I’m an audio nerd. It’s what I do. It’s pretty much all I’ve ever done. My brother and I took over our parent’s garage in High School, filling it with guitars, drums, drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, speakers… and my trusty cassette 4 track machine. There were nights I’d go into the garage after dinner and start playing, only to later open the garage door and find a sunny new morning! So I decided to make a career out of it!
I spent four years earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Sound Recording Technology at S.U.N.Y. Fredonia’s Tonmeister Studies program. It wasn’t just about sound. We needed to audition for the school of music and keep up with music studies while we were there (mine was classical guitar. I still suck). It also included a lot of math, physics, acoustics, electronics, plus copious amounts of chicken wings and beer.
Shortly after graduating, a fellow Fredonian hooked me up as an assistant at The Music Palace in West Hempstead, Long Island. I logged many many hours assisting on projects for producers like Hank Shocklee (Public Enemy, The Young Black Teenagers) and Ric Wake (Mariah Carey, Donny Osmond, Hall and Oates). I loved it so much that I quickly quit mid-session to take a position in Manhattan at what USED to be Todd Rundgren’s ‘Secret Sound’ studios (by then called ‘Home Base’) where I got to engineer in ‘the midi room’ as well as assist in the main room. I quickly found myself engineering some really fun album projects… which led me to many sessions at a lot of great NYC studios (Giant Sound, Right Track, Quad, Unique and ultimately KAMPO).
In an effort to save money in cab fare, I somehow ended up as a staffer at Soundtrack NY, where I was exposed to so much hip hop tracking and mixing that it drove me into the loving arms of the advertising world and post production mixing. Don’t get me wrong.. it was fun. I just hadn’t seen daylight for a year or so. Having done some successful ad agency work, I was offered the opportunity to switch over to a staff position as a post mixer. I said no. Shortly thereafter during a vocal tracking session with a guy name Biggie Smalls (who knew where THAT was headed), I came back and said “YES!”. The thing was… Biggie had been using his gun to make sound effects as he rapped in a booth with the lights out. I wasn’t interested in taking an accidental bullet for the hip world.
By 1996 I had shifted around from Soundtrack to Kampo (where I worked to grow an audio post business within their walls) to Mixed Nuts in the old Daily News building. I loved what I was doing… but often found myself frustrated by the process. I felt that things could be better- so I launched Planet V in 1996. We hit the ground running with work for Bozell and Wieden and Kennedy’s Portland office. That led to some nice award winning work (most notably making the Communication Arts Annual with some radio spots we produced for Barq’s Root Beer via Wieden). It was a privilege to work with so many awesome creative teams and producers. For eight years, Planet V delivered the goods for a lot of agencies and production companies. But by 2002, it was no longer cool to be a tiny boutique shop. It was time to shut it down and join a larger operation. So I spent the next 14 years doing award winning work for agencies and networks alike.
Now, at the start of 2019, I find myself entering the next chapter: Digital Arts! I am a senior mixer, sound designer in a complex that offers four full floors of production. Record, mix, shoot, edit, color, screen- it’s all here. Check out www.digitalartsny.com
The Abaton Calendar is a resource created for and by voice talent, to help create meaningful connections and forge and maintain professional and personal relationships. (And hopefully, have a hell of a lot of fun in the process).