Want to work in sound but not sure where to begin? Tugkan, our brilliantly creative and ever-dedicated Employability and Engagement Officer is here to help. We sat down with him to find out more about what he does.
With a work history that includes hustling as a freelancer, teaching music production and touring the world with an artist management company, Tugkan Mutlu knows a thing or two about working in the creative industries. That’s why we snapped him up as our Employability and Engagement Officer a few years after completing his Electronic Music Production degree.
“I’ve always felt like I’m happier and gaining a lot more when I’m giving rather than taking,” Tugkan tells me. “That’s something that’s carried forward from my time working in the music industry. I realised how important networking is and how much of a sacred thing it is to connect to people together. People can be very protective about who they let into the industry, but I believe music shouldn’t be an exclusive thing to get into. That’s why I do what I do.”
Tugkan devotes his time to seeking out jobs, internships and work placements for the dBs community, whilst also building relationships between dBs and other organisations within the industry. “Every week I sort through national and international industry opportunities and share them via our ‘jobs board’. Some of these will be postings I find online and others will be exclusive opportunities set up purely for our community. It’s also worth noting that the ‘jobs board’ isn’t just for jobs. It includes everything from entry-level roles, part-time positions and placements to one-off live briefs and competitions. Anything that can help your career development really.”
Tugkan presenting at Selector Pro run by the British Council in Azerbaijan
Tugkan also provides dedicated career guidance for anyone unsure of their next step. “I give one-on-one support for all students and alumni, helping them in any way I can with their professional development. This could involve sourcing a contact at a company where a particular student really wants to do an internship or helping someone who doesn't know what they want to do after they graduate.”
“A lot of the time students say they want to work in ‘the music industry’, but need help narrowing things down. So we’ll sit down and make a plan. We’ll work out what their ideal job would be and what steps they need to take to get there.”
The engagement side of Tugkan’s role is just as important, he tells me, as the employability one. “As well as helping individuals with their personal career paths, a lot of what I do is about building community within dBs and getting students collaborating with each other from different courses and year groups. For me, that’s really important – that we’re all working together to further each other’s progress. ”
One way Tugkan is strengthening ties within the community is through setting up “The dBs Presents’ show on local station 1020 Radio. “Each year I put out an opportunity for two students to apply for a year-long residency on the station and take charge of representing dBs on the airwaves. This helps them gain experience as radio hosts, but also provides a platform for new music coming out of our community to be heard by the public.”
Students Joe Valek and Joe Crocker representing dBs on 1020 radio
Joe Valek, Music Production and Sound Engineering student and current host of “The dBs Presents show’ said: “It has been so great to be on the air, and we’ve had some very fun times. Perhaps the best part about the show is simply hearing all the amazing music that comes out of dBs each month. We are literally blown away each time we get new tracks.”
His co-host Joe Crocker added: "Apart from a bunch of bangers of my memory stick this opportunity has given me the confidence to speak on live radio. It's funny because I am the most hyperactive loud person in person, but when we first started I was well nervous. I reckon that was because it's something I really want to do and so I didn't want to mess it up. Plus both Joe and I now have a great portfolio we can show to possible employers in the future."
As well as scoring the partnership with 1020, Tugkan has also set up a dBs residency night at highly respected underground venue Cosies. “The pandemic has obviously changed things but before COVID, we appointed two reps to promote and oversee the running of the residency. They went above and beyond, printing out business cards and going to music networking events to promote the night. They came up with the name Logarhythmic and booked dBs students for the line-up.”
The flyer from the first dBs residency night at Cosies, branded by dBs students
Although the coronavirus has put the brakes on live events for the foreseeable future, Tugkan has been busy pushing ahead with other initiatives designed to showcase the talent of the dBs community. “Later this year we’ll be launching our own label, dBs Records to provide a stepping stone for students and alumni looking to get their music out into the world. The idea is to familiarise them with the process of signing to a label and to help them start earning royalties from their music. We are still finalising the finer details, but the aim is to create opportunities for students to get involved with the running of the label, as well as to release on it.”
dBs students playing the first Logarhythmic night at Cosies
Despite the diverse and exciting opportunities Tugkan is putting in place for dBs community, I couldn’t help bringing up about the elephant in the room – the coronavirus and its on-going impact on the music business. I asked him what advice he had for those wanting to keep building their career prospects in the face of an industry-wide slowdown. “The first thing I’d say is there are a few misconceptions. Those of us that work as electronic music producers, mixing or mastering engineers, sound designers etc. are actually lucky in that we can work from a laptop, so work hasn’t been as badly affected. The main hit to the industry has been in the live music sector. But if you are an artist, this is a great time to sit down and write music. Work on getting your releases ready for when the live sector picks back up as it’s a lot harder to do this when you’re touring or being pulled between gigs. So make the most of the time – work on your production skills, theory, technique or any other areas of weakness. If you’re someone looking to win client work, revisit your portfolio, update or create a smashing website and work on developing some marketing skills. All these things will give you a step ahead when things kick into gear.”
Tugkan is available to support all dBs students and alumni with their career development. If you’d to set up a chat with him, you can email Tugkan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in studying at dBs? Why not check out our range of degree programmes here?
Want to find out more about Tugkan? Read his strategy for boosting creativity and focus here.