The Journey to Finding Myself


Not another blog post about an entitled millennial!

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash | Created on canva.com

Alright, bear with me on this one. It’s not every day you’d wake up to find yourself being a quarter-century old and realizing that you have yet to feel proud about something you’ve done with your bare hands. For the first time in my life, I am able to differentiate between “bear” and “bare”. That has got to count for something! ….right?

Ah, well. I shan’t be one of those millennial always seeking to be validated.

In all seriousness though, I do wanna talk the things I’ve learned in my 2018 so far, while at the same time launching my [latest] weekly blogging series called: Not Another: Millennia(L) Session. Your Monday Muse by moi. (I’m just giving myself more option to show up more on social media, tbh)

Now, story time! Best paired with freshly brewed coffee. (mine wasn’t fresh anymore when I took this pic)

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Hello hello! . I've been super quiet lately and and now I'm back hehe! 😎 . I was on an amazing break from work for the past three weeks. (Thanks Ramadhan!) 😴 . Sadly, I did not get a chance to enjoy getting food coma from all the open houses and glorious Raya food huhu 😢 . But I did rest up and evaluate on a lot of things in my life. 💡 . I've also been working on getting my head back into that work space. 👓 . [Basically: Trello, Emails, Production Documents] 💻 . My calendar is looking full with events, and honestly I'm anxious HAHA 😫 . I also scored my old VA job back (yay!). 😍 . Can you believe that it's almost July soon???? 👀 . Time sure flies!! Can't wait to drive the rest of my 2018 to full speed!! 💥 . [also, pls don't judge my coffee – I waited too long to take this picture in public lololol]

A post shared by Melinya Sarah 🇲🇾 (@melinya) on

I used to like calling myself Mel Of All Trades to make myself feel better when I just couldn’t decide on what I like to do best. I have lots of interest in many things other than audio and music, and this sort of dilemma has put me into a state of bipolar-type (using it lightly here you don’t have to yell ok) self-mental abuse on many occasions. I would either be super semangat or super depressed (again, light).

This year I started approaching life in a different way – allowing myself to just riding the wave. I had one simple reason: to have more time to create, discovering myself, and learning to love myself more. So my goals became more oriented towards improving on my available skills while at the same time learning how to leverage them for lucrative reasons.

*hehehehehe evil laugh

Has it been working out for me? You bet. My PR skills have improved, I’ve learned to expand my services within my niche and treat it more like a business, got myself some extra work to do outside of residency… etc etc. I’m doing things that I never thought I could ever do. And I definitely feel like I’m living the best life so far!!

Not my dream life. Just the best version of my life (so far) – good balance of optimal stress, good food, and lotsa rest. 😎

Now, over time, I will be uncovering more areas of my life. But here’s my top lesson for the week: the journey to self-discovery takes time. I don’t even think I’m ever going to be done. At least, not in the near future. Not now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I’m going to continue doing life – by accepting that change will always be constant and I will have to be okay with it. Baby steps!

Till next week!!

Not Another: Millennia(L) Session is inspired by the more “judgy” type of baby boomers who would just not give us any slack. Also, fun fact, when Crown The Empire’s lead vocalist Andy Leo announced their next song “Millenia” of their set during the KL leg of their tour in May, it sounded like “Melinya”. (that was unnecessarily mouthful!)

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things that i’ve learned so far.


counting down: 1 day before GST.

so, i had an episode with life. nothing major, just some quarter-life crises. *cue laughter*

these kind of things, it’s nothing new to me as there will always be some days where i’m just not feeling ’em. i would doubt myself, be really unforgiving, cursing over my little mistakes… i’d feel so low in life that at times i’d believe there is no way that i could come back up again. and then i just let it be, not wanting to do anything about it.

but that’s when i forget that, while we live in a world that doesn’t practice forgiveness, i am surrounded with patient teachers, supportive friends, and very loving family.

they are never falling short of love, patience, and most importantly, forgiveness. whatever that i have done wrong, they would sternly correct me, but never forgets to let me know that it’s not the end of the world. whatever that i have done right, they won’t just tell me that i’ve done a good job, but to continue doing so until it becomes a part of who i am.

and these lessons were something that i had forgotten to remind myself when i was my lowest.

i had a chance to impart what i learned into my new friends last thursday when they came to visit my work at Laundry. my favourite part about the experience is that when i was teaching the students some tips and tricks, they (the tips) became lightbulb moments to me as i had forgotten about them myself, until i had to talk about them!

