Let’s start at the beginning. Why are you so interested in music?
“I LOVE music!! The way music makes you feel, the way it can relax you, relieve stress, the amazing effects it has on our souls and mind is beyond this world. Music is a powerful aphrodisiac. What is interesting is the fact that every time I have ever went to the doctor and had my blood pressure checked, I have NEVER had high blood pressure. Now that’s not saying that I don’t have a stressful job, because I do. However, I think the fact that I work in the music industry and I am constantly listening to music and finding and exploring new music has helped counter act the stress I have in my life and actually make the stress enjoyable as weird as that sounds. I am currently doing research on how music effects the brain and why music has the effects it has on us. Yes there are numerous publications on this stuff. I am accumulating all of those publications as I can and basically taking myself back to school and learning more in-depth about that side of it. I want to have all the information readably available on my website for all to check out and maybe spur their exploratory side and dig deeper on how music effects us. I figure that this is something that most don’t really think about when listening to music. It can kinda make your brain hurt, but I think its good to know. I mean why is it when you break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, you listen to a certain song over and over again? Its not just what the song is saying in the lyrics but more the tonal fluctuations in the song and the instrumentation that is actually connecting with you more than the lyrics. Most people I don’t think realize this. Let’s look at it this way. I will explain more in-depth on my website but, why is it the verse or the first part of the song you hear saddening but when you get to the chorus its very uplifting? As each of these play out, you have different emotions that follow. How can this not be interesting to know? In answer to your question, I love how music is so complex. I want to know more.”
Given that you love music so much, do you play any instruments yourself?
“I do. I play the drums, sing, play guitar, a little bit of piano, and I play the trumpet. I am professionally trained on both trumpet and drums. That just means I have taken lessons to further my education on drums and I played the trumpet from 5th grade all the way through college. Guitar is one of those instruments that I can just pick up and learn to play by watching people or playing along to other songs. Same with piano."
Where did you inherit your musical abilities?
“I got them from my mother’s side of the family. My grandfather, and aunt both played the trumpet and my mom played the flute. Also, my mom, aunt, grandfather and grandmother were the type of family that would get up and sing at church. If you take it all the way through my mother’s side of the family, you will find that most of them are or at one point in their life have been involved in music in some way."
How has having this ability to play so many instruments and being so musically inclined played into your career path?
“Well, the great thing about being so musically inclined is that I know what all the different instruments in a band are supposed to sound like; what the singer’s voice is supposed to sound like. The fact that I play the trumpet - a brass instrument helps with orchestral music or bands that have brass and woodwind instruments in them. One would say I have a musical ear. This has made it a pretty easy transition into becoming a sound engineer and mixing bands. From there, its called the audio bug and it just grabs a hold of you and you keep digging deeper and deeper."
That being said and since you have played the trumpet in high school, were you involved in any live sound curriculum at your high school or did your high school even offer such a thing?
“I had always been interested in live sound and wanted more of an understanding of it. While I was in high school, my junior year, we had what was called “Work Study” or an internship program. This was a program that, if you chose to, you would leave school at 11am and go grab lunch, then head to your internship site for the rest of the day. You only had to be there till the time school let out, which for us was 3pm. If you had nothing else going on, you could stay onsite and continue working as long as you wanted. While you were there, you had to log your hours on a sheet of paper and submit those to the school internship coordinator as proof of your time spent on site. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Short of me quitting my high school basketball career my senior year, even though my team went on to win the sectionals, regionals, and then went on to semi-state for the first time in our school’s history, that will never compare to where my life has taken me and how my life turned out because of the decision I made to quit and do this work study program. Through that program I have made some AMAZING friends, life-long industry contacts and still have those people I interned for as my mentors today. I call them up frequently to ask them questions on random sound related problems I am having or even just to hang. I can’t thank Gene Frazier and Reece Heltenburg of Frazier Audio enough for all their help, continued support, and knowledge they have and continue to pass down to me. It’s because of them, I am where I am today in the audio industry. They started my career!”
What was the next step after high school? Did you continue working in the industry and were you still enjoying it?
