(... no caption needed... except this one.)
"I was wondering, to become an audio engineer, a successful one, what is the best path to take?"
- Posted by scotty17
This question was posted on the gearslutz forum a few days ago, and it's a question I get asked often by upcoming engineers, producers, bands, and artists... what is the best path to take to be successful in the recording or the music industry in general? Of all the answers I've given over the years, basing "success" solely on being able to do what you love for a living, I think what Greg from UBK/KushAudio said is bang on. Something worth reading a couple times a year. Sure raw talent has been removed from the equation but, it's grounding, honest, and motivating... and always nice to hear someone say out loud in the real world.
"so I'm a junior in high school, and I have both experience with pro tools and logic pro. I've been working on learning EQ, compression, and all the basics of engineering the last two years. I asked someone I know who went to one of those two year audio engineering schools, if it was a good career choice, he said it wasn't. he really isn't doing very much with his life right now. I was wondering, to become an audio engineer, a successful one, what is the best path to take? like self teaching yourself, going to an engineering college, etc. advice/feedback is much appreciated."
- Posted by scotty17
"This is kinda common sense to me, but I'm more than double your age and shit gets clearer as you get older so here's my 2 cents: the best path to take is the one you're able to take. It's that simple.
Is there anything in front of you that resembles a choice you can make, anything that gets you to a place that in some small, nearly impossible-to-recognize way, looks like it could maybe be one step closer to where you want to go? If so, make that choice and push forward.
If there doesn't seem to be any such choice in front of you, then there's no path at the moment, so there's nothing to think about or worry about. You can try to create something, make calls, get the word out, do favors, be of service, cozy up to local musicians, whatever. You'd be surprised what volunteering at a hospital can do for you. But mostly, keep your eyes open, because life has a way of cracking open doors so quietly and so far to your left that it's easy to miss if you're over focused on something that's actually a distraction or trying too hard to force a reality whose time isn't yet here.
Try to get out in the world, meet people, talk to people, and be generous with yourself, because other people are always the key to the next steps on your path. It's true now, it'll be true when you're 105. Relationships are everything, like-minded souls are worth their weight in gold. Never burn bridges, if you gotta walk away do so with peace and forgiveness in your heart, cuz we've all been the asshole and the liar too and we will be again so none of us are innocent, none of us can ever claim any moral high ground. How we end relationships and how we treat people we don't like says more about our character than anything else. Be humble but confident, stay focused on the greater good for everyone's benefit, and your reputation will be your currency as you navigate life.
And by all means, do what the fµck you need to do with your life. It's the only one you got, and despite what your mind would have you believe that energy flowing thru your veins is fragile and can get yanked away or deeply compromised at any moment without notice or mercy, so take none of it for granted.
The only difference between people who've made it and people who haven't is... there's no difference. They're all just people, same as me and you, so give it everything you've got. Playing it safe is actually the riskiest play to make; calculated risk is essential to manifesting anything worth manifesting.
Get ready to fail. Repeatedly. It's not just inevitable... it's essential to success.
Gregory Scott - ubk"
(... this is how we do it.)
The 2012 London Olympics are underway, the Parabelle album is done, and I'll say it… I'm already looking forward to the outdoor rinks opening here, downtown Toronto. I like the warm weather too, but downtown it's not a nice heat in my books… it's muggy… I've been very grateful to have a shower at the studio lately… and some AC. It looks so nice outside… until I open the window... and it's like opening the oven... and that oven is cookin' up somethin' fierce on public transit.
So July… I spent the first week and a half out west playing drums with Age Of Days. They gave me the heads up they had some shows opening for James Durban, and Buckcherry. Sounds good to me. I kept a daily journal which I'll post at some point (yes... along with my Juno journal I've yet to finish posting), but in short, I've never had so much fun on tour in my life.
For the most part, when you really break it down, being in a band isn't a lot of fun... unless you strictly do it for fun.
(Turds Of Misery... doin' it for fun, seriously, circa forever.)
It's long hours, tons of costs, little respect, shitty pay, drama, egos, no sleep, bad food, lost/stolen stuff, general "surprises", you name it... and most of what being out on the road really is can test you mentally and physically. The biggest part of how well things go, are the people around you.
