6 Dec 2023

Recording the magic, and making some of his own

From Three to Seven, 4:00 pm on 6 December 2023
RNZ sound engineer Adrian Hollay

Adrian Hollay Photo: Supplied

There's no such thing as a typical work day for RNZ Concert sound engineer Adrian Hollay.

Speaking to his Concert colleague, Three to Seven host Bryan Crump, he says that's one of the reasons he loves his job so much.

RNZ Sound Engineer Adrian Hollay in action.

Photo: Adrian Hollay

Hollay is one of the people who captures the musical magic of a live concert or studio recording, bottles it up in a mixing desk and sends it down the line and over the airwaves to your own listening device.

His office is often not a desk but the Auckland Town Hall, where you'll find him lowering microphones from the ceiling to dangle above the many and varied instruments of a typical symphonic concert.

And while the music's playing, he's sitting at a mixing desk making sure the what's going to air is balanced right.

(l to r) Sound engineers Darryl Stack, Adrian Hollay and Graham Kennedy

Might need to push the bassoon up a bit boys! RNZ recording engineers, left to right: Darryl Stack, Adrian Hollay and Graeme Kennedy. Photo: David McCaw

"It's not normal work hours. I tend to work late or for a long time during the day, and when I take the recordings back to the studio everything is slightly different every time you work on a new project."

Hollay got into sound engineering via music, and like many sound engineers continues to make music in his spare time.

As a teenager, he played piano in a German folk punk band with an unpronounceable and untranslatable name, and he wanted to record them.

Hollay was working behind the bar at a music venue and managed to "get friendly" with the sound team.

That gave him the confidence to enrol in a Master's in Sound Engineering course in New Zealand.

Luckily for us, he met his partner while studying here, and decided to stay after he graduated.

Cover art for the Bosker album Atmosphere

Photo: Supplied

Hollay has been creating soundscapes for Auckland theatre productions for over a decade, but his latest musical outlet is the project he calls 'Bosker' which he describes as "Melodic Neo-Classical Electronic Music".

The word 'bosker' comes from the 19th century goldfields of Australia and New Zealand and means 'great' or 'fabulous'.

"My [Kiwi] father-in-law came up with it one day when we were talking... since then it's just been a word game between the two of us."

Bosker's latest release is called Atmosphere and features the talents of Hollay on keyboards, Sarah Curro playing electric violin, and Andrew Uren playing bass clarinet.

Adrian Hollay with his gold award from the New York Festivals Radio Awards for his engineering work with Rob Ruha and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, in a concert first broadcast last year. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Meanwhile, Hollay continues preparing for future recordings and broadcasts. His next assignment is this weekend, capturing some of the action at the Lewis Eady International Piano Festival.

If you want to hear more of Hollay's Bosker work, click here.