Luke Finlay is a freelance Audio Engineer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Working as a freelance mastering engineer and a live sound engineer on live shows and in the studio across all genres and styles. “I always aim to use my technical expertise to make whatever I’m working on sound as good as possible!”
What or who inspired you to study audio?
I’ve always been a massive gear head and love working with equipment and gear. Most of my inspiration to study engineering was to better understand the technical side and the physics behind audio engineering. I started first engineering at a theatre at a young age when I realised I had far more fun in the tech booth pouring over the gear rather than being on the stage. I then saw a pamphlet at my high school, went to an open day and signed up (mostly because I wanted to use all the gear)!
What did you enjoy most about your time at SAE?
I really enjoyed access to large amounts of quality audio equipment. I also enjoyed that everyone at SAE was involved in audio or tech even outside of the lecturers. I used to get a lot of inspiration and knowledge from chatting to others at SAE outside of lectures, like Studio Supervisors and other students. I loved being able to get fully immersed in the audio world and make connections and network.
What have the highlights of your career been so far?
A few highlights have been working alongside Chris Chetland at Kog Studios straight after I finished at SAE!
In my studio – Being able to collect enough gear to have a full analog Mastering rig. Recently ReMastering and Layup for the vinyl re release of 4x platinum record “Albertine” by Brooke Fraiser for Sony NZ. Every time a record I have worked on gets pressed to vinyl that is also a highlight for me.
In Live Sound – Working FOH for some of my favourite artists and festivals, including Hollie Smith, Anika Moa, Che Fu, Aaradhna, Splore (Crystal Palace FOH, Main Stage FOH – Valkyrie, Living Lounge FOH – REI/Huia/MazbouQ), RnV (Patch, Monitors) Aum (Head of Audio).
If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
In the Mastering world I would love to work alongside Bob Katz, Ian Sheppherd, Dan Worral, Mandy Parnell, Barry Grint. In the Live sound world, I would love to work alongside Dave Rat and if I could ever work with anyone on gear design it would be Dave Derr or Chris Hendy From Hendyamps!
What’s next for you?
I plan to keep working and progressing as a freelance engineer. Develop my skills as a Mastering and Live Sound Engineer and upskill and hoard more gear!
What advice would you give someone looking to get into a career in audio?
Diversify, learn lots of skills and different roles within the audio industry. I know of almost no engineers that do just one sole job in the New Zealand Audio Industry. New Zealand is a small country and a comparatively small industry compared to overseas. Especially when you are starting out in the industry in New Zealand it can be very hard to support yourself financially working in just one area of the industry.
It can be very handy to learn and work in lots of areas of the industry for lots of different income streams. As well as added stability working in many areas of the industry (as some work can be quite seasonal or fluctuate), working in various jobs will give you adaptable skill sets that will help across all the work you do.
Once you have learnt a lot of skills and worked in various areas of the audio industry you’ll probably find yourself gravitating towards certain types of work, and from there you can start specialising.