Here are the job opportunities (or as we like to call them, Grind Opps) from this week's show.
DJ IZ: What’s up, ya’ll? You’re here hanging with me, DJ IZ, on Connected, coming to you live here from Atlanta, Georgia. For those of you just catching us, you can catch us here every Monday, 11 AM Pacific Standard Time, whether I’m moving, grooving, Miami, New York, LA, as of now Atlanta. We’re on the go, on the run. You can also catch us and track us on our day-to-day on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Great way to just kind of keep up to what got going on a day-to-day basis. I’m usually posting a lot of pics, a lot of information, that I can for you guys to kind of get an inside on what I do on my day-to-day. So, this is actually our second episode, so for those of you that missed the last one, you missed a great one. But it’s never too late, so let me update you.
This show is pretty much a show that allows you to be connected to opportunities that best suit your skills, your passion in the workplace. What’s different about it is it’s job opportunities that nobody else has access to. So, you know, like I always say, this is a road that is very, very small, and everybody is chomping at the same bit. This kind of makes it a little bit more tangible and reachable for you guys to actually have the access to. And you can only apply through this show, which is IZConnected, which is also all of our media social handles, is IZConnected. So check it out. Before I get into my fine grind ops for the day, I want to take the time to introduce my great friend and guest Mr. Ryan Cecil. So I’m just going to tell them for you.
So Ryan is my man because he makes sure that Sonic, we were all dialed in, he does front in-house now for Usher. He’s done monitors for Dre and Eminem in a live sound setting. So, yeah, I thought it’d be a great idea to have him here. We got a couple grind-ops on the table that actually have to do with live sound. So man, how long you been going, Ryan?
Ryan Cecil: About 20 years, Iz.
IZ: Twenty years?
Ryan: Yeah I know, I look good. But it’s been that long.
IZ: Twenty years. What is that journey been like for you, as far as… the number one question that always comes up is, how do you even end up in these places to excel at doing what it is you do, which is live sound?
Ryan: Yeah, I took kind of the old route where I started in a local venue in Boston. I was fortunate enough to at a really young age started working with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
IZ: Oh, dope.
Ryan: And doing sound with those guys there in Symphony Hall in Boston. You know, learning the ins and outs and really what acoustic music sounds like live. I didn’t come from a musician background; I didn’t play anything; I can’t sing, but I came from sitting in a beautiful hall, listening to a live orchestra play.
Ryan: It really dials in on what the sound of instruments should be.
IZ: Right, right. So would you say for whoever is out there who’s looking to do live sound, is it one of those things where you kind of just want to scout out your talent and see where your live venues are and kind of just get in that way? And kind of just, you know, network? What is that presentation look like as far as being in that environment? How do you present yourself and just the overall experience?
Ryan: I think it’s like anything else, it is how you carry yourself, how you present yourself, confidence, the one thing I wish I knew back then what I know now is, I don’t know everything. I knew everything back then, at 17, 18 years old.
IZ: Right, right.
Ryan: I definitely knew it all, but you learn after a while, man, I don’t know anything. I’m learning every single day with a lot of new stuff. But for me it was just, it was being in the venue, working the venue, meeting people on maybe on a genre of music or a style of artist that I don’t want to necessarily work for, but they may be connected to somebody else.
IZ: Got you.
Ryan: That’s how I got started.
Ryan: You know, a band called The Chieftains was in town, a Celtic band, not something I really wanted to tour with, not something… they do a lot of touring anyways, at their age. But their management connected me to Nora Jones…
IZ: Oh, wow.
Ryan: …when she was just starting out, and I followed with her. It was a great little jump in the industry.
Ryan: I got lucky.
IZ: That’s crazy man, because when you say 20 years, that’s a hell of a journey and I think too, like you said, you really never stop learning. Even in a venue aspect, every venue is different, every venue sounds different, every artist likes their music to be heard different in a live setting. So, just the fact that you’re just constantly able to evolve and learn and grow. I tell people all the time, man, it’s like I don’t know everything still. I mean, I just know what to look for. I know how to navigate through these different experiences and really just be prepared for the moments that come where it requires your skill and your craft. So, man, that’s awesome.
