SPARS recently initiated a new series of SPARS Sessions at the 131st AES convention in NY. One of those sessions was Speed Counseling with Experts – Mentoring Answers for Your Career and was warmly received by some 88 individual attendees that comprised 200 different opportunities for up close and personal counseling. The successful event was led by SPARS current President of the Board, Kirk Imamura, who is also President of Avatar Studios, NY.
The ground breaking seminar was specially suited for students, recent graduates and those interested in career advice. Hosted by SPARS in cooperation with AES, G.A.N.G. and the Post NY Alliance, groups of 12 participants received career advice and answers to questions by interacting with 22 respected industry pros in six different career tracks including record production, mastering, post, sound for film, gaming and live sound. The up close and personal sessions were 15 minutes in length and were repeated several times in the 1 1/2 hour period.
The material was so well received that at the end of the allotted time, most of the participants were asking to extend the session. The Speed Counseling with Experts – Mentoring Answers for Your Career was the first program release and a preview of the SPARS Mentoring Program, which will be unveiled in 2012.
Here is a list of counselors who were kind enough to participate in this successful event.
Niko Bolas is known as a “vibe oriented” producer/engineer in music studios and in forays with hi-tech companies. He has recorded and produced music and technology since starting at the famous Record One Studio in 1979. In music, he’s cut with a wide spectrum… Classic Artists – Neil Young (The Volume Dealers), Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, Keith Richards, Herb Alpert, KISS, Steve Perry… Contemporary Artists – John Mayer, Los Lonely Boys, Melissa Etheridge, The Waterboys, My Morning Jacket… Rising Talents – Australia’s Rushcutter, England’s Two Spot Gobi, and Chicago’s Echo Son. Film work spans “The Breakfast Club”, “Singles”, Scorcese’s “Lightning In A Bottle”, and Beyonce’s “Cadillac Records”.
Roy came up under Tony Bongiovi’s tutelage during The Power Station days. He worked there for over six years and left as a freelance engineer in the early 1990′s. After working all across the country and at a multitude of studios, Roy came back to New York to establish his home base in Manhattan and forming an association with Avatar Studios. Roy has helped design and fine-tune the acoustics for Studio G, the mastering room, Studio E and W. All the rooms have received favorable reviews from our clients. As an engineer, Roy has worked with a wide variety of artists in many different genres including B.B. King, Missy Elliott, Blondie, Cheap Trick, P.O.D., Gavin DeGraw, Miles Davis, Peter Paul & Mary, Richie Havens, Carly Simon, Judy Collins, Gato Barbieri, Pat Metheny, Al di Meola, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Golub, Philippe Saisse, Roberta Flack, Bernadette Peters, Liza Minnelli, Tal Wilkenfeld and Nicole C. Mullen.
Mark Rubel (Pogo Studio)
Since 1980, Mark Rubel has made about 1,000 recordings at his Pogo Studio in the center of The Center of the Universe (Champaign IL), where he has recorded Hum, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Adrian Belew, Melanie, Luther Allison, Henry Butler and many others, including work for RCA, Capitol, Warner, Jive/Zomba, etc. Mark belongs to SPARS, AES, NARAS, ASCAP, the Music and Entertainment Industry Educator’s Association (MEIEA), Chicago’s Engineering and Recording Society (EARS), and many other acronyms. Recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Studios, he is a member of the Grammy® Producers Committee, NARAS Producers and Engineers Wing and Education Committees. Having taught audio at the college level to more than 4,000 students since 1985, Mr. Rubel now serves as Audio Director for Eastern Illinois University’s $65 million Doudna Fine Arts Center, where he is lucky enough to teach Audio and Recording Technology, the History of Rock, and works on developing new audio and music business curricula. Mark travels about doing panels and workshops, including a 2010 AES panel with Al Schmitt, Ed Cherney and Elliot Scheiner. He has been featured in various books and magazines, interviewed Les Paul, Terry Manning and others for Tape Op Magazine, and acts as a consultant, beta tester and legal expert witness.
Claudius Mittendorfer started his career at The Hit Factory in NYC in the late 90s, working on records for artists such as Paul Simon, Tony Bennett and Iron Maiden and assisting and engineering for many producers including Kevin Shirley, Brian Malouf and Neil Dorfsman. He continued his work in Los Angeles engineering for Rich Costey, and earned credits for his work on Franz Ferdinand, Muse and Interpol records. Claudius moved back to NYC in 2004 and is based at Atomic Heart Studios in Chelsea. He primarily records and mixes rock and electronic music for bands including Interpol, Ash, Glasvegas, Chapel Club, Brand New and Neon Indian.
