Professional Sound - August 2017 | Page 20



By Andrew King

T here were two main reasons behind David Mohacsi ’ s decision to study recording at Mississauga , ON ’ s Metalworks Institute . The first was learning Pro Tools from a school that specializes in the popular application ; the second was its affiliation with the iconic and adjacent Metalworks Studios .

“ I figured I might get to network with some big names in the Canadian music scene ,” Mohacsi shares about his reasoning . “ I spent the entire year working to impress everyone I came across and soak in as much knowledge as possible .”
Put simply , his plan worked wonders , because in the years since his graduation , Mohacsi has earned credits on albums by some of the biggest names to ever walk through the doors of Metalworks – or any other top-tier Canadian studio – thanks to an ongoing partnership with Midas-touched producer Gavin Brown .
Mohacsi was born and raised in Etobicoke , ON . His journey in music began with piano lessons at age five , though in grade school , he shifted his focus to the upright bass . It was years later , though , while playing in various punk and ska bands during his post-secondary years , that Mohacsi first experimented with recording .
“ We could never afford to record , so I figured out how to plug the output of our practice PA into the soundcard on my computer and record a mono track into Windows Sound Recorder . That ’ s how I made my band ’ s first demo tape , and it sort of grew from there ,” he recalls .
Mohacsi kept experimenting , doing the next demo with a four-track recorder and then getting acquainted with the digital domain using an early version of Cakewalk .
Following a band breakup in his early 20s , Mohacsi found himself living in South Carolina for three years . While there , he landed a job doing live sound at a biker bar , and within a few months became head of sound and was working seven nights a week . That led to some festival gigs with a local sound company .
“ This was really where I started to learn how
to engineer ,” he admits . “ If you want to learn fast in this business , give live sound a try . There ’ s no better way to learn how to troubleshoot problems , because if you can ’ t fix it , there ’ s no show .”
Having returned to Canada , another band breakup pushed Mohacsi to finally follow his dream of working in a recording studio for a living . That ’ s when he enrolled at Metalworks , and needless to say , it paid off .
A few months after graduation in 2009 , the school called him saying that Brown ( Three Days Grace , Billy Talent ) and his engineer , Lenny
De Rose ( Alice Cooper , Motley Crue ), needed an intern for an upcoming session and he ’ d been recommended .
“ My first day working with them , I learned more than I had in all the time since I first started making demo tapes in my parents ’ basement ,” Mohacsi says . “ I started out grabbing coffee and doing food runs , but quickly graduated to being Gavin ’ s Pro Tools specialist , and eventually taking on engineering and additional production duties .”
Working with the pair consistently over the better part of the past decade , Mohacsi has collaborated with a long and diverse list of artists , including The Tragically Hip , Three Days Grace , Metric , Barenaked Ladies , Mother Mother , Sarah Harmer , and dozens more . To call his position working with one of the top producers in the country enviable would be an understatement .
“ Getting to make a Tragically Hip record is up there as far as career highlights ,” he shares , having worked on the band ’ s 12 th studio album , Now for Plan A . “ I was a huge Hip fan growing up , and I ’ ll never forget the first time in the studio with them . We cut beds live off the floor , and as soon as they started playing , it just sounded like classic Hip .”
Another professional highlight was doing orchestral arrangements for an upcoming record by Carvin Winan . “ I do orchestral stuff for any of our productions that need it , but I usually just write the parts and load up my best orchestral sounds and do it all with MIDI ,” he shares .“ For this record , though – a strippeddown R & B record – we needed a real orchestra , and there isn ’ t much in this world more thrilling than hearing an orchestra play music that you wrote .”
Mohacsi still calls Etobicoke home , residing with his wife , Candice , and their dogs . He praises his wife for her ongoing support , noting that studio work is “ more than a full-time job ; it ’ s a lifestyle , and it ’ s all-encompassing .” That means he doesn ’ t get a lot of free time , and when he does , it ’ s often spent doing something still related to music .
He ’ s also a self-admitted “ huge , fanatic , devoted fan of Star Wars ,” typically asking bands to list him as “ Pro Tools Sith Lord ” in album credits . In May 2017 , he and his brother travelled to Orlando to attend Star Wars Celebration with about 75,000 other “ insane and amazing people .” He calls being in the room for the world premiere of the Last Jedi trailer a “ big bucket list item .”
While he ’ s hoping to start focusing on some of his own productions , for the time being , Mohacsi is busy with a varied list of projects , including upcoming records from rock outfit One Bad Son , Mediterranean guitarist Pavlo , a pop-oriented record with the jazzy Jill Barber , quirky electro-pop duo U . S . S ., and hard rock mainstays Three Days Grace , to name just a few .
That fateful first day of working with Brown and De Rose has led to countless career highlights and album credits with some of the biggest players in the Canadian music industry , and needless to say , he ’ s taken full advantage of the opportunity .
Photo : Pierrette Masimango
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief of Professional Sound .