So guys, actually that’s really, really extremely dope, privileged information. And I always say, it takes a certain amount of time, it takes years to actually be somebody who can acquire all that information and actually be able to share it. So, without further ado we’re going to get to the exciting piece of the show, which is our grind-out, because I know everybody’s like, “Man, where’s the job? Where’s the jobs?”
Ryan: “What’s in on this guy?”
IZ: So before we get into our first one, make sure you have your notes, your pens, your pads, so you can actually jot down this information, because I actually got some really, really detailed information about these grind op shows this week. So I want to make sure you guys are able to capture all of that and jot it down.
So our first grind op of the day is grind op five. Let’s see here. All right, this is in the field of recording. This is an awesome internship with a heavy weight producer who’s worked with artists such as Gwen Stefani, Panic, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, and more. And this job op is actually located in Los Angeles. So, this producer is actually — this is Gerald Rodem [SP] and this is for an internship with an incredible opportunity. This would be one of the most best opportunities available out there for our A students who are obviously in the recording connection. When he says internship, I’m assuming this could either be a runner, assistant engineer, or whatever it is that he is actually looking for.
You know, the great thing with this opportunity is this obviously is an opportunity that isn’t available to just anybody. And I think, overall in this kind of setting, it’s really about just knowing how to read the room, how to read the environment. And really just making yourself over-available, because this is an internship where you can possibly land a solid gig or become a producer’s right-hand man. I know, just working with various producers, when they actually find a guy they like, they don’t let him go for nothing, because they build a solid chemistry and a routine. So, that’s a crazy, crazy opportunity.
And one of the things, being in a room at that level with those kind of artists, you never want to seem like you’re a groupie. You don’t want to have your phone out. You don’t want to be taking pictures. You don’t want to be doing any of that. You kind of just want to be a sponge and a fly on the wall and absorb everything you possibly can in that environment. So, make sure you take all the info down on that one because that’s a huge one for you guys out there, all right?
We’re going to move on to a job op and grind op number four. This is in live sound, this is live shows for Balcony TV for acts like Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, and Edward Sharp. And this again is in Los Angeles, California. So let me give you a little more details on that one. You can actually check out their website, which is www.BalconyTV.com. They’ve had previous bands such as Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, and Edward Sharp. Being able to engineer for these kinds of bands and network is going to be valuable for anyone who gets this gig, and I totally agree. What do you think about this particular job op?
Ryan: This is a great one, just being able to get out, you get your face in front of these acts and let them hear what you do. It’s a great way to network yourself.
IZ: Now how important is it for a guy like you to know different genres of sound? Let’s say, you’re dealing with a band who’s got a six-piece and then you might be dealing with a guy who’s, it’s just him, and let’s say, a guitar player, an acoustic set. How important is it just knowing those different aspects of sound in this particular environment?
Ryan: It just makes yourself more marketable, and anything. Even like a gig like we’re on right now where we go from playing a full band with the full show to an acoustic sometimes, or maybe just a piano the other day. Being able to do all that stuff and already have a basis in this is really important. So, a job like this, where you’re working with different artists all the time coming in, and you’re going to be working with top engineers. You’re going to have guys coming in, you go touring with these artists. Ed Sheeran’s guys, his shows sound unbelievable. You’ve got this guy coming in, you can pick his brain. Most of these guys are willing to work with you, willing to talk to you. They love talking about what they do. So you get them going, and you’re learning stuff right there. So as a young guy coming in, it’s a great opportunity.
IZ: That’s crazy. Now, what’s the posture like? How do you present yourself in this type of, with this particular opportunity, as far as, being a person they feel they can talk to? I run into all the time where you go to tell somebody what you like and how you want your sound to be and, nine times out of ten, the guy kind of just, is a little resistant. So what’s a great personality to maintain in this particular event or venue when you’re working with such artists?
Ryan: I think if you look at it in the way that I try to look at it where, if you took it to a recording studio, you’re the engineer. You’re the guy sitting behind the console. There’s going to be a producer there. In the live show, that producer’s the artist, or the band members, or the musical director, or management– whoever is that person in that particular gig– that’s who you need to listen to. And you’ve got to put your ego aside. What you think it’s going to sound like aside, to what they want to get the sound to. Being a monitor engineer, that’s it, that’s the most important thing right there. It could sound horrible to me, as monitor guy, but if that sounds great to the artist, if that’s what they need to stay right in the song, then that’s what they need. So I put all that aside, and just do what they want to do.