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i don’t know if they managed to absorb anything at all but i really hope they did. ha

you see the thing is, everybody is destined to do great things, only if they allow themselves to do so. teaching is a powerful method to raise anybody up; it goes both ends of the spectrum. it is only when you decide to not do anything at all that you stay stagnant. and that’s exactly what happened to me.

i was uninspired. demotivated. sluggish. and i didn’t do anything about it. so i went back to teaching myself and allow myself to soak up new information wherever i go. i push myself to be willing to learn even especially if it is something that is out of my comfort zone and area of expertise. i mean, that’s the whole point, duh!

another thing that i stopped doing was to love everything that i was doing. i forgot why i was doing things. also mostly because i was doing them so much that i got sick and tired of doing it, almost too literally. i could use some break. but was break necessary? not really. maybe. if you really need one.

i just took a step back, remembering why and how i got “this far” in life. i will give credit where it’s due but i mainly just want to remind myself that most if not all of my decisions have lead to my position in life right now, starting from the day when i was really adamant about doing music for a living, without knowing specifically what i could do to contribute to the music scene. i went with my heart.

and while we’re on the topic, i really do want to continue serving the music / entertainment industry. like trying to make life better, i want to provide my time and energy for the greater good of music and its potential. i want to instil passion while still maintain the business sides of things. we are all coexisting, and there is no reason why we should work without the other. sharing is caring, and being selfish does not get you anywhere in life. fact.

there is still a lot to learn. i think that is the challenging part of living when you’re so busy working, that you forget to take time to learn. not being able to make time for me will always be an excuse. easier said than done, but when it is done, it automatically becomes a fulfilment. so off to learning i will!

meanwhile…

i did a quick/rough recording and mixing with some of my friends from ICOM the other day. not a bad mix after being away from “studio mixing” for almost a year. though i was actually mixing it on a M50x XD

also, my singing has gotten a lot better! yay me! but i still need to work on my crowd interaction and facial expressions. HELP

this beautiful picture was shot and edited by the ever so talented and wonderful, Albert Ng of glaringnotebook.com! he so awesome.

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as you can see i took some editing into my own hands….(scroll back up. ha)

i’ve been getting a lot of incredible work opportunities lately and i’m just super happy that in these opportunities i get to work on my strengths and weaknesses a lot. hopefully i can keep up with this little fire in me even when the GST comes. 2 more weeks until i give myself a week’s worth of rest, and then i’m back on my roller-coaster life!

xx

news and shoes | production management


ANNOUNCEMENT: News and Shoes production services is available for booking beginning February 2015!

Do you need a live sound engineer? A stage manager? Or simply dying to hire a production manager for your show? LOOK NO FURTHER, because this girl loves drawing energy from the people that she works with! 10714117_10204361738020228_7781639408335932983_o No stranger to the audio world and a music lover herself, Mell is not one to joke about when it comes to her mission in assisting a band tastefully showcasing their talent or watch a show growing to its full potential, blooming like the flowers in the Garden of Eden. Oh, it’s almost sinful that you can taste it, but the guilty pleasure is real; Mell is a workaholic and she loves every bit of energy that she can draw from everyone around her.

That’s right folks, you just read it first hand – Mell is going back to the freelance world. Give her the warmest welcome ever by filling up her calendar with your job offers!!

List of major services provided:

  1. Production Manager
  2. Live Sound Engineer
  3. Stage Manager

List of minor services provided:

  1. Stage Crew / Band Tech
  2. Roadie
  3. Studio/Live Recording Engineer
  4. Social Media Manager (hek eleh)
  5. Instructor (Conducting Series of Training Services / Workshops)
  6. Driver (lololol)

Tweet her at @melinyasarah or email her at newsandshoesproduction@gmail.com to reach her!


Now back to regular updates….. I am leaving my current job at Laundry Bar, The Curve and my last day will be on the 30th of January. I’m hoping to get back to work as soon as 1st February but it’s gonna be entirely up to you guys. I’m going to start from zero, leaving a comfortable job, to start-up a little dream of mine – a production company.

I love the idea of being a part of and working on one show for two whole months, and then watching it bloom…even if it’s gonna be for one night only.

I love experimenting, exploring different possibilities and not being limited to pre-written, foolproof instructions.

I love teaching, breaking things down and laying them out so my students could chew easily and digest better.

I love travelling, so touring is definitely in my bucket list.

This box that I’m now in…I’ve been asking myself a lot of what ifs while I’m in it. I’ve decided that I want to break that curiosity and replace it with indefinite possibilities. This blog is to share with you on how you can help me.

I will have a page of all my rates up by the end of the month. If you’ve worked with me while I was still with Laundry, you will soon realize that my new rates are a little bit more on the competitive side, because I need to be able to earn a living, and not just saving up a bit of pocket-money while having a stable income. This is the real deal, guys.

