Growing up, Antonia Gauci just wanted to help people make music. Now she’s established herself as an audio engineer, music producer and an artist in her own right. She’s worked with numerous local and international acts, including Will.I.Am, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and even engineered for Kesha’s Grammy-nominated track, Praying.
Antonia studied a Bachelor of Music, majoring in audio technology, and broke into the music industry by interning at some of Sydney’s most well-renowned music studios.
Audio engineers use microphones, recording consoles and outboard gear to record live performances of music, as well as mixing and treating sound with equalisers and effects: all different technical aspects of creating a final piece of recorded music. “An engineer is hired to plug everything in and achieve a desired sound, which may be requested by the artist, band or music producer,” explains Antonia.
Starting out as an assistant, Antonia earned an in-house audio engineering role at Studios 301 in 2014. “Along the way I gradually started picking up music production, as well as writing and performing,” she says.
A music producer can take on many roles. “They could oversee and manage a project, or could also be involved in the creation of beats, synth parts, melodies, sounds. A music producer can co-write and take on engineering roles too, the roles can get kind of blurred these days as the music industry is constantly evolving and you’re expected to sometimes be a bit of an all-rounder!”
Antonia moved into the freelance music production world in 2017, when she acquired her own production room. She also performs and song writes for GAUCI, an italo-disco trio made up of Antonia, her brother and their close friend, as well as her solo project Leftenent.
Day to day, Antonia mainly uses ProTools as her DAW (digital audio workstation) software of choice, which she describes as “an incredible workhorse which is capable of running 100+ individual tracks of sounds at once!”
She says that some of the biggest engineering and production challenges include getting a song to sound and become it’s very best version of itself. “Sometimes you have to go with your gut, sometimes it’s ultimately about experimenting and pushing your brain to work a different way.” Her job is equal parts creativity and STEM. “You’re essentially working with physics, sounds and vibrations.”
Antonia knows the challenges of breaking into the music industry first-hand. “Sometimes it’s hard to get a foot in the door, and it can be more about who you know”, says Antonia.
She recommends that aspiring engineers and producers work on building up a community of contacts. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know to ask for help and to create with them. Persevere and don’t give up! It’s hard at first, but when things do start to fall into place, it’s incredible.”
Antonia’s career path:
>> Bachelor of Music (Audio), Australian Institute of Music, Sydney
>> Assistant audio engineer, BigJesusBurgers Studio & Studios 301
>> In-house audio engineer, Studios 301
>> Freelance engineer & producer, based in Golden Retriever Studio complex
>> Songwriter and musician, GAUCI and Leftenent
“Sometimes you have to go with your gut, sometimes it’s ultimately about experimenting and pushing your brain to work a different way.“
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.