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Issue #255

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Recording Connection grad
Joe Dancsak Does TDE Lockout!


Recording Connection graduate Joe Dancsak in his home studio

L.A-based guitarist, producer, and composer Joe Dancsak (Los Angeles, CA) is a graduate of both the beginner’s and the Advanced Audio Engineering & Music Production programs. In the decade since Joe first enrolled in Recording Connection, he’s built a thriving career for himself and as a vocal producer and composer of original music which has been placed in numerous commercials and films. Joe returned to Recording Connection in 2019 with a specific goal in mind: to get experience working in a commercial recording facility in order to be in prime position for landing work with music labels. In a matter of months, Joe was able to get the experience of working in a commercial recording studio, improve his resume, elevate the production quality of his songs by a notch or two, and even meet his goal of connecting with a label.   Shortly after graduating from the Advanced program, Joe was given the opportunity to work the Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) lockout in Los Angeles, weeks before L.A. and much of the rest of the nation went into “stay at home mode” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During his 11-day stint, Joe had the privilege of recording parts for REASON’s just-released killer track “ Trapped In” featuring Boogie & Ab-Soul, as well as tracking Zacari (on a mystery track with an infectious hook) and recording the ubiquitous composer/producer/artist Amaire Johnson on vocoder. We caught up with Joe at his home studio to learn more about the experience.   So how’d you get asked to do TDE Lockout?   “Gervais [Recording Connection’s Career Advisor] called me and asked if I wanted to go there and work. They were looking for engineers….The next day, Gervais sent me the email from TDE that had what they wanted you to put in the email. And so I attached my resume, which Gervais and Victor [had already] helped me put together …[and sent] all my links to my vocal production stuff, Instagram, SoundCloud, all the typical sites where you host your work.   Rory Behr [from TDE] called me about two hours later and said, ‘Can you come in tomorrow?’ And I said, ‘I have to wrap a client up, can I come in Sunday? I got to finish a client on Saturday.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, sure, no problem.’ And Sunday, I started.”   Could you explain what a “lockout” is?   “It’s called a lockout or a songwriting camp. A label will typically take a recording studio, either one in-house or they go and rent out a place. In this case, they rented, I think, three or four rooms at Ultrium in North Hollywood, and they literally do lock it out. Like each room is locked to certain people. If you’re not with the label or the publishers attached, or in my case, an engineer being called in to help, you’re technically locked out of those sessions. Those rooms are no longer open to the public. So they lock them out and then spend usually 2 weeks to a month, 24/7 they’re open for when people want to come in and work. They’re trying to gather as much material together as they can to put together albums, to finish singles, to gather features from artists… [There’s] all sorts of reasons why they do it.”   We hear you’ve already had some great reactions to REASON’s “Trapped in.”   “I got a reaction to the REASON single coming out right away. I had an uptick in clients because I’m advertising myself to do vocal production work, especially on sites like SoundBetter. When a potential client hits your stuff, they go to your Instagram…and that’s on there. So in that first week of March, I had three times as many contacts, maybe more than that. Right before the pandemic hit…other producers were reaching out to see if I wanted to engineer for their labels, my own private clients were on an uptick, and then some of the clients I already had were ultra-psyched because then they can kind of be like, ‘Oh, this is the guy that did that.’ So then they wanted to work.”   Did you actively network or just stay focused on the work, or did you do some combination of both?   “I’m not an extrovert in that realm. Social media for me is work. Marketing myself is work, you know, I have to make myself do it. So I tend to do it slow and long. But I think that that’s good for especially young people. You want to be proactive about it but I don’t think you want to be bothersome, or oversaturate that as part of who you are, especially in a situation like that. You have to remember that with the label, they’ve been there, you know, and you’re kind of a rookie coming in… when somebody wants your information, you’ll know.”   Learn more about Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Beatmaking, Ableton, and more!  
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Promotion | Special Feature


    As the recent pandemic has shown us, the world can be put on hold in just a matter of a few days – including educational opportunities. Recording Connection wants to show you how to turn your dream of being a music producer and audio engineer into a successful career in the music industry right now.   Join us on June 11 at 11 a.m. PDT as we discuss Remote Learning and Online Education in the New World. The webinar will feature recording industry experts – and Recording Connection mentors – who will demonstrate new ways for you to learn while the world shuts down.   Hosted by artist, published author, software collaborator, and Recording Connection mentor G.W. Childs, we’ll examine how you can learn audio engineering, music production, and other studio careers from home. Recording Connection was at the forefront of this “new normal” before sheltering in place became a catchphrase.    

