My name is Jim, and before I moved full-time into web development I was a sound designer, recording engineer and mixer. I still work occasionally along with my partner Kevan Staples, under the nom de guerre Rhythm Division. We create music and sound design, and offer audio production services to our clients. I’ll tell you how I got here.
I attended the Music Industry Arts programme for two years, and made some good friends, but wasn’t really getting it, and decided to leave school early and try it another way. I took Horace Greeley’s advice to “Go West Young Man” and travelled to Hollywood to learn the trade. I took some private studio recording courses, where I was fortunate to meet and learn from some great people. I got to hang around studios and learn the business enough that when I got my first chance at a job, I was ready. Or so I thought.
I got my first job from Ted Gardner at AT&T Recording on Melrose Avenue (now on Larchmount). This was a great place to learn the fundamentals of recording, editing, and mastering from the ground floor up, and I won’t ever forget those experiences.
I returned to Toronto in 1981 and joined Morgan Earl Sounds, worked with some very talented people and learned the commercial production side of the business. After a few years I decided to go into business for myself as a freelance engineer/producer.
After some time I joined up with Don McDonell and formed Trax Sounds. We got into digital audio production in 1987 with the purchase of an AudioFrame 1000. This was the infancy of the digital studio-in-a-box era, which I embraced wholeheartedly. As a sound designer this gave me the freedom to do my work without being at the mercy of an expensive studio operation, and I haven’t looked back, in fact I haven’t had a mixing console in my room since then.
It’s a tremendously interesting business with constant advances in technology and computing that means the learning never ends. Web programming, graphics, multi-media, music, sound, and photography in the digital domain have really opened up the creative possibilities for everyone.
What an exciting time to be in the media creation business, or “Noise as a way of life” . . . what could beat it !
1995 – 2012
Partner in Rhythm Division.
1987 – 1995
Partner in Trax Sounds
Music and Sound Design for TV Commercials
Clients including all the best and brightest young advertising creative people in Toronto. Work for advertisers such as: Ford Motor Co, Mazda, Sears, American Express, Ontario Place, Dow Corning, Nabisco, McCain Foods, Dairy Queen
“Chair Fright” (Robins Whitehall)
Cannes Award Best of Show 1994
“Two Schools” (Family Trust Realty)
Studio Magazine Award for Special Effects 1992
Playback Magazine 1995 Award for Sound Effects
1985 – 1987
Audio-post production engineer
Producer/Engineer Morgan Earl Sounds, Toronto
Radio and Television Commercial Production
“BulletProof” Kawasaki Motorcycles
CLIO Award, Marketing Award 1982
“Another One Bites the Crisp” Coffee Crisp
Radio Bureau Award 1981
Production Engineer AT&T Recording, Hollywood, CA.
Mastering, Radio Commercials, Location Recording
I’ve been playing tennis for about 10 years now, and am an active member of my tennis club, serving on the board and designing the website.
Former small forward with good first step and post-up hookshot, no jump but lots of hustle. Los Angeles Laker fan since August 17, 1968, the day the dynasty started.
Very relaxing activity. Don’t forget to try my Seafood Gumbo.
My Meeting with the Champ
An interesting story from my early working days that I’ve told so many times I thought I should write it down.