Meeting Topic: Careers in Audio - a Panel Discussion
Moderator Name: Steven Malott, Shoreline CC & Vice-Chair, PNW Section
Speaker Name: see text
Meeting Location: Shoreline Community COllege, Shoreline, WA
The PNW October 2012 meeting convened a panel of distinguished industry professionals to discuss careers in audio. The meeting was held at Shoreline Community College and about 48 attended (12 AES members), with quite a few students from SCC's audio programs. The panelists were chosen by Moderator Steve Malott for their diverse careers and experiences. Steve is PNW vice-chair and currently full-time faculty at Shoreline Community College in their audio technology program, and adjunct faculty at Northwest University in Kirkland. Steve has enjoyed a varied career in audio engineering, advertising, broadcasting and management, and has been active in the Recording Academy, AES and SBE for many years.
The panelists were:
Julian Colbeck, CEO of Keyfax NewMedia, which is a music technology support company, producing material such as DVDs (including Alan Parsons' The Art & Science of Sound Recording) and websites. He is a former professional keyboard player of over 25 years, author of several music-related books and guides, the creator of Twiddly.Bits MIDI loops and the concept designer for the PhatBoy MIDI controller. He has played/collaborated with Greep, The New Seekers, Charlie, John Miles, Yes offshoot Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, and Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.
Glenn Lorbecki is a producer and engineer with his production company Glenn Sound. He has been active with the Recording Academy since 1999, serving as President of the PNW Chapter 2001-2003, national Trustee 2003-2008, and was recently named national co-chairman of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Academy. Glenn plays guitar and performs with several bands, including Tony Gable and 206 (Heads Up), a smooth Jazz band with two top-10 charting albums, currently working on the third. He is also a member of ASCAP, AES, AFM, and an AFTRA/SAG signatory. Glenn has many regional and national credits in music, TV and film.
Jonathan Plum is a Seattle based music producer, engineer, mixer, musician and studio owner. He helped to record and produce some of the most successful and influential bands of the 90's, including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Blind Melon, Candlebox, and Zakk Wylde. In 2005 Jonathan and producer Geoff Ott purchased London Bridge Studio. Today, Jonathan continues to produce and engineer music projects. He is an active board member of the Pacific Northwest Grammies. He plays guitar and drums in several local bands. Jonathan is also currently serving on the Board of the Recording Academy.
Jeff Heiman - ?Jeff is founder of JH Music and Business Development. He launched his career at KZAM radio in Seattle during and after college which led to a full-time job there. At KZAM, Jeff met Will Ackerman, the founder of Windham Hill Records, became their first employee and worked there for 11 years. He currently is the President of the PNW Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
Nancy Rumbel - is a professional composer, recording artist, performer and teacher. Her primary instruments are oboe, English horn, double wooden ocarinas, clay ocarinas and keyboards. She is well known for her work for the past 25 years with the GRAMMY award-winning duo Tingstad & Rumbel. In the late 70s/early 80s she toured and recorded extensively with the Paul Winter Consort. She is serving her second term at a Trustee for The Recording Academy and is a founding board member and Vice President of BirdNote.org, a two minute radio program about the intriguing stories, sounds and lives of birds, for which she composed the theme song.
Steve Turnidge - is a noted mastering engineer at his UltraViolet Studios with many albums and thousands of licensed music tracks to his credit. With over 25 years experience in the pro audio electronics industry, he specializes in mixed digital and analog printed circuit board design and other aspects of electronics manufacturing. Steve has taught audio recording at Shoreline Community College, is past Chair of the PNW Section of the AES and a Governor of the Recording Academy. He co-founded Burning Sky Records, and his latest project is developing synthesizer modules with James Husted at Synthwerks. He now frames his art and has written the book, "Desktop Mastering" for Hal Leonard Books, and is currently authoring a follow-up release, "Beyond Mastering."
The panelists first described their own varied and often curious career paths. Julian Colbeck started as a young keyboardist. Jeff Heiman started in Seattle college radio. Glenn Lorbecki was a young Wisconsin musician fascinated by studios. Steve Malott also started in college radio. Jonathan Plum was a young musician who got hooked on recording. Nancy Rumbel started on a classical musician path in Texas. Steve Turnidge wanted to be a young rock star, but started in electronic assembly.
Moderator Malott asked them what one thing they might have done to redesign their career. Glenn remarked about fate, staying in Seattle instead of nearly moving to L.A. and not regretting any of the varied things he's done. Jeff echoed thoughts on serendipity and varied jobs and lack of any regrets, but now kind of wished he'd gotten a law degree. Julien claimed that when he first bought a synthesizer, he got an Arp Odyssey, and wished he'd gotten the MiniMoog. Jonathan thought he focused so much on audio at a young age, that he neglected things like college. Nancy wondered if she might have done more piano, conducting, and vocal studies. Steve Turnidge had no regrets, feeling that everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. Steve Malott thought he never pursued the "one song" everyone has in them, and recommends doing so.
The next question was to discuss who had most contributed to their careers, and/or what their business networking secrets were. Steve Turnidge cited the owners of Rane as teaching him not to ask what needs to be done, but to figure that out yourself and do it. As for work, he suggested not looking for work, but to look for what people need done, and offer that. Julien mentioned that Jon Anderson showed him that not knowing what can't be done is sometimes a blessing, as well as not stopping short of one's perceived limits. Also mentioned were moms and dads. Some tips on job searching and business networking were offered.
After a break, door prizes were drawn:
-CD box sets of music by the Posies, courtesy Steve Turnidge/Burning Sky Records, won by Parker Vogt and Forrest Martin
-A copy of Steve Turnidge's book, Desktop Mastering, won by Kisha Kalahiki
-A Hosa Tee-shirt courtesy Lunchbox Audio, won by Doug Hayman
-A copy of Glenn Lorbecki's new book, Power Tools for Protools 10, won by Joey Marguerite
The 2nd half was questions posed by the audience, which elicited many tips, suggestions and personal anecdotes from the panel. The questions included:
-How do you get your foot in the job door with less experience?
-What about social networking, and how do you follow up?
-How has the home studio affected the industry?
-What local bands do you like?
-When do you know the project is done?
Remarks also included worldwide collaboration and social media today, and taking patience and time to nurture your career.
Full audio will be available on the PNW website, www.aes.org/sections/pnw/pnwrecaps/
Written By: Gary Louie