My main area of ability is in the live sound field, especially stage. But I’m willing to expand my wings and fly. Please share the word around to anyone and everyone that needs an extra pair of hands! Your support means a lot and I will forever be grateful. 🙂

Alex Goot & Against the Current LIVE in KL


Aaaahhhhh Mental.

Thank you Darren (AHM) for inviting me! Wouldn’t have left the house if ya didn’t. ha! Too exhausted from back-to-back events and workload. 😛

I got in late, so I completely missed Lizzie’s performance and got in during Skyward’s last song. Glad I could at least catch An Honest Mistake though. I brought my Canon EOS1100D with me so I don’t have to bear with the low quality pictures from my phone. aha.

Side note before moving on to the pictures: THE LIGHTS WERE AMAZING. CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT!

 

An Honest Mistake

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Against the Current

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Alex Goot

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(more) Camera & Phones

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Outside the hall: during breaks & after the concert.

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After-party!

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I don’t know when else I’ll get to have this kind of opportunity. Never been to an actual concert besides the praise and worship ones so I’m honestly grateful for Darren. As a production girl, I just wanna give props to the production team. You guys did an incredible job and none of this would’ve happened without you guys! To the acts, AWESOME AS ALWAYS!

x

preparing for a show: the technical guide for musicians


by Albert Ng of glaringnotebook.com
by Albert Ng of glaringnotebook.com

1:35am and my brain decides to argue with a lot of things, particularly with reality. anyways, these little points are just off the top of my head (and feelings) in no particular order. if you know me well enough you’ll know that i would take a lot of detour just to make a point. i’ll try to simplify this.

1. technical rider
if you’re performing for a show particularly under an organizing committee, please do us crew a favour and take a minute to write the list of things that your band needs. the number of mics, DIs, backlines needed….all of these are important information to help you with your own show. obviously, if it was your own show, you would want everybody to take note of everything from wardrobe to song list to lights etc. if you are going to play alongside other acts/bands, doesn’t matter if your setup is small or meh, preparing a technical rider goes a long way.

here’s what happen when you don’t give me a tech rider: i stalk your facebook profile and/or fan page. it’s worse if you’re a band and you don’t even bother including your band members on your fan page. what gives?! now i have to search the entire internet for a picture of your performance somewhere -oh never mind you don’t even have a decent picture of you performing on your own fan page. it’s okay. now i have to message you.

if you don’t reply me then well, i’m sorry if we are not able to provide what you need and if that’s the case i sure hope you bring your own stuff with zero assumptions that we have “them”, whatever they are.

DO mention specifically if you are playing electric guitar or acoustic guitar. Just mentioning guitar requires an extra skill on my side that i do not have – being psychic.

DON’T tell me that you only need four mics when your band consists of 5 vocalists and you are using your own mic. list them as 5 vocals anyway; i don’t really care if you are using your own mic or not – it’s the least of my worries.

tip: i don’t mind your setlist! i would usually try to watch or listen to your past performances when i have the time.

2. soundcheck
now i know that the world isn’t all that fair and not everyone can afford to be a full time musician. soundchecks are usually done during office hour or rush hour. it’s probably unfortunate enough that you have to spend most of your weeknights practicing, right? right.

now, soundcheck isn’t all that bad (at least for me) if you’ve given me your tech rider. i can almost not forgive you if you were to make last minute changes (like “oh we’ve decided to add a djembe and a tambourine i’m sorry i forgot to tell you”) but all is well once i brainstorm within a second as to which mic ends up miking which instrument. i mean, change is inevitable right? right.

bear in mind that when you do come for soundcheck – you are able to complete two important things:

  1. achieve optimum stage level for your monitoring
  2. give the engineer to work with your balance and your tone, possibly improving them as well

so if you are not given the chance to do soundcheck:

  1. DO cooperate with the crew and sound engineer during your setup so we wouldn’t spend 10-15 minutes just figuring out who stands where.
  2. DO a 30-second soundcheck with your loudest song to crosscheck your stage level with the engineer. the engineer can only do as much as guessing.
  3. DON’T yell “i need more *whatever* in this monitor!!” in the middle of your song. at least wait until your song is over.
  4. Vocalist: DON’T point your mic down towards the monitors as it may cause feedback. if you’re more of a holding kind of person, please be watchful of the direction that you’re pointing it to.
  5. DO practice, practice, practice. i cannot stress this point enough but front-of-house engineers are not there to fix your mistakes. if you don’t know how to trust FOH engineer in charge, at least trust your own bandmates; learn listen to each other.

tip: guitarists are more than welcome to bring their own trusty ol’ amp (better with presets from practices)! the band could do the same with their own sound/tech person!