Brian’s career has allowed him to work with many of the world’s finest artists, musicians and producers and develop a diverse list of clients. At last count, he has been involved with well over 300 major label recordings. He learned his craft by sitting behind some of the greatest “ears” in the business while working on staff at the legendary Avatar Studios (formerly Power Station) in New York City. Industry luminaries such as Al Schmitt, Elliot Scheiner, Bob Clearmountain, Neil Dorfsman, Jason Corsaro, Rich Costey, Kevin Killen and Roy Hendrickson are just some of his engineering mentors. He has also worked beside jazz engineering giants James Farber, Joe Ferla and David Baker on countless projects. Add to that the experience of working with legendary producers Arif Mardin, Steve Lillywhite, David Kahne, Tommy LiPuma, Nile Rodgers, and you have a veritable who’s who of modern music production. With engineering experience earned in world-class studios, Brian’s breadth of experience and unparalleled passion for great recordings puts artists in very capable hands. Brian’s client list includes artists such as: Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Esperanza Spalding, Roberta Flack, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Matisyahu, Linkin Park, Goldfrapp, Los Lonely Boys, Regina Spektor, Guster, Last Shadow Puppets, Elvis Costello, Howie Day, Herbie Hancock and John Scofield.
David Glasser (Airshow Mastering)
David Glasser HAS OVER 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE in audio engineering and has mastered thousands of records, including more than 80 Grammy nominees. A three-time nominee himself, he has earned two Grammy awards for mastering and restoration of the culturally significant Anthology of American Folk Music (1997) and Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton (2002). David began his audio career with the Boston Symphony, followed by eight years of recording and production for NPR. Founding Airshow in 1983 to offer location recording services, he shifted to full-time mastering in 1990 with a modest studio in Springfield, Virginia. Expanding the company to Boulder, Colorado in 1997, David has grown Airshow into one of the largest mastering facilities in the country.
Fred Kevorkian (Kevorkian Mastering)
Fred began his career in France, where he worked for Sonofrance, a well-established sound company in Paris. His background in electronics and passion for music led him naturally into the field of audio consulting and studio design. After several years, Fred decided to specialize in engineering. He became a freelance broadcast engineer working for major television networks as well as a staff engineer at Parisign Records. In 1989, Fred came to New York where he spent a total of nine years at Sear Sound. He was the chief recording engineer there, and also collaborated with Walter Sear in building and customizing unique pieces of vintage gear during the first four years. He then turned his focus to mastering, which really suited his talent and interests. Walter Sears decided to build Studio B where Fred spent the remaining five years there, mastering albums for independent and major label artists. In 1999, Fred joined Absolute Audio where he was on staff for five years before founding Kevorkian Mastering, Inc. in 2004. At Absolute, Fred sharpened his mastering skills and built up quite an impressive list of clients. In April of 2005, Fred moved to a new mastering facility designed and built by Avatar Studios where he continues providing excellent mastering services. His mastering room is located on the 3rd floor. Fred’s credits include albums by Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, The White Stripes, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Trey Anastasio, Iggy Pop, The Walkmen, moe and Jesse Malin as well as Sonny Rollins, Cassandra Wilson, Dave Holland, Clark Terry, Danilo Perez and many others.
Randy Merrill (Masterdisk)
Randy’s approach to mastering is to be as attuned to his clients’ aesthetic and practical goals as possible. He’ll go the extra mile to make sure the finished product reflects how you want your music to sound. Randy attended the Sound Recording Technology program at SUNY College at Fredonia, where he studied music theory and performance, audio engineering, and acoustics. After Fredonia, he went to work for the Eastman School of Music, where he honed his skills on all phases of music and audio production — from live and studio recording and mixing, to live sound reinforcement, jazz arranging, composition, and percussion performance. He relocated to New York City in 1999 and started engineering. He spent five years as a technical engineer at Avatar Studios (formerly Power Station) where he worked under Chief Engineer Roy Hendrickson. While at Avatar he aided in the construction of their mastering facility. It was at this point that he switched his focus to mastering. As a result of this shift, he joined Scott Hull Mastering in early 2006 as Scott’s production engineer. Shortly thereafter he started developing his own mastering clientele, and today he is a staff engineer at Masterdisk. Mastering Highlights include the modern jazz of Darcy James Argue, Bruce Hornsby’s sophisticated pop, Franz Nicolay’s indie rock and classical music for the Naxos label.
