By Lucia Vazquez Bonome
Carlos Carvão is a student who is finishing his BsC in Music Technology at Southampton Solent University.
Carlos has always been interested in sound and arts. One of his dreams would be to work as a sound designer for the video game industry. He would like to develop several projects in a quiet and relaxed place where he could release his creative skills and develop them in depth.
Carlos got his degree in Art History in Portugal where he wanted to specialize in Museology. After working as a Museum Assistant at several museums in Portugal and learning Traditional Blacksmithing and Swordmaking in Glastonbury, UK, he realized that he wanted to do something that involved sound since music was present in his life since a very early age.
He then signed up to study Sound Design at ETIC (School of Innovation and Technology) in Lisbon. Afterwards, he moved to England to top-up his existing qualification with a Bachelors Degree because he wanted to improve his professional portfolio and skills and know more people in the industry.
In this interview, Carlos talks about his background, and also about the way he works on a project, his personal interests and professional goals.
Lucia: How did you become interested in Sound Design?
Carlos: After working as a museum assistant in Portugal, I thought I had to do something that involved sound and arts because I wasn’t developing my career and skills the way I wanted. This thought led me to study Sound Design at ETIC. I am very fond of video games, which means that this way I was putting those two things together and I could produce sound for video games.
Lucia: Talking about museums and art galleries… These places are now using sound design installations to create a multidimensional experience for the viewers. Would you like to work in something like this in the future?
Carlos: That is my background and my professional field so that is something that I am very much interested in. Actually, I am already working in a project of this type with a friend of mine who is a visual, sound and performative artist. We are collaborating and developing multiple projects to apply to residencies in Porto and other cities around the world.
Lucia: Is there any specific field where you would prefer working?
Carlos: Professionally speaking, I would say that video games and animation would be my preferred choices, but I am also interested in working in long and short films. At a more personal level, I like working on live performances, as an improv. performer.
Lucia: Do you like experimenting with sounds to create your own sound pieces?
Carlos: Yes, I like experimenting with intruments (guitars, synthesizers, etc.) and also mixing in the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I like to manipulate them in the mix because it’s a multi-dimensional creative process and I feel free to create infinite worlds through texturing and layering sound.
Lucia: Do you prefer recording in a studio or live?
Carlos: In the studio and home. I don’t like live because it goes against my personality, but I like field recording. That is something I like to do because I can select what I want to listen to, although I am averse to noise I can’t control.
Lucia: Which has been your favorite project up to date?
Carlos: Something that is over, a band called “Crua” (Raw). We used to mix guitar percussion, synthesizers and multiple effects pedals in non-orthodox ways. We invited jazz and experimental musicians to perform one-hour live improvisation sessions or recordings. In those sessions, we had to follow the rules of “Raw” where you had to improvise and record only one take and you didn’t confine yourself to the use of instruments. We had to use everything we had at hand to produce music. For example, we had a drum set, but we used to choose random objects from the house. Once I almost broke my guitar because I was playing it with my boot.
Lucia: What did you produce in those sessions?
Carlos: The most important thing was to produce a “wall of sound” and play in total darkness That way, the only sense the public would be using would be hearing. In this atmosphere, your brain would be manipulated into a sound-induced“high” through vibrations and amplitude alone. A good reference of this is Drone music, like Sunn 0))).
Lucia: Do you have any particular routine when you work?
Carlos: Yes, I do. I like having genuine moments like listening to music in my vintage sound system, lighting incense, watering my plants, eating a cheese and a vegetable butter gluten free toast with a cup of cold, bitter black coffee. This is my routine and I do this before, during and after working in every project.
It helps me balance the energy of my brain, returning to the basics of human life.
Lucia: Apart from sound, what are your other interests?
Carlos: Collecting LPs, repairing vintage speakers and gear, computer games and all-around techie stuff, sci-fi, board games, chilling at home, nature, coffee, art in general, the Middle Ages – in particular The Crusades and it’s architecture and weapons -, mechanics, vintage cars and bikes…
Lucia: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
Carlos: I would like to work as a sound designer for video games full time. Working in a motivated environment with a common goal to create and produce quality creative material is my ultimate goal as a professional and as a person, making me feel useful for society and humanity in general.
Thank you, Carlos! Obrigada!
You can check Carlos Carvao’s Portfolio here: https://carloscarvao.weebly.com/portfolio.html