Bachelor's degree in digital music
- In a few words, how would you describe yourself?
My name is Samuel Villagomez, I’m a DJ, music producer and composer, a mixer and sound designer, and also a technical director and lighting designer. I’m of Québec and Peruvian origin, and I’ve done classical training in cello and piano. The last few years I’ve had the chance to experiment with a number of families of synthesizers, like the Moog, Oberheim, EMS and Kobol, and to start playing jazz bass and classical guitar.
- Could you talk to us briefly about your music career?
When I was younger I did classical music at F.A.C.E. School, and I continued my studies at Joseph-François-Perrault high school. Then I turned to audiovisual at Cégep du Vieux-Montréal. And after that a bachelor's in digital music at Université de Montréal, which I finished as a two-semester exchange student in Composition and Sound Arts in the United Kingdom, at the University of Huddersfield, followed by an internship at La Hacienda Creative.
- What did you like most about the institution where you did your exchange program?
At the University of Huddersfield, in Yorkshire, in northern England, I enjoyed the teachers, the free access to the studios every day, to the concert hall and to all the recording equipment. I also spent a lot of time in the digital and analogue synthesizers room. I really liked the fact that, in their approach, I was able to work in a style of music specific to myself, and that led me to collaborate with several musicians who were studying pop music.
- Did you do any studies whose existence or usefulness you never would have suspected before?
I discovered the Moogs, in particular the Moog Voyager, and from that I developed a passion for analogue synthesizers. I also learned just how much an acoustically well designed hall and a well calibrated and positioned sound system can become an indispensable tool for mixing and producing music in the studio.
- How has this exchange experience left a mark on your life?
As part of the course on sound composition for video games, I had the chance to visit La Hacienda Creative, composer Brian d’Oliveira’s studio. The next year I got an internship there in order to finish my program. I spent seven months working fulltime on several video games, including the last Resident Evil Village! I’d say that Brian marked my life because he showed me how to play just about any instrument a little bit, to produce and mix ambitious instrumental projects.
- Is there a particular experience you had during your exchange that, in your view, is unforgettable?
The Amsterdam Dance Event. I took off one weekend with a friend to Amsterdam as part of the electronic music conference to do research, and to hook up with my brother, who was following his best friend, Apashe, on tour. We found ourselves backstage at an electro/dubstep show, where I met several artists that I’d listened to as a teenager, like F.O.O.L. I made friends with Ben Dunkerley of the English duo COMANAVAGO, after we realized we’d received quite a similar electroacoustic education at our respective universities, and I also made friends with the Japanese DJ Vic Yamamoto.
- Describe an ambitious (or completely crazy!) project you’ve worked on.
Let Love Be, my first disco house single with AURÈLIA. It was ambitious because I worked with a number of musicians during my exchange in the United Kingdom and when I got back to Montréal. When my brother listened to Let Love Be, he was immediately inspired to make my first music video. I also found a record company in the United States for my first release, and last September organized a successful launch for it.
- What do you retain from your time studying abroad?
You have to travel! There’s so much to discover. I was able to fully indulge my passion even though I had to come back four months early because of COVID-19. I’d do it again any time!