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Thread: The Journey of the Engineer. I want to hear YOUR story.

  1. #11
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    btw, Guitargod, really great looking pictures man. Congradulations on that experience. Perhaps you'd care to elaborate from your time there? I'd love to hear more man. Anything that might inspire another great future engineer that may be reading :0
    Lee Rosario
    Producer/Engineer & Studio Operations
    [B][URL="http://www.wix.com/lrosario/bio"]www.leerosario.com[/URL][/B]
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  2. #12
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    Ok, this seems fun so I'll participate.

    I started this journey of perpetual insanity almost 13 years ago in a little town called Orem in the often overlooked state of Utah. I wasn't originally from there, however. I was an immigrant, born in the same place as recording greats Mutt Lange and Eddie Kramer, the beautiful and strange country of South Africa.

    Anyway, before those 13 years got underway, I was an aspiring musician (as most of us are) and played in bands from early high school and eventually beyond. I was always the guy organizing the sound or doing small recordings for our bands and my first recorder was a Sony 4-track minidisc recorder. So you could say I was introduced to digital right from the start. Eventually I was doing recordings for other bands with a handful of mics and few cables in basements and backyard sheds.

    As time went on I found myself in college studying music and in the meantime had hooked up with a guy named LJ Pesci who was in a local band we used to play with who had partnered up with ex-pro wrestler Maxx Payne and they were conspiring to build a studio near the college I was going to. I proposed to them that I would quit my job (WOO HOO!) to help them build the place for free if they let me hang around and learn. They agreed and I basically handed my life over to them and Maxx became my mentor and LJ my great friend.

    For a starting point, the studio was pretty cool. It had 48 tracks of Alesis M20 ADAT machines (the big dogs!) with the BRC, a 48 input Alesis X2 console, racks and racks of outboard and a good selection of mics. From memory we had three quad NTI preamps, Nightpro EQ4 and EQ3D's, Summit TLA-100 and DCL 200, Drawmer and Orban gates/comps, old Ampex compressors and other cool stuff I can't remember. It also had a fully digital editing room with Cubase VST 5.0, MOTU Spark and a MOTU 2408. For 1999, it was pretty state of the art and after a few short months, I must have showed promise to them because they made me the principle engineer there. Maxx didn't want to engineer any more. He wanted to take on more a tech/maintenance role so I jumped at the opportunity.

    But as we all know, nothing lasts forever. Eventually I got asked to join a band of my friends that got signed by Reprise Records and spent the next year touring the US as a hired gun, playing guitar. I ended up in LA, sitting in on sessions with their producer/engnieer, John Feldman and learned a lot. It is a time in my life I will never forget.

    Eventually the time came when I had to return to South Africa after 10 long years growing up in the US. It was just time. I hadn't secured a greencard and despite the efforts of Warner Brothers trying to help me, the venture was fruiteless. They regrettably informed me that my situation was such that there was not much they could do. I was forced to quit the band. I went back to college for one more semester to keep the INS at bay and then got on a plane in mid 2003, my destination Johannesburg. Full circle, as they say.

    Things weren't easy. They were fuckin hard. My whole family besides my aunt and my grandparents (who were now very old) still lived in the US. I had to become a waitor. Ugh. I slogged along for a year and a half just scraping by and building up contacts until I met a band who, as a stroke of fate, had a fully fledged project studio that they had built for their own personal use. I joined their band and ended up producing our first album in the studio that was not half bad:

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    It's small but it's cosy. It's nothing like the OP's studio or guitargod's, but I have been running the place there happily for the last 7 years and it does the job. I have produced many records over the years, done TV and film work and produced four albums for my own band. The overhead is low and I am the major shareholder now since I bought out my partner so things are in my favour.

    Thanks for your time, guys.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Mo Facta; 02-26-2012 at 22:52.

  3. #13
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    Killer stories everyone!
    Really cool to learn about the members here.

  4. #14
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    Well, my entire musical journey started back in 2006 in a little town in the middle of the Mississippi delta- Greenville.

