AYO Audio has two meanings: A play-on-words of my surname initials, but more importantly, a nod to Freddie Mercury’s iconic “ay-oh” vocal improv he captivatingly performed to tens of thousands of people. Queen’s live shows, while also innovating the way a record was produced, was the original spark that got me wondering “how does music production really work?”

During an early morning in 2018, I had one of those “what am I doing with my life?” crises. This fortunately led me to interview and enrol in Oxygen College’s Audio Professional Program, and learn from their experts over the following two years.

Throughout 2019, I had the pleasure of mixing at the Barwon Club Hotel and running the lights at the Geelong Hotel. To kick off 2020, I had the opportunity of mixing a mind-blowing jazz gig at the Workers Club. Sadly, this was one of the last events the venue would host as it succumbed to COVID-19’s wrath. Despite 2020's hardships, I’m exponentially grateful to have experienced the real world of live music before it had the rug pulled out from under its thriving feet.

My final year at Oxygen College (and the choice to work in the live music industry) could have been disastrous due to the pandemic. Rather than crumble, I chose to look for an advantage that lockdown's free time was hiding, and explored different possibilities. I reached out to an old school friend, Jordan Deneka, as he was in the process of mixing a home-recorded track. Not only did this so-called “isolation entertainment” give me a chance to flex my skills, but also resulted in the June 2020 release of 'Blessed Is The Christchurch Spring', which is available to stream on Spotify.

Working on that release gave me insight into my true passion: mixing. When you open the session and look at each track, you find which elements work and fit with each other. Once everything falls together, it's pure magic. Another strength I've found and love is engineering and taking on the producer role in a recording session.

The rest of 2020 brought faux theatre performances, Christmas songs, stripped-back acoustic, 12-minute progressive rock jams, and everything in between. Through my relatively short amount of time in “the biz” thus far, I’ve been able to work, experiment, and grow with some of the most incredible artists that are going to take Victoria, and hopefully some day, the rest of the world by storm.

As I look back on this challenging, yet fulfilling year, I'm glad to have realized that the recording studio is like a home, and that there’s no other place I’d rather spend my time. So, finally, I ask... What’s next?!

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