Professional Sound - June 2017 - Page 21

PROFILE JEFFREY HOLDIP By Megan Beam G rowing up in the early ‘60s in the St. Clair and Caledonia area of Toronto – also known as Little Italy – Jeffrey Holdip was im- mersed in music from a young age. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, a square dance fiddle player, Holdip picked up the instrument in his youth and never looked back. It was in his later high school years, though, that Holdip first started experimenting with sound. “There was a band that would rehearse in my community – a reggae band – and that’s where I learned to do sound,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Oh, this is something I could do’ and that’s where it started. That’s where I first fell in love with mixing sound.” Such are the origins of what’s since become a very diverse and suc- cessful career. After starting profession- ally in 1981, Holdip’s focus was on reggae, and as his career progressed, he found himself mixing just about every reggae act going through Toronto at the time. That’s how he met influential figures like musician, composer, and producer Terry Wilkins, who introduced him to all kinds of artists and industry professionals and helped grow his network. Working with artists like Billy Bryans and Parachute Club’s Lorraine Segato, Holdip main- tained a focus on reggae and other Caribbean styles through to the late ‘90s, which is where he ventured outside of his comfort zone to work with Toronto-b ased blues rock band Big Sugar. “They were at the height of their career at the time, so that was really exciting,” says Holdip. It was in the year 2000 that Holdip embarked on what would become a 13- year journey with Canadian pop star Nelly Furtado. During that time, Holdip was also keeping busy with other artists, including talent out of the U.K. and Portugal. While he continues to mix live sound for a host of popular and rising bands, he’s found himself taking on more studio work of late. Holdip says his most significant chal- lenge lately has been navigating the ever- changing digital world. He says technology can simultaneously simplify and complicate his life and work, and he puts a lot of time into keeping up with current products and platforms to always be producing his best possible work, regardless of whether he’s mixing a live show or studio session. “There’s just so much more you need to be prepared for. ‘Oh okay, what kind of console they have?’ Oh jeez, now you've got to go build that file. There’s a lot more work that goes into it before I even show up to the venue. For me, that’s my biggest bugaboo these days, just having to stay on top of all that.” Even so, Holdip recognizes the benefits these incoming technologies can offer. “When you can just walk into an arena and get a half decent mix out of it on the fly? It’s a good deal. That’s something that didn’t really happen back in the day.” Collaborating with artists remains Hol- dip’s favourite part about working in the live sound industry. It’s difficult for him to explain, but he says when there’s a connection between the vocalist, the musicians, and the audio engi- neer, it can produce really special results, and those are the experi- ences that keep him passionate about his work. With the atmosphere of the industry constantly changing and forcing even longtime veterans to adapt, Holdip encourages young people entering the industry to keep their skillset diverse and be willing to take on as many audio- related jobs as they can – studio work, theatre, broadcast, whatever. It’s all about keeping busy, build- ing your resume, and expanding your network, which is particularly important in a small and tight-knit industry like the Canadian pro audio world. When a stressful day on the job comes to a close, Holdip likes to cut loose with his 16-year-old son. Parenting is a big but enjoy- able responsibility, he says, and has taught him a lot over the years. He adds that genealogy is one of his major hobbies, and that when the opportunity arises, he loves get- ting out and doing some fishing. “If I could fish every day, that’s what I’d be doing,” he says. As 2017 approaches its halfway point, Holdip says he’s looking forward to the coming months, though he has a few irons in the fire that he’s not able to disclose at this point. Overall, though, he plans to just enjoy his work and keep happy and healthy to enjoy more time behind the console, on the water, and with his family. Megan Beam is a freelance writer and former editorial assistant with Professional Sound. PROFESSIONAL SOUND 21