    As I've mentioned here before, I was and still am a huge pro wrestling fan (my username is actually my old backyard wrestling character ).
    I started watching back in 2002 when I was 9. I obviously was into the storylines, and the "matches", but the thing I loved the most was the entrance music. I know it sounds cheesy , but it's true.
    Wrestling is where my exposure to music came from. Motorhead, Metallica, Saliva, The Offspring, and many others that I'm a little embarrassed to talk about . lol.
    But yeah, wrestling was it for me. Me and my school friends would work out storylines, and study wrestling tapes to learn how to wrestle, and put on matches on the playground.
    Eventually around 2004 we moved it to doing a few shows a month in our backyards where some neighborhood people and other friends would come watch. (It's crazy for me to think that we were 10/11 years old writing storylines and learning about the "art" of wrestling now that I'm 18 and 10 year olds just seem like babies when I see em now!)
    The summer of 2006 we were going from the 7th grade to the 8th and everyone I knew cared more about football, and drinking (again...13 year olds drinking ) than wrestling in the backyard, so I just sort of kept to myself playing video games and... watching wrestling
    until
    One day in May of 2006 I tuned in to VH1's 40 greatest metal songs countdown... not for the metal... or the countdown... but because Chris Jericho was a panelist. But my life took a complete shift when I heard song #19. Alice in Chain- Man in the Box.
    Long story a little less longer:
    It convinced me to buy a guitar.

    Then in 2008 I joined my first band. It was the first band for any of us. We were having tons of fun and recorded some jams on a handheld voicenote recorder (my first experience with mic placement ). We eventually just loaded some up to myspace just so we members in the band would be able to hear them w/o having to borrow the voicenote recorder.
    Idk if some of the other guys told their friends or what, but friends ended up finding out. Then more and more and more. The song listens were up to the thousands within a week or two of uploading. Eventually I logged in to MySpace one day with a message from a respected management company in the southeast asking if we would be interested in a couple of festival/showcase type things in Memphis. One in the New Daisy Theater and one in the (at that point in 2009) soon to be opened Minglewood Hall.
    I was completely shocked and overwhelmed. Things were coming together with no ambition or anticipation on our part. We barely had 5 songs written all with terrible record quality.

    Then all of the sudden the drummer and singer start having problems due to drummer being less than chivalrous with singers sister whom drummer was dating. Long story less long:I get a phone call one day that drummer's drums are taken completely apart (almost to the point of vandalism), cops are called, people hate each other, etc. and I'm like
    It came out of nowhere. So as quick as I thought things were happening they stopped and I was left absolutely heartbroken. Within 5 months I met these people, formed a band, started friendships (that are still going strong today), wrote my first songs, and people actually wanted to hear them, and people actually wanted my band to play shows (for a 15 year old that was "it"). Also within the same 5 months, my grandfather died after being bedridden with Alzheimers, diabetes, and an amputated leg for months- and my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. My family was split in half with one half at hospitals with either of my grandparents and the other half taking care of the family businesses.
    It was an extremely confusing time. I dare say the worst in my life.
    I tried to resurrect that band a few times to no avail.

    Then one day I started to understand how much music means to me. It's gone beyond being something I want to do to being something I need to do to be happy. I learned to play drums, started singing, and became the typical homerecordist.
    That spiked my infatuation with engineering and the mixing process. I love learning about acoustics and gear. I've converted my room into a "studio".
    I've learned though that I'm still at the beginning stages of all of it though really- musician and engineer.
    I'm working and saving all that I can this year to build a space within the next year or so. The main driving factor is obviously a space for me to work on my stuff, but to at least be able to offer my services and share my love of all things music with others would be just as fulfilling. Whether it's drums, or my studio itself, or mixing or whatever.
    I know it's overkill wanting to be a guitarist, and drummer, and mix, and record other people, and blah blah blah. But I genuinely do love it all and want to become the best I can at all of it.

    I also wouldn't change anything I've went through to get here. I'm glad that things went the way they did with the first band or I probably never wouldve went beyond being a guitarist and learned about the love that I have for the entire field.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    Great thread.
    I'd be interested to see how my story reads in a few years.
    I seem to be stuck at stage four.lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by guitaristic View Post
    Better than me...I'm stuck at stage 2.5!


    I am stuck at this level .... But I am quite satisfied with the results so far.