Mentor News

Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker on Star Students,
Hiring Talent, and Working During Covid-19


Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker

With more than 20 years of experience Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker has worked with the likes of Anthony Hamilton, Gunna, Young Dolph, Jadakiss, and is the CEO of the acclaimed Maximus Music Records in Charlotte, NC. Not satisfied to teach just the fundamentals, Ira’s downright passionate about helping students acquire the skills, understanding, and insight it takes to launch their careers in music. We recently caught up with Ira to get his take on how to use one’s time during COVID-19, hear about his brand new 4000 square foot studio complex, talk about a number of his star students, and more.   Have any recent projects you can tell us about?   “I can’t tell you exactly to the extreme or how far they’re going because, you know, it’s not information I can put out yet. But I can tell you I am working with Anthony Hamilton on a number of different things and am having a blast. I recently filmed a segment of him singing the late Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” to raise money for COVID-19 relief. It ran on BET and was watched worldwide. It was a great way to help out. I’m working with J-Harris, which is a songwriter, a hook writer, [for an] incredible R&B act…. There’s a couple of other artists I can’t mention yet.”   Tell us about a number of your recent star students or star graduates.   “It’s hard to say stars because I feel like all of them have amazing potential and they have very unique characters. For example, Chris Williams, he’s one of the Advanced Engineering students. Chris has the ability to pick up [quickly] and be extremely detailed. Like on my advanced mixing when I was working on the G-Eazy mix, he literally was picking up everything I was doing. And not only did he pick it up, he questioned what I was doing to make sure he understood it. And then, you’ve got people like Malik [Franklin]. He’s a graduate. Malik is actually the guy that’s going to be over persistent….Malik picks up on details really fast. He’s over persistent, and he’s going to question you to death but I like it.   Kristin Gillespie, she’s a graduate….She can sing, she can play a couple of instruments, I believe, and she’s more into the folk music but her mind is open to all music. So she picked up on a lot of R&B and pop real quick. She even threw in a couple of harmonies by accident. I was like, ‘Yo, can we use that?’ She picks up on harmony and she picks up on soul and feeling. So it’s like everybody here is a star. I could go on….Then you have the original guy, Chris Hancock. He works for me now. So yeah, he’s a star.”   What was it about Chris Hancock that made you decide to bring him on?   “Chris showed me the absolute most astonishing achievements ever. He started matching me on what I was doing. That blew my mind. And he was paying attention. Chris came in every day. When I say every day, I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re supposed to call me before you show up.’ ‘I’ll be back tomorrow then, boss, if that’s cool.’…Chris really just stayed. He sat through every session. He sat through all my mixes. He sat through other engineers’ sessions and he just kept calling me and I was like, ‘Okay Kid, come on in.’”   Where was Chris at when he started the program? Did he have a lot of experience? A little experience? None?   “He had an idea. He wasn’t sure about a lot of things. He just knew he loved engineering. He loves music, and he loves production but he was not clear on the functionality, the translation of it. He really needed guidance. He needed to understand how the equipment works, the processes of mixing, recording. He was open to it all. Chris couldn’t tell you everything that’s in the room when he first started off. Now he can point out every piece of gear in here, tell you the voltage. He can tell you dynamics. He can tell you if it’s a condenser. He can tell you if it’s an optical compressor, an FET compressor. He’s on it now. And he’s also doing some of the analog console work. Before he didn’t know much of anything.”   You recently moved Maximus Music. What can you tell us about the new space?  

Studio A aka “The Mother Ship” at Maximus Music Records

“First of all, the building is 4000 square feet. It’s two rooms that were combined. We have a podcast room that’s literally 16 x 16. It has a high-definition recorder for the mics. Yes, I know that’s overkill. I’ve already pre-EQ’d the mics, compression EQ and everything to where it can actually adjust itself to your vocals. So it’s almost like I mixed and mastered your record as you’re speaking. Not only that, it has a broadcast system so people can go live…   The new lounge is like 1300 ft.². The podcast room is beautiful but the mothership is our 1000 square foot condo-style recording studio. I mean we have a 7-foot British console. Everything people have plug-ins for, we have the actual gear…   It is just a load of imagination. There’s screens in each room. We have a screen in the hallway … [so] the artists’ music video can play in a complete separate hallway that just enters the room, just to appreciate their value of being here…   We’re still going to build two more living quarters for clients that come from out-of-state to stay with us, and we’re going build a production room and another recording studio. The production room is to invite writers from all over the US to just come and write, just come and create.”   So Ira, how should aspiring audio engineers and music makers be using their time during COVID-19?   “First of all, you got to have the attitude. For every negative, there’s a great positive because in this business if you can’t think that way, you’re already doomed. So the way I look at it, I’m like this man, ‘Are you serious? The world just got put on pause.’ …So now take this time to build yourself….Take time to rebuild yourself, re-create your brand, be excited about it. You know what I’m saying? Take the time to really feel out what was missing before. So when this COVID crap blows over, which it will, you should actually be like 10 times stronger than what you were before it started.”   Want to learn how you can train with Ira Parker or any of the other talented Recording Connection mentors? Get started here.  
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or call (800) 755-7597