3. “spokesperson”
if all the above fails, get the person that the whole band trusts (or yourself) and walk through the details with the crew before the show. i am opened to any changes up to 5 minutes before the show. if you don’t even have a spokesperson then well, suffer the consequencesssss!!!! muahahaha

xxx

random bits of thoughts:
when i started college, i realized that the only way to survive this industry is to know how to talk and build my network. i’m, no doubt, in a “people industry”. one cannot survive without another to support and vice versa. a band may be the best of their generation but without a good sound engineer, manager or even producer the band maybe can go as far as only being the resident band of a local bar.

these days, a lot of artists are going independent. a band is sometimes their own manager, producer and even techie. i have nothing against that but how far can you go if only you and your band believe in your own product? i don’t mean to sell to make money but rather to have people to buy into your music, without having to actually buy them first.

just remember that without your listeners, you have zero support in terms of income. i wouldn’t make income my main goal, but if you understand the importance of “serving” your listeners with good (these days that means sellable) music without having to sell yourself out (AKA MUSIC IS YO LIFE YOU WOULD DO ANYTHING TO DO MUSIC YOUR WHOLE LIFE), you will do fine.

  1. point 1: if you want to be your everything, at least learn how to manage your facebook/twitter page. don’t post once every few months unless if you need to, provide the audience with a legit explanation and a timeline of when to expect your new music/show/to simply hear from you next. talk to your audience like how you would talk to a friend. anyone would appreciate that kind of “special artist-fan” connection.
  2. point 2: be humble. don’t expect a respect that you have not earned. make friends, share your music (free demos/ep/mixtapes etc), find shows to support other acts… you won’t go anywhere without other people doing the same for you.

2:32am and i’m not making sense anymore. time for me to hit the sack.

kind soul + high level of work ethic + responsibility = a good package.

Havoc on Harmony Lane


this production got me to fall in love with productions all over again! like

so i got a whatsapp text from the ever-so-awesome min, gave him my email, got an email from another mel (LOL), gave my rates, HIRED. the end.

lol y’all don’t even know what i was hired for and by who.

anyways, yes. so. rewind back to the day when i went to SMK BU3 (after all that confirmation) to have a meeting on equipment. or so i thought. i’m sure it was just “equipment” in their minds but productions to me is a lot bigger than that. i immediately realized i won’t be able to have the manpower, knowledge and understanding mindset privileges from a secondary school that has never done a production this scale before.

right.

here’s a list of my lids:

  • they are just kids. SCHOOL KIDS. that doesn’t have an extensive level of knowledge on audio and stuff. ._.
  • they don’t exactly have a stage manager, stage crews or even a production manager. (this is when i started to get reaaallllyyyyyyy worried). they can’t tell apart the differences between a stage manager and a production manager.
  • budget. or more like no budget.
  • only hired as their FOH engineer but it seemed to me i was going to have a lot of work to do to make that they are able to produce this show at a higher standard than what a typical secondary school can produce!

so the first and most heavy weight that i could think of getting rid of off my chest is getting someone who can think of the entire show, from the set up to the tear down, unloading and loading. i personally am not capable of doing it for two reasons: 1) i was only hired as their sound engineer. 2) i cannot commit to attending their rehearsals and understanding their musical from the inside and out (mostly due to “extra labour” and petrol that is not covered in my pay) and so it has to be done by someone from the school itself, someone who can make as much time as they can afford to learn the show by heart and be able to visualize it just like their director but on a more technical side.

that person has to be organized, very committed, positively high in spirit, constantly anticipating, knows how to think & plan backwards, and has very good communication skills & PR. again, i was asking too much from these kids.

okay scrapping all of these problems aside, i’ve decided to list out my to-do list so i could work towards the show on a much productive level.

  1. channel list.
  2. stage layout: with sets and band on risers.
  3. signal diagram
  4. train highly committed students on the basics of audio equipment and laying them out on stage effectively.
  5. technical rider.
  6. technical meetings – BU3, DPAC, and BU3 again.
  7. technical rundowns.
  8. production schedule @ DPAC.

after this list, things are starting to fall into their rightful places but things are beyond done.

we started out by recceing DPAC on a lovely Tuesday afternoon.

