It was music to his ears when sound producer/engineer Ryan Martin John heard he was the winner of the inaugural Neville Clark Award making him TAFE SA’s Music Industry Sound Production Graduate of the Year.
The new award, presented at the 2021 SA Music Awards, honours the late Neville Clark, who was a leading mastering engineer and owner of Disk Edits.
“It was quite an honour and very humbling because Neville has such a reputation in the industry,” Ryan says.
Initiated by Neville’s wife, Rosanna, the award includes a cash prize and will be presented to two leading sound production graduates - one from TAFE SA and one from a private training provider – each year.
Ryan describes the award as a “huge honour” and acknowledges the support he’s received from his TAFE SA lecturers.
“My lecturers all have impressive backgrounds in the industry and to know they nominated me for the award means a lot. It’s quite momentous,” he says.
A musician and production specialist, Ryan runs his own recording and mixing studio and was a finalist in the Best Studio Engineer/Producer category of the SA Music Awards, as well as winning the graduate award.
By his own admission, he’s been on a quick trajectory since graduating from TAFE SA and says his formal qualification, the Diploma of Music Industry Sound Production, has contributed to his new-found confidence.
He went into the course with industry experience, having worked on sound production projects from his home for several years, while also building a reputation as a singer and songwriter.
“Everything was largely self-taught until I got to TAFE SA. I wanted to check that what I knew was correct and what in my knowledge base wasn’t sound,” he says.
“The course reinforced what I knew and enlightened me about other things. It was also great to network with other aspiring sound engineers and the lecturers.”
Since graduating in 2020, Ryan has officially launched his studio business, Cactus Cactus Sound, at Torrensville, and has been recording bands and generating work throughout the pandemic.
He’s excited to be involved in the 2022 Adelaide Fringe event, Sky Song, collaborating with singer/songwriter Nancy Bates and other indigenous artists.
“It’s a massive multi-media show and I’m the music/sound editor. It’s a huge undertaking but such a privilege to work with these artists.”