“Yes, there was a next step or chapter if you will. Once you get the audio bug, it is really hard to get rid of it. In February of 2002, I, along with my cousin, started our own audio company called E-Audio. As I said before, while I was working with Frazier Audio, we were operating E-Audio. We built our company off of things I saw from their company. E-Audio was what it was because of them! However, in late 2004 Frazier Audio sold off to Indiana University. This transaction would ultimately come to be the next chapter of my life. As a result, I started working at Indiana University as a stage hand, I began to see a new side of everything. I began to see all sorts of different road cases and started taking notes on everything down to the way a case was labeled and why it was labeled that way. As the Production Manager of our company, I had to learn all I could to elevate E-Audio to the next level. As far as production and gear, I was the guy that was going to set our company apart from all the rest on the gear and sound side of things. So while I was at IU, I used it as another “Work Study” program. I learned how to properly conduct load ins and load outs, how to manage stagehands, I learned different ways of setting up gear, more ways of wiring up gear, and most importantly, how the Union as a whole worked. Knowing how a union works can be a HUGE asset to anyone in this industry! In the long run, it will make your job ten times easier when and if you decide to tour for a living. You see, when you work with unions, depending on where you are, it can be tricky. Without going into great detail, I was not a member of the union, but I did work for the union. That means I did not get every call that came through unless they needed extra help. If you are a what’s called a “Card Holder” then you have seniority and get called on every call. If you choose to pass up the work, then that is your choice. I was guaranteed a certain wage for a regular 8 hour day then I got time and a half for anything over 8 hours and on Sundays if I did anything, I got double time. Unions can be a great thing if they are ran right.”
How long were you in business for and what happened afterwords?
“We were in business and actual operation for a full 8 years. We learned so much about how we as company conducted business and what it means to be a respectable business. Ya know, starting something like this from the ground up is not easy. Our family has always owned their own businesses. It was almost like it was ingrained in us to succeed in running a startup. However, after 8 years, Patrick - my cousin, and business partner, Jeff - our friend and Public Relations Manager, and myself decided it was time to pursue the next stages of our careers. With this life altering decision, my business partner and I decided to shut down E-Audio. So in November of 2009 E-Audio performed at our last wedding. As hard as it was to shut down the very thing that my partner and I started, which became our baby, it was time. Patrick went on to go back to school to get his masters in Liberal Arts and Communication, Jeff went on to become a police officer for the area in which we all lived, and I was getting ready to attend an audio school called the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences to further my career on a more professional level.”
Did the Conservatory help you like you thought it would?
“Yes, and much more! I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for the Conservatory! I had always had dreams of touring with bands, and I’m infatuated with tour buses, so the idea of living on one just excited me that much more. The Conservatory or “CRAS” as we like to call it, gave me all the basics I needed to enter the industry and begin building my life as an audio engineer. I also had dreams of producing an album with my band. CRAS helped solidify that dream. In November of 2008 my band, DECREE, began the recording process of our first album before I left for school. While I was at school though, I did some of the recording there and sent tracks and sessions back to my engineer in Indiana. It was really cool! I had a hard time in the studio classes because of the differences between the consoles and signal flow. However, while working on my own music, helped me grasp all the stuff I was having trouble with. Now seven years later, I have graduated from school, am gainfully employed with a professional live sound company in San Diego California, DECREE’s album is finished and ready for purchase and I am an accomplished recording artist, audio engineer, and producer.”
What was it about CRAS that attracted you instead of other schools?
“Short period of time I would have to spend there before I could get moving with my career, the large amounts of classes and different avenues of audio you have to learn from like music business, studio recording, post production, etc..., and the fact that they were the only accredited private audio school that required an internship that would guarantee getting my foot in the door.”
Was it hard letting go of something you spent so much time building?
“Yes! As much fun as E-Audio was, it feels good accomplishing my life goals. However, it saddens me that we had to leave all of our clients and shut down what became a staple name in the wedding and disc jockey industry. I want to thank all of our clients, friends and families for their continued love and support throughout E-Audio’s life time. We wouldn’t have been able to operate as we did without you all. It is because of you E-Audio was where it was. It’s because of you we as individuals are where we are today in our careers. We won’t forget you. Again, thank you so much.”
How long will you stay in the touring side of the industry?
“I have know idea. I have other dreams I would like to pursue, still in the industry, just not touring. I love teaching! I wouldn’t mind if the opportunity presented itself, to go back and teach at the Conservatory. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of knowledge in this field. Some of those people are teaching at CRAS now. However, I think everyone has a different take on teaching and a different method. Not everyone learns the same way. I did some tutoring during my time at CRAS and the ones that I tutored did extremely well on their proficiency in live sound. I have always been able to teach from the ground up. To see a person’s light go off in their head when they “get it” and understand what they have just done is an amazing feeling! Without going on and telling all the other business ventures and such, I think that is what I would like to do.”