Feature: Live Sound Engineer Leon Silveira

Leon Silveira

He is responsible for the set-up and operation of sound amplification systems at different venues such as theatres and other live events. He also plays a very important role in chipping into the success of live music concerts. Professional live sound engineering makes it possible for musicians to perform before huge crowds at various venues without compromising on sound quality. And one such Live Sound Engineer is our very own Goan lad, Leon Silveira.

Leon was born to a family of musicians. “My dad is a bass guitarist and his brothers are musicians too, and that’s where I’ve picked up the skills from,” he says, adding, “I was always fascinated with speakers and amplifiers, which led me to learn how to wire up systems on my own. After a point, I started setting up sound for big events. Once, I managed a band because their engineer was not available, and the feedback I received from the band as well as the crowd was encouraging. This took place almost 10 years ago. Since then, this profession has stayed with me.”

This profession might not be very popular. People love to become singers and musicians, but few like to stay backstage to fine tune the event. The tale of Leon getting fond of sound equipment ties back to his childhood.

“My dad was into making amplifiers. So I used to keenly observe his work and the type of tone speakers required to amplify. Since they were home-made amplifiers they would lack perfection. But he loved to repair rather than replacing it with new speakers. And since we had one music system, I would assist him refurbish the speakers by holding a wire just the way he wanted it so he could solder them together.”

As of now, Leon works as a live sound engineer and technical head for an online music retailer company. He is also associated with a lot of bands including The Lightyears Explode, Blek, The Fringe Pop and Discordian to name a few. Before picking up sound engineering as his career, Leon started off as a drummer, later took up the guitar and is currently tripping on the piano. “I’m also teaching the piano to students at JMD School of Music.”

Around three to four years ago, Leon decided to set up something of his own but found it difficult to keep up with the changing pace of the industry. “The market moves way faster than we can imagine. There’s something new every week. My investment amount started shooting up, as I needed a warehouse to store the equipment. Plus I needed manpower. This turned out to be expensive so I ditched the idea.”

Setting up sound and ensuring that it runs parallel throughout the concert venue isn’t a cakewalk. “The acoustics of every venue is not always correct. Hence, I have to ensure that the sound travels equally to every nook and corner. In other words, every person should be able to hear the same music wherever he or she is at the venue.”

Leon is Goan by birth and belongs to Calangute. However, his trips to Goa are restricted to gigs in the state. And when he’s not gigging, he keeps himself busy listening to music or relaxes while admiring the speakers piled up at his house.

The article was first featured in The Goan on Saturday.

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