Less than five years ago, Olivia Quan didn’t even know how to wrap a cable.
Now, she’s the head recording engineer at Monarch Studios in Vancouver. And she credits this astonishing rise to her education at Nimbus School of Recording & Media, which offers 12-month diploma programs to students interested in learning about audio engineering, electronic music production, live sound mixing and recording, post and game audio production, and advanced studio production.
“A lot of people I went to school with ended up in the postproduction world, so I have quite a few friends who work in film and quite a few friends who work in game audio,” Quan told the Straight by phone. “Podcasts are huge right now, so there is also lots of work for sound designers in that field.”
Nimbus also offers 16-month diplomas in advanced audio engineering and studio production and advanced studio and electronic music production, along with a 12-month intro to the music industry diploma, an eight-month advanced music industry diploma, and a four-month certificate in artist development.
Quan, also a teaching assistant at Nimbus, stated that she feels she’s an example for anyone who might doubt their ability due to a lack of knowledge.
When she was enrolled, there were a maximum of eight people in each class. Tuesdays through Thursdays were instructional days, with Monday and Friday set aside for practical work.
Initially, she planned to take the business program and become a tour manager. But the admissions adviser told her that she would be a really good fit for the audio program. Within six months, she was interning at a studio.
“I ended up switching out of the business program to take advanced production and decided that I needed to make records for the rest of my life,” Quan said.
Nimbus is an elite music and media technical school with courses taught by industry professionals as well as award nominees and award winners in the music industry. It was cofounded by GGGarth Richardson in honour of his father, legendary producer Jack Richardson, who produced more than 240 albums, 27 Billboard-charted singles, and more than 20 Billboard-charted albums that received 38 gold and platinum awards.
GGGarth Richardson has worked with some of the biggest names in the music business, including Rage Against the Machine, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Taylor Swift. In addition, he worked on K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag”, which won the 2011 Juno for single of the year.
Another Nimbus cofounder, Bob Ezrin, has worked for some of the same artists as well as Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Pink Floyd, U2, Green Day, and Rod Stewart, among others. Ezrin also produced Fade to Black, which starred Jay-Z and Beyoncé.