Leslie Mona-Mathus (ABC News)
Currently Senior Audio Engineer for ABC News, Leslie is an Emmy award winning Audio Mixer/ Editor/ Sound Designer/ Producer. During the course of her thirty plus year career she has earned two Grammy nominations, four Emmy nominations, a Gold Record, a Bafta and multiple Clio and Promax awards. From staff engineer at Automated Sound Studios, to freelancer at major recording studios and music production houses in and around the NYC area, to post-production engineer at Howard Schwartz Recording, and now ABC, Leslie has recorded, designed, edited and mixed numerous CD’s, underscores, jingles, commercials, and promos. Her body of work also includes many long-form projects for major film companies, broadcast / cable networks as well as award winning independent films. As a guest speaker at several universities and secondary schools, Leslie uses her experience and keen interest to present to students in an effort to educate and mentor future generations of audio professionals. Her love of her craft, strong work ethic and commitment to the highest standards of the recording industry, drive her career and artistic endeavors forward, allowing for continued success in an ever-changing industry.
Eric Johnson (Blazing Music & Sound)
Eric began playing music professionally at the age of 16 in a local R&B band in his hometown of Winston-Salem, NC. In 1986, while attending North Carolina State University’s School of Design, Eric founded Johnsound Productions. Eric’s early work included composing, writing, and recording jingles for local and regional clients. Eric also did studio production for artists seeking recording contracts. One of his first clients was Tyka Nelson who is the sister of Grammy Award-winning artist Prince. Eric helped write and arrange Tyka’s first single, Marc Anthony’s Tune which made Billboard Magazine’s Top Forty chart during the summer of 1987. In 1988, Eric began to move away from producing artists and began to concentrate on music for advertising as well as soundtracks for non-broadcast corporate video and film projects for clients such as IBM, Caterpillar, Golden Corral, Nortel, Burroughs Wellcome, Hardee’s, and North Carolina State University. In January of 2003, Eric joined Trailblazer Studios to launch Blazing Music + Sound, the dedicated custom music and sound division of Trailblazer Studios. Blazing Music + Sound provides custom music, recording, mixing, and sound design for advertising agency, film, television, and video game production clients. Blazing Music + Sound currently handles audio post for TLC’s top rated shows Jon & Kate Plus 8 and 18 Kids and Counting. Other clients include advertising agencies McKinney( Travelocity, Quest, NASDAQ), McCann Ericksson (General Motors), television clients National Geographic/Nova, Fine Living Network, The Tennis Channel, and Animal Planet, and gaming companies Virtual Heroes, Red Storm Entertainment, and Codemasters.
Tom Paul (Gigantic Post)
A highly regarded Re-Recording Mixer and Sound Designer, Tom Paul is one of New York City’s most sought after talents in the field of post production audio. Tom got his professional start as a boom operator in 1988, moving on to production mixing in 1991. Some notable titles of his early years in production sound include: Trust, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Little Odessa, Swoon and The Yards. In 1994, his passion for sound lead him to the creative environment of post production. Some highlights of his sound design and re-recordng credits include the Academy Award winning films The Fog of War and Born Into Brothels. Other notable films include: Junebug, Palindromes, The Baxter, The King, and U2 360, the largest selling concert DVD of all time. Most recently, Tom sound designed, mixed and scored a beautiful Bulgarian filmed called Avé, selected for competition in Critic’s Week, at Cannes 2011. Further integrating Tom’s passion for music and sound, he composed and performed original piano music for the film.
Tom Salta (Persist Music) – Composer / Solo Artist
Tom Salta is one of the most versatile and prolific music composer/producers working in multimedia including film, television, advertising and most notably video games. Salta has garnered widespread acclaim for his distinctive, world-class produced scores featured in popular franchises such as FROM DUST, HALO ANNIVERSARY EDITION, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS Wii, R.U.S.E., RED STEEL 1&2, TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON ADVANCED WARFIGHTER 1&2 and TOM CLANCY’S H.A.W.X 1&2. In addition to his scoring assignments, tracks from his debut Atlas Plug album “2 Days Or Die” grace many television shows, film trailers and video games.
Neil Goldberg (Heavy Melody Music and Heavyocity Media NYC) – Partner/Composer/ Sound Designer
Neil has been credited as composer, sound designer and dialog producer on games for an extensive list of publishers including Electronic Arts, 2K Games, Obsidian Entertainment, Eden Games and Atari. He has worked on commercial advertising campaigns for VW, The NFL, Gillette, GE, Sony, MTV and scored long form programming for