the street and now she’s doing a national tour. And it’s sold out. And I’m supposed to get he gets for it today and I miss that. So I’m in the doghouse. What’s it called? Mojo’s in Freo.
Stev: So I ask you before like is Perth a hotspot for music? Because it’s the furthest isolated city in the world. And there’s only two, two and a half million people living here.
Tony: Well I don’t have a lot to do with the Perth industry as much anymore because I’m always over east. But yeah, it’s thriving here, I think. There’s lots of bands I just did the SOTA Festival two weeks ago, WA Day and there’s a park.
Stev: You have a special day in Australia for Western Australia. Quite fascinating.
Tony: Its good they use arts and music to celebrate it, which is a good thing.
Stev: Do you see yourself slowing down in the near future saying hey, No I’m not saying retirement, but I have the feeling at the moment because I’ve been. Last year I had around 54, 56 flights and I kind of have the feeling OK I want to slow down a little bit you know and I’m only 33. And again, I don’t want to take you personally, but I feel like with age comes a moment where it’s like you know what, everything a little bit slower, everything a little bit more relaxed.
Tony: Well yeah, I definitely would like to slow down, but whether or not the government will let me do.
Stev: And then you have kids who say they can I take this job because I’ll have tickets for this.
Tony: I started having children later in life so still going to work a little bit.
Stev: Well Brad we dived into this you introduced me to Jimmy Barnes, but you’ve been working with a bunch of famous bands especially here in Australia. Can you give us a few and I want to see the reaction how excited Brad gets from a scale of one to ten?
Tony: Well Grinspoon seventeen years of being with him. Birds Tokyo, Cog. I’m doing Dead Letter Circus next week. You should go to that. Yeah. I like to keep going forever even on the international bands did mixed like Hate Breed and , a couple others you know single shows you know when their engineer is sick or something, I’ll get you to fill in.
Brad: Birds of Tokyo seem a little bit different in that list. They seem a little bit more poppy.
Tony: Yeah well, you know I also work for an artist from Croatia called Oliver Dragojevic, he’s such a good entertainer. But he plays like folk music and whenever he come to Australia, they’d get me to the opera house and gigs.
Stev: So how do people like this fine you?
Tony: It’s word of mouth I’d say.
Stev: Interesting. Is it like when you started or now, I can imagine you’re not the only production company around, especially in Perth, you have places like Melbourne, people in Sydney? How is it to compete with other companies?
Tony: For our company it’s, you know, it’s difficult in Perth because Perth such a small place for a big company that we’re trying to be with you know upcoming good PAs that cost a lot of money. And there’s not as many shows in Perth as there is in the east coast. So it’s hard. But I think winter’s hard for the company, but all other times are good.
Brad: What do you think about the, when I was growing up there was a lot of festivals like Big Day out their sort of festivals.
Tony: We missed some of those, definitely.
Brad: Yeah you know that always sort of was a, bit of a shame that you know big day out sort of you know it just became extinct and this was a I don’t you know what Big Day Out is but it was a festival that had really really top end bands mixed with a lot of local Australian artists. You know they had probably eight to 10 stages, huge array of music it was a really good day and for some reason it just didn’t exist. It just came to a stop.
Stev: But there’s so many festivals around in Perth. When I put on the radio in the car there’s always some tickets going out for some sort of festival.
Brad: This was like the top of the top, I mean in my eyes anyway I might be wrong.
Tony: This is like you know hundred and something acts
Brad: Yeah this is like big time, this is really good.
Tony: Like Ramstein as the main act.
Brad: I saw some of my favorite bands, chili peppers, tool, killers, all sorts of really high-end acts. I actually saw Birds of Tokyo when they were very, when they were just starting, and they were in one of the little side stages. But that was cool because you know if you were a fan of them you could get a spot and get right up close to the stage and you know it was cool.
Stev: Now personally I prefer festivals instead of concerts because you just have the opportunity to see so many more bands in a short amount of time. For somebody who often goes to concert, how do you feel about that?
Brad: Well nowadays there’s no, Well I’m older for a starter. But there’s just no festivals that really interests me. There’s none you know I’d look out and be like you know I like that band that band. But there wasn’t there’s not enough on the list for me to get excited about. Maybe I’m just getting older or have I’m out of touch probably.
