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a photo of Ray Pang

Ray Pang

New Voices '21

Tell us about yourself:

I’m an independent audio producer and sound designer, originally from Minneapolis, MN, and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Right now, I’m working as a freelance producer on Origin Stories - a science podcast that explores how we became human, and as a sound designer on a forthcoming project.

Before I worked in audio, I went to graduate school for anthropology and worked in urban agriculture and environmental education. I’m still very active in community agriculture and am always looking to make audio that’s rooted in how we relate to the people and environments that sustain us.

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

In the past year, I’ve made a handful of pieces that I’m very proud of! Recently, I participated in the 2021 KCRW Radio Race. A few friends and I produced The Fence - a light-hearted story about my father’s 25-year border dispute with his neighbor.

If you have a few more minutes, I’d also love for you to listen to A Tree Is Not A Forest - a short piece exploring what life might sound like, from the perspective of a tree.

What draws you to storytelling?

A few things!

One, I love listening to someone tell their own story. It’s exciting to see even a sliver of the world from someone else’s point of view.

Two, I’m attracted to stories that present complexity and nuance without reducing them down to one quality or one moment. Life is rarely linear and often confusing, and I get excited by stories that grapple with dissonance, rather than iron it out.

Three, I love the process of finding a story’s structure. It’s a creative and iterative process that reminds me of making physical art. There’s so much work that comes before you have something pretty or interesting to show on a canvas and the same is true for beautiful works of audio.

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

I feel so lucky to have been paired with a wonderful mentor and to be part of such a talented and caring cohort. While I’m sad that we’re approaching the end of our sessions, I’m excited to continue to grow and partner with the people I’ve met here.

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

I’ve been listening to Invisibilia’s newest season on friendship. It’s reshaped some of the ways I look at relationships and is a joy to listen to.

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

Rest (however you like it)! My most creative time of day is the morning, so I’m constantly trying to find ways to recreate that ‘new in the world’ feeling by giving my mind a break. Short of napping, it often takes the form of a walk outdoors, a cooking break, or reading a chapter of a book.

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

Livable wages, better working environments, and worker-owned cooperatives.

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

There are too many to list, so I’ll focus on something I listened to recently that blew me away. A Mother Tongue by Axel Kacoutié is a beautifully written and sound-designed piece. It explores the nuances of living in between languages and of becoming a parent. His writing is so sharp and poetic that it hardly feels like narration because it’s seamlessly braided into the story fabric. The piece utilizes great archival audio, eerie and unsettling sound design, and pacing that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s incredible!

Other inspirations include Moonface by James Kim, Throughline, Flyest Fables, any work by Ariana Martinez, For Colored Nerds and The Kitchen Sisters.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I love connecting with new people! If you want to connect, feel free to send me a dm on Twitter is @pangray!