Aren’t there times when you look back on life and see how taking that one decision forever changed the direction of your life? Vinod Melpitiya, currently one of the most popular live sound engineers in Sri Lanka had a desire to train in live sound engineering. A chance web search brought him to Audio Academy in Bangalore. Read on to know where this path took him.
I had been working in the sound industry for a while. After an advance level sound engineering training at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, I began working at a recording studio, Moonworks Productions. During my stint there, I worked on numerous recordings for music tracks and a music video. I also did another sound engineering course at the Music Oven Institute. However, my experience was limited to studio sound and I wanted to receive training in all aspects to do with live sound.
It was by chance that I came upon Audio Academy and I wrote to them. After receiving all the information on what the course would cover, I decided to enroll in their Recording Arts & Live Sound programme. I was their first international student and when I had difficulties finding accommodation initially, I even ended up staying at one of the founder’s home.
My time spent studying live sound at the academy was like nothing else I had ever experienced. Sound in the studio setting is a whole different ballgame from live sound. Besides theory classes from industry experts and people working in the field, there was a lot of practical experience. I learned so much by doing and I was receiving training in everything I needed to know about live sound from scratch. My favourite parts of the course were the modules on system design and alignment.
While studying at the institute, I did an internship with Ansata, a technology company providing products and solutions in the field of professional audio. While I was there, I grasped the intricacies of working with Avid consoles and D&B PA systems. This was the best place to acquire these skills since Ansata is the sole distributor for these products in India. As part of their team, I also got to work on live sound for many shows around India. During my time at Ansata, I got to meet one of the members of The Gypsies, a popular Sri Lankan band.
Once I returned to Sri Lanka, I continued to work as a representative for Ansata, conducting demonstrations on the use of Avid consoles and D&B PA systems. Alongside, I began working for The Gypsies as their live sound engineer. Continuing with my freelancing as a live sound engineer, I also worked with bands such as Glory and Daddy. It was during this time that I got two amazing opportunities to work on live sound— one was for a Vishal & Shekhar concert as well as a Sean Paul concert. One of the highlights of my career was working with John McLaughlin in Chennai.
Currently, I work with Wayo, one of the leading bands in Sri Lanka and tour with them. I have accompanied them on tours to Canada and Australia. I also recently went to Thailand to attend a workshop on D&B PA systems. Apart from working on live shows, I enjoy teaching live sound engineering at an institute.
Everything about live sound engineering, from the fundamentals to the lesser known intricacies, I learned at Audio Academy. It was the best decision that I made to guide my career trajectory to the place that it is at now— one of fulfillment, acknowledgement and delight in doing what I love most.