Spotlight On: Darwin Derequito, Audio Engineer
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Hot off the heels of engineering Alessia Cara’s newest EP "This Summer", Darwin Derequito is making waves in both the mainstream music industry and the local Chicago community as an audio engineer. His goal? To make already good songs better. Call him the “salt bae”of sound production—with his quality touches enhancing the music experience, it allows for listeners to truly escape.
"I strongly believe that music is one of the doors to your soul."
Darwin compares being an audio engineer to that of a chef. Just as chefs use ingredients to enhance taste, engineers take what’s already given to them to enhance sound.
“The main goal is to make sure all the different sounds that make a track has its own space within the mix," he says. "My job is to make sure the listener can selectively hear EACH and EVERY instrument/vocal track while still being able to hear the final mix as one clean and cohesive sound.”
Authenticity is key, and Darwin’s work is meticulous in ensuring his songs are a three-dimensional experience. If you asked him to directly point out each and every nuance in a track, he’d easily tell you with no hesitation. Through layering vocals, remixing individual tracks, and going back to edit the beat to create key moments in the record, he is something of a mad scientist with an incredible amount of patience.
"I learned early on in my music career that I’m a better reciprocator than creator. For me, it takes a lot to create something from scratch. I'd rather have someone bring me their art which I can then add my own sauce to."
Darwin consistently makes an effort to put himself in the artist’s headspace when working on a song. Once he’s able to understand the "why," the "how" becomes much easier to execute.
“Nine times out of ten during the mixing process, I’ll always hear the clients tell me, ‘Man, I was gonna tell you do that, but you’re already doing it!'" he says. As a result, the end is something both personal and vulnerable to the artist while still being universal to the listener.
“Listening to something that someone else has created AND having it relate to me is a pretty amazing feeling," he says. "It’s the records that relate to me that come out to be my best mixes. It’s just confirmation that we’re all human at the end of the day and someone out there feels the same way.”
The intricacies and clarity in his mixes are reflective of how passionate Darwin is about music and his work. When he speaks, it’s obvious that he loves what he does and that he takes his time to make sure quality comes first.
Darwin finds that music allows for healing and connection through shared stories, “I strongly believe that music is one of the doors to your soul,” he says. For him to be able to carefully craft a piece of work for another artist while ensuring it’s both true to them and an honest reflection of himself is proof that he’s doing more than just making music—he’s offering doors and simply asking for us to knock.
Favorite part about the Chicago creative community?
Every Chicago artist has an amazing story behind them. No one's journey is the same. It's inspirational to know that people are still passionate about what they do so much that they find a way to make it their career. I feel like when we see each other thrive in this city, it motivates us to chase our dreams as well.
Favorite TV show?
Hands down my forever show will be "The Office." But as of recent, I've been obsessed with "Stranger Things." The cinematography in that show is amazing.
I like any drinks with some whiskey or bourbon. But low key, I’ve been on this White Claw wave currently. But I don’t know how long that will last. LOL.
Favorite Chicago artist?
I really like Saba. “CARE FOR ME” is one of my favorite albums of all time. (Speaking it into existence) I will work with him one day.
Favorite spot in Chicago? (can be a neighborhood, restaurant, bar, etc.)
Cozy Corner (Logan square one) always has a place in my heart. I’ve been eating there since I started working at Classick Studios.
"Spotlight On" is a bi-weekly series highlighting Chicago creatives with a twist. We share a slice of their stories and what they love, hoping to inspire and connect.
Words by Lolo Ramos