Trevor Peters started as an Industrial Psychology student at the University of Witwatersrand, but his love for music drew him into the world of sound engineering and sound design. As the founder of Matrix Corporate & Theatre Sound, a partner in Pan Tilt Lighting and a partner in Fogtech Video, Trevor has designed sound for theatre shows and corporate events both locally and internationally. Pro Systems journalist Chanelle Ellaya caught up with Trevor to discuss how it all started and what’s still to come.
How did you get involved in the sound industry? Was it always the plan?
Trevor: I never really had a plan when I left school, the one thing I was interested in was music, and I played in a band. One day one of the engineers that was mixing our band on an event asked me if I was interested in coming to work with him and that’s basically how it started. I got into that company and learnt a tremendous amount in my time there. At that point I was hooked, my studies fell by the wayside and this became my career, seven years later I left the company and started Matrix Sound. So you could say I am a musician turned sound engineer, and more recently I spend my time doing sound design for theatre shows and large corporate events.
Out of interest, what was the name of your band and what instrument did you play?
Trevor: The band was called Cherry Fox and I played the drums, so I wasn’t a real musician (laughs).
You’ve designed sound in various productions around the world. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Trevor: Opening the musical Umoja at the Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End of London. That was my single most nerve wracking and most amazing experience so far. We received a standing ovation for nearly three minutes at the end of the show. It was also the first time that I was working in the West End with an international supply company where I designed the sound.
What excites you the most about sound engineering? What is it that keeps you interested?
Trevor: Well the situation currently is that I spend more time in my office running the company than behind the sound desk, but when I do get an opportunity to get behind the desk I consider myself another member of the band. So connecting with the band and creating music and sound with them is what I find most exciting. A sound engineer needs to actually be a part of the music, immersed in the music, to actually understand and complement the music from behind the desk. When you make that connection with the band, where mixing becomes almost second nature, that for me is really awesome.
On that note, would you say that your musical background has given you an advantage in this industry?
Trevor: Yes, I definitely think it has given me an advantage. It would have given me more of an advantage had I played a real instrument like the piano or guitar (laughs), but yes understanding the music and the sound from a musician’s point of view is a huge advantage.
What do you feel is the greatest audio invention of the past few years?
Trevor: Oooh, that’s a tough one. I would say the greatest advance in audio is the switch to digital mixing consoles; user friendly digital mixing consoles. Digital mixers have been around for many years, in 1996 we designed a musical at Victory Theatre using two digital mixing consoles and it was a very cumbersome and difficult process. The new generation of digital mixers in my opinion, have taken sound to a new level entirely. They give you untold power compared to what we had with analogue desks many years ago.
What have you not yet achieved in your career that you still wish to?
Trevor: The one thing that I haven’t done is toured with a band, where I’m mixing and we’re going from city to city or country to country performing. I’ve done a huge amount of corporate events, I’ve done theatre shows, I’ve done some studio work, I’ve done a lot of television work but I have never been on the road with the band concentrating on good old fashioned rock “n roll night after night. That is something I will do before I retire…at a very young age (laughs).
What is your personal favourite gadget that you use daily?
Trevor: Mmm, to be perfectly honest, that would be my iPhone. It allows me to run my office from anywhere at all times.