In 2015, Avenue’s judging panel selected Nik Kozub for our Top 40 Under 40, for his production work with young musicians in Edmonton and success with his band, Shout Out Out Out Out. We wanted to find out what he’s been up to since then.
What have you been doing since the 2015 Top 40?
In the last few years I’ve been doing more mastering for a whole bunch of artists and labels from North America, the U.K., Australia, Germany. I do it from home, which is nice, and it’s really taken off in the last few years.
Can you explain the difference between mastering and producing?
Mastering is taking the final recording and, just like mixing would be taking individual elements of a song and making sure they’re well-balanced, mastering is taking all the individual songs and making sure they’re consistent for a full album. It’s the final polish and it’s very technical work — watching metering, adhering to standards for volume, and making the final corrections of any discrepancies in the audio. It’s kind of nerdy, but it’s the last step, and everyone needs a mastering engineer.
What do you recall from being picked for the 2015 Top 40?
It was a great thing to be picked. I found it a bit daunting going to the gala and being the music guy standing next to brain surgeons, like, ‘Hi, I make records!’ But it was certainly nice to feel like my industry was valued.
Anything new in your life since then?
One thing that has changed since then is I’ve gotten heavily in to the craft beer world. Home brewing, at first, and I’ve just taken on my first non-music job in over 20 years, working part-time as a brewer at Town Square Brewing. So I’ve got my music stuff and really gotten into brewing beer. It’s been super fun. I like making and tasting beverages. I sit on the executive board for the Edmonton Homebrewers Guild, sort of a brew club here.
In 2015 you said there’s not always consistent support for the Edmonton music scene. Any change on that front?
I think it’s still an issue. I think that’s always going to be a struggle, in Edmonton or anywhere, because I think that it gets harder and harder every day to maintain people’s attention. Everyone’s interests and tastes are ephemeral all the time. There’s so much information and entertainment coming at them.
But there’s still a strong music scene here. There are a lot of great bands and musicians, and I think there is support. What I was getting at then and still get at now is people have to continue paying attention. I don’t really believe in ‘support local because it’s local.’ Support local because it’s good. There are a lot of good bands here and they need people coming out to see them.
Catch Shout Out Out Out Out onstage as part of the Starlite Room’s 30th anniversary party, November 16.