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Uprising: Logan Vines on Injecting “a Little Weird” into His Work


Another Country’s associate sound designer/mixer on practising and improving each part of life’s symphony until it’s “just right”, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

Uprising: Logan Vines on Injecting “a Little Weird” into His Work

“I vividly remember standing in the middle of our living room in awe of the ending of ‘A Day in the Life’ by The Beatles. That final chord still gives me goose bumps, and I continue to play it whenever presented with a new set of speakers.”

Logan Vines, now an award-winning associate sound designer/mixer at Cutters Studios’ ‘Another Country’ audio post house, has always been surrounded by music - be it the general soundtrack of his parents’ home or the living room floor-filling tracks at family parties. Also a percussionist, he says that his talent for drumming was spotted early on.

“My parents knew I would be a drummer. They recall me pounding my hands on my highchair as a baby and hitting pots and pans with wooden spoons as a toddler. They were incredibly supportive of my obsession (even if it meant many headaches in their future) and bought me my first drum set when I was 10. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Since then, Logan has played in a variety of ensembles, from classic rock cover bands to orchestras for musicals. In 2011, he also had the opportunity to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - “I even got to meet Santa!”

It’s this musical background that informs his professional work nowadays when sound designing or mixing. He says, “I try to use my understanding of rhythm when editing voiceovers, and chord structure when combining layers of a sound effect. I also find that it helps me to think of each sound as individual instruments that make up a larger ensemble.”

Logan first got his taste of the industry through his arts technology degree at Illinois State University, specialising in sound design and audio engineering. The program incorporated students from a variety of disciplines, allowing him to learn from and collaborate with “video editors, animators, musical theatre folks, computer programmers, and more,” somewhat simulating the diverse advertising and post-production worlds he would eventually enter after graduating in 2015.

He took his initial steps into the industry proper as a summer intern at ARU (Audio Recording Unlimited) in Chicago, where he got his first ‘real look’ into audio post-production, whilst taking on as many freelance jobs as he could. “I figured out quickly that it’s important to keep learning and to be proactive about your own growth,” he says. “Without sounding too much like a quote on the internet: growth requires effort - and I’m always reminding myself to put in that effort.”

A year of hard work and dedication later, Logan was given the opportunity to join Another Country. Already impressed by the team’s reputation for its quality and range of work, his first meeting with the company’s managing director, Tom Konn, only confirmed his suppositions and solidified his intentions to join the company’s “great culture”. 

He says, “I was beyond excited. Since then, Another Country has maintained that reputation while also adapting to the changes in the industry and the world as a whole. Having the entire team as my collective mentor over the past six years has allowed me to grow and learn from the best, while challenging me to adapt right alongside them.” Adapting to new scenarios is a skill that brings Logan back to his collegiate salad days, reminding him of “terrifying” on-location sound projects and getting his brothers to help him practice operating a boom mic - all significant learning experiences that shaped the confidence he has in his craft today. 

In 2019, Logan was awarded ‘The Lev’, the grand-prize award at the AICP’s ‘Camp Kuleshov’ competition - a contest that celebrates the contributions of assistant editors, audio mixers/sound designers and VFX artists from AICP member companies. Describing the annual show as a “great opportunity” for assistants to show the industry what they can do and to challenge themselves, Logan says, “Being recognised by the industry was a really big moment for me. My winning piece was also a creative outlet, so not only did it help to boost my confidence as a sound designer, but it really recharged my love of what I do.”

Being able to work on a more personal project is something of a luxury for the busy sound designer, who takes a lot of pride in working on pieces that advocate for a good cause or allow him to be “a small part of something bigger.” Finding the balance between developing personal and professional projects can be a challenge, however. He also enjoys the longer form projects where he can exist in a world with its characters for a prolonged time, although he says that he likes to find a happy medium between long-form work and the fulfilling challenge of ad work.

“Commercial work brings its own set of creative challenges, like needing to be more confident in your decisions and making the most impact with the time you’re given. I really enjoy both commercial and long-form work, and love being in a place where I get to do both.”

One of his more recent long-form projects is a web series that Logan sound designed earlier this year, called ‘Turf Valley’ - a comedy series that centres around three stay-at-home dads dealing with life's dilemmas. Describing his input on the show, he says, “The director wanted this neighbourhood to feel and sound realistic, but just a little weird, or a little blown out of proportion. Deciding how and when to let a little bit of the weird out when sound designing was a lot of fun - and a great artistic challenge.”

When he’s not adding ‘a little weird’ to his work or tackling the trials of commercial sound design, Logan likes to get outdoors as much as possible - running, cycling and disc golfing - or spending time with family in Northern Wisconsin, boating in summer and snowmobiling in winter. When he’s recovering inside after his action-filled activities, he collects records, obsesses over the MCU and plays video games with his wife.

Still a musician at heart, he gets satisfaction from the constant improvement and development of self that he achieves through hard work and dedication to his craft, family and hobbies. Translating his perseverance in his musical studies into all aspects of life, he says that his motivation can be found in a desire to simply keep improving.

“Whether in my professional career or in my everyday life, I enjoy getting to see the incremental changes develop over time. Just like practising a piece of music over and over and trying to fix one small thing at a time until you get it just right, I’m now striving to do that in my mixing career.”

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Cutters Studios, Thu, 13 Oct 2022 15:53:00 GMT