The Life of a Sri Lankan Sound Engineer : Making Universal Waves

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Malinda Lowe is the creator and founder of Universal Sounds. He is a well-known sound engineer in Sri Lanka, with international acclaim. Malinda’s sound can be heard at most events in Sri Lanka, whether they are local or international. Here’s a look at his journey and how he reached the summit. It’s truly inspirational! Let’s get started.

Malinda was a very active kid from a very young age. He always wanted to dig deeper into all the toys he had and find out how things would work, the mechanisms. Whilst also spending a lot of time with his father helping with business-related matters. Malinda’s father had a hardware shop and it was mostly related to machinery and distribution. So, he always got to spend time with vehicles. At the age of 6, he could drive a vehicle. He also enjoyed helping technicians with their mechanical-related problems and learn how the engines would work, how the gearboxes would function, and how various systems would work. He was also interested in their electrical diagrams. Experimenting with these was a major part of his life from a very young age.

Malinda has been to two schools, St Mary’s college Chilaw and St Anthony’s College Wattala.  Having completed his O/Ls in 1996, he pursued mathematics for his A/L’s. But it didn’t continue for more than 3 months as Malinda felt like it’s not his thing. To go to a university and to get graduated was never in his mind.

While he was doing ALs he did an aptitude test for NIBM as he was more into technology and IT-related subjects. He got through the aptitude test and joined NIBM and thereby stopped schooling. As for audio engineering, he started by reading a lot of books and production articles. Self-learning was his thing until he joined with few brands such as JBL USA, AVID USA, Soundcraft UK, Crown Audio, AKG, Waves, DanteAudio, and for Post mixing work Pro Tools to do their special training programs and get certified for brands he was mostly involved with.

Malinda’s first gig was Nalin Perera’s first solo album “Bambarindu”. Nalin Perera places an amazing amount of trust in Malinda since he believed Malinda could handle the job well. This was a start of a magnificent pathway that led to Malinda being one of the most renowned sound engineers in the industry.  Marian’s very first unplugged concert, done for Sirasa’s 11th anniversary was Malinda’s first live-in-concert experience. Malinda had to do this event with no proper backline or equipment to do such level of a show. But he managed to outsource many instruments and equipment available at that time.

Currently, Malinda has been a part of more events than he could remember. Sonu Nigam Live in Concert at Havelock Grounds was his first international event. starting with that he continued to do many international events such as;  Arjith Singh symphony orchestra, Yanni Live in concert, Colombo Musical festival, Jaxx festival, Shreya Goshal, AKON/ Priyanka Chopra Concert in the Maldives, Leo Sayer, Billie ocean, ABBA Teens, BoneyM, Jason Durelo, Kenny G, Engelbart Humperdinck, Enrique Iglesias, also Mixing Sir Lionel Richie at the FOH and Jon Sacada. These were just a few of the major events that Malinda has been a part of.

For people starting out Malinda says to forget today’s technology or digital mixing desks and Ipads. In other words, forget all these easy options you see today, Think about how you configure a system totally in an analog world. It could be a live or post situation. What are the limitations you face and still how would you manage to deliver a good-sounding gig or a recording/ mixing to the audience?. Because always remember, no matter how good the band is, how good the artist is, how good your rig is, if you fail to get the initial configuration steps properly, whatever you push on a  mixing console or a DAW is not going to deliver the audience’s expectations.

Chalaka Epasinghe

 

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