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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER August 7, 2017 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


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Recording Connection student Nathan Zimmerman lands a job at his mentor’s studio, prepares his first EP!

It’s a story that’s become all too familiar. Like so many aspiring musical artists, Nathan Zimmerman (Los Angeles, CA) graduated high school and enrolled in college to major in music—only to find something lacking.   “I had gone to Santa Monica College, studying music for a year,” he says, “and then I realized that I wasn’t learning all the stuff that I wanted to learn.”   Looking for other options, he began researching audio engineering schools. “I looked into Full Sail, Icon and SAE, and they all seemed really good,” says Nathan. “However, Recording Connection was the best, budget-wise. Also, I really liked the idea of being one-on-one with me and my mentor, in a professional studio, hands-on, not in a classroom.”   That early moment of decision has helped jump-start his career. Not only was he recently offered an entry-level position at his mentor’s studio, The Abstract in Los Angeles, California, but he’s taking advantage of those resources to produce his first electronic music EP—a collection of 6-7 songs to be released later this year!   “It’s going to be in the style of future bass, but kind of the weird future bass, not the mainstream kind,” Nathan explains. “There’s…this really weird, experimental type future bass that just has a lot of crazy stuff going on at once. That’s the stuff that I like listening to and making.”   It’s a long way from the timid young man going into the studio to interview for the first time with Recording Connection mentor Doug Boulware, who quickly put him at ease. “I remember I was really nervous going in, because I really wanted to, you know, impress him and make sure that I got in,” he says. “You know, I dressed all nice and everything, and Doug was like, ‘Oh, no, man. Just wear funny T-shirts, and you’ll be fine.’ When he said that, I knew that that was the place that I needed to be.”   It didn’t take long for the hands-on learning to make a difference in Nathan’s abilities. “My production has improved a lot since I’ve started the program,” he says. “My mixing skills have gotten way, way better…Also learning about EQ’ing and compressing. Those were two things that I really didn’t know anything about when I started the program, and now I feel very comfortable with EQ’ing and way more comfortable than I did with compression.”   For Nathan though, the real payoff came as he approached graduation, when Doug offered him an entry-level position at the studio. “Of course I accepted, because I really love being at that studio and I love all the people there,” he says. “They’re all really great people and I’ve learned a lot from all of them.”   Today, between his new position and his recording project in the works, Nathan has a firm foundation on which to build his music career. Just as important is the sense of community he’s found in the studio, and the realization of how important relationships are in this industry.   “Every single person there has helped me at one point or another,” he says. “I’ve learned something crucial from every single one of them. They’ve helped my music grow, and I have a lot of love for all of them and a lot of thanks for all of them…I love all the guys there. They’re really cool. I love hanging out with them. I love making music with them. It’s a great spot.”   
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RRFC INTERVIEW: Recording Connection mentor
Pablo Reynoso talks about being multifaceted in today’s
music industry!

