Q&A with Dylan Peck, Sound Engineer at Bay Area Sound and Musician

Peck during Un lago de Conciertos in Spring '16. Photo by Tato Baeza

Berklee’s campus in Valencia offered an environment and curriculum that let me focus on and nurture my own project.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Dylan Peck M.M. ‘16 is a trumpet player, composer, and arranger as well as an accomplished sound designer, audio engineer, and producer. Having completed a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance at California State University, Northridge, in Los Angeles and a Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, Peck has had the privilege of working with musicians like John Daversa, Pepe de Lucía, and David Arkenstone, to name a few. After spending a year in Spain and now back in Los Angeles, he has recently released his first electronic fusion EP, Kenopsia, and he is working on audio post-production at Bay Area Sound (BASound) for clients such as Telltale Games.

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain?

I decided to pursue a master's degree because I was unsatisfied with where I was professionally. Right before Berklee, I was living in Los Angeles gigging and teaching, but I was getting less passionate about the gigs I was playing and frustrated that I wasn't making the ground I wanted to with my own projects. Berklee’s campus in Valencia offered an environment and a curriculum that let each one of us focus on and nurture our own project and learn tech skills, all while living in Spain. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.

Watch Peck's performance at the Commencement Concert 2016:

How did the International Career Center at Berklee’s campus in Valencia help you develop your professional career?

The International Career Center's online resources are the reason I have my job today. I crafted my profile to their specifications and got together all the resources asked for. I found my current job for BASound on the Berklee postings online after applying for a countless number of jobs. With BASound, their only requirement was that I send my resumé, but I also included a short statement explaining how big a fan I was of the games they had worked on and how much I wanted to help put great sound in great games. About a month later, I got an email and a call for an interview and landed the job. Now I do a wide range of audio-related jobs as an independent contractor for them, which range from music supervision and production to audio editing and cropping for Telltale Games' Walking Dead video game, among other clients.

After working on Telltale Games’ Walking Dead video game, what would you highlight about your experience working on audio production for video games?

Working on Walking Dead was an awesome experience! For that project, BASound would send me and others on the team raw audio of the voiceover work and have us go through it, crop out the right take, and edit it to sound polished for the game. It was my first time working in games, and it was especially surreal being on the other side of a game that I've played the prequels for. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to use and develop the technology-based skills I learned at Berklee. It was really incredible and exciting to work with the raw audio for the game and see the process that it goes through in order to be ready for the game.

You are about to release your EP, Kenopsia, together with other alumni. How is your professional relationship with other Berklee alumni now that the graduate program is over?

It’s great, and I still work closely with a handful of the people I was on campus with. Even though we've relocated to other sides of the world, it's still easy to collaborate on recording, writing, or distributing our work; in fact, most of my five-track electronic-fusion music for Kenopsia was made this way. With the exception of the rap in the single “Long Time Away,” all of the writing was done by me and was meant to tell a story of someone stubbornly clinging onto their past until finally crumbling and moving on, reflective of my interpretation of the word kenopsia. For the recording, three of the singers on the EP—Merel Moelker M.M. ‘16, Phillip "Brail" Watson M.M. ‘16, and Sarah Hodges M.M. ‘16—recorded at school, and then Andre Walker, another alumnus, laid drums on every song. For the post-production, two more alumni, Daniel Babai and Joe Miller, mixed and mastered it, respectively. Finally, Brail helped distribute the EP and get it out. Everyone who made this project possible is a classmate I went to school with at Berklee.

How do you balance working both as a musician and a sound designer?

That's hard to answer, and it's been a small struggle to find a balance between the two. My heart will always be in playing music, but having a professional audio job is exciting and important to me. Fortunately, with the type of music I make, the skills are interconnected, and working on either one still helps build the career of the other.

Do you have new projects in the near future that you can tell us about?

I'll continue to work on more games for BASound and then, musically, will also be working more closely with one of the singers on my EP. We'll be releasing new music and videos every month starting in May.

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