SweetGig_2.jpg

SweetGig_2.jpg

In an office filled with state-of-the-art speakers, mixing boards, computers and keyboards, the Quebec-raised Baril reminisces about his early twenties. He describes settling in Vancouver after an ill-advised jaunt to Australia and Thailand, where he fell victim to a scam that left him penniless. “I was 23,” he recalls. “I didn’t quite know what to do. I got a few odd jobs. I worked at the French consulate, and I tried selling $1,500 vacuums door to door.” Not much of a salesman, he decided to return to his teenage passion: music. It had been years since he’d taken a guitar lesson, so he enrolled in Vancouver Community College’s music program to brush up on his skills. “It was kind of a late start,” he admits. Soon he was getting up at five in the morning to practice scales, writing for the college jazz band and applying to composition school. As luck would have it, he got friendly with a bassist who also worked as a sound programmer for what was then a small video-game company. “One day he said, ‘Hey, we need music for this game. I can’t do it. Maybe you’d be interested?’” Baril recalls. He got the contract, wowed everybody and was promptly offered a job, which he juggled with a composition degree at UBC. That was 16 years ago. “Back then it was a smaller company, and the guys were all single,” he remembers with a laugh. “You’d go to work on Saturday night at 11 p.m. and everybody would be there. There’d be people walking around barefoot with their dogs. It was just crazy.” Things have got a little more organized since then, but the dress code remains casual. In his shorts, hiking boots and ball cap, Baril looks totally at home amid piles of sheet music. When he first landed in Vancouver, he remembers, “I’d lost everything. My ego was majorly bruised and I didn’t know what I was going to do.” Looking back, the 41-year-old realizes he played the game just right.