To land a position at an Atlanta recording studio, take a tip from Drake: “start from the bottom.”
Before mastering, mixing and marketing begins, potential employees have to prove themselves by going back to studio basics, according to Mike Wilson, co-owner and chief engineer at Patchwerk Recordings off Hemphill Avenue.
“It’s not about coming in and knowing everything,” said the engineering veteran, who’s been in the business for 25 years. “It’s about coming in with an open mind and the fundamental components of the job. You also have to have great social skills because you’re interacting with so many clients and personalities.”
Patchwerk’s clients range from artists such as Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Rick Ross to labels like Disney, Warner Bros. and Def Jam. To fully compress what it takes to break into the business, here’s what Wilson said you must master first:
“Our engineering and marketing internships are competitive to get but worth the experience to grow in a recording studio,” said Wilson. “In fact, you have to have a degree to work with us. Knowing that you got a solid education tells us that you’re dedicated to learning. Our internship program is the best starting point for new employees to understand Patchwerk’s process and acquire new skills.”
“On any given day, you’re working with different clients on different projects,” Wilson said. “Staying organized makes the work flow smoother and keeps you on track. It shows us that you can multitask and still get the job done, too.”
“Sometimes you’re dealing with people who feel like you’re their equal or think you’re beneath them,” he said. “In any case, you have to know how to communicate with the client and the recording team to finish the project with positive results. As an engineer, you’re transferring an artist’s emotions and have to make sure you’re convening their feelings the way they want it to come out. The only way that works right is when the lines of communication are completely open, and you’ve built trustworthy relationships with the client.”
A teamwork mentality
“Employees who think they know it all will never survive,” said Wilson. “You have to be a team player and know how to capitalize on your team’s strengths. I’m not into social media, but I’ve surrounded myself with team members who know how it works and use it effectively for the studio. Also, those willing to compromise and try new ways of working always go far.”
“Another reason we don’t consider applicants who don’t have a college degree is because we need employees who have basic knowledge about the technology we’re using today,” Wilson said. “We have expensive equipment that we use, and we need people who understand how it all works, how to use it properly and fix it if something breaks.”
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