Busting out and Breaking Rules: Music in Motion Contest Winner Aurelien Landy Gana

By in Music Creation, Music In Motion Contest

Aurelien Landy Gana heard the call early, taking up the drums when he was just six years old. At 28, he decided it was time to follow his dream and turn a life-long hobby into a profession. Aside from a few drumming lessons along the way, Aurelien is a self-taught musician, learning by doing and putting in the hours needed to hone his craft. After playing live music with a few bands, he joined indie-rock band Fiction Parc (known back then as JollyHeads Circus) and recorded his first album.

“I started recording mixes at home because I wanted to improve and learn the skills to make music myself,” he says. “I purchased a Pro Tools 9 bundle and started with that.”

Originally from France, and now living in Barcelona, Aurelien has collaborated with a range of artists and performed throughout Europe as a producer and musician. But rather than get specific about his inspirations, he has a more universal sense of influence. “I don’t know if I can say who inspires me because there are too many—humanity inspires me!” he says. “When I compose or produce, I try not to listen and compare to other artists until the mix. I always try to listen to my inner soul and the music inside me.”

But he admits that no artist can escape the influence of other creators’ journeys and sounds, and points to a diverse selection of artists he connects with—US musical powerhouses like Meshell Ndegeocello, Chris Dave, Frank Zappa, Tom Wait, Radiohead, Miles Davis, and Nina Simone. And a smorgasbord of other global talent from French artists Julien Loureau and Maxime Zampieri, Norwegian jazz trumpeter Nils Peter Molvear, Israeli jazz singer Efrat Aloni and jazz pianist Shai Maestro and Australian future-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote, to UK trip-hop band Portishead and Brazilian electronic music artist Amon Tobin.

Expanding the mind and the music

After learning about the Music In Motion contest from an Avid newsletter, Aurelien decided to enter a Fiction Parc song, The Mechanical Moon. “We’re always looking to showcase our work to more audiences and improve what we do,” he explains.

Aurelien laughs remembering that the inspiration for the track started with ‘lots of red wine’ in his studio: “We had no idea about what we’d do, except the name of the song, which was the name of the EP. The only thing we decided on was to finish the tracking of the song before the end of the night, which we did!”

It was a truly organic process of creation. The band didn’t limit their vision of creativity or the tools to bring their artistry to life. They even resorted to searching the kitchen for “musical instruments”. “I was working on Pro Tools 11 and my Apollo interface, so most of the plugins and tools I used were powered by Universal Audio and acoustic tricks,” says Aurelien. “None of the sounds or effects are MIDI or samplers. In the track, you can hear scissors, knives, and lamps—anything we could find that made a useful noise!”

Take criticism…then go your own way

 Tchad Blake—who has worked with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Elvis Costello, Pearl Jam and U2—recognized Aurelien’s talents as well as the promise of The Mechanical Moon, naming it the winner of the Bedroom Producer category. As part of the win, Aurelien earned an online mixing session with the multiple Grammy Award-winning record producer.

“It’s always cool to hear that someone like you has been on the same journey—especially when it’s Tchad Blake!” says Aurelien. “We spoke about the general idea of the track, how I did it, and what I expected from the remix. I learned that my bass drums don’t sound so good – ouch!”

But the best lesson Aurelien learned from Tchad came from his way of working. “He gave me the feeling that it’s more important to be yourself and to trust your senses and ears rather than respect the ‘rules’,” he says. “If you have faith, you can keep going further. His best advice was to always trust and try until the end. It’s your choice what you do.”

Gut instinct

 While Aurelien says he’s still evolving with Pro Tools, it’s proven invaluable to his career so far. And he only sees more growth ahead. “Avid tools—Pro Tools and MBox—are the tools I started on when I began home recording and helped me craft my first production in 2013. It’s the beginning of everything for me—and plenty of other musicians. I especially like the edit tools in Pro Tools and the way we can use them. Pro Tools is smart and visually relaxing.”

Aurelien’s advice for other artists is a reflection of his own process and Tchad’s words of wisdom. “Trust your instinct. Don’t speak too much about what you plan to do before you finish, and do what your gut tells you. Listen to your heart and your pineal gland! Then buy one good mic and one good pre—just one to start, and realize that really low-cost gear will never sound good!”

The future looks bright for Aurelien. He’s producing Binary Trees, a new Fiction Parc LP, and hard at work on his own second LP. He also recently landed a job as a sound engineer at Dry Town Studio for American producer Dave Bianchi, founder of record label Whatabout Music.

Read how other winners rocked Avid’s Music in Motion Contest on avidblogs.com/musicinmotion.

It all starts with a dream and the tools to help get you there. The rest is up to you. For a head start on your music career, visit the Avid website and learn how Pro Tools can help you get your music heard. Then download Pro Tools | First for free to start composing, recording, editing and mixing using the same tools as the pros.

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From a public relations and artist relations specialist to marketing manager and business owner for over 10 years, I've held several roles throughout my career in the music and film industry that have given me the chance to connect with customers from all backgrounds, including aspiring musicians and Academy Award winning editors. These days, I oversee Avid’s Corporate Communications team, driving our Public Relations, Social Media and Artists Relations programs to benefit both our customers and the company.