Stev: That’s something that is unavoidable like you have obviously your generation’s music and that music sticks with you because you have all these memories from, oh yeah I was 16 here and I was 20 here and then you stick with that and nowadays if you ask me for a Justin Bieber song I have no clue.
Brad: Yeah, I mean but at the same time we’ve talked about this in other podcasts. You know Metallica is coming later this year and I can’t wait to see Metallica. They’re awesome. I’ve seen them live. They are probably what 60?
Stev: What’s the name of the front singer? I’m not judging, I’m not good with names at all. But he made a really and he had a really interesting podcast with Joe Rogan and funny side fact he’s into bee farming. Did you know that?
Tony: James Hetfield is his name.
Stev: There you go, check out that episode on the Joe Rogan podcast with James Hetfield. They talk about bee farming I was very surprised because you don’t expect that guy to be into bee farming.
Brad: He seems like so big; I don’t know what he fit in the bees’ suit.
Stev: I believe at some point in time Metallica the drummer had the biggest drum set ever set up on live stage correct?
Tony: Well I don’t know about that. I wouldn’t have a clue.
Stev: I’m full with many facts that might be bullshit. I don’t know. I believe I heard that sometimes.
Tony: Put your money in the jar as well.
Stev: I have a special jar just for myself it’s behind that banner. That’s how big it is.
Brad: We have to keep it hidden in case you know people say it is so much money hidden away.
Stev: We need to buy a safe for it. What’s your most valued thing that you take on the road except for memories.
Tony: Probably my USB stick. Because it has all my desk files on it.
Stev: All right. So not a big fan of clouds, using the cloud.
Tony: I don’t use the cloud. I take all my files on it and that’s how I transfer into the console.
Stev: How was the transition from analog to digital for you?
Tony: It was difficult in the beginning because the digital didn’t have that analog warmth at all. So I used to have to add a lot more plug ins I noticed to make things warmer.
Stev: So how much time does that save you nowadays?
Tony: Nowadays?Hheaps of time because it’s on a USB stick. You put it in your recall and there’s all your settings instead of you. In the analog days spending half an hour to an hour.
Stev: Let’s say you put something up front from the very beginning you create that sound file. How long does it take you? Is that the process that you when you have time takes several days so I come back tomorrow because I heard too much or is that something you do in one session.
Tony: The fle you can do it offline. The computer doesn’t need an hour.
Stev: And people when you are not going on the road and you give your USB stick to other people for them it’s exactly the same. They just plug it in, or do they have…
Tony: I don’t give my USB to anyone. It’s sort of your intellectual property so you sort of keep it because you built the file. You don’t really want someone else getting your file and doing your sound and then getting your job.
Stev: So basically, it’s your piece of artwork.
Tony: Well I think so. You know I think doing audio is an art within itself like you can either make or break the band at the front. That’s why I’m still getting booked. I think these days and I live in Perth which is the most isolated city as you said before. I still get flown everywhere to do shows from here because people trust me.
Stev: Man, that’s such a cool life to be on the road and just to produce music and get to see some of the coolest bands. How do you feel like the new generation? Is there’s still interest for people to come on and say I want to be a sound engineer and I want to work with sound?
Tony: I pushed for kids to learn or younger generation to learn to come to Audio Technik and do training days, we’d put on training days and sessions for them to learn the general art of audio.
Stev: That’s awesome. How do you get the kids? You advertise in schools?
Tony: They do it through WAAPA and a few other.
Stev: What’s whopper?
Tony: It’s like The West Australian Academy Performing Arts.
Stev: And talking about Audio Technik. Sorry I keep on saying it wrong. Where exactly can people get in touch with you?
Tony: Well we’re in Bass and Dean, you can get us at ww.audiotechnique.com.au
Stev: And you are also on Instagram for the young kids out their audio dot technique with a K on Instagram and you are also available on Facebook. Audio technique I don’t use Facebook anymore. Are you into social media?
Tony: I use social media a fair bit.
Stev: As a photographer I have to ask a question because you’re on the road, do you take a lot of photos?
Tony: Yes, I do.
Stev: And how does it work for you to, how does it work for you when you try to share your experience with other people. Do you get overexcited because sometimes for me I feel like you have this crazy memory and you want to share with others but it’s hard for people to listen to develop the passion that you have because you experience it live.