    ♫♪♫ I have a fever and the cure is cowbell ♫♪♫ .......... *LIVE FREE OR DIE* .......... ♫ I'm all ears ♫

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  6. #16
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    I find it a bit funny that the above wax cylinder session is reproduced in HD. lol

    Cheers

  7. #17
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    Everyone has a better resume than I do. I started back in the mid 60's with my dad's Sony tape recorder fooling around. By the early 70's I was playing in bands and recording in the basement with it and the two dynamic mics that came with it. It was the late 70's before I ever saw the inside of a real studio. It was in Ann Arbor Michigan and I did a session with another band in the studio that Black Foot had tracked in. Don't remember the name. Then I got married. I spent a few years out of music all together. I still had the itch to play though and by the 80's I was at it again. The band I was playing with at the time (a metel band) did a demo at a studio in St. Louis called Paridise and made fast friends with the owner (Mark Slocum). I was there 3 to 4 nights a week for years. I had borrowed a 3340 for a short time and got hooked. Ended up buying a Tascam 238 and a Peavey mixer and started tracking my band and soon, other local bands. Bought a house and it had an old unfinished basement (that's where I got the name "The Dungeon") that turned into a studio and started the gear lust thing. The first ADAT I bought was just under $4000 at the time. Got a better console (a StudioMaster that I still have) and two more ADAT's and a BRC. I did a LOT of tracking with that setup. By the late 90's I made the jump to computer. Back then there was NO peer group to help me find a stable recording/editing platform so there was a lot of VERY painfull trial and error. Bought a PC (350 MHz) and started going through soundcards. ADAT Edit, Creamware Pulsar, Yamaha DSP and MixTrax and a couple more I can't remeber the name of. I couldn't get anything to run stable. I even bought a G4 Power Mac and Protools Digi 001. I couldn't get my arms around the Mac (and still not enough simultainious tracks) so I sold that pretty quick. I went back to PC and got a Gina card and it worked like a charm but not enough simultainious tracks. FINALLY got a MOTU 2408 mkII and IT WORKED!! And it tied into the ADATs like a dream. Ran that for a while. Got another console (Tascam M-3500) and replaced the ADATs with a HD24 and a GenX6. Then in 2006 my world got turned upside down. First my mom died and a few months later I lost my day job. I tried to make a full time job out of music but by 2008 the world crashed around me and I damn near lost everything. I scrambled trying to get a new day job which brings me to where I am now. Under employed and an object lesson in humility. I know this reads more like a rant but I'm still addicted recording.

  8. #18
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    Man reading all of you guys stories is amazing! Its like a timeline. lol Its really great to be apart of such a great enviornment. My story has many years to go but Ill share anyway. lol

    Played in cello in the orchastra for about 5-6yrs, but as soon as middle came about I was more interested in the cool image to be honest. Put down the music and didnt take interest for awhile. My dad being a professional bassist and teacher traveling all over the world always tried to teach me new things from cord structure to basslines and just general music theory. I being the young kid wanting to be independent didnt wish to hear it. it wasnt until my 3rd yr of high school where I came across some passion to continue. During that lapse I took piano and bass lessons every now and again.

    I was pre exposed to midi and Reason through my dad who had it at school. He introduced me to cakewalk as well and an old roland drum machine. I believe it was when I heard "crank dat by soulja boy" did I want to make that particular type of music. I would crank out several beats a day using a FL studio demo. Didnt know what mixing was or distortion but i enjoyed it.

    High school passed and I didnt know any studios in my city or people to learn from. College came and the 1st yr I met an engineer who was the head at the facilities at my school. They offered a 9 week audio program teaching the bascis of pro tools and recording. When I walked into that room and saw the C24 i was so amazed! I quickly jumped first and people began to notice me for it. ....

    Jumping fwd to today (2/29/12) I've learned a great deal about the business of this industry. im no longer as interested in doing production for hip-hop/rap artists. I still do it, but ive broadened my passion. I've been able to do a couple pieces in film so ive been looking into that as well as game audio. I only have 5+yrs exp. now, but i look fwd to obtaining so much more! I love mixing more than anything. Idk what it is about it. To take raw audio and scult it into a well defined sound for people to enjoy.

    Hopefully I can talk to you guys on advice! Today I manage two of my own artists, created my own brand, and am Manager/1st Engineer to the facilities at my university. maybe not the most extravagent of stories as you all but I still felt it needed to be shared. lol
    Producer/Mixing Engineer #Trilltrax Follow @Trilltrax
    www.soundcloud.com/trilltrax

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeRosario View Post
    I'm curious to hear about what drives you.
    What do you say?
    Is this thread only for engineers or is it open to the wide gamut of bods that make up HR, some of whom "engineer" their own stuff as part of the jack of all trades that many hobbyists end up having to be ?

  10. #20
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    . . I HAD a story. . .Typed the whole thing. . . then it never posted. . .

    But that's okay. I guess my jorney isn't over yet.

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