Our Stories: Aaron Asenso

Tom Aston

Aaron Asenso may only be in second year of his Studio & Live Music Production degree, but he’s no stranger to the Manchester music scene.

From playing the GRM Stage at Parklife this year, to creating the broadcast mix for the 2,000-attendee Breakout 19 event in August, Aaron has been busy making a name for himself.

Aaron recently sat down with us to discuss his time at Spirit Studios, how he stays motivated, and what his plans for the rest of 2019 look like.

Thanks for sitting down with us today Aaron. To start, what drew you to Sound Engineering as a career?

I think it was from my days playing drums in my church band. We’d always have low quality sound, and I remember just constantly being on YouTube watching any video I could to try and understand how everything worked to improve the sound. And, as I was interested by it, I figured I could pursue it as a career.

And so, what made you decide to study at Spirit Studios?

A friend of mine has recently finished studying here, and I remember seeing pictures of the studios on her Snapchat which really interested me. For me, the facilities played a big part in choosing where to study. The Pioneer Booth was a big seller for me, as I was really interested in becoming a DJ at the time. In fact, I just remember thinking it was the perfect place.

So, we heard that you performed at Parklife this year, tell us what that was like.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with local record label NQ, I’m a resident DJ for most of the shows they put on, and I was called up by one of the owners, DJ Win, and he asked if I wanted to do a set at Parklife, so obviously I said yes. I DJ’d for Zeph, who’s a Manchester-based artist, and we were on stage for about 15 minutes. There were so many people there, it was really surreal.

It was crazy to go from being behind the scenes last year with DNG, to being front and centre on stage with Zeph this year. I’d love to go back another year and do my own set.

That sounds incredible. You’re also working at the National Youth Camp Event, otherwise known as Breakout 19, this year. Tell us, what are you going to be doing?

Yeah, it’s a really fun event I’ve taken part in for a couple of years now. It’s a 6-day retreat which is all about Christianity and faith, and happens in Nottingham every two years.

The other year was a monitor engineer for the event, but this year I’ll be doing the broadcast mix, so that’s really exciting.

Wow, that’s very cool. What are some of the biggest challenges you face when engineering for a large venue versus somewhere smaller, like your church?

In a small venue, people are less afraid to tell you when you’re doing something wrong. Also, the budgets are much smaller which can be challenging because you feel limited to what you can do.

So, you’ve worked with DNG Productions. Tell us, how did you get into working with them?

Paul Rattcliff, who used to teach Live Sound at Spirit Studios, suggested I should try and do some work with them to help me get a foot into the industry and meet other sound engineers. Last year, I worked Parklife festival with them, as well as events at Bridgewater Hall and Albert Hall. I learnt so much, and have some great memories of my time with them, so I’m very grateful.

That sounds incredible. What’s some advice you have for people who are looking to get in to sound engineering as a career?

Just do it. I think you just have to try it out and see if it’s something you’d want to take on as a career. You have to make sure you’re committed to it, otherwise you’ll just be wasting your time.

We’d love to know, what does the rest of 2019 look like?

Pretty busy in the DJ field, I have lots of gigs lined up. I’m also working with Jobi Fuego and Dami Sule, and we’re hoping to release some music later this year, so I’m really excited about that.

Before you go, tell us, who are you listening to right now?

So many people, I listen to everything. I listen to a lot of DJ music such as DJ Swivo Terrortone Sound and live sets to get inspiration for my own stuff. I’m also really in to this Manchester artist called Aitch at the minute, and London based producer Juls.