Tony: It is different what you experience to see to what you see on the screen.
Stev: I’m going to lead somewhere else and then I’m going to combine everything so don’t be confused. But how long did you work with audio before you met your wife?
Tony: It would have been 10 years. I met my wife 20 something years.
Stev: Did you feel like that your experience changed a little bit because you had somebody to share your stories with?
Tony: Oh, just a great support really. But a team support member who support you through the hard times good times that you know, the tired times, busy times.
Stev: And how early did you bring your kids on the road?
Tony: They started from very like my oldest daughter was in the stomach at the Grinspoon concerts bouncing around in there. So they’ve all come to like Birds ofTokyo and green spring concerts.
Stev: And yeah that’s probably why she likes music.
Tony: They all love. They do love music.
Brad: So do they love Birds of Tokyo and those sorts of bands?
Tony: They like birds of Tokyo. Grinspoon they Like and Jimmy Barnes, they’re getting into him. His new albums out Criminal Record by Criminal Record which is pretty good.
Stev: How many albums did he do?
Tony: He’s got like twelve I think he’s got 12 number one albums or something.
Stev: That’s so insane if you realize how much time and effort and work goes into creating twelve albums.
Tony: You should read up on him.
Brad: Is this is a real tour. It’s not liked a John Furnham tour. You know one last time every time.
Tony: Jimmy doesn’t say that this is the last. He keeps working hard.
Stev: Is it something that ever came to your mind?
Brad: This is like an Australian joke probably going over your head.
Stev: I’ve thought of a different question, but I guess you are correct. But something ever came in your head. OK, this is the last time I go on the road.
Tony: It probably has happened. You know but I got work. I don’t suit a normal 9 to 5. Job really. So it has to be a little bit different for me.
Stev: Any idea, did you ever have a plan B?
Tony: Well I have. I’ve worked in a warehouse before when I didn’t have much work once I come back from Europe. The first time with Parkway Drive being away in Europe for a while people forget that you’re around and then don’t bother ringing you anymore because you’re not available. But even though you’re back, unless you’ve gone and splatter all over social media you’re back. They don’t know and they don’t ring for works. You have to go and get another job as a warehouse manager for a little while.
Stev: How were you as a kid? I would like to know how you would you see yourself as a kid because I have a couple more questions going in that direction and I wanted to start with that. Like were you more of a quiet kid or more of a wild kid?
Tony: I think I’m a wild kid you know probably drove my parents crazy. Always on the move. Never sit still.
Stev: You think you surprised many of your old classmates turning out to what you do today.
Tony: I don’t know. Cause I never see them. I haven’t seen them since I’ve left school. I’ve never kept in touch with anyone from my school. I sort of got away from where I lived back in the early days to move forward myself.
Stev: Reunions aren’t a big thing in Australia?
Tony: Well they are, but I’m not into them.
Stev: Excuse me. I take the bullet. We don’t give a fuck. But I feel you on that one but sometimes I would like to meet some of my classmates just to see like because I had a bunch of friends, they all were creative. I know not all of them later on did in their life what they wanted to do but a few of them did and I would like to see like what direction they go.
Tony: Yeah, I suppose that would be good to see. I’m sure you know some are doing well. Some doing whatever they’re doing.
Stev: Yeah you can’t control another people’s life I assume. Brad I want to go back here. Is there anything when your daughter starts listening to music where you say this is an absolutely no go, not in my house. I break down your stereo if you ever listen to this again.
Brad: Well she loves pop music, she’s already dancing she puts it on and there’s a little jiggle. It’s great to say I don’t really care what music she listens to. To be honest as long as she’s happy and enjoying it.
Stev: So you don’t put on certain music just to like to come on you’re going to like this; I play this early for you.
Brad: Well I knew I was, you know, I knew that we had this podcast tonight. I was playing I was actually playing Karnivool at 5 a.m. This morning in bed and with my daughter and my wife and my wife’s like turn that crap off. But my daughter was enjoying it.
Stev: Do you have many differences with your wife regarding music?