IZ: That’s dope. There you go guys, that’s crucial information. We’ll move on to grind op number three. Okay, this is in the field of radio, radio technician, runner, audio and transmitting equipment for public broadcasting. This is out in Detroit, Michigan. Transmitting, radio technician… that’s a tough one. I’m assuming you’ve got to at least have some type of experience in technician pertaining to radio, and that can be a very, very detailed situation. But it’s a great opportunity for radio and recording students running a variety of radio broadcasts, both live and pre-recorded, running all audio and transmitting equipment for the broadcast.
Let me ask you this, Ryan, what are some of the things that are just beneficial to know in this setting where you’re doing broadcast, live and pre-recorded? So, in a recording environment, how does that usually work, where you’re recording sound in a live setting or whether it’s broadcast? I know we’ve done things where they’re recording a track and then they stream it or however. What are some of the specifics of that particular gig when you’re doing that kind of thing where you’re recording for broadcast?
Ryan: Man, that stuff gets really intense, where they get into five-one-mixes, surround mix, all that kind of stuff. It kind of surpassed what I do. But this particular gig is more geared towards the actual hard wiring, the technical stuff, which is great knowledge. It can expand into doing things like R-F work, which large shows who will broadcast, all that kind of stuff, R-F transmission, wireless transmission, wireless mics. All that stuff could be certainly related to this. A lot of those guys start in this kind of world.
IZ: Oh, ok. That’s dope, man. Great stuff. All right, moving on to grind op number two. This is grind op in the field of film video editor. Experienced editor for Shutter, a horror genre streaming service which is in New York, New York. Let me see if I can pull up a little more information on that. So, you guys can actually… for those of you who are into the editing side, you can check out their website at www.shutter.com. They’re actually looking for an experienced video editor. So if you’re just new in the game and you’re still kind of learning the ropes, you probably don’t want to set yourself up for failure on this one. So it’s a new streaming service. It’s actually just like Netflix, but it’s totally dedicated to the genre of horror, which for me that’s dope because I love scary flicks, not cheesy ones, though — dope ones, like the classics.
And this is in New York, New York. Editing videos across all platforms of content. That sounds like a really, really cool opportunity. However, you do want to be experienced. But if you can land this particular gig and you’ve got a great resume that shows what you’ve been able to do in the past, I think you have a great shot. And that’s another thing we talk about on this show over and over is how well your resume is prepared and what kind of legitimate experience do you really have and how you place it, to put it all together so that when you go and present it to somebody they can pretty much look at it and get a good idea and feel for what you’re actually capable of doing.
So we’re going to move on to grind op number one, which is our last one. This is in the field of recording. Assistant audio engineer for live and recorded events at the Grand Ole Opry. This is in Nashville, Tennessee. Man, Ryan, we picked the perfect day to get together, man.
Ryan: Yeah, this is a good one.
IZ: So a little info on this. This is mainly focusing on maintaining equipment, routing, and processing. This is one of the most well known venues in the country. A start here would launch any engineer’s career. So it’s a great opportunity. So Ryan, in this one, it says mainly focusing on maintaining equipment, routing, and processing. What does that mean to you, in your world of terminology for what you do?
Ryan: I mean, it’s pretty much what it’s saying there, you’re literally learning the ins and outs of the industry. It’s learning the backbone of everything, how the equipment works, how it’s patched. If you can’t understand that, if you don’t have a grasp on that right now, it’s really hard to get in and mix a show. You’ve really got to know how everything is working so when something goes wrong, you’re the guy that can fix it. That’s a gig that you’re going to be locked in there. You get in there, you get this going, and it’s only going to be stepping stones to the next thing. And a venue like the Grand Ole Opry where they’ve got everybody coming through there, this is a great one.
IZ: That’s pretty intense op.
Ryan: I might take this one.
IZ: Now, when it says processing, what does that mean in your world?
Ryan: You know, compressors, limiters, gates, reverb, all that effects stuff. When you look in the studio and see all the racks and racks of stuff, all of that processing that’s in there, all of the wiring, the patch phase. That’s some intricate stuff.
Ryan: It takes attention to detail, a focus to make sure it’s all working right.
