Meeting Topic: CRAS GRAD Panel
Moderator Name: CRAS AES President - Josh Badger
Speaker Name: CRAS Grads - Ike Schultz, Nik Karpen, Jared Hirshland
Meeting Location: Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences 1205 N. Fiesta Blvd Gilbert Az
The panel was moderated by Josh Badger. Three Grammy-nominated CRAS grads,Ike Schultz, Nik Karpen, and Jared Hirshland fielded questions from Josh. To begin, Josh asked about their journey after CRAS to where they are now.
Nik interned at Conway Studios then quickly found another internship at Cello, which eventually became East/West. Cello He met Chris Lord-Alge and became staff engineer at Mix LA as well as freelance. Jared interned at the Bomb Shelter until the studio eventually closed. He started working on the TV show The Voice. After his work with The Voice he met Dave Cooley and began working at Elysian Masters as a mastering engineer. Ike got his start as drummer, needing to edit his recordings. This eventually led to CRAS, where as the CRAS AES president he moderated an event with Manny Marroquin. He eventually reconnected with Manny at a VintageKing event, which led to working at Larrabee for 4 years. Ike now a mix engineer and producer.
The panelists then discussed what makes a good intern after CRAS. Ike noted that he has seen many people fired for bad attitude, and mostly not understanding his/her position coming out of CRAS. Jared shared this sentiment, and encouraged that in the beginning you should just be a fly on the wall. As an intern you are not there for your opinions in the beginning—that will come with time and experience. Jared has witnessed an intern overhearing a phone conversation, and the intern chimed in with a suggestion, and the intern was fired on the spot.
Good studio etiquette is everything, Jared emphasized. Obviously knowledge in audio is important, but just as important clients want to be around people they like and makes people comfortable. Nik certainly agrees, and "be a good hang". However, depending on your position that can differ. Ike echoed that some clients won't even acknowledge an intern, they are far too busy, but some people want to joke around with you. Nothing is important than the relationships you develop. It is a privilege to be in the personal space of someone creating their art.
Jared said to make sure people know you as being helpful. Ike agreed that actions speak much louder than words, especially in the beginning. When you're good you will stick out. Your action should match your priorities. Don't text people or be browsing Facebook. Getting food orders right is a classic way to testing how detail-oriented an intern is. If an intern can't get a food order right, how can they be trusted with expensive equipment and key clients?
Being cool under pressure is key. Nik notes there is no better way to kill a vibe then getting stressed out. Ike was in a session where a vintage compressor caught fire. He had the gear unhooked and wheeled out before the client even noticed.
As three engineers working at studios, Josh asked whether their studios usually have interns. Jared suggested that while medium sized studios aren't looking for interns, they may be open to cold emails. In fact, he recommends interning with small to medium studios. With large studios, it is easy for interns to get swallowed up. Ike agreed with this, sometimes interns get swallowed up in a work wheel with no growth potential.
The panelists talked about some memorable moments with artists they admire. Jared has worked with Stone Temple Pilots and Steven Bruner (stage name Thundercat). Nik has recorded rock n' roll greats like Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, and Joe Cocker. Ike recalls recording Stevie Wonder's harmonica solo on a Mariah Carey song. He was amazed by his virtuosity on the harmonica, and they discussed the CLASP tape-DAW synchronization processor.
In the Q&A session, a student asked if there was a moment where they decided that audio engineering was their path. For Nik, it was the drum clinic, where they miked up the kit. For Jared it was the 5th cycle project on the Neotek. For Ike it was it was even further back, in the Tascam board learning about signal flow.
What is the process for developing mixing skills? Ike said be unbelievably picky—be stubborn. Never walk away until you are happy with it. Jared noted sometimes there's no end. There is a balance, and you need to walk away. Find a mentor to work with. Nik said that his mixing skills are always evolving. Jared echoed that there's is no right or wrong in music. Ike also agreed--the goal is to make the music effective. There's no rules. They emphasized the importance of diversity and openness to all music. Part of being a professional is putting in your best work even if you don't personally connect with the music. A good exercise is to listen to music you don't like for 10 minutes a day.
What is the best way spend time here at CRAS? Be exposed to everything you can. The new broadcast curriculum is invaluable. Nik emphasized the importance of listening to instructors top to bottom. Ike recommended that we go to the extracurricular classes, and he here as much as you can to make use of the resources available to us..
It was amazing to hear success stories and words of wisdom from CRAS grads. We wish them continued success and hope they come back to another panel in the future!?
Written By: CRAS AES Secretary - Takuma O.