Miranda Kanter: Music Production And Audio Engineering Student, Musician

Spotted in: Temescal, Oakland

Occupation: Music Production and Audio Engineering Student, Musician

What are you up to today?

I have the day off today, actually. So I'm just wandering around, not doing anything which is good. Nice little break day.

What do you do when you're working? What's your occupation?

I work as a cocktail waitress, and I'm going to school right now for music production and audio engineering.

Where are you going to school?

At SAE Institute in downtown San Francisco.

How did you get involved in music production?

I started when I was really, really young. I liked to write music so I'd mess around with my dad's computer, recording myself, and then I did live sound up in Portland. I finally decided to get more serious about it and study it in school.

Is your dad involved in music as well?

Yeah, actually he used to take old-fashioned radios and mix them up and do all the tubing and stuff in them. He was always into music and record players so it's always been in my life.

What kinds of projects are you working on right now?

Right now I'm working on producing my album.

What kind of music do you do?

It's been quite a transition learning all these new skills. I used to be very acoustic—very kind of folk-soulsy-poppy. Kind of like indie pop. Now, learning all this new stuff, I've been bringing other things into it. It's been a really cool developmental process.

Who are your current inspirations musically?

I think Mirah is a big inspiration to me. I really like her stuff lately. Sohn—he's a British music producer—I'm into his stuff too.

What is it about their styles that intrigues you?

I like music you can tell comes from a person who is moving through something. You know? A person feeling really connected. Lyrics that are meaningful, and music that is well-produced. I'm really into auto panning! I like the feeling of going on a journey in your headphones. You can feel it moving and shifting, and it has life.

What's auto panning?

It's when the sound moves from the left to the right in your headphones. Auto panning is just going from one speaker to the other. So when you feel movement in a recording that's what they're doing. They're panning it, they're moving it though the sound space. So playing with that, you can really take people on a journey.

So you've been utilizing that lately?

Yeah, maybe a little bit too much! [laughs]. Everything is just moving everywhere!

Have you been discovering any music places around here?

I've been so busy with school! I go to school and I work full-time. With any extra time I have, I'm usually in the woods [laughs]. I lived up in Oregon before coming here, and there's definitely more space. I like being able to go hiking. I guess around here, it's a little trickier to get to think.

How would you define your personal style?

I don't know—I'm like a bohemian hippy hipster cross-breed. I'm not sure but it just kind of comes together.

How recently did you move here?

My program started in June, so I've been here since about May.

Have you overcome any challenges recently?

One thing I've been discovering—especially being in the music scene and being in more of the technology part of it—is that there really aren't that many women. In my program, there's a really small percentage, though it has been growing. I've been learning how to approach those things that may appear to be masculine, or appear like “you have to approach it this way,” and understanding that as a female, I think about it differently. It doesn't mean that it's wrong, it's just a different way. So in the last couple of months I've been like, OK, I need some of that to be able to do what I want to do, but I also need more of me to be able to do what I want to do. I've been trying to bring more of the feminine into the studio. I started this thing called “Tutu Tuesdays” at my school, where on Tuesdays we wear tutus and share music. Just making it more feminine, girl-friendly, and more of a nurturing environment. It's more open and silly as opposed to being so serious all the time.

I'm creating this collective with women who are in the industry—audio engineers and other people who are into media—and making more of a network, because I think that's what we're lacking in a lot of those industries. Because guy takes another guy out for a beer after work, but if a guy takes a girl out for a beer after work it's different. So we're missing out on a whole bunch of connections—but we could build our own web. I'm not saying that I want to push men out of the picture or anything like that, but I want to create a little bit more of a platform for women to come into the industry.

What's the general ratio of women in your program?

It's gone up a lot since I've been there, which is great. They said there used to be one girl per class of 20. In my class, I'm one of three which is awesome. I was looking at the last five years that the school has been here (it's a newer branch off of the school based in LA), and there have been only 30 women in five years that have graduated. I think that says a lot.

Ideally what would be your dream job after you graduate?

I guess it's a mixture. I want to be a part of a lot of productions. I want to experience working in a studio hands-on and doing a lot of that work. I really enjoy mixing! I've gotten really into it. I also want to use my skills for my own production and to tour. I'd also like to working in theater—there are so many things that I want to do with it!

So tell my about your outfit today! How did it all come about?

I'm a thrift store queen. For sure. This hat was actually made for me by someone up in southern Oregon. I lived at this place off grid for a while last year. It was kind of an adventure I went on for myself, and the woman there knit this hat. This scarf is from Boulder, Colorado. I was there a couple of weeks ago and was at this little shop on Pearl St. and it just caught my eye. This floral shirt is from a thrift store in Oakland, and this t-shirt I don't even know where it's from! I think these shoes might be a TJ Maxx find or something. The pants are probably another thrift store.

I noticed your bright yellow backpack, too.

This is REI. I definitely carry a lot of stuff on my back so I needed to get a solid backpack. I just love this color too.

Tell me about your necklaces!

This was given to me by a friend of mine. I'm into the whole meditation thing. And then this other necklace was a gift from my old roommates and I love it because we have this thing in my family—I have a lot of artists in my family—we call it the journey swirl. It's originally from my aunt. She's a body painter in Chicago. I loved that when my friend gave this to me, she didn't even know, but it's the exact way that my aunt draws it. It's the exact shape that she does in a lot of her pieces. And also, it's my heritage [shows Star of David on the other side]. And this ring was my mother's class ring.

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!