When you're in the car listening to the local company
jingle on the radio, or at home watching some high-quality produced spot on Utah television, not many people put thought into how much work went into making that spot. But a lot of time and care usually go into every single one, and here in Utah, there's a very good chance this man had a hand it the production half the things you've watched today.
--- David Evanoff has been a longtime fixture of the local film, television and music scenes. As a musician producing work for local audiences and live performances as well as simple jingles and studio production. And also working with filmmakers and television producers to perfect their works during post-production. He's turned himself into a guru for all things audio. I got a chance to chat with David about his career and the work he's done in Utah, plus briefly touching his thoughts on film and music. All with a tour of his Sound Designs Studios, one-half of the Counterpoint Studios here in Salt Lake City.
Gavin: Hey David, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
David: A life time musician. Professional musician by 15, Conductor of the original Lagoon Band. Director and conductor of the Utah Jazz Band (preforming at all Utah Jazz Games from 1983 to 1992) Musical director and recording studio owner and operator for over 20 years. I've written and produced music for thousands of commercials films and live special events from cost to cost, including Disney, Universal Studios, The Orange Parade and the 2002 Olympics.
Gavin: What first got you interested in music and film?
David: I've always been. Its modern day classical music. As a child the music in films always made the impression on me. I'm a film studies graduate from the University of Utah and while they didn't offer an emphasis in music or sound at the time I was there, I did my own further education in music and sound for film as an apprentice and assistant engineer.
Gavin: You got a scholarship early on, what was the program like for you from start to finish?
David: My scholarship was actually from the music department at the U of U. I used it to graduate from the film studies program.
Gavin: During that time how did you get to work over at Disney?
David: Disneyland offers amazing opportunities to college musicians of all kinds. I auditioned for a group called The All American College Marching Band and was chosen to be one of sixteen from thousands of applicants from all over the country. The band was made up of Jazz students thinly disguised as a small marching group. It was amazing. The quality of college musicians involved was truly beyond belief. I played for one season with them and from that point continued to play as a live musician for Disneyland for other project over the next few years.
Gavin: Where did the idea come from to open up a studio in Utah?
David: During my time at Disneyland I met and began to work with a Disney musical Producer, Don Dorsey. He had and still has a beyond successful career as a producer writer and all around creative genius. He mentored me on so many things and taught me a great deal about the recording studio and its, at that time change to digital studio environment. In the late 80's I was offered jobs by both Disneyland and Don Dorsey but I chose to start an all new "digital studio" in Salt Lake, which I believe was the first one of its kind.
Gavin: What was it like first getting the place built and setting up, and what were some of the difficulties you met along the way?
David: My first location was a leased space in the new Triad Center. I leased space from KSL Radio. It was a blessing and a curse. The curse was a $5000 a month lease check! The blessing, was that being in the middle of KSL Radio and TV put me in the center of Salt Lake media. I met so many potential clients every day. My business grew from being in the right location, having the newest technology and the expertise to run it.
Gavin: You officially opened up in 1986. What was that first year in operation like for you, and what were some of the early projects you worked on?
David: Lots of local advertising of all kinds. Some interesting national projects included several episodes of America's most wanted. At that time I still kept busy as a preforming musician and worked on as many projects for my Disney friends as I could.
Gavin: We chatted some about working with local musicians. What's it like for you working with bands and artists compared to doing film projects?
David: I love working with artists, either bands for film makers. I get such enjoyment from the collaboration on any project, be it film or album.
Gavin: Who are some of the people you've worked with over the years in music both local and national? And what's your favorite project to date?
David: The work I did for the opening ceremony of the 2002 Olympics was great. I've worked on music for Super Bowls, I've loved anything Disney I've done. I just finished engineering Masha Kerilink's new CD. That was a pleasure because I've never had the opportunity to work on a high profile hip-hop CD. She had some real heavy weights from the LA Hip Hop scene involved with the production. I learned a lot from the experience. I once recorded one line for South Park and found that as exciting as about anything I've ever done. I can't pick a favorite, it would be like picking a favorite of your children.
Gavin: Has there ever been a project that couldn't be saved or is there always a way to work around it?
David: If you have enough budget or time, there is always a way to fix a project. I had a great little indy film in last year that was beautifully shot in Austria. It was all shot on location and had all kinds of trains, pedestrians, cars and bikes in and out of the audio! The director said get it fix up as good as you can and gave me the time to do it. We saved that project.
Gavin: I understand you also write jingles from back when you were at Disney. How do you usually come into writing a jingle for someone?
David: Boy, that's a book I'll write one day. I've written thousands. You hear them every day. I don't however write any thing for Low Book Sales or any of the Parody songs you hear on radio or TV. That is illegal and I don't support its practice!
Gavin: For those interested, on the technical side of things, what does your studio have to offer and is equipped with?
David: The studio is housed in one of the best acoustically designed locations in the West. I have a typical Pro Tools HD rig with tons of bells and whistles. I'm one of longest standing Pro Tools operators in the world! The studio has an amazing room for bands, pianos, drums, vocals, mixing and mastering. I've got vintage and modern front end gear as well as an impressive collection of microphones. Check it out online at the website.
Gavin: What kind of services can you provide people who would be interested in using your studio?
David: VO recording, Radio and TV audio production. Scoring, band recording. Jingle production. Film ADR, Foley and surround mixing. Right now is a great time for local bands to come in.
Gavin: Going more local, seeing how you've been a part of the music scene for so many years, what are your thoughts on how its evolved and changed over the years to what it is now?
David: We are ripe for the Salt Lake scene to break. It's our time. Its happened in every corner of the country and while I've believed this to be true for over 20 years now, it will happen for us. Weather is stemming from Provo and the great things they always have going on, or Salt Lake's rock scene, or the Ogden scene, we will have our day as Seattle did.
Gavin: And finally what's your take on the local film scene and how its progressing as of late?
David: The best thing of late was the brilliant Salt Lake City Film Fest. Great job guys!!! It was so well done as a first time festival.