There is now less than a month to go until the 2016 Pro Sound Awards at the Ministry of Sound.
After receiving excellent submissions from all areas of the trade for the Rising Stars Award, Audio Media International recently revealed the shortlist of nominees and spoke to all of them about their Pro Audio journeys so far. Here, finalist Matt Haslam tells Colby Ramsey why he deserves to be recognised as the industry’s most promising young professional.
The owner of mhaslamTech, a Nottingham-based supplier of sound, lighting and audio services, has within the last year provided sound engineering and equipment for a number of events both locally and further afield, and continues to raise the profile of his company.
How did you start out and where did you study?
I studied Music Technology and Audio Systems at the University of Huddersfield, which covered the electronics and hardware behind audio systems, as well as how to use them effectively. For my final year project I designed, programmed and tested a successful multiple input sound pressure level (SPL) monitoring system.
My course also included a year out in industry, working in a theatre/music venue. Here I was able to put what I had been taught into practice and helped me realise that I wanted to pursue live sound as a career.
Since the completion of my degree in July 2013, I set up ‘mhaslamTech’ to provide professional sound equipment and event support, working on a wide range of events to date, whilst also working full time as a school performing arts technician.
Where are you based?
'mhaslamTech’ is based in Nottingham, where I relocated following graduating from Huddersfield. I live in a small town called Kimberley and have a workshop based in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
What made you want to work in pro-audio?
I have always been fascinated by technology and how it works. When I was a child, I was taken to an outdoor concert to watch my grandfather sing in a choir. During the whole performance my only interest was where all the Christmas lights were plugged in!
Before training at university level, I was operating sound for small events, through local churches, as well as working for a local film company. This experience made me realise that I take pride in working with audio to make each project sound as good as possible. Training to become a sound engineer was then my aim so that I could refine my skills.
Do you have any achievements that you are particularly proud of?
My biggest sense of achievement comes from the annual Keswick Convention; a three week long Christian convention up in the Lake District. I have been on FoH sound for one of the three weeks for the last five years now, with attendance of over 3,000 people for each event with bands, speeches and theatrical pieces.
Last year (Summer 2015) the convention was filmed for a special episode of BBC One’s Songs of Praise, which meant working closely with BBC engineers and also involved a few passing camera shots of me stood at the back!
Can you tell us about any recent projects, or what you are working on currently?
A recent project was providing a full PA system and myself as a sound engineer for the main outdoor stage at the annual charity ‘Kimberley Jam’. The day featured local artists and bands to raise money for the Ryan Lee Trust.
Whilst I am currently able to provide full PA for outdoor events, my future plans involve updating my equipment to cater to larger and more varied events. I also would like to develop other areas of the business, such as upgrading and maintaining existing systems within venues upon request and installing and managing digital signage solutions.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite gear?
I always like d&b manufactured PA systems, as this was the first large scale PA I ever worked on with a Q series line array, whilst on placement year. I also like the Yamaha M7CL48, as this was the first digital desk I ever used and got to know it backwards.
Where do you want to be in ten years?
In 10 years time I would like to have made a strong name for my business both in Nottingham and perhaps further afield. Most importantly I want to still be involved in live sound and enjoying my role as much as I do now!