Behind the Board: Ian Dearborn

Behind the Board: Ian Dearborn

by SaskMusic

June 2, 2021

About me: I started as a live sound engineer in a small Saskatchewan town in 1984, working for bands, theatrical performances and community events. Since then, I have completed courses in Audio Engineering and Recording Arts and Sciences, as well as fireworks and pyrotechnical choreography and production.

Over the past 30 plus years, I have worked with dozens of bands and artists as a touring sound tech, recording engineer and manager.

I worked with The Calgary Folk Music Festival for 14 seasons as stage tech, stage manager and technical director. I worked at The Ness Creek Music Festival for 11 years as a stage and sound technician. I also spent some time as technical director for The Cochrane Valley Folk Club, and worked at several music and arts festivals as sound engineer or stage technician.

I have worked in many recording studios in western Canada, including 5 years as engineer at The Night Deposit Studios in Calgary.

I also spent 10 years as a fireworks technician, award-winning choreographer and producer with several Canadian companies doing large caliber displays and competitions all across Canada.

I have lived in Saskatoon for the past 15 years and have been lucky enough to be the house sound engineer for Lydia’s Pub, Buds on Broadway, The Rock Bottom and The Capitol Music Club, as well as working at several other live music venues in and around Saskatoon.

I’ve enjoyed recording and mixing albums for many local bands and artists in several studios around town, and on location in some amazing Saskatchewan spaces such as in an off grid cabin in the Northern Boreal forest.

It’s been a long, strange trip but I’ve loved every moment of my varied and interesting career path and, overall, working in the Saskatchewan music industry has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. I have cherished working with some amazing and talented folks and look forward to those I get to work with in the future.

Philosophy on being an audio engineer: It’s all about the performance. My job is to faithfully reproduce or reinforce what an artist is creating.

Favourite show you’ve ever mixed: The ones where both the audience and the performers come away with a positive experience to cherish.

Advice to emerging artists: Vocal mics are gross, I recommend you carry your own or disinfect it when you can’t.

Advice to established artists: Building and maintaining strong relationships with all the folks you work with is key. Nobody gets to “the top” alone.

Favourite piece of gear: I’m a little old school. Give me a well-built and maintained analog system and I will smile.