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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER May 27, 2019 by Liya Swift


Recording Connection grad Connor Donald
is in It to Do it Right!


Recording Connection grad Connor Donald

At just 20 years old Connor Donald has already accomplished a lot. He’s taught himself to play guitar, piano, drums, bass, as well as record in GarageBand, completed high school, became a worship minister at his church, and he just recently got hired at PSAV, one of the largest audio-visual production event and stage service companies, comprised of more than forty production branches worldwide.   We spoke to the recent graduate of Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production to find out why he chose RRFC, learn more about his experiences in the program, and see how his focus and unflagging work ethic is enabling him to go far, fast!   So what led you to Recording Connection in the first place?   “I went to school for nursing, and I just…knew that five to 10 years from now I probably wasn’t going to stick with that…So I started looking to see what I was into for the long run…and I just fell back on what I’ve always loved, and that’s music…I looked at different schools and I kept seeing that I was going to have to move away to other places, then I just happened to stumble upon Recording Connection. I found that I can stay home and find a studio near me, but I get to still learn and work with people that are good at what they do… I was able to get in and had the opportunity to work with Don Mosley and [mentor] Tyler Murphy, and it was awesome.”   What made you want to record in the first place?   “I can play all these different instruments, but I can’t play them at the same time. Through recording, I can play all the instruments and I don’t have to hire any musicians to come play for me, because I can play it. So that’s what really got me started with recording, because I was able to  bring everything together and be like, ‘Okay, I got a full band here,’ but really it’s just me…   So I have a home studio. I just started with some basic speakers and GarageBand. I’ve always been the kind of person that, if I can sit down with it and I have enough time, I can learn everything. I can teach myself. ”   So did you ever have the feeling the program was a bit too basic for you?   “When I started, Tyler took me through the lesson about electricity. How it works, where sound comes from and everything… At first, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can get on board with this, I don’t need this.’ But after I started and really thought about it, I was like, ‘I can actually use this to my benefit’…because [if] you don’t know the basics, when you get more advanced, you’re going to be totally lost…   Then once I got further into the course, watching Tyler and Don, how they did things in the studio, I learned that you really do have to be able to multitask. You can’t be so focused on one thing, because then you’ll miss everything else. When you sit back and listen to a mix, you have to listen to it as a whole, but you also have to be able to dive in and be like, ‘Okay, I need to work on this, this, this,’ So watching them being able to do 12 things at once, that was really mind-blowing.”   Where do you want to go with your career?   “My goal is just to grow in music and with everything that I do in music, because of the education that I have had, be able to just sound good and be the musician and band and worship team to where, when somebody comes in, they know they’re going to hear something good, and they know that we’re going to give 100% no matter what, [from] all the way from the back [to] all the way to the stage…every little thing is going to be correct, everything is going to sound good, [and] it’s going to mix well together.   And so my goal is just to be able to grow in that. When somebody needs something done with audio or video or anything, when they hear my name, they’ll know it’s going to be good and it’s going to be right.”   What can you tell us about your job at PSAV?   “So at PSAV I got hired on as an audio/visual technician…As of right now it’s pretty general. I put things in places, setup sets, setup speakers, projectors and monitors, stuff like that. I’ve had the opportunity, luckily, to be in a place where I can grow, and I’ve been able to excel pretty fast in the company. I’ve been able to work on a lot more audio, because I did tell them that I was more audio specific. And so I’ve been able to work on big shows, including one for ZZ Top, and [other] bands have been brought in and stuff like that…They utilize me for anything, whether they need to set up speakers or run the speakers or make sure they’re sounding good, they use me for that aspect of it.”   What’s your advice to other Recording Connection students on how they can make the most of the experience?   “My advice is that you’re not going to learn everything overnight. Experience is key. The longer that you work on something, the longer that you’re working with people who are good at what they do, the more information you’re going to get. Another big thing is, be humble and be able to receive information. Even if you think you know everything, always be open to someone else’s opinion, always be open to learn something new…Just have fun with it, and don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t pan out right, or if somebody gets another job before you do…because if you apply yourself 100% then you will be good at what you do, then you will succeed.”   Learn more about Recording Connection’s programs.      
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Recording Connection mentor Gino Bambino
on Finding his Way into Audio, Tackling the Mix, and more.