IZ: Now, in that world, how important is it to not only know your gear and what you use, but to pretty much have an array of information and knowledge as to other gear that’s going on right now and the stuff that guys constantly use, like your go-to gear. How important is it to just have a wide variety of information as to those particular things?
Ryan: I think for any engineer that doesn’t have the luck of touring with their own equipment. If you were traveling around the world playing clubs, playing House of Blues, playing in those kinds of venues, you’re going to hit every single different kind of mixing console, every kind of processing stuff. And the more you know about it, the better you can walk up to it and do what you want to do and get the equipment out of the way. You want to spend time focusing on the art of what the music is, not “How do I make this compressor or this reverb do what I want it to do?”
IZ: Now, can you find yourself as a live engineer over-processing things, over saturating things? Like, talk to me a little about that. Because I know we’ve experienced that too with just other guys.
Ryan: Most definitely. You can get yourself down a rabbit hole. Especially nowadays with digital consoles and digital equipment, where everything’s not in front of you anymore. You can get things going on and all of a sudden the band plays a little bit more intense and someone turns up, and you don’t hear it because you’ve got a compressor squashing it. But you lose all the dynamics now of that instrument. So it’s just, you know, the bass is here the entire song, and you don’t want it. You want it to, it wants to flow up and down during the song. So until you get to, “Oh man, let me go look at that,” on the fourth layer of this screen to see what’s going on, and then you pick up what’s happening. So now you just spent, what? Five minutes trying to figure out what’s wrong with the song? The song’s over.
Iz: Right, right. Now, last thing, because I hear it all the time. A lot of guys, you get into a venue, and it’s the venue’s fault, right. It’s [inaudible 00:18:18] man, it’s just boomy, I can’t… How much can you blame it on the venue before you actually have to kick in and make adjustments?
Ryan: I think the second you walk into the venue you have to kick in and make adjustments.
IZ: Got you.
Ryan: It’s not going to be perfect. If you blame it on the venue, that’s just an excuse. Why build that in? I’d rather, “It was a tough show, it was a hard venue, but we did what we could.”
IZ: “We did what we could,” yeah. Well, dope, man, well dude, thank you so much, Ryan, that was our last grind op for the day. So we’re going to open this up where we kind of take on some questions that our viewers may want to know. A big piece of this show is allowing people to really feel connected to who we are and the information that we have to share. So our first question, this is… I’m not sure how to pronounce this name. Take a stab at it, Ryan. J-R-I… is it–
IZ: Jerry? So he said you mentioned over-processed, under-processing, let me see, let me make sure I got that because…
Ryan: It’s like we might be missing something.
IZ: We might be missing a piece of that. Bear with me, guys. Scoot this over. There we go. “You mentioned over-processing. How about under-processing?”
Ryan: That’s interesting, I had never really thought of it that way. It’s… man, I don’t really… I’m not really sure what you mean by that. There’s certainly… I don’t think you can under-process something. You can certainly… you want to use EQ, you want to use compression to make things stand out and kind of keep everything in. Some of the [inaudible 00:20:04] that uses the turntables that come to me left and right. I really don’t do anything to them. It’s a good sounding source. It’s usually fitting right in the music. So that would be under-processed completely because I haven’t touched that at all.
IZ: Okay, there you go.
Ryan: I think too it’s a matter of knowing what to touch and what not to touch.
IZ: Yeah. And a lot of times you know, you may want to leave it up to that particular musician, or whatever. Some people don’t like their stuff to really be a lot of verb or a lot of echo or anything. But for the post part, if you’re dealing with acoustic guitar, you kind of want to just put a little bit of verb…
Ryan: Make it feel like it’s in a live room.
IZ: Yeah, making it feel like it’s in a live room. So those are the kind of things. We’re going to move on to our next question. Oh, here’s an important question, “How do I apply?” How do you apply for these jobs? I’m going to tell you. The only way you can apply is through the show here which is Connected. If you look onto the right side of your screen, you’re going to see a link. Go ahead and hit that link. Apply, put in all your information, and you’ll actually be able to access these opportunities. So make sure you do that because that is actually the most important piece of this show, is applying for these jobs.
