Despite a career spanning 17 years and today being one of the most sought-after sound engineers in France, Marty Moucle still considers himself a student of his profession. “The music industry is a fast-changing world, where new information and technologies become out-dated every three to five years,” says the French native, who is perhaps better known by his stage name, Marty Dough. “So it doesn’t allow you to take a break and be content with yourself, not even if you’re the best.”
Moucle developed a keen interest in music early, first as an avid listener. Today, he is proud owner of close to 4,000 vinyl records and CDs. His music career, on the other hand, began in 1996, when he became a club DJ and the first person in his family to work in the music industry.
“During that time, me and other DJs got together with a few singers and executed some of our own ideas, and from there I got into music production,” Moucle recalls, explaining his route to a producer’s position at record label Phat Cratz, which provided him with space for innovation and creativity. “We were always trying out new techniques and new machines, experimenting and making changes in the beats, the mixing, the sampling, any aspect you can think of.”
However, the job turned out to have its baffling moments, and Moucle occasionally encountered equipment or tasks that he couldn’t handle. Determined to fill in the blanks in his knowledge, he signed up to study the prestigious audio engineering programme at the SAE Institute from 2004 to 2006. Looking back, it was a hugely rewarding experience that made him not only a qualified sound engineer, but also a true believer of passion and hard work.
“It may not sound very much fun but you need to work a lot in order to succeed, and you can only move forward if you really love what you do,” Moucle says, adding that, among all the students in his class, he was the only one who opened a studio after his studies. “School or not, it’s a forever learning process.”
B2 Studio was founded in Paris in 2007 in partnership with a friend, and Moucle admits that he enjoys having total control in choosing projects and equipment. “At first it wasn’t great for me because I didn’t have all the say in the studio’s image and artistic direction,” he says. “Luckily things changed two years later when I became the CEO. It’s the best thing ever!” After the initial hardship of building up a steady clientele, Moucle now plans to open the studio to non-music professionals because “everybody deserves a real studio experience”.
Speaking of the future ambitions, Moucle clearly wants to make his mark. “I don’t like talking big, but I do hope one day I can help wipe the MP3 format off the face of the Earth,” he says. “It’s an extremely compressed format, and therefore a lot of frequencies disappear. You’re not listening to the whole thing and that’s sad.” Moucle recommends FLAC and WAV formats as better digital alternatives.
Sound, Moucle insists, is not just work for him, but a lifestyle. “When I’m watching a movie, walking down the streets or being in the nature, I’m eternally fascinated by good sounds, weird sounds and the unfamiliar,” he says. “It’s an irreplaceable part of my life. I honestly can’t imagine what else I could do. I mean, even if I weren’t a sound engineer, I would definitely be involved in music and sound in other ways.”
So, ultimately, what makes great sound? For Moucle, it’s emotion. “That’s why I think only 40 per cent of being a great sound engineer is about actual technical skills. The rest lies in an open heart, a pair of eclectic, untiring ears, and an eagerness to connect with listeners.”
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