Recording Connection mentor writer/engineer/producer Gino Bambino

We recently connected with head audio engineer, music producer, and Recording Connection mentor, Gino Bambino of SoHi Sound in Columbus, Ohio to learn more about his journey into audio, get his advice for tackling the mix, and to find out what he considers to be the single most important quality for newbies to have.   What led you into music and audio in the first place?   “I come from a very creative family. My father was an artist, and he was actually a percussionist. So music has always been part of the family… And when I was a young kid, my babysitter was a cellist. I remember at like five or six years old thinking that was the coolest thing ever. I got into classical music shortly after, and did that up until high school, [when] I got into heavy metal and rock music…So I always had this classical background. Then, I started hearing bands that would incorporate that classical sound, and came across a band called System of a Down. I ended up taking up guitar and creating a prog (progressive) rock band.   During that time, our family wasn’t very well-off. So I worked at a music shop and bought some recording gear and started teaching myself how to record. I remember toward the end of high school I was kind of at a crossroads. I wanted to pursue music, but during this entire time growing up I was actually a visual artist as well. So I got a scholarship to an arts college and pursued illustration and graphic design.   I was still doing music and steam picked up for the band…People started contacting me and asking me, ‘Hey, where did you record?’ And I would tell them, ‘Well, I did recordings on my own, in my house.’   So I started making a living recording on the side, during college…Toward the end of my senior year, I got contacted to mix a project for a guy I knew out in California…The track ended up getting mastered by Erick Labson. He was a senior mastering engineer at Universal Mastering Studios, in LA. That was a division of Universal Studios. His credentials are endless. I remember meeting with him in the mastering room, and he basically told me, ‘You had a great mix.’…That was a very motivating and humbling experience for me, and it kind of clicked that, ‘You know what? I might have something here.’”   What can aspiring audio engineers and producers do to develop their ear for tackling the mix?   “So, when I’m engineering, I am relying on intuition. I’ll get in front of my 1073 EQ and crank the top end on the snare until it feels good to me. It’s just a lot of reacting and seeing what feels good, what doesn’t feel good…I can kind of play with it until it’s there.   So, if I’ve done my job right, engineering it and cultivating the right sounds and all that, when I sit down to mix, I’m listening to things completely differently. [First], I give time for my ears to rest. Then I come back to it with fresh ears. And the first thing I’ll do is bring in those tracks and I’ll level them to just get a balance without even touching EQ or compression or any of that stuff.   Then, depending on what project I’m working on, I’ll find a couple songs that exist in the real world which I think are quality, whether it’s something recent or something from years ago, it’s something that relates or is similar to the feel that I’m trying to go for. I’ll listen to that and I’ll go, ‘Okay, the low end of the kick is kind of like this,’ or if it’s a rap track, ‘The 808 is this loud,’ or whatever it may be…If it’s a successful record and the mix is great on it, you can trust that in order to know. If I have my stuff sounding, tonality-wise, close to that, I’m probably on the right track…I probably actively reference three to four songs per mix, just to make sure I’m on point… During my early years, referencing was 200% critical to developing a strong ear and being on the right track.”   What’s one of the biggest things you want students and newbie audio engineers to understand?   “The biggest thing for me, speaking out of personal experience, is professionalism. The music and the audio industry has this idea that it’s a cool thing, and it is a cool thing. But at the same time, there’s an etiquette and a level of professionalism that a lot of students don’t understand…   If you’re not aware of how to conduct yourself or how to present yourself in a recording session and know when to speak and when not to speak, and understand the needs of artists, then you can get yourself into hot water really quick… Mic’ing a drum kit, that’s all fine and good, but if you don’t know how to work with the drummer and get the best performance out of him, or you don’t know how to talk to the guy and deal with his personality and what makes him tick, those are things that can’t be taught in a textbook…   There’s so many things that you need to understand and learn in the studio environment that just can’t be taught in a traditional academic institution. Recording Connection is great because it allows you to go one-on-one with somebody that has earned their stripes and somebody that can pass down knowledge…It’s important to have that hands-on experience. And that’s really what my philosophy is. I try to teach practicality and professionalism.”   Connect with Gino Bambino on Instagram.   Learn more about Recording Connection for audio engineering, music production, live sound, Ableton, beat making and more.    
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Spotlight On… Star Student Christian Joy-Ito