  1. they have 22 1m*1m*1ft of platforms. we planned to use 10 just for the band itself.
  2. i find that the theatre has weird acoustics but i figured i’m just gonna have to work around it.
  3. they have a nice space for a centre video camera. although i’m sure it’s just a piece of space for people to go to the other side since they only have  one entrance.
  4. their FOH area is bloody messy. i will clean that up once i get my station down and settled. ha OCD much
  5. i like their dressing rooms. they are providing three, one of which i requested immediately for technical productions & possible office.
  6. i can almost imagine having my meals at the green room omg i was really excited on the inside by the end of the recce. :DD

anyways, i met up with 4 out of 7 of my tech crews on a Wednesday, jan 29th. understandably, 2 went back for chinese new year while one was down with a viral fever. i brought Amanda with me for extra translations (and moral support!!) since they’re all mostly chinese. i prepared some rule of thumb and a to-do list for them but left the hardcopy version at ICOM -_-.

one of the link that i used to introduce and brief them about the things that they have committed themselves into is shure’s mic techniques for live sound. i found this article when i was still in college and i thought it would be a good studying material for beginners! not only do they talk about a mic’s characteristics and how sound waves work, but they have also included details on how to mic up instruments WITH PICTURES! i’ve asked them to go home and do more research anyway, but this article is a great start. [x]

i then made some arrangements with Puan Ngau to bring my seven crew to ICOM on a Wednesday and Friday to expose to them what’s it like for a show fully run by a group of students every week for the Friday performances. when we finally decided which week to bring them, i could only make it on the 11th of Feb because I had other plans that Friday. Anyways, I had some objectives listed out but i tried not to expect much because over time i realized it was already too much for them to take in, in terms of practicality and having the mindset that i was hoping for. by the end of the Wednesday, they went home looking exhausted, brain-fried. hahah oh dear

over the time, Valerie made a whatsapp chat group, we met again at least twice more to brief on the production schedule, getting a list of things confirmed to fit everybody’s needs and space, got an inventory list going, went for a tech meeting with DPAC, and watch a full rehearsal at BU3’s hall. we’re all excited and nervous at the same time; it’s our first musical. yes, mine too as FOH!!

anyways.

we bumped in on Thursday. while waiting for the lights to be rigged and focused, we labelled the mics and cables and DIs just so we could get a head of time when we start to set up. i also taught them how to roll cables. the wireless headsets came at about 4pm and we couldn’t do much till the set contractor came so I got my wireless tech to set up while the rest of us lay the cables and setup the drum set.

the day ended without a soundcheck (even though it was planned) because the set contractors were late and we had to leave by 10.45pm. so I had to re-plan the next day adding in soundcheck slots for every lead and supporting actors, chorus & the band, hoping that we could start the technical rundown by 11am sharp. yeah that didn’t really happen because the makeup artist can only come in the morning so all the plans for tech rundown kinda went down the drain BUT since hair and makeup was done much earlier everything kinda fall into place as we used the remaining hours to work on our sound, get used to the wireless mic, stage markings, and the possible chaos that the crew has to endure.

the biggest problem that we faced was the wireless headsets. this was the first musical that I had to mix incorporating a lot of cues and dialogues and thus a lot of riding the faders. i learned that i had to apply quite a lot of expander and compressor, besides dealing with their dinosaur breathing and the fact that we kept running out of battery throughout our rundowns! I became better at riding after 3 rundowns (by 3 i mean, including the first matinee show -_-), we realized that the batteries needed are the alkaline types, and we moved the mic 2 fingers away from the mouth to avoid the sound of heavy breathing.

i was on intercom during the rundowns and the first matinee show, and listening to the chaos backstage was amusing yet worrisome at the same time since i can’t be at two places at once. one of our biggest incident happened just after the first song of the second act, during, dare I say it, the Saturday matinee show. the conversation went down something like this:

Jason: Melinya, Melinya!! Melanie’s guitar string broke!!
Me: Okay, so?
Jason: She said that she cannot play the next song!!
Me: No, she can. It’s just one string right?
Jason: Okay.

5 minutes of silence.

Jason: Melinya!! Melanie asks is it possible to not let her play?
Me: No. She has to continue playing. We don’t have a spare guitar.
Jason: But she said-
Me: Okay which string broke?
Jason: The first E string.
Me: So, she can play. It’s just one string and it’s almost the least important for the rest of the songs that she needs to play. It’s fine. She’s fine. We can have it restring later.
Jason: Okay.

i’m assuming from just this one afternoon show itself, they have learned to anticipate all possible problems instead of reacting to them because i didn’t get anymore intercoms right after that, hahah!

the night (and most important) show went incredible well, except for a minor low rumble and a 6K feedback towards the end. the next day’s matinee also went well and everybody helped with the tear down. the performers helped with the props while my crew and i handled band side. we actually finished an hour earlier from the scheduled bump out time which gave everyone some time to catch their breath, like myself.

overall, it was an amazing experience working with awesome people!! i learned mostly how to deal with changes that don’t go according to plan. when you have the ability to control your frustrations and look at all possible outcomes, nothing is impossible. if you can’t do it on your own, guess what, you have ten, twenty, and hundred other brains to help you work out your problems! one thing about a production is that, you’re not alone. it’s so easy to be in your own world working on your own thing but a production cannot run without everybody’s input in various sections.

