“For me, Sound Engineering is a passion turned into profession”
Meet Abhibroto Mitra, from Siliguri, West Bengal – an Engineer/Producer currently working at BlooperHouse Studios, Kolkata. Presently he is a Sound Engineer for Friday Night Originals- India’s first startup catering to Independent Music. His works also include being a Music Producer at The Imaginarium which is his home studio setup, and working with various artists, producing their songs in this setup.
Let’s explore the journey of this young achiever with many talents in the INTERESTING and INSPIRING interview down below. Here is what he has to say while he strived to reach where he is today.
In conversation with Abhibroto Mitra.
Tell us something about your educational background.
I have done my schooling from Don Bosco School, Siliguri, after which I have done B.Tech in Computer Science, from Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata.
How and why did you first pick up the music/guitar?
The Guitar was always amazing for me to look at as an instrument and being able to play it..was a dream. When I was 12. my dad bought me my first acoustic which was a Hobner.
Always had an interest in Music but the real reason to start playing the instrument was my dads Junior . My dad is a Lawyer and his junior on finding out about my interest towards the instrument spoke to my dad and the rest followed. A young kid walking out of the guitar store with a huge smile on his face and an even bigger guitar!
Who were your main early influences?
GNR, Bryan Adams, ACDC, Soundgarden, Audioslave, RHCP,Alterbridge, Linkin Park are just to name a few.
I was heavily into Rock Music because that was the most readily available music in our city, Siliguri, and also what everyone was listening to at that point of time.
Don Bosco also played a vital part in this, from skipping classes so that we could rehearse for fests to spending countless hours in the Music room with friends sharing latest music and playing them together, those were the days!
How did you get into Sound Engineering?
By the time I was in the second year of college, the regimented routine of going to classes and giving exams was getting boring and pointless for me. Had a four piece band called Alpha State playing in band competitions covering songs and all that good stuff, though nothing substantial happened as in writing good originals and recording them because the finance for seeing a production through to its end was not in place. That’s when I thought of getting into production and recording with independent artists from Kolkata, that’s when FNO(Friday Night Originals) happened, though that’s a different story altogether. Will get into that in a bit.
The entire process of learning to record and mix songs was DIY for me. Did my first crash course in Audio Production at a Studio named RBK Studio, owned by Rhitabrata Kar. That was the first time that i got to learn about the Holistic’s of this field and how to get about it.
Did an online course from coursera.org as well, Introduction to Music Production by Berklee College of Music which was a free course by Coursera and was really enlightening for me. I got my basic recording techniques in place. Never stopped playing the guitar in the meantime.
What is the driving force behind you which keeps you motivated?
Has to be the abundance of Talent in Kolkata. Meeting talented artists and recording and producing their songs is a lot of fun for me. Takes me to a place where work doesn’t feel like work. This was one of the major reasons I decided to get into this line of work because it really sparks my interest and I never get tired of it nor do I ever get the feeling that I have had enough.
Who were the people who always guided you through all your difficulties?
Obviously, my parents! I would be nowhere without their love and support. Getting to have all the production gears that I needed during college was a blessing. Not to forget Durjoy Da, with whom i started the startup called Friday Night Originals. He is like a brother to me and a guiding light that never fades.
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Tell us more about your startup.
FNO is a platform for musicians/songwriters/bands to showcase and promote their original compositions, which are recorded, shot and produced by the FNO team and are aired to a global audience through their YouTube channel, “Friday Night Originals”. The main programme of ‘Friday Night Originals’ is produced in terms of Seasons, which are divided into 16 episodes. Presently, FNO is broadcasting its 3rd Season and has got a huge response, not only from the musical community of Kolkata, but also from cities like Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
Going back to where I mentioned about working with independent artists; when I was in the second year of college I wanted to gain experience recording musicians, so I called up a few people, one of them was Durjoy Choudhury. I told him that I wanted to record his songs and that I would do it for free. That is when he said why record only one artist when you have the entire city to record, everything else just followed. It is great working with the current team, and both of us are really lucky to have found them. They constantly deliver and keep getting better everyday.
Could you share with us a few achievements of yours?
Producer for Underground Authority-
First Major work was recording Underground Authority for their Second Studio Album Propagenda. I was working at Studio Outboard at that time, that was my first Studio Experience. Gathered a lot of technical knowledge and first hand experience working there as a Recording Engineer with Sayan Ghosh. Did really long sessions trying to get their instruments to sound the way the band wanted and also making sure the production sounded great. Adil Rashid was really happy with my inputs and my name landed up on the album credits under the ‘produced by’ Section. It is a great feeling when your hardwork gets recognised, it really empowers you.
Other albums include:
Easterly Winds- Serenade
Mor Bhabonare- Somlata and the Aces
Sound Engineer at Friday Night Originals-
Having a startup like FNO is obviously a major one. We are currently producing our Third Season and we have already produced 52 different acts consisting over a 100 musicians. This has helped me a lot in terms of experience; I have worked with different genres of music which helps me in being more versatile in my workflow in the studio.
The reason why I’m Working in BlooperHouse currently, also has to do directly with FNO. The owner liked my work in one of the episodes and wanted me to join his studio. I love working at Blooper, meeting new artists, discovering a few, having regular work which in turn seasons me for far more challenging sessions. Love the space as well, it boosts creativity, has a great sounding live room and really helps me connect with artists and understand their sound. Being a Studio Engineer and producing artists was always a dream for me, getting to live that dream is a pleasure!
Recently Marco Minnemann was in Kolkata for a drum clinic and the entire team of FNO was asked to document it. Recording his kit and working so closely with him was a major experience.
Did you face any struggle for reaching on this platform where you are today? How did you cope up and overcome those struggles?
Yes, there were many, but you have to be able to take a stand and be rooted to your own ideas and thoughts; because at the end of the day those are the only things that stay behind. It is very important to know yourself to be able to make the right choices in life, spending quality time with myself, learning and growing has really helped me know the things that i want in life. I will never stop making or producing Music because that is the only thing that satisfies my soul. There will be quite a few hurdles on the way I am sure, the point is, to not steer clear, instead learn from it and gain clarity on Life.
Any tips/message you want to share with aspiring musicians or artists out there.
Be hardworking and start giving shape to your imaginations, never ever give into failure, instead work so hard that it is not even an option. Take up one idea and mould your life around it, that is the way to success.