Control Room in Maui Recording
It didn’t take Jason Abranches
long to discover just what kind of doors his Recording Connection education would open for him. One week after completing his apprenticeship with mentor Zack Phillips at Freq Lab
in San Francisco, CA, he made a move to Maui. Not long after, he’d landed a job with producer/engineer Lynn Petersen at Maui Recording,
one of the most popular recording studios in the islands!
Jason says he found Lynn while he was searching out Hawaii recording studios and applying to them online. “I reached out to him, and I was shocked, you know?” says Jason. “I told him about my experience with Recording Connection, and I was very honest about where I was, you know, in my blooming career. And he wanted to take me under his wing, like he responded right away, like within 15 minutes. And said, “Yeah, you know, let’s work something out.”
As it turned out, Maui Recording happened to be a go-to studio for many notable artists who have homes in the islands. One of Lynn’s best friends and most frequent clients, it turns out, is Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. In addition, Lynn also handles live sound for performers at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC), many of whom stop into the studio to record.
Within a month of starting with Lynn, Jason says, “I ended up doing my first live sound gig ever with Mick Fleetwood and the House Shakers, which is…his blues band out here. And then we had Ross Valerie, the bassist from Journey, stop in and do the set, which was awesome. All these guys were super cool…We had an extra setup for Steven Tyler in case he dropped in because, also living on the island, he drops in quite often. I was shocked at how much I learned in just one gig, and it was enough to get myself a secure job on his crew.”
Jason says working with Lynn is giving him a wide range of experience, not just in the studio. “I’m kind of his right hand man right now,” he says. “He does a lot of recording in his studio during the week, and not necessarily always at his studio because there’s a lot of musicians here on the island. And nowadays it’s pretty easy to pick up your gear and move it. So sometimes, we’ll just go to the different clients’ houses if they just need some overdubs or whatever. He does gigs at the MACC and pretty much everywhere else.”
Jason says his interest in audio emerged from living in a music culture—being a musician and rooming in a house full of other musicians. Following his parents’ expectations, he studied business in college for two years but realized it wasn’t for him. Once he decided to jump in with both feet into a studio career, he says the Recording Connection was the obvious choice compared to other schools.
“Nothing [in the other schools] seemed to have the same uniqueness that Recording Connection has with its unparalleled apprenticeship in the studio,” he says. “Personally, I’m a lot more of a hands-on guy. I can read about it all day and I can study about it all day, but once it’s really in my hand, that’s when it starts being burned into my memory. And there’s so much into recording and the whole business that you really just have to be in the room and surround yourself with that industry and those people to be successful. So I knew that was my best bet, going with Recording Connection.”
Jason admits he was a bit nervous and intimidated when he met his mentor Zack Phillips for the first time but as he learned the ropes, he found his footing with him. “He’s a relatable guy,” says Jason. “As long as you’ve got an open mind and the willingness to learn, he’s there, you know? As long as you’re engaged, he’s happy. You’re not wasting his time. You’re happy to be there. I’m kind of obsessed with music, so we got along pretty well.”
Jason determined early on to be proactive and make the most of his Recording Connection experience. “I was always about a chapter ahead, and would actually just to try and be on top of my lesson,” he says, “because you only have so much time with your mentor, and to pick his mind, and to really figure out the application of everything that you’re reading. So I took that to heart, week one, and realized my time with him, even though the course was several months, I knew it was short overall.”
Jason’s passion paid off. One year later and his life is drastically different. Not only is he working with one of the most in-demand engineers in Hawaii, but Jason is also in the process of building out his own studio, as well. “I found a good deal on a piece of property,” he says. “I have a two bedroom cottage now, and two-thirds of this cottage has been renovated into my own professional studio. We have drums, basses, guitars all over the wall. I have condensers, ribbons, you know, my 57s. I have all my mics, all my cables are in a certain spot. We have an ISO booth.”
It’s a huge leap toward success for someone who felt lost not that long ago. “A year ago, I was still in the program and scared out of my mind,” he says. “I never could actually imagine that this would actually work out. And then a year later, it has.”
* * * * *