Graduating from our dBs Music Bristol campus, Jouko Lavonen is one of our many students from Europe who decided that the UK music scene combined with dBs Music's awesome studio facilities were their top choice for studying towards a degree level qualification. After finishing our BA (Hons) degree qualification he returned to Finland and bagged an amazing job at a brand new residential recording facility, E-studio. We caught up with him to find out more about his studies, life after dBs Music, his new role and to take a look around the swanky new studio! [Photo credits to Toni Rutanen]
Tell us about why you chose to study at dBs Music and what coming to Bristol is like as a student?
"I wanted to challenge myself and learn skills that were not necessarily taught in Finland. Finland has a completely different music scene really, so coming to dBs Music opened me up for new ways of thinking about music and music production. UK based music has also been a great inspiration for me so it felt like a natural choice."
What course did you study and what were some of the best parts of the course?
"I did the music production and sound engineering BA (Hons) course. For me the best part of the course was that there were a lot of talented people on my course and everyone was doing their own thing and at a quite a high level. I have my passion in pop music which, I later found out contrary to being described as popular music, wasn’t a passion that was shared by many. Nevertheless, I did my own thing and the variety on the projects that my classmates were doing was great as you could get inspiration and learn new techniques from your peers. Also it was amazing to visit Abbey Road Studios twice for a recording and mastering session. It’s really hard pick what was my best project, but I really enjoyed the final year project in which I co-wrote and produced an album's worth of pop songs."
You recently started working as an engineer in Finland. Tell us a bit more about the job?
"I work in E-Studio, which is a brand new recording facility on the countryside of Sipoo. I did a short internship in their old studio a few years back, and on one of my visits from Bristol to Helsinki I went to say hello to the guys in the studio. They told me that they were moving place and building a new residential studio in the beautiful countryside of Sipoo, which is roughly 30min drive from Helsinki. Long story short, I asked if they needed a pair of good working hands, they asked if I could use any power tools, I said no, but I can learn, they hesitated but decided to give me a chance anyway. I joined the construction team in July and I was greeted with the biggest pile of Rockwool I have ever seen and hopefully will ever see in my life. After months of hard, itching labour we opened the studio for clients in January. For me, it was a great experience to be part of building a large scale professional recording studio which, I think is quite safe to say, is relatively rare these days."What are your main responsibilities in your new job?
"I don’t think I have any set responsibilities to be honest. I just do what ever needs to be done, which can vary from producing an artist, mixing or mastering a song, recording a band, assisting and prepping sessions for the other engineers or shovelling rubble outside for a little yard makeover. Although the studio is quite big, we are only a handful of people who run it, which means we all take care of the maintenance of the place. Personally I think this is great as it shows that there are no egos involved and everyone works towards building a great studio experience for the clients."
Finally, any advice for people thinking about a course at dBs Music?
"Be open to to explore new ideas and concepts. Even though something might not exactly be your cup of tea, you might still find ways to utilise those given ideas or concepts in productions that are more closer to your style of music. That said, it’s equally important to be true to yourself and make the music that resonates with you. Explore and find your own sound and then work on perfecting it."
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