RRFC student Christian Joy-Ito

Since joining the Recording Connection for Ableton Electronic Music Production program Christian Joy-Ito aka CJOY has impressed us with his musicality, can-do attitude and growth.   What’s it like learning from mentor Nathan Jenkins?   “It’s been really cool. It’s very hands-on…Having someone there to walk me through everything is really what’s making me a better producer overall. I can ask him anything, whether it’s, like, releasing music or more music business stuff like negotiating deals if I get a DJ gig, or more technical questions, like mixing stuff. I feel like he’s kind of like an open book and I can just ask him anything. He’s very cool in that aspect.”   What do you think students need to do in order to perform well as externs in the studio?   “You have to put in the work outside of the studio…because otherwise, you’re just kind of having someone hold your hand through it. I feel like I’m at the point where, I’m still learning , for sure, but I’ve done enough work on my own where I can kind of hold my ground to an extent.”   So what are your plans for the future?   “Release a good amount of music. Tour for a bit. Have a live setup. I already have an idea in my head of, like, the whole visual setup I would have and all this stuff…Then ideally, a residency in Las Vegas after a number of years…then working with a lot of other artists.”   Connect with CJOY on Instagram.    
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   Congratulations to Film Connection for Film Production & Editing graduate Nate Crockett (Charleston, SC) on getting hired on a dream crew! Nate recently told us all about it:   “I’m part of the crew on HBO’s new show called “The Righteous Gemstones,” which is Danny McBride’s new show…I finally got my foot in the door for what I’ve always wanted to do, which is be on a feature or TV show that’s narrative-based and with people that I’ve looked up to pretty much my whole life. John Goodman’s on the show. Being able to stand right next to him and help him with things, like get him water or food, just small things, but being able to do that is really surreal, and the fact that I’m getting paid for it is even more surreal, because I would definitely do this for free if I had to.”    

Nate Crockett and mentor Geno DiMaria framing shot for “Hindsight”

  And there’s more good news! The short film “Hindsight,” which Nate worked on alongside his mentor Geno DiMaria (Block One Studios), also a co-producer of the project just screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival!   Directed by Ian Kent, the film was shot on location in Charleston, South Carolina. It tells the story of what happens when a young, troubled white artist is forced to deliver Meals on Wheels for community service and forms an unexpected friendship of sorts with a blind, African American ex-Dobro guitar player.       Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production student Chris Voorhees, has been elevating his skills and savvy with longtime mentor Joey Heier at Crystal Clear Recording Studio & Video Production. Now, he’s seeing just how far the hard work he’s been putting in can take him:   “Takeoff!…I’m going to the studio and understanding how the equipment operates, exploring new equipment, learning mic placements, watching how my mentor works with his clients, and much more… Also, my Career Advisor reached out to me not too long ago and sent me a resume template that I literally just needed to fill-in to the best of my ability. Within a day, he sent me back a potential opportunity! …I’m in fast forward mode now. With the right people, path, and mindset, I feel like there’s no stopping from here.”     RRFC students: Would you like to be in our newsletter? Then, blog about your experiences. Tell us your unique story and be sure to subscribe!
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