A few words about my background, experiences and inspirations.
Malta -> London -> Germany -> Malta
Xekill-ton is a sound design studio and R&D lab run and managed by myself, Bernard Camilleri. I juggle between working as a live sound engineer and running Xekill-ton studio. I’m into all things audio but I mostly like to record random objects and observe their acoustic behaviour, and I like designing sound for different kinds of media, mostly games and animations.
Here’s a brief overview of my background, credentials and experiences.
- Graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Audio Production & Engineering in early 2016 from Middlesex University after studying at SAE Institute in Berlin between 2013 and 2016.
- Completed my thesis research at Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT) in Ilmenau Germany on the subject of room simulations in object-based audio applications.
- Published and presented a technical paper at the AES 142nd International Convention in Berlin (May 2017) with the collaboration of Fraunhofer IDMT based on my thesis research.
- Completed an electronic music production course at SAE Institute in London in 2009.
- Recorded, mixed and mastered several artists and bands of different genres, including punk, oriental, psychedelic and gypsy jazz, and also recorded and mixed a 25-piece orchestra in surround as part of a school project.
- Interned as an assistant recording engineer at Riverside Studios Berlin during the Spring/Summer period of 2015.
- Worked as boom recorder and mixer on two small film productions in collaboration with the Konward Wolf Babelsberg University in Berlin.
Apart from my studio work, I currently also work as a live sound engineer with a local company and have worked on a myriad of events including small and big-scale concerts, theatre productions, conferences and small gigs. Some artists/productions that I have worked with include the London Sinfonietta (UK), Puerto Flamenco (ESP) and Ultima Vez (BEL) for the Malta Arts Festival 2017; ABAJI (FR/LEB); Bolshoi theatre (RUS); Cadaveria (ITA) and Aeranea (GER) for the VOTS 2016 festival, and was monitor engineer for Lacuna Coil at their Delirium Tour start in Malta, amongst others.
I am also an associate member of the Audio Engineering Society.
What inspires me most musically and artistically? I would say cities, Boards of Canada, people, Massive Attack, music in general, thunder, history, everyday occurrences, learning new things, occasional movies, art, and people, such as Ben Burtt, Chris Watson, George Massenburg and David Griesinger.
Apart from my strong interest in sound, I have other interests in world history, the environment and technological developments.
Origins and Aims of the Studio
The idea of starting this studio came while I was living and studying sound engineering in Berlin between 2013 and 2015. While doing so I got more into the art and techniques of recording instruments and sounds (since prior to that I was more into electronic music production), and gradually got more interested in observing the behaviour of everyday objects and the sounds they produce around us, which forms our acoustic ecology.
This was more evident when I moved from Berlin to Ilmenau (pictured below) in Germany to work on my thesis. From a busy industrial city to a small town in the middle of the Thüringen forest filled with natural wildlife sounds.
The change in lifestyle becomes immensely evident when doing such a drastic change. During the four months that I stayed there I developed a better understanding of what sound is, both while I was working on my thesis and widening my knowledge on the subject of acoustics and also during my free time walking through the forest and appreciating the environment around me. From all of these everyday experiences, such as meeting with artists of different styles and backgrounds and making friends from a myriad of countries from all around the world, studying, hanging out a different places and clubs and working at various locations, I developed the idea of starting this studio in Malta with a unique purpose: that of promoting the importance of everyday sounds around us and sound in general. This is achieved by offering my professional sound design services primarily to game developers and animation artists, and through artistic projects, collaborations and research projects.
I decided to put my primary focus on game sound design, firstly because I think it is a very exciting field to work in due to the different applications that games can have, especially with today’s technologies, and also because it is a very rewarding field which can give immediate feedback to the work being done. There is also no sound design studio on the island that specifically caters to game developers. Apart from that there is also no local institute that’s doing R&D in the fields of sound and acoustics. This studio thereby aims to make up for these deficiencies in our local artistic and cultural sector.
The name of the studio originates from the English name Shackelton, which has two references. From one part it’s the name of the RAF maritime patrol aircraft Avro Shackelton. On the other hand, it originates from the name Ernest Shackelton, a British polar explorer. Re-arrange the name to the Maltese language and you get Xe-kill-ton (pronounced the same as Sha-ckel-ton). I chose this name primarily due to my appreciation of the aviation industry, and apart from that I wanted to choose a word that had or could fit the word ‘ton’, which in German means sound (inspired to use this word while living in Germany). Incidentally, Shackelton fitted perfectly with my wishes and idea. As can be expected, the logo and designs of the studio are based on the mighty and beautiful Avro Shackelton itself (designed by my good friend and talented artist Artourette).