i love my crew to death. i’m thankful for min for hooking me up. i appreciate melissa’s patience dealing with everyone and myself. i praise God for this wonderful opportunity. kudos to Puan Ngau for giving all of us an opportunity to create wonderful memories and mind-blowing experiences. I HOPE TO DO THIS AGAIN SOON!!

my original seven crew and i. | top left: jason, nicholas, ashraff, elton | bottom left: me, yueh qi, valerie, eileen
my name tag!!
my view.
eileen, jo ann, yee shyen, valerie, me, yueh qi, hazman, darmes, ashraff, elton, jason, nicholas. | missing: en seng & stephanie.

x

one-weekend kuching trip


went on saturday, back on sunday.

so i was approached by my KL pastor some time towards the end of 2012 on the Kuching’s church new sound system. they were renovating the place and she thought maybe i could advise them or hold a workshop to give them a little more insight and such. i did fly to kuching for a church camp  right after my finals but never got around to checking out the new system.

i carried the “workshop” idea for more than a year until i was approached by my kuching pastor. we met during the “impacting the marketplace” convention and quickly decided that i should fly down to kuching the next weekend. i spent the next one week preparing slides, studying the fundamentals and refreshing my knowledge….until i had a bad feeling.

i don’t know how else to describe it. it wasn’t like i was nervous or anything. the people who i was going to meet were, after all my “family”; people who i grew up with until i moved to KL. but for some reason, every part of me just felt like, i should scrap the enter powerpoint presentation and just go with the flow, ask them for a list of problems and then work either around or fix them. i got the idea from Law of the Lid – first chapter of John Maxwell‘s book “The 21 Most Irrefutable Law of Leadership”.

the basic idea is that, i could teach them everything and anything that they can learn about live sound reinforcement, but 90% of the given knowledge probably gets thrown out the window before they even begin to digest. i figured, that they only need to solve their current problems and work around with whatever they have at the moment.

anyways, i landed KIA around noon time, so naturally my pastor brought me to their favourite laksa place for lunch! (but it was closed, so we went to the one behind it lol.) after lunch, they brought me back to their place to freshen up and get ready for the “workshop”.

only after we arrived at the church i told my pastor that i was going to scrap the “workshop” idea and requested for a white board and a marker instead. i did however create a google doc for when anyone was interested to learn more than the system that they have at the moment.

scribble, scribble, scribble
scribble, scribble, scribble

musicians’ problems:

  • don’t know how loud is loud.
  • can’t hear themselves, others & worship leader.
  • can’t hear the congregation.

sound engineers’ problems:

  • sound is different inside & outside the room.
  • don’t know how to EQ, balance & panning.

my “problems”:

  • room reverberation to me is quite high for an environment that plays reasonably loud music. RT60 is about 1s.
  • they have 2 pairs of speakers on stage, stacked on top of each other on each side. The bigger one is (obviously) at the bottom but it’s only because they were too heavy for the mounted “holders” by the wall, from the smaller speakers. they are also looped, because they bigger speakers only use speakons and their speakon cables aren’t long enough. so they loop the bigger speaker from the smaller speaker while receiving signals through a TRS cable.
  • the board is in a secluded room, with only an opened window for reference.
  • drum is in the corner.
i requested the band to play.
i requested the band to play and get themselves warmed up. speakers left are behind the guitarist, speakers right are behind the keyboardist.

solving/working around all our problems combined:

