Saturday, March 25, 2017

31 Women in Audio: Käti Rosehill

Mix Messiah Productions presents: 31 Women in Audio, a series celebrating Women's History Month.

Day 18: Käti Rosehill

Leslie Gaston-Bird: What childhood experiences do you think led you to a love for the field of audio?
Käti Rosehill: I would say it started when I was around 8 or 9 years old. My parents took me out to a garage sale, where I happened upon an old cassette recorder. I don’t know why I wanted it so badly, but it was only a few dollars, so they got it for me after some pleading. I used to spend many hours a day recording into it- pretending I was a famous vocalist, pretending I was a radio show host- basically anything my young imagination could think of. I loved the feel of the buttons, I loved re-setting the timer, I loved keeping track of how long each segment was so I wouldn’t accidentally record over anything precious. I had a notebook dedicated to it. Also my father used to play guitar for me, which eventually led to my first guitar at 16.

LGB: What was your earliest experience with recording?
KH: I did my first “real” recording when I was about 22 years old, back when I was enrolled in the Music Technology Program at Clackamas Community College. We had to track a song for Audio Engineering 109, so I rallied up a couple of my band friends, stuck them in the studio, threw up some microphones, and went to town. We ended up doing a cover of Led Zepplin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.” I’m happy to say they're all enjoying varying degrees of success right now! Two of them even got signed to Rise Records. (Which I definitely had nothing to do with, but hey! Don’t forget who recorded you first, says I.)

LGB: What questions do you DISLIKE being asked related to women in audio?
KH: I dislike being asked out on a date after the gig is over. But on a more serious note, I dislike being asked if being a woman makes it “challenging.” To me, that’s just kind of a boring question and also a no brainer. Of course it’s challenging. We make up less than 5% of the industry. I argue that I had to work twice as hard as the other students to even be acknowledged as "taking it seriously.” Even just working in the CD plant, clients who called over the phone would specifically ask for my male co workers and refuse to talk to me, even after explaining that the boys were busy, but I’m also a production worker. Sometimes people ask to “speak to an engineer”, immediately assuming that I’m not. Women are immediately at a disadvantage in this industry, just like they are in many other fields.

LGB: What questions would you PREFER to be asked related to women in audio?
KH: I love it when people ask me what particular field(s) of audio I enjoy doing and what I like about them. “Audio” is such a broad term: it could mean a great number of things, anywhere from a boom operator, to a live sound engineer, to a studio engineer, to a radio producer. I actually started out as a boom operator on small film sets here in Portland, but eventually worked my way into a studio, finding a much greater love for it. Mic technique on set is so important and very fun to learn, but you don’t get to press any buttons unless you’re the field mixer too, which I never was. I’m tall and strong- naturally I ended up a boom.

LGB: What female role models do you have, fictional or real?
KH: Joan Jett stole my heart when I was about 17 years old. I'm still not entirely convinced we won’t be best friends someday. I admired her fire, and deeply appreciate how she paved the way for women like me to actually have opportunities in this field. I’m also a huge fan of Katniss Everdeen.

LGB: What upcoming projects are you excited about?
KH: I can’t talk about it too much since it’s still in the works, but four Portland musicians from modestly successful backgrounds have recently come together to form a whole new group, including the ex-drummer of Millions of Dead Cops. They’re currently working on writing songs, and when we have enough material, we’ll be recording and mixing that here at Cloud City Sound.

LGB: Finally, be sure to tell me about anything you’d like to promote: website, recordings, films, etc.
KH: I'd like to thank the chair of the music department at Clackamas who recommended me for this job:

Leslie Gaston-Bird
Owner, Mix Messiah Productions, LLC