Next question, “How to stand out as a music producer, beat-maker.? You know what, man? I find that a lot of it is just networking and navigating. Figuring out where your hotspots are in your local town or local city, making sure that you are visible at these things. I mean, at the end of the day, letting the music speak for itself. I always say, it’s a matter of just push and play, and letting people feel you, feel your music, feel your creativity. But you have to get out there. You’ve got to get out there and pound the pavement. You’ve got to get out there get in the streets, network, meet folks, shake hands.
The great thing is you guys, these days, I mean, the platform is available. You’ve got Facebook, you’ve got Instagram, you’ve got Twitter, you’ve got Periscope. So, there’s a lot for you to maximize out there. So to me that’s the best way to go about it. Just pound the pavement, make sure your music has got a spirit to it, has a pulse. “How do you stand out as a live sound engineer?” And this is from Kevin. How do you stand out as a live sound engineer?
Ryan: You find a really good band to mix.
IZ: Find a good band.
Ryan: The better the band, the better you look, every time, man.
IZ: Right, right.
Ryan: But in all seriousness, I think it’s just making the band sound the way the band wants to sound. Work with these guys. We now, we’re living in this world where we can do… the band can play a song, we can record multi-tracks, and do what is known as a virtual sound track and play it back. Have the band come in the room. Have them work with you. No one knows the music better than the guys playing it. Let them give you feedback. It’s going to make you look good every single time.
IZ: There you go. Darren, here we go. His question is, “Talking about making your resume looking pro, does each profession have a different format when it comes to typing one out?” I don’t think so. I mean, I think a resume is a resume. And to me the best way you can dress a resume is really just making sure that the information you have down suits you best, and it’s authentic. The last thing you want to do is put information on your resume that you kind of were part of, then it becomes misleading, and then you get a great opportunity that comes across the table, and you kind of underperform. So I would say, I think a resume is a resume, man. Just make sure that you can put all the most legitimate information down about yourself and your experiences as you can.
If you were a fly on the wall in a recording session, it’s best that you don’t say that you engineered that session or engineered for this person. Just keep it authentic, because it’s only going to suit you best in the long run. Let’s see, another question, this is from Caleb. “What are some ways to learn more about live engineering or audio engineering apart from the obvious of working in the field?
Ryan: Like you said, working in the field is obviously great. There are schools that are training, recording academy. There’s a bunch of different schools that do live stuff, The Recording Connection. I think a big thing now, everyone can have Pro Tools on their computer. Everyone can have some sort of program there, learn things even just doing mixes with headphones on. You’re going to learn about EQ, you’re going to learn about compression. You’re going to learn what those things do and how they sound. All of that stuff transfers greatly to live sound. It’s definitely not, you know… What you learn when you’re studying recording isn’t just for recording. It’s going to fall over in the live sound realm. There’s obviously things we can’t get away with…
IZ: Right, right.
Ryan: …but it’s certainly going to help.
IZ: Dope, okay. This is our last question, guys, and we’ve got to hit and run. “Any advice on picking up your first client, having no field experience?”
Ryan: That’s a tough one.
IZ: That’s a tough one, Brandon. Man, I don’t want to say you want to get lucky, but, having no field experience, I think in those kinds of scenarios, you kind of just get lucky as maybe somebody taking you under their wing that’s already doing it. But, that’s a tough one. I mean… If anything, man, you just want to make sure you’re in the right environment. Put yourself in an environment where there’s things going on that are attached to your passion and what you’re looking to do as far as career. But, having no field experience, you don’t want to pick up a client that way anyway because the last thing you want to do, like I said, is under-perform. So guys, that does it for today’s show. Again, don’t forget you can catch us every Monday, Pacific Standard Time at 11 AM, bringing it to you live and direct wherever I’m from. And this is our show Connected.
Shout out to my hard working crew over at the Recording Connection and the whole Connected staff. And, man, I want to thank my boy, Ryan, for coming and hanging out with me and sharing all of that information.
Ryan: Thanks for having me.
Iz: You know, I didn’t realize this dude was that nice, man. He’s actually really nice on camera, and I appreciate it. But, all right guys. Man, I look forward to seeing you all next week. Don’t forget to apply, all right. Don’t forget to click on that link on the right side of your screen and actually apply for these jobs, because these jobs are great jobs, man. And you’ve got a head start. You know, nobody else has access to these, man, so make sure you get in there and put in your information, and get running. All right, it’s been great, guys. I’ll catch you next week.
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