  • don’t know how loud is loud: i introduced the SPL meter to the engineers. get them started with at least 85dBSPL in an empty hall, slowly going up to 90-95dBSPL. for a small hall, i advised not to go over 100dBSPL especially when the congregation fills up the space. as for the musicians, they’re all going DO from their amps & keyboard, so i advised to have their volume around 30-50%.
  • can’t hear the people on stage: this was actually “solved” by Uncle Jeffrey, the bassist himself, as he turned the top speakers towards the musicians. i suggested getting started on a monitoring system once they bought speaker stands and longer speakon cables. at the moment this kinda worked.
    • side note: the guitarists were playing the same chords & strumming pattern throughout the songs. i gave suggestions to the electric guitarist to play a different register or chords inversion or some lines with a different patch besides the clean tone. instant contrast!
    • another side note: the keyboardist was playing at a lower register, clashing with the bass and was drowned in the mix. i suggested to play an octave higher. the pastors couldn’t stop praising the keyboardist for playing so beautifully with the band. hohoho
    • another another side note: never blame everything on the engineer 😉
  • can’t hear the congregation: this varies from week to week so everyone kinda understand that they’ll just have to pay a little more attention to the congregation while worship leading.
    • side note: the mix will sound slightly dull once the hall is filled so naturally, i asked them to boost 2k and above on the master graphic EQ the next morning.
  • sound is different inside and outside the room: we tried keeping the board in the room since the church consists of many kids and leaving the board outside means risky business. but when i got every engineer to try to EQ the vocalists, it got a bit too much of a hassle walking in and out of the room to get more precise adjustments so we just took the board out and get it over with. -_- hahahahahah
  • don’t know how to manipulate & balance the sound: everyone got a chance to soundcheck the band (you can imagine the musicians going AGAIN?! after each engineer is done hahahahaha) and had a rough idea on how to EQ. i made some notes on what each EQ band does so they could understand better. i also suggested making a list of ALL the vocalists and instruments’ EQ settings and have it laminated and pasted on the wall/table (THIS IS SO MR VINAY). i also got them to pan the instruments and vocalists just so they could grasp the idea of separation and being able to hear them individually.
  • RT60: we did play around with the internal effects but i just thought it was unnecessary when the band is playing. if it was only just a vocalist and accompaniment, then a bit of delay is nice.
  • drums in the corner: the drummer that week was quite controlled. the stage was loud but it wasn’t heartbeat-thumping loud so i just gave the engineers the mandate to tell the drummer to keep it down if he/she was overpowering the stage. also, i suggested installing some kind of “high absorption coefficient” curtains behind the drums but only after a proper consultation with a proper engineer lol.
that is the secluded room. we brought the board out eheheh
that is the secluded room. we brought the board out eheheh
i love labelling mah boardz :D
i love labelling mah boardz 😀
SE for that week: HALLESBY! and more labels on the cables lol
SE for that week: HALLESBY! and more labels on the cables lol
things are probably going to stay static from this point on so i just coiled the cables like that.
things are probably going to stay static from this point on so i just coiled the cables like that.
mixer by the corner.
mixer by the corner.

overall, the pastors were very happy with the changes that i was bringing in. i personally hope for a more “production-like” system taken into consideration; where the engineers will be there the earliest and the last to leave, taking time to soundcheck, and getting the band to play for a full rundown after all the songs are learned. but all in all, i just hope everyone learned a bit of something and carry on, teaching those who couldn’t make it that day. 😀

anyways, i got really exhausted from all the explaining and walking around PLUS HUNGRY after everything. we ended around 6.30pm and went straight to dinner at some air-conditioned kopitiam lol fancyyyyyy hahahah.

I WAS FLIPPING OUT OVER MIDIN
OH HEY LOOOOK IT’S MIDIN
HOSTS. my pastor and ze beautiful family :D
HOSTS. my pastor and ze beautiful family 😀
yummy papayas after dinner :D
yummy papayas after dinner 😀

i crashed pretty early after shower. usually i’d fall asleep around midnight but after replying some emails i fell asleep around 9. z.z

i started the day with mee kolo (ehehehe) and then went straight to church. after that, i met up with Emily and we went to have lunch at Sugarbun!! i had le fish burger omnomnomnom. we had a lot of time to kill so for desert she took me to Sunny Hill and i had a banana split. ice cream of the day was chocolate and vanilla :3

usual Sunday congregation
usual Sunday congregation
she told me not to post on Facebook :P
she told me not to post on Facebook 😛

after ice cream, she drove me around the city to sightsee for about 45 minutes before dropping me off at the airport just before 2.30pm.

overall i enjoyed this trip a lot. not only did it challenge me to some extend, i learned a lot and had tonnes of fun!! PLUS, I WAS FLYING ON MY OWN FOR THE FIRST TIME. i just love travelling. i wanna travel again. :DD

music played while blogging:
Muse – 2nd Law (full album) [x]

carpe diem. on life and opportunities


ok la. i’m sorry la i never update this blog even though i’ve tried many, many times. what to do, you work like crazy for 2 weeks just for one event and the final exams, go back to homeland for a good long weekend, come back working like crazy again…i’m not complaining. i simply don’t have the heart to sit down and compose a blog (but i’m working on a song now though *cough*).