Brad: She’s more into you know your Top 40 you know R&B type stuff. It’s not really my sort of thing. I do like a little bit of sort of old school hip hop. She’s more into the poppy sort of new age stuff, but I don’t know it just doesn’t do it for me.
Stev: I have that with Yuki as well. As soon as she turns on the music either turn it off or I just leave the room and it’s completely different from what I like. But I kind of miss a little bit. Back in the day I used to have these sessions easy you go digging in the LP shop where you buy vinyl’s. You can just take them out, you can listen to them. It’s called digging in the hip hop scene. Maybe in the rock scene as well. And man I used to do that a lot with my friends because I have so many friends who were DJs and I’m talking real DJs. We’re not talking like technique; we talk turntables and all this kind of stuff. However, I miss this a little bit and I feel like many people lose the connection to music as older they get. I feel it’s kind of sad. Are you afraid that you ever lose this connection? I mean you obviously not because you work with it.
Tony: I won’t lose it.
Brad: I’ve sort of made a promise to myself that I want to see more live gigs you know whether it’s just a small sort of local band or whether it’s one of my top sorts of three favorite bands of all time whether Metallica type band. I just want to make an effort to go to more concerts during the year. I think if I do that then I’ll sort of stay in touch with what I love.
Stev: Man crowds are not really, as a photographer I always get to be in the bunker as they call it in the front. In Germany we call it the bunker, the bunker. But yeah, I’m not big of a crowd fan and I think that is what keeps me the most from going to concerts nowadays.
Brad: You just take the sort of enclosed feel or?
Stev: I don’t know what it is because I really want it as I said to Tony before, when I listen to music I really want to listen to music. Like I always take this as example when I talk about communicating with other people. It’s one thing to hear one thing but it’s a whole different thing to listen to it to really sit down and listen to it. And yeah, I feel that’s missing a little bit. I was said the latest, not the latest but one of my favorites. And they’re not too far past was Charles Bradley. He was mostly known for being a James Brown imitator until he basically made his own thing at 2010, 2011. He died not so long ago. Yeah and he really played in a small place I believe was a completely different feeling like Bonobo which is a different genre. It’s a little bit more chill out lounge. Electronic music but he only plays in small clubs in Berlin. And I prefer that because the people who make it into the small places are the people in my believe. Again I might be wrong. Who really appreciate it and who really want to sit down because you know when you go to festivals you see a bunch of these people they just drink drink drink drink drink and it is fun for them and I can understand that certain people just want to let out energy. But for me I really want to listen when I listen to good music and therefore also recording and recording quality plays a big role and Tony has been so kind to immediately get into work mode when he came out here you have to do this and this and this and this to improve sounds. So I really put that down on my list because the sound is, it’s super important man and it’s something I always was afraid of. While some people might think that I would have been more afraid of turning blind because I’m a photographer, I’ve always been more afraid of turning deaf because I can’t hear music anymore. Music played a huge role for me in life. But even blind people can hear nowadays you have these metal sticks and the vibrations, because sound is vibration correct. You said it before, there’s air and sound and waved. It’s very interesting. Do you do a lot of post-production with sound later on?
Tony: I do a lot. I am a more live engineer.
Stev: More of a live kind of guy. Don’t pay too much.
Tony: I do. I do track shows and have a little mix album but I’m mainly a live engineer.
Stev: And you mainly do concerts you never go into TV or anything like that?
Tony: I do, mixing for the TV show occasionally but I’m mostly live concerts.
Stev: How much of a difference is that from concert to TV show?
Tony: It’s a little bit different because on the TV shows you’re not working with the sound, the ambient sound, you sort of lose that. So you have to build a few things up and there.
Stev: Do you prefer stadiums, or do you prefer open air?
Tony: I love stadiums. I love open airs. I’m anything with big, anything larger areas I love.
Brad: I did notice when I was doing some research and in one of the interviews you actually you really liked Perth Arena.
Tony: It’s a great sounding room, I love it there. I’ve only ever mixed birds Tokyo in there but sounds pretty good.
Stev: This is interesting here because you know we go there, and we enjoy the concerts and what’s going on in the sport that they play there. But I wouldn’t know how it sort of writes.
Tony: Acoustically it’s right up there as far as I am concerned. Other people say that it’s not that good, but I don’t know if it’s because they’re just having a bad day there or I feel it sounds good like the Rod Laver, Arena in Melbourne it’s very similar you know platform they sound very similar.
