Recording Connection students Grainger Weston, Zach Kattawar and mentor Jeramy Roberts
At the Recording Connection, one of the best advantages of learning from a seasoned pro in the recording studio is that you don’t just learn from a curriculum; you often also get to learn the mentor’s “tricks of the trade,” their own little secrets and shortcuts—the stuff you won’t find in the books. As a 20-year veteran of the electronic music scene, Recording Connection mentor Jeramy Roberts
of Austin, TX has amassed a wealth of knowledge about producing music and getting it out there. As the founder of the Electronic Musicians Guild and owner of E.M.G. Recordings, Jeramy has a hand in producing and releasing music in dozens of countries worldwide—and he has no misgivings about sharing his trade “secrets” with his students.
A fairly new mentor with the Recording Connection, Jeramy says his interest in the Recording Connection was piqued in particular by our electronic music program. “I started mentoring and taking on apprentices about two and a half months ago and when I first saw the Ableton curriculum,”
he says. “It’s a first-class program.”
But not content simply to walk his students through the curriculum, Jeramy says he actively works to help his students think entrepreneurially in order to get their music out there. In fact, he says two of his Recording Connection students, Zach Kattawar and Grainger Weston, have had music released within two months of starting their apprenticeships with him!
“A lot of these kids, they want to make music, they want to get music out there,”
he says. “They come to RRFC so that they can get a job in the industry with job training. And that’s great, but I don’t want them to just go out and get a job: I want them to create their own job. And they’re actually already starting to do that.”
Part of “creating their own job” begins with breaking down some of the old mindsets about the music industry, and re-thinking it in a new way. “All artists have misconceptions,”
he says. “Then you start breaking down the process…and they very quickly find out that it’s nothing like they thought it was going to be… So once they start to get all this information, then their minds start to pick it apart and go their own way.”
For Jeramy, tapping into the new music industry centers largely around leveraging the power of the Internet in general, and digital distribution in particular. “It’s just wrapping your mind around the network,”
says Jeramy, “because what we’re talking about here is worldwide connectivity. For the first time in human history everybody is connected to each other. So you really have to have access to all that information… So basically what happens is if you want to release a record, you have to go through a digital distributor. And that digital distributor is going to take your music and they are going to send it to all of the stores worldwide.”
Another huge component of the modern industry, Jeramy says, is sync placements—that is, having one’s music placed in film, TV and media. On this topic, he offers a helpful suggestion to students to help narrow the search to the right outlets.
“Let’s say you have a track,”
he says, “and you want to go out and you want to get a TV film placement. Well, how do you go about doing that? Because if you search that on the internet to try to find a publisher or digital distributor…there’s at least hundreds of them. How do you know which publisher is getting it done?”
Jeramy’s answer: “Just watch a movie,”
he says. “And at the end, when the credits are rolling, you can write down the track titles and the artists’ names, and look it up in BMI [or ASCAP]. It’s public record and right there, tells you which publishers are actually getting it done.”
Why does Jeramy go the extra mile to help his students? For him, it’s not simply about teaching a curriculum—it’s about enabling success.
“After 20 years, I’ve developed hundreds of these tactics,”
says Jeramy. “The more of them you learn, the more effective you can be. And if you have the mindset that you want to help yourself to help other people, then it just enriches the scene.
“Each one of these little milestones is a very important learning step,”
he adds. “By the time I’m done with these kids, they will have done pretty much everything that there is to do.”
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