Things I've Learned:
Dear Deerface Collective

An occasional series of hard-won-wisdoms from the mischief-making, pixie-dust-sprinkling, original-thinking auteurs of the audio world

Please supply a short 'official' biography

We really don’t know what this is. It seems the only singular value is anonymity. There are about seven of us in various cities right now. We went with anonymity to give us the freedom to escape our professional personas and to create work for its own sake, without the opportunity for self promotion. Once your are free of your career goals and fears of what your colleagues will think of your work, you can go to some cool/weird creative places.

But who are you, really?

A WhatsApp group that occasionally produces audio pieces.

Who are your influences (in any medium)?

CBC Radio 2’s long dead overnight weirdo interview and music show Brave New Waves, which gave me trippy, terrible dreams as I drifted in and out of sleep trying to listen, and set the tone for what I thought radio could be.

The Canadian National Film Board’s Arthur Lipsett. He was an experimental filmmaker in the 60’s who made his movies by collecting discarded pieces of film off the floor of the film board at night after everyone had left. His innovations in audio design and editing inspired people like George Lucas and Walter Murch. Lipsett’s abstract films show how editing and sound design alone can take an audience on a journey.  


Angela Shackel’s audio walking tour adaptation of the novel Fugitive Pieces. The tour starts in Toronto’s Little Italy and ends in Korea town. Along the way you hear passages from the book and both fictional and non-fictional history of the area; all bound together in this amazing soundscape. It’s hard to describe, because there’s nothing else like it. 

What's your favourite of all the things you've made and why? 

Our first piece Deerface from Deerlake is what defines us. It was a chaotic collaboration that was conceived, produced and edited in less than a day, then went on to win the short doc contest at Third Coast. It speaks to the magical serendipitous luck this group has.

What are your top tips for making audio pieces?

Steal sonic and structural ideas from what you’re actually immersing yourself in - books, TV, your friends and neighbours - rather than what you think you should be. That way you’re not fighting your own aesthetics but developing them.


This advice comes from a long time CBC documentary producer: think of the microphone as a camera and approach a scene like a cinematographer. Capture the audio equivalent of close ups, medium shots and wide shots. So when you edit you can create a space and pull an audience through it. Create audio mise-en-scène! You can even type up a shot list.

Take risks and gamble. Choose projects that terrify and compel you. It’s how artists grow. The best projects are the ones that make you feel queasy as you ponder the possibilities for disaster; while also giving you a sense that you’re not doing a job, but on quest to uncover your destiny. 

Walk to find ideas. If you’re stuck on what to make next, turn off your computer and walk. Culture, politics and incredible human stories can all be found on the streets. Take off your headphones and follow Walter Benjamin’s advice to read the street as if it was a piece of literature.

Please supply a visual representation of your life in audio 

German public broadcasting studio. We don't have a set space and steal time from our regular jobs to make things, so we end up making work in random places like this.