OC Audio Engineering and Music Production alums send new music and gratitude out into the world
From local creators to international headliners, musicians around the world are rallying to provide sweet sounds of hope amid troubled times during the COVID-19 pandemic. And if a common thread runs throughout these live shows, between the trends and among the shares, it’s an increased awareness for the value music brings to our lives.
Okanagan College students Noah Potenteau and Logan Larocque are among those brightening the digital space with their talents.
The pair recently completed the Audio Engineering and Music Production (AEMP) program at Okanagan College and just released their very first EP at the end of March.
AEMP is a full-time Continuing Studies program where students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the field of audio engineering and music production. The program has gained traction with the guidance of Corey Bell who believes in giving students extensive hands-on experience with industry-standard recording and studio systems.
Logan Larocque began playing and creating music at the age of six, even though his fingers were too small to play the chords on the guitar. His passion and creativity for music grew over time, but he never thought he could turn it into anything more than a hobby. When Larocque finished high school he had the goal of entering a business program, however in December of 2018, something changed.
“I attended my first music festival and it opened my eyes,” Larocque recalls. “I had an epiphany on the dance floor and I realized what I wanted to do with my life, which is produce and perform electronic music.”
Noah Potenteau’s motivation in applying to the program was similar: he wanted to solidify his hobby as a full-time job. While they took different paths to the College, both agree that the program has changed their lives.
“I found a program that doesn’t feel like school,” says Potenteau. “I’m so happy to come here every day. The whole academic side of this place is amazing and everybody is so supportive.”
Both Larocque and Potenteau speak highly of their instructor Corey Bell.
“Corey is the god of mastering. It’s so easy to have a thin mix and you think it’s great, but you want it to be bricked,” says Potenteau, indicating the definition of a full and loud sound.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell commented on how the program has coped with the transition to online learning: “We were really fortunate when it came to the transition. The course that we were beginning was a directed study, so we are able to communicate to the entire class in small groups through some of the technology tools at our disposal like Blackboard Collaborate and Moodle. Students were also able to communicate via phone and text if needed.
“Unfortunately, the AEMP studio had to be closed. However, this was one of the best groups I have ever had the pleasure of working with and everyone has stuck to it and continued their efforts even in this time.”
Not only has Bell been instrumental at helping students with their musical knowledge, but also with their ambitions to enter the music industry. Potenteau praises the courses at the College, saying there are “so many valuable lessons that you can take from the class.” Larocque appreciates that “the College looks after students first.”
As the class wrapped up in mid-April, Larocque shared a post on social media with a message of gratitude for his AEMP instructors and program administrators. He summed up his experience with the program as, “the most fun I’ve ever had in a classroom throughout the last eight months.” Having started the year together, the group of students in the program had become one big family adds Larocque.
In addition to spending time in class, both Larocque and Potenteau spend time learning about music through other artists’ work.
“We dissect other people’s music to listen to what parts they are putting where and what kind of sound design they’re doing where,” adds Potenteau. It’s crucial for both students to stay ahead of the curve, noting that “we are in the innovation and creation process when it comes to making new sounds.”
As they began working more closely with each other this past November, they found that their fusions of sound worked well together and Logan commented that their music “is beyond what we thought we would create.” Cementing their partnership, they combined their love of space exploration, calling themselves the Sykonauts.
“We want our music to take you on an out-of world journey,” says Larocque.
Their first EP was released on March 27, named Syko EP, and now their sights are set on what comes next: sending their EP to music festivals and shows, with the goal of performing. As for their partnership, Noah says, “I don’t really see an end in sight. I want to make people have an epiphany on the dance floor.”
And although summer festivals and music events have been cancelled for the time being, listeners can still jam to the Sykonauts’ beats on Spotify and Apple Music, with songs titled, “Wombo Combo”, What It Do” and “Pizza Time”.
Their final thoughts for anyone thinking about the AEMP program at the College are clear: “it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can be 17 or 60, if you want to take this program, it will be the best decision you’ve ever made.”
Tags: Continuing Studies, OC Alumni Association, Student
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