Want to know the type of people you're with? See how they (naturally) act and react when they're tired, hungry, late for something, hilariously early for something, have something stolen/go missing, someone intentionally offends and/or disrespects them, or some unforeseeable hiccup happens and you're seemly up the creek. Really quick, you'll know who's a team player.
(There's 5 of us and you only got one hotel room?!)
Ten days isn't long, but going out long enough you feel the need to do laundry is often long enough to know what kind of people you're with. Up there with getting a quality recording, doing a quick tour sooner than later is important for long term goals and can save some serious time and headaches down the road.
Again, I'll post up the journal at some point but in short, it was such a fun group to hang with… tons of laughs, tons of breakfasts, lots of rock… good times.
Oh… another thing while I'm thinking of it… I'm very grateful I still get the opportunity to play.
There's lots of studio folk who've come from a playing background, but never get back on stage for one reason or another. One of the reasons I was excited to get out and play was to really remember what it's like for when I'm talking to bands. Anybody who knows me, knows I can spew an endless supply of thoughts and opinions, but most of the time (biased opinion here), I know what I'm talking about... and at the very least, and more importantly, I have their best interests in mind and only trying to help.
An easy approach to leading or coaching is to "never shoot the ball". The fear of loosing the ears and eyes of your players from missing the shot, since you know, it's so easy if you just do what I say, outweighs leading by example.
In most cases... I'd say that's a problem.
(... tell tale sign of bad leadership right here.)
I've never (ok, very rarely) been afraid to try and express an idea on an instrument, any instrument, no matter how shitty it may sound. Sometimes it takes a second, but I know I'll get close enough to get my idea across. This is something I encourage EVERY member of the band to get comfortable with. I'm not saying we need to start allowing the bass players to start writing the songs here *cough* but if you're going to talk the talk, it's important to have walked the walk or at least willing to try. I'd never ask a band or artist to play or do something I wouldn't feel comfortable being on stage along side… and that's including 3 children's albums!
The future of professional studio folk are still musicians, writers, and performers at heart… we just happen to have recording and production chops as well.
K… done talking about that now. Tour was awesome… kinda want to get back out again… although there's lots of records to be made and projects on the table these days… we'll see what happens... Age of Days has a new single coming out next month... we'll see... I had fun.
The new Parabelle album is done.
(... I understand that car.)
We finished it up last week and I swear... for a few days after it was "done" done… I still felt like I should be working on it. It's different when the band isn't located here since there's no real, final hurrah or final push to get it done. We listen, make comments, make changes, rinse/repeat a couple times and then it's done. It won't be long until it'll be up on torrents and I'll be using Google translate to read comments on Russian metal forums.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out though… I love the first single (it came together last minute in the control room one evening), and I LOVE the lyric video Kevin did for it. He's so creative and has so tons of ideas… I honestly hope he gets to see all of them through. Time, money and resources are always a factor with any creative, but I think the success of Parabelle's Kickstarter has really hit home that people are listening, wanting, waiting. People will invest in good ideas, and they will invest and support artists. It gets down to vision, momentum and timing… and getting your head out of the sand (or your ass… or other peoples asses) long enough to know when the iron is hot.
(... bang on.)
You can check out the new single here… so far the fan reaction has been great and perhaps leave a comment and let me know what you think. I've been getting some more interest from other bands, labels, and management since it came out as well to mix their stuff or work together down the road. They don't care we're from different cities (or countries for that matter)… just a sign of the times… and it's great to see it's becoming less and less a factor.
I took a quick trip up to the cottage with the lady and the folks mid month… did some fishing, lots of eating… and a fair amount of paddle boating. I love paddle boats… I need that on a shirt.
The rest of the month I did some spec mixes for a couple albums and an EP… got them all, so now it's about trying to make them all fit… thankfully they all have staggered deadlines.
I also started working with an artists named Morgan Sadler over the weekend. She was shopping around for producers (#DearBands, it's called doing your homework) and ended up coming by the studio to meet on a referral from Dell at OfTheBearBooking. The vibe was great and soon after she dumped about 30 demos in my inbox to pick from. Awesome. Pre-production went super smooth and similar to the kids albums, she's trusting me to "be the band", which is something I have a blast doing.
The goal is to finish the 3-4 tunes with Morgan next month (August), get fixing/mixing some other projects, and run up to the cottage once or twice more… if I can edit at the lake, I'm going to.
(July... good times.)
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!