Katy Steele calls on sound expertise from audio graduate

Perth -

Online (Aus)

20 Oct 2016

Katy Steel HERO



Katy Steele calls on sound expertise from audio graduate

20 Oct 2016

Matt Giovannangelo, better known as Matt Gio, is one of Australia's leading sound producers responsible for producing and mixing big name artists such as Birds of Tokyo, San Cisco, GRRL Pal and Troye Sivan. An audio graduate of SAE Creative Media Institute Perth, Gio and fellow producer Dan Carroll, joined music forces to open Perth-based RADA Studios, which has arguably become one of the largest and most exclusive studio complexes in Western Australia.

Enter Katy Steele, one of Perth’s most well-known musical exports. The younger sister of Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun) and former front woman of four-piece indie rock band Little Birdy, Steele recently embarked on her first Australian live tour as a solo artist.

Loyal fans who caught the Where’s The Laughter tour were amongst the first to hear a live performance of Steele’s new single of the same name. Recorded at RADA Studios last year, Where’s The Laughter is the lead single on Steele’s debut solo album, Human.

Stefano Deflorio was a chef before he decided to study Games at SAE Sydney

Photo: Katy Steele recording her album at RADA Studios

Gio’s team up with Steele created one inspiring project, involving an innovative style of production known as self-sampling whereby a unique selection of audio samples were recorded by the duo. The challenge the team faced was translating the unique sounds of the album to a live on stage performance. 

Cue SAE Perth audio lecturer, Stephen Callan, who was charged with the task of live performance musical director. Callan's role was to dissect Gio’s unique sounds, translating the songs from the studio to the stage. This involved creating playable yet obscure instruments and synths which would trigger loops and samples on stage… no easy feat! 

One sound sampled on the recording was created by piling a bunch of old cymbals on top of one another and hitting them in the chamber to produce a whip-like back beat. In an effort to breakdown the studio production, Callan recreated this sound for live performance by supplying the drummer with drum samples from the track to trigger while performing. 

“This type of sonic fingerprint is what makes Matt and Katy’s collaboration so special and it was imperative to try and recreate this live where possible.” Callan says. 

“Whilst recording the album, Matt used one of the only Mellotron M400s in WA, a highly sought-after electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard, originally developed in the UK. In order to incorporate this detail into the live performance I had to use a sampled version. 

“The Mellotron we sampled was actually from the world's most famous Mellotron played by none other than The Beatles! I purchased a sample pack years ago, hoping one day it could be played live,” said Callan. 

Stefano Deflorio was a chef before he decided to study Games at SAE Sydney

Photo: Matt Gio at work in his studio

Callan’s industry experience works synonymously with his teaching ‘real-world’ practices to his students at SAE. 

“Sampling concepts are introduced to my audio students in one of the studio units I teach. The students are encouraged to multi-sample unusual instruments and create sampler instruments. 

“Every gig I do with an artist and everyone I collaborate outside the college reinforces SAE’s focus on learning the practical skills and technical know-how in a studio-based learning environment using industry-standard software and equipment. 

“The students are given hands-on, real world projects that teach them practical studio tricks of the trade that are crucial for understanding how to apply what they are learning in class to the real live situations.” 

Katy Steel’s debut solo album Human is out now.

MAIN Photo: Matt Gio and Katy Steele at RADA Studios, Perth.