In the spirit of discovering new artists during this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival, we reached out to find out more about the work behind some of Pitchfork’s newest artists. Based out of California, Deanna Romo currently tours as a sound engineer with UK’s drippy, and warm pop artist Nilüfer Yanya. If you’re lookin to get down on Saturday, Catch Deanna doing sound for Nilüfer Yanya at 3:40 on the Red Stage.
When did you first know you wanted to do sound engineering as a career? What has your path to where you are today looked like?
I first realized I wanted to pursue sound halfway through college. I was studying classical guitar but I still had a strong pull to pop music. I experimented with my own production fusing classical and pop, but realized I enjoyed the technical side of it all. I began exploring that more, picked up a job at my college working in recording studios and venues, and somehow it just stuck for the long run.
The path to where I’m at today has been a very surprising, fun, and long journey. I’ve taken so many different types of jobs in this industry, from theater to weddings, recording, charities, backyard parties, interviews; you name it and I’ve probably tried it. Doing this has really broadened the skillset that’s needed to survive in this unpredictable industry. Luckily, this allowed me to figure out my love for concerts and working alongside musicians.
How did you first figure out how to navigate yourself successfully in such a unique industry?
Saying yes to any gig I could and staying organized to make sure I didn’t double book myself. If it paid, I would take it. I knew I could learn on the job and I’ve been very lucky to have great mentors that taught me when I was new to something and teach me work etiquette. Always remember to ask questions and double check everything. Showing up early to the gigs is always a plus. It always shows you care about your job and that you’re ready to take on the task.
You’ve worked on the sound for Nilüfer as well as with Daya, there must be a lot of female energy on when you’re on the road. In your experience, how do you think this energy is received in the music industry?
Honestly, people have been really supportive. When doing gigs with an all girl crew, often the other acts comment, “that’s so badass” or “it’s so cool to see all girls on stage” which is cool to hear, but also means there’s a ton of work to be done. It’s not so much about us being girls first, but rather us doing our jobs and we just happen to be girls.
How much time out of the year do you spend touring?
I’ve probably been on the road for about three quarters of the year so far. Though, each year is different in the freelance life
Any secrets to keeping sane while traveling?
Don’t forget to eat and hydrate yourself. It sounds so simple but it’s so easy to forget. Often times, you don’t get all the sleep you want so I try to keep my body happy with proper food and water. Also, airport pants are a must. There’s so much travel that keeping comfortable makes it easier to get through the long hours.