New Member Corner: From scoring theater plays to podcasting

New Member Luis GilName: Luis Gil

Location: New York City, New York

Joined AIR: January 2017

Get in touch:

Tell us about your professional experience and background: 
I have been working in music for the past 15 years. For at least half of those years, I have been making music and audio for media. I started out in Venezuela scoring theater plays and have worked in most fields of media. Nowadays I’m focusing on digital content – apps, podcasts, online videos and such – and would love to get more into longform content like documentaries and films. I love the storytelling aspect of the work and the collaborative nature of it.

What’s playing on your radio/streaming service right now?
I recently got hooked on “Sound & Color” from The Alabama Shakes, so I’m playing that pretty much non-stop. I also just bought a Cuban tres guitar, so I take breaks from the Shakes to play old-school Fania tunes and obscure Cuban son music.

What’s a podcast you’ve just learned about?
Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History.”

What do you think about it?
I love it. I’m not particularly into history, but I’m hooked on the topics that they pick and the arcs that they build.

What’s the best piece you’ve ever heard? 
I found his episode on satire to be amazing. I’m a huge fan of comedy as a resource for social commentary, and he had some very interesting points that made me think a lot about how effective comedy can be (or not).

What drew you to radio?
Growing up, I relied on radio a lot to be informed and entertained – to feel connected. I loved it. That got lost along the way, and I’m getting back into it now through podcasts. I get a similar feeling of connection from podcasts, but I’m also interested in how this new format makes room for new ways of storytelling. I want to be part of that!

What are you looking to learn about your craft? 
Nowadays, I’m focusing on economy. How can I tell an effective story with less elements? I want to get rid of the fluff and really understand what makes a story move and work on translating that to sound.

What piece of audio do you love to share with others?
With Spanish speakers, I always share Jorge Drexler’s “Eco.” That album had a huge effect on my life and for me it’s a landmark of musical storytelling that’s well done, thoughtful and entertaining at the same time. It helped me get over the pervasive “what we do isn’t good enough” vibe that runs wild in many South American countries.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about audio?
“The best tool is the one you know how to use.” I used to get hung up with microphones, compressors, plugins and all that jazz, but in the end, it comes down to being able to trigger the right emotion, which can be done with pretty much anything as long as I understand the message. I now focus on having less gear and getting more of the story straight. It’s pretty freeing.

Whom have you always wanted to interview?
It’s a tie between Gustavo Santaolalla and Jorge Drexler. I admire how they use context-specific folk elements to tell stories that sound universal. I have so many questions about their approach to get a story to sound right!

• Luis and other gifted producers can be reached through AIR’s Talent Directory. Not a member? Join AIR!