Johnny Gasparic spent many years as a professional musician, but now works behind the scenes with artists as a sound engineer at MCC Recording Studio.

The transition from touring Canada to working in a studio was not expected by Gasparic, but he has used his expertise in the field to help other bands achieve success.

“My ultimate goal for being in music was to be a famous musician playing in front of 20,000 to 40,000 people every night,” Gasparic says.

“Obviously not everyone gets that opportunity.”

Gasparic acquired his love of music from his parents and grew up playing weddings and cabarets with his family’s band.

Originally from Croatia, Gasparic was raised with influences from his ethnic background as well as Canadian country music during his youth in Regina, Sask.

In 1988, Gasparic came to Calgary with the intent of forming a band; and playing gigs.

After falling in love with the local music scene he went on to play with many different country musicians and bands; including Charlie Major and The Poverty Plainsmen.

“It definitely has made me a way better musician live, knowing how I want my sound to be and what to play and what not to play, and how to help out the other musicians around you too.” – Johnny Gasparic says.

While Gasparic had a great experience touring and playing as a musician, he became interested in behind-the-scenes work on songs and albums doing sound engineering.

A sound engineer’s job is to adjust and edit a recording to produce a commercial/radio-quality track.

“I had a passion for the creativity part of music. I still like to play live, but I liked the producing side of it where you’re actually arranging songs and helping other bands or artists with their visions on what they’re trying to do.”

Gasparic’s job is to make sure a track is perfected before it is released. His ear is trained to hear inconsistencies and distortions that may be recorded, then use high-end equipment to fine-tune the song.

Gasparic’s skill as a sound engineer, and his work with MCC Recording Studio has been acknowledged by specialists in the profession.

Gasparic had a song nominated for a Grammy, and he and the studio have won multiple Canadian Country Music Awards and Western Canadian Music Awards.

MCC Recording Studio was opened by Dave Temple, who spent many years as a professional musician and felt that his experience in the music business as an artist would be beneficial to other musicians wanting to record albums.

As the studio began receiving more exposure, Temple decided Gasparic would be the best fit for the position of engineer and producer.

Gasparic will have been with the studio for nine years this March.Gasparic with MCC Recording Studio owner Dave Temple, displaying the unique and eccentric atmosphere that characterizes the studio. Photo by Stevie Savage.

They became a power duo ー Temple scouted artists he felt would work well with the studio, and brought them to record with Gasparic.

Temple says he is very impressed with the work Gasparic has done over the years.  

“He’s very creative. He’s an extremely excellent musician, great producer, great engineer and I just find that he’s very very inspiring. He really inspires artists ー so he’s amazing.”

One of the challenges faced working with a professional recording studio is competing with technology that allows musicians to record their own tracks.

Gasparic explains that many musicians choose to produce their demos at home, and advanced recording technology on laptops can hurt their business.

“One of the advantages to what we do is that I currently have over 20 years of experience, and we also have a very good rapport with what kind of music we record for radio quality.”

Gasparic and Temple have started a program at MCC called Artist Development, which aims to help new musicians find record deals or management.

Gasparic describes how many recordings never get used because of the difficulties artists face with getting discovered.

“When you’re an independent artist starting out, you definitely need guidance and help on where to go and who to work with ーit’s a really tough business.”

Mikaila Cooper is one of the artists that Gasparic has helped develop. The 24 year-old Calgary native was discovered by Temple while judging Ranchman’s Rising Star Competition ー Cooper won “Best Original Song.”

Temple introduced Cooper to Gasparic and the artist now credits Gasparic with helping her evolve as a musician.

“Working with him as a developing artist was the greatest thing that I probably could have done, and I wish I could have started my career recording with him, because his leniency and approach at recording is not so much, ‘This is what I hear,’ it’s like, ‘This is what we hear.’”

Cooper has put out three singles produced by Gasparic ー most recently, Boys Got A Girlfriend, ー which have made the Top 100 on the Canadian music chart BDS Billboard.

“He lets you figure it out. He doesn’t tell you. He helps you grow and gives you the tools, and then makes you use them instead of just building it for you.”

Throughout his career as a sound engineer, Gasparic has worked with many different genres of music which he credits in helping him grow as a musician, as he continues to play weekend gigs.

“It definitely has made me a way better musician live, knowing how I want my sound to be and what to play and what not to play and how to help out the other musicians around you too.”

Gasparic believes working as a sound engineer has allowed him to understand music better and has opened his eyes to how complex music really is.

ssavage@cjournal.ca

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Editor: Kendra Crighton | kcrighton@cjournal.ca