02 December 2016
Mark Damian: Behind the Scenes

Tell us all a little about yourself – maybe something people may not know:
I live in Los Angeles, but I’m extremely proud to say I’m from the Detroit area. I’m a musician, audio engineer, music producer, and I design sound bites and music cues for film trailers like Steve Jobs- Man in the Machine, Nine Lives, Paranormal Activity, Insidious 3, and Worlds of Warcraft.
I’ve been drumming for guitarist and vocalist Laith Al-Saadi, an Ann Arbor native, since 2004, well before his successful run on The Voice earlier this year. I enjoy teaching, prefer listening to music on vinyl, love animals, I’ve been known to tear up at movies, and I’m a big fan of the New England Patriots.

How would you describe your role on the show?
I’ve been mixing the audio for Start-Up since season 2 and recorded field audio this season (4) on the west coast leg of the tour. I think the role of any audio personnel in the field or studio is to be invisible. Whether it’s avoiding a boom mic getting into picture, holding up action because of a lav mic that goes out, creating sonic continuity between scenes and voice overs in the post mix, or filtering out background noise that overpowers dialogue... if the powers that be or the viewers notice your work you haven’t done your job.

What is your favorite episode of Start-Up?
Room Escape from episode 10 season 4 is great. I may be a little biased since I’m actually in the episode during the demonstration segment, but regardless it comes across just as fun on screen as it was being there. In terms of inspiration, I’d go with The Circle Up Experience from episode 6. Again, it could be based on the experience I had on location but the idea of using interaction with horses for self-discovery was very interesting. With obvious time constraints we only captured a fraction of the “epiphanic moment” for Gary, but Jenny (our producer) and I also went through the process with the horses. We could have aired an entire hour on that experience.

If you were to start a new business right now, what type would it be? Why?
Boutique clothing store. Risky, I know, but in most cases I feel like men are given terrible and limited options when it comes to fashion. It seems most retailers assume guys are easy to please and don’t really put much thought in their appearance. I would love the opportunity to raise the standard.

If someone were to take your phone out of your hand and listen to your music, what isthe first song that would play?
I would hope it’s something cool like “Mirrorball” by Elbow or “Digital Witness” by St. Vincent who I’ve become a big fan of as of late. But my luck it would be “These Dreams” by Heart or “Don’t Mean Nothing” by Richard Marx revealing my love for over processed 80’s songs!

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