3 matters; final friday performance, sarawak & ning baizura.

i think when it comes to production, working on one just makes me fall in love more and more with the idea of producing. you put so much energy, thinking of little details, rehearse rehearse rehearse until all cues are in order, coming up with cue sheets and a master schedule….all for one event that would only take place perhaps no longer than an hour and a half…. doesn’t that sound exciting???????? no? just me? ok.

that’s exactly what final friday performance was all about.

as always, being the system support, my job is to supervise all current activities. but then i also have this special role in the heart of icom……..it’s everything to do with media. i was a videographer in my first semester for the tribute to Paul Simon, chief videographer in the following 2 tributes, learned a few tips and tricks in video editing, slowly seeing things at different angles (almost literally) until finally i was in charged almost completely of all media-related matter. almost, because the final say is not mine but mr v’s. 😀

i came up with the idea that we should project the live performance on the screen since it’s there anyway to project some funny interview videos. and then mr v wanted to surprise the crew with an appreciation video, which led me to the idea of a trailer video, to be played before FP starts.  i also thought playing the feeds from tribute to classic rock before FP officially starts would be an awesome idea. 😛

what did i do for FFP? edited 12 videos in 4 days, came up with a show flow/emcee script with help from kimbo’s show flow idea, directed some performers on how to interact with the camera, teach mark ree on how to use the projector screen as his viewfinder… besides being the system support. for 2 nights in a row, it felt like we were preparing for tribute. a bit of nostalgic feeling happened there…

[links of most of the videos & show flow are up on my CV page!]

aaaaaaannnnnnnndddddd of course after all of that i just had to be away, missing the chance to yell and nag at my crew to get their job done on time… simply because.., i went overseas….over the south china sea……to borneo aha ha aha

ok not funny.

i went back to sarawak for 5 days and to be really honest, i don’t have much to say lol. my phone was acting funny; battery went fat (kembang) on the first night, died on monday, and so i was phoneless until i came back to KL.no insta, very little facebook, hardly tweeted…. besides, all i did was eat, sleep and laugh.. nothing less than just spending quality time with my grandma, aunty, uncle, cousin, friends, and sightseeing in sri aman to all the places that i’ll never, ever forget.

coming back to KL felt weird, like the good dreams just ended and i woke up to reality LOL. oh well, in some ways, it’s true.

i came back to the first week of study week. it was pretty quiet for awhile and i wasn’t used to not hearing kids blasting from the ensemble room next door, so i went to the hall and do some preventive checks and crosschecking the stuff that are supposed to be put away once FFP was done. nothing much happened till i received the news that there will be some band coming in for a rehearsal at the recital hall.

scheduled rehearsal was that sunday itself in the morning, but it got cancelled. i asked a couple of musicians if they were coming in the next day. they said they were so i spent 2.5hours setting up the hall for 10 musicians and 4 vocalists. on monday only 7 musicians came; the rest of them came on tuesday, including ms ning herself…

yes, it was apparently, ning baizura‘s rehearsal.

of course i got excited. holy cow, setting up for her band, witnessing her rehearsals, having the opportunity to mix for her, shook her hand, helped her with the setting of the static IP address, recorded the sessions for her, email her the recorded sessions……. i was so humbled by the experience i called her ms ning when i asked for her email…. dude.

duuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

i do have some short clips and pictures of the rehearsals but not much since i wasn’t even sure if i was even allowed to do so O_O aha. anyways, here’s a little snippet…. [x]

that’s all from me at the moment. week 21 is coming up and i’d probably won’t be able to blog again until december so, here’s to the one and only post in November! ha (hopefully not)

behold, the amazing sugarbun.

riding them faders.


nothing scares me more than a feedback during a live performance.
Yamaha LS9-32

studying in ICOM has been very exciting for me. since the first day of semester three, i couldn’t wait to get my hands on more…well, hands-on stuff. first semester was entirely an introduction, while second semester was more of understanding the basics and getting an idea of what this entire course is all about.

when i first learned about me being the FOH engineer for week 7 of Friday Performance, my first thought was like OWWWHHHH YEAH. but then, as the weeks went by, i realized that i was quite inexperienced in the field of live sounds. i got so nervous, i dreamt that i was gonna fail the entire show a week before the day. last wednesday after our first round of soundchecks, i dreamt that FP was over and that i can sleep peacefully and get ready for work the next morning. by thursday, i was losing it when i dreamt that i was being careless in my mix.

today, we had 2 more soundchecks after fine tuning the monitors. even after rounds and rounds of mentally preparing the entire show in my head, going from one band to another, it was still nerve wrecking for me as i have a silly amount of fear (slash paranoia) that things might not go as i wanted it to be. i couldn’t get over the fact that nothing is ever perfect, and that you just need to do your best; whatever happens, happened. learn from your mistakes now.

even though there was a (noticeable) feedback during the first (and only!) performance itself, i must say that all of the soundchecks and run-throughs that we had days and hours before today had certainly paid off. without them, i’d probably just give up there and then. my live sounds lecturer complimented saying that it was not bad for a first timer. i guess i should be proud of myself and just work on my EQ. mehhhh

heck, i am proud of myself. i did some amazing stuff out there, more than i would ever think of. imagine mixing all the mega stars’ concert… yes, i can dream.