A lot of people have been lucky to have found what they’re good at and incorporate it into their lives as a career or hobby. One of those lucky people is Ashwin “Smash” Seegobin. Animation and music production are his things and he’s found a way to blend that together in a recently released single called Road. The single is a collaborative effort between Jamaican dancehall artiste Reanno Devon “Busy Signal” Gordon, Smash and Badjohn Republic.
The song’s video has a retro video game feel and asks its viewers to insert coins as it begins. It then shows a futuristic big truck with music boxes. Throughout the video the lifeline of the animated characters Smash, Badjohn Republic and Busy Signal are seen on screen. The phrases Get Ready and Last Lap also flash on screen throughout the video.
The 35-year-old, British-born TT citizen got a degree in animation in 2006.
In 2011, he left the UK and came to TT. In the three years that he stayed in TT, he trained as an audio engineer with locally-developed music production company Precision Productions. There, he said, “I learnt the majority of my skills to work in the music industry and sustain a living through production and audio engineering.”
Seegobin is particularly proud of this video. “It's the first project where I have combined my passions of music, art and animation into one. It has been a long-term, personal goal of mine that I'm particularly proud of,” he said.
The Road has been four years in the making, with the animation taking 12 months to complete. Kyle Phillips of Badjohn Republic did the co-production on the song.
In 2014, Seegobin had recorded Busy Signal on a different beat but did not release that song.
“On my return to the UK I spoke to him and he said he no longer wanted to do that original track I recorded, however, he said, 'vocals are never wasted' and to work on it."
That was all the encouragement Seegobin needed to “go away and figure something out.”
In 2015 he began remaking the beat and trying different ideas. In 2016 he returned to TT and was in the studio again with Phillips.
He then played for him what he had done and they worked on it some more.
“That night was when we transformed the record to something completely different and we liked the direction it was going. We were under no time constraints or pressure, we were just having fun,” Seegobin said.
Seegobin said at the start of 2019, he and Phillips were getting close to completion, musically. “I started thinking about how to make this different. I’ve always wanted to combine my art/animation with my music and it just felt like the right time to do it.
“I spent a few days coming up with different concepts. I ended up choosing a video game for various reasons. The first being, I'm a big retro gamer. Having studied art and animation games play a big part in my growing up and development as a visual artist. The second reason was I wanted to express how I feel what Carnival is in respect to being an independent creative. A game you have to play well in order to survive or win,” he said.
Because of the complexity of 3D animation, he got help from Christopher Gibbons, a friend he studied animation with at university.
“We bounced ideas and worked on it for ten months until it was done.”
For him, it was not about creating a hit or competing with anyone.
Seegobin said he and Phillips were happy to have finished something that would have taken a very big team to complete.
“For us that’s a huge win. Personally it is a milestone in my career of being able to finally combine my art/animation into one project and doing it pretty much all on my own at such a high quality.”
He hopes this project can inspire young creatives who might be “caught between different disciplines” and who might not be sure as to exactly what their chosen path might be.
Seegobin wants creative young talents to know that it is okay to do multiple things. He also mentors at the Academy of Contemporary Music, UK, where he tutors young adults in music production, audio engineering and art.