Stev: What makes a good acoustic? Is it the architecture of the place or is it the person like you?
Tony: It’ll be the architecture is obviously a big part of it. And you know fixtures, but you know the sound guy as I said before you’ll make or break your show.
Stev: It’s most important part.
Tony: You know people don’t know as you’re saying before they probably don’t take in the respect the sound guy what he does sometimes.
Stev: Well again just because I judge people doesn’t mean that everybody is like the second I can imagine there’s a bunch of people there who yeah appreciate your work and what you do and I really appreciate that you came to our show and talked a little bit about your podcast and hour past, time goes by fast. Yeah it goes to quick. I would like to talk music for hours but unfortunately Brad kicks me out here at some point. We’ll look at doing it again sometome. And Tony where can people once again find the audio technique on the website. We have the website put the link below you on Facebook, Facebook and Instagram.
Tony: Or www.audiotechnik.com.au
Stev: And where can we follow Tony? Where can we follow you?
Tony: You just follow me on Facebook Tony Bryan.
Stev: And what do you say to all the people out there who say you know what. I got a little bit inspired by that lifestyle of Tony and what he does. Do you what’s the word? Hashtag not a native English speaker. Do you, no not recommend do you, if you push somebody to do something. Encourage. Do you encourage people to get in touch with you?
Tony: People come up to me at the shows and say look I’m really keen on learning your industry I love the way you mix, or you know I love your sound can you help me. I’ll tell you quick little story before we have to finish our show. I met this kid while a guy called Dylan. But He was in Brisbane and he came to birds Tokyo show and he loved it and came up to me and he goes oh I just love your sound and I really love to learn from you. Well it’s hard for me to teach I live in Perth. He goes I want to learn all about audio, and I go well you know if you moved to Perth, I can probably get you a job at audio technique. And so yeah, a few months later or about a year or two later it might’ve been, he moved. And now he’s working with us and you know we consider him one of our good workers at the moment he’s learning the ropes and he’s moving up the chain pretty fast.
Stev: Do you push him a little extra hard?
Tony: Oh they’ve got to be pushed hard. You know we had it hard in the 80s. You know they get a lot easier these days, things are a lot easier to do, not as heavy.
Stev: That’s interesting man. Do you see people get inspired by the most interesting things and most random things? For one it’s music, for the other one it is SEO. For another guy it’s flying an airplane, I find that incredible with life. There are so many different people, so many different interests.
Tony: Yeah, I love to fly a plane.
Stev: Hey here’s an idea for you guys before we continue what do you know the karaoke taxis? Maybe do a karaoke. There is a cool movie with Snoop Dogg and one of Kevin Hart’s first movies it’s called soul plane check that out. Ladies and gentlemen, it has been over an hour for the recording. Once again Tony thank you so much for sharing your stories, we hope to have you back and hopefully you have loads of fun on your tour and also playing Wembley, one of your life goals. For the people that have been listening to the show you now have the opportunity to win either a day pass of bouldering/climbing/fitness or a float session, 60 minutes float session at beyond rest or a bouldering pass for two including gear higher at adrenaline vault and the we ask here and Brad is not allowed to participate is what does EP stand for? LP, I correct myself. What does LP stand for? If you know the answer, please leave your comment down below here on YouTube in the comment section. Go to digital Hitman’s website, send them an email or go to the Instagram or Facebook, digital hitmen yeah just drop us a message and then we will take a name, put it in a bucket with all the other names that have a correct answer and we will pull a winner. Unfortunately you cannot just do that. You also have to subscribe, like the episode, dislike it, let us know what you think so we can improve. So make sure to fulfill all these tasks, otherwise you will get nothing except for a participant trophy. So with that being said Tony once again thank you for being here. Brad thank you for co-hosting here today because Levi is sick on that behalf any words for Levi at home.
Brad: Oh he is just a little baby, I think.
Stev: And Levi I think Brad is a little sad I heard him cry when I came in here today. That’s it for us ladies and gentlemen thank you so much for tuning in. We will be back next Wednesday with another episode of the digital hitmen podcast and I thought we leave with a little bit of music but then there’s nothing better on the concert than what have proper applause.