Creating a Voice for the Monster

At the start of this project, I felt like I was drowning. There was so much to do, so much direction to follow (or little depending on how you look at it), and so little time. Creative liberty can be a blessing and a curse. I have never had to work on such a large-scale project with so little direction as to just “make the sounds”. So many things can result from this, particularly a lot of ideas being scrapped or adjusted along the way. My journey as an artist has been very independent up until this point: I have always created for myself and have been guided by my own desires for the most part. Detaching from this mindset and having the flexibility to adapt to what was needed for the overall vision is perhaps one of the most important things that I have taken away from this, a learning experience for sure.

Trees above the entrance to the monster den.

I worked specifically on creating the entrance music for the exhibit. Coming up with the concept for the soundscape was not too difficult, but the collaboration and coordination between everyone else and myself was something I was not necessarily prepared for. It is hard to hear that what you made is not what the creative lead was looking for, but that’s just a part of the process. Pushing towards perfection is not easy when you are trying to portray someone else’s vision, but listening and taking in things you might not have thought of before can create something new and beautiful.

Image result for sea lion
A sea lion.

My team, the sound team, was tasked with creating a voice for the monster as well, something quite high pressure in the grand scheme of our work. We went through many iterations, always looking for the perfect sound and continually failing at it. Some were adequate, but we still needed something more. It wasn’t until a suggestion by guest artist James Ortiz that we honed in on what exactly we needed. He suggested sea lions, something I would have never thought of, and I found a great sample that I was able to transform to what is now the voice of our creek monster. Inspiration can be found in the strangest of places from the strangest of ideas, and I’m grateful that this was able to become my mark on this project.

This project has been one of the best experiences I’ve had the chance to partake in as a creative, musician, and aspiring professional. So many moving parts contributed to what would become an amazing exhibit that really defined what being a student at UT is all about. In the end, I believe everyone has a creek monster within them, some just might need a bit of commitment and direction to find its voice.

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