   As co-owner of the legendary Miami Beach Recording Studios, a historic facility in the Miami music scene, Recording Connection mentor Pablo Reynoso has worked with a lot of notable people in his time, with names like Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, Styx and George Thorogood on his studio’s list of clients.   A dedicated music industry professional and graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Pablo is passionate about teaching, and makes a point of giving Recording Connection students the hands-on instruction and experience they need to make it in an ever-changing industry. In the interview below, Pablo shares a bit of his personal journey, weighs in on the balance between producing and engineering, and talks about the importance of wearing multiple hats in the current musical landscape.  
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RRFC: So what was it that first led you into music as a career?   Pablo Reynoso: I kind of always knew that I was going to be a musician and that I was going to end up doing this for a living…I got a guitar when I was six years old. And even before that, from then I kind of grew up always listening to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, later on Black Sabbath, kind of getting more into the rock stuff. But The Beatles for me was like the greatest thing ever, and I learned so much out of that, and partly also maybe developing my ear as a musician and as a producer just listening to those records over and over and over.   RRFC: And at what point did you decide you wanted to focus on the audio part of it?   Pablo:  I always played with bands, and I realized early on that no matter how good you were and how much you practiced, if when you played live, if the sound guy wasn’t on top of his game, then it didn’t matter. It was just like a personal thing. You can say all you want about tone, but if the guy sucks, your tone is not going to translate. So I was curious about that because I wanted to sound good. Then I got involved in that and I got involved [in sound] in my church…I had to be the first one there so I could set up, and the last one to leave so I could break down. So I kind of learned that and the live sound aspect of it early on…I enjoyed being in the studio creating, working and coming up with new ideas and songs, or getting a project and being able to morph it, to change it, and to work on it. And a lot of the records that I really liked and the bands like Pink Floyd and The Beatles and stuff, the stuff that I really liked the most was done in the studio…So I just kind of stopped playing live and jumped more full time into this.   RRFC: Do you see yourself more as a producer/engineer or as an engineer/producer? Which is the priority for you?   Pablo: I wouldn’t really box it in. I look at it on two different sides, because the production is more of a creative aspect, and it’s more about the sound and the feel of a song or record, and maybe the people involved. So it’s like the colors and the palates of colors and other things before the painter comes in. That’s kind of the realm of the producer. Then the engineer is really just kind of capturing all this stuff…A producer that engineers or an engineer that produces, I think that what really matters is what the client, what the project needs, what it’s looking for…It really just depends. It’s good to wear many hats, I think, nowadays. I mean for the most part, engineers should also know how to produce, because if there’s not a producer in the room, then really they’re in charge of what’s going down to tape or to Pro Tools, whatever, what’s being recorded.   RRFC: So would you say it’s important to be multifaceted nowadays to work in this business?   Pablo: Oh yeah, more than ever…I think that nowadays you really do have to ground yourself, and not just as an engineer or producer or a music man, but also a businessman, marketer, so many other things.   RRFC:  So tell us a bit about your studio. There’s some history there.   Pablo: My studio is Miami Beach Recording Studios. I have two other business partners there, and this is not my first studio that I’m involved in, but it’s the latest one, the one that I’m now really developing. The studio was founded in 1979…even before I was born…[it] was actually a studio since the 60’s and used to be the old Studio Center here in Miami, Florida, before we were there, that did a lot of records with…Henry Stone, all the disco stuff, and at some point I guess Michael Jackson, Electric Light Orchestra, Bee Gees. So very lucky and fortunate to be able now to work in this facility and with this studio…We’re kind of in the heart of the Miami recording studio district…Jimmy Douglass with CBS Records, and a great legend, he’s down the street. DJ Khaled has a studio also a block away from the studio. Other places, too. Another one I forgot before, Audio Vision which is down Dixie Highway, very close. So there’s always been that sense of the community and the music, the artistry, and it’s just a block away from each other…   This facility was always known for the drum sound in the live room that we have, and we’ve always kind of kept that. So even if there are people working in other studios, they always wanted to come in and work in our live room in Studio A…Sometimes I listen to stuff on the radio and I tell [my wife]—I get goosebumps because I know the room—”I’m sure that was recorded in our live room.” She’s like, “Oh no way. There’s no way that you can tell that,” and then you go to AllMusic, and yeah, most of the times sure enough, at some point the drums or something was done in the live room. You can hear that sonic fingerprint of the room.   RRFC: So let’s talk about the apprentices you work with. What qualities do you look for in apprentices and what do you want to know about them before you take them on as a student?   Pablo: I would say, first of all, I want to know how excited and how motivated they are to be involved in the career…then the other side of it is how excited or how willing they are to get into the fundamental stuff. I mean really it just depends on which program they’re in. But for the engineering program, it has to be more than just Pro Tools. It’s really understanding the microphones, really understanding the process, the preamps, the placement in the room, fades, so many things. I think that in my experience, I mean there have only been maybe two people that I’ve interviewed that I didn’t think were really going to be good candidates. But other than that, for the most part the people that have come through have that excitement, that expectation, and that willingness for hard work, which is important. I think that’s vital to be able to succeed in this industry.   RRFC: What is it that you like about teaching, particularly with the Recording Connection?   Pablo: I always hear people complaining about how things are nowadays and about what the new generation doesn’t know and that they don’t do this or that. So to me, it’s “Okay, so what do you do about it?” Well, I go in and teach them… “If you are responsible and mature enough to say, “You know what…I’m willing to do this and I’m going to do it for real. I’m not just going to go on YouTube and just watch a couple of videos and buy an interface and say I am an engineer,” then I respect that, and I’m willing to give you my time and to really teach you if you’re really going to pull your part…If you want to get real about this, if you really want to learn this and you want to study it, then let’s talk about it, let’s do it…   With the Recording Connection, I really like the fact that kids get that opportunity to have a one-on-one and to be a part of a studio, see how that works, and just start getting involved. I think that’s a huge advantage versus, you know, a more traditional thing like Berklee or just a regular college…But it’s also good for people that are maybe dealing with other things, having to have a day job and deal with financial circumstances or maybe a kid or family member or something they have to take care of. This gives them that opportunity…This is actually more custom-tailored and more one-on-one.   RRFC: Any final advice to students going through the program? How do you think they can make the most of it?   Pablo: I would say to really take the time that they’re involved here, and to really take advantage of it and really devote themselves…just to be around and to see what’s going on, really see the process outside of the one-on-one classes and stuff…be a part of the studio that you’re in, make yourself helpful. Usually the people that are around get to see what’s going on, get to meet people that are coming through and make contact or sometimes be involved in the projects and stuff when the producer has come back or the artist or whoever it might be…Just being in the studio is the opportunity.   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

Film Connection grad Alex Geranios at the premiere of Doucheaholics

Film Connection grad Alex Geranios at the premiere of Doucheaholics

Some mentors couldn’t be more proud. Film Connection mentor Sean McCarthy recently had this to say about his apprentice Alex Geranios (Bay Area, CA): “It’s a beautiful thing when you see people who are trapped in something and they’re really talented, really smart, and you see them unlock…Someone like Alex, who started with us as a PA on episode 2 of Doucheaholics, and worked his way up to script supervisor and assistant editor by episode 5. So it’s really cool to see that evolve over time.”   Congrats to all the Film Connection students at Guerilla Wanderers Films on the great reviews and all the Doucheaholics success!    Film Connection student Peter Dubois (Las Vegas, NV) recently got a big surprise when he realized the major network involved on his first-ever film gig: My mentor Darko informed me a month ago that he was going to be working on this project as a camera operator and he wanted me to work with him as a PA. While he did not know all the details at the time, he informed me that the people working on this project had worked previously on several ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries. Later on we found out that this was actually going to be a 1 hour documentary for NBC Sports about the 1998 Czech hockey team that won gold at the Olympics in Nagano, Japan…The first day of shooting was one of the most exciting days of my life. This being my first ever job on a production, I was eager to work and do whatever I could to assist the production in any way shape or form.”     
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