Nik Kozub

Top 40 Under 40 2015

Photography Curtis Trent

Age: 38

Job Title: Producer and Recording Engineer, The Audio Department; Musician, Shout Out Out Out Out

Why He’s Top 40: He is not only achieving success with his own band, but he is fostering that same success in young musicians through his label and work as a sound engineer.

If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “I feel like people who are involved in the music community, as well as the crowds who come to shows – well, I feel people take it for granted more than they should. Consistent support is important.”

A little more than a decade ago, Nik Kozub was considering a move out of Edmonton. He was in a band, Veal, whose leader, Luke Doucet, lived in Toronto.

But, before packing his bags, he gave some sober second thought to the idea. Sure, the band would be better off if all of its members lived in Toronto, but what about everything else Kozub did? Would he be able to work in the studio with bands like he did in Edmonton? After all, no one in Toronto knew him as a sound engineer.

So, instead of making the move, he left Veal, which called it quits altogether shortly after. He then launched a new record label, Normals Welcome; he formed a new band, Shout Out Out Out Out (SO4), which, to this day, features two drummers, heavy bass riffs and dreamy synthesizers. It’s a band that has gained an international reputation as a touring act. In 2007, the band earned a Juno nomination for alternative album of the year.

Kozub hasn’t entertained the idea of moving in over a decade. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from if you are recording music that’s released internationally and touring internationally.”

Kozub works out of The Audio Department, a recording studio located in an industrial area in east Edmonton. In this hideaway, he has worked with a variety of Edmonton bands, such as The Wet Secrets – which include Top 40 Under 40 alumnus Trevor Anderson – and Vancouver-based electro ensemble, Humans. As SO4 is taking a break, Kozub has released dance tracks under the Paronomasiac name.

He sees the studio as a playground.

“There’s a lot of great gear here that you don’t see anywhere else in the province.”

Meanwhile, the record label continues despite the music industry being in a state of flux. Last year, Kozub made the decision that Normals Welcome would only release 12-inch singles, aimed at the DJ market.

“There’s still a market for albums, but it’s definitely tough to keep people’s attention. You used to be able to get them to listen to an entire record. But, now, a record has to be very special; to get people to listen to it all, it has to be all singles.”

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