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Career in audio production sounds good to Roseville native

Oakmont grad mixes sound for clubs, stadiums, movies in Los Angeles
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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They're the ones working magic behind the scenes, making the musicians sound better, the movie's score heightened and the live events more crisp.

These are the audio engineers. They're also called sound or recording engineers, and sound technicians. Roseville native Doug Siebum is one of them, working in what's become a competitive industry.

Siebum, 32, graduated from Oakmont High School in 1998 and lives and works in Los Angeles as a freelance audio engineer. His days - and nights - are filled with mixing music at local blues clubs, doing the sound for live sporting events, participating in music festivals such as Coachella and mastering sound effects for movies.

"I like the fact that it's a variety," Siebum said.

But he didn't always know this was his professional passion. During high school, he had friends in punk bands so he used to go to gigs and knew he enjoyed this scene.

"I always liked music from when I was little, but I never learned to play an instrument," he said. "But I had friends in bands and I'd hang out in recording studios and they were like, why don't you learn how to run this sort of stuff?"

He enrolled in the audio production program at Sacramento City College and after earning his associate of arts degree, transferred to California State University, Dominguez Hills for his bachelor's degree.

He has spent the past seven years in Los Angeles. His older brother and sister live in Roseville.

"I think the family in general thought Doug would go into finance or engineering because he always had a technical mind," said his sister Dawn Eggert. "He is a very logical thinker and figures things out quickly. I'm not surprised he went into audio production because those traits lend well to that profession."

Eggert said she's proud of Siebum for working with big names such as Katy Perry and Robin Thicke - and for always making an effort to return home for family get-togethers.

To make it in the audio engineering world, Siebum worked unpaid internships, got a job at a radio station, then landed a gig at the stadium where the Major League Soccer teams the Galaxy and Chivas play their games.

Soon he got into sound-effect editing for films, including the movie "Come Together" by Charles Unger. He did the re-recording mix, which is the last step of mixing for the film once all the dialogue, sound effects and music have been recorded.

This project is one of many exciting experiences he's had in recent years.

"I did the whole Warped Tour last year and the rock 'n' roll thing," Siebum said. "It was crazy. I didn't get a lot of sleep. It's not the most luxurious tour. It's very much like camping."

He drove the van through six cities in about a week, starting in San Diego and through Sacramento, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

Now, he's ready for all the excitement his future in audio engineering will bring.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Doug Siebum's tips for making it in audio production

  • Get a degree in audio production. "I went to college, which isn't for everyone, but you have a degree to fall back on."
  • Develop a specialty. Learn how to repair equipment, which makes you stand out to employers.
  • Be open. "Realize you're not going to do what you thought you'd do."
  • Meet people. Networking helps you land jobs or freelance gigs.
  • Intern. By working with professionals, you learn the right way to do things.
  • Don't turn down jobs. "Take anything and everything, and you'll find your niche."
  • Make contact. Call up local recording studios, theaters and music venues and see if you can volunteer.
  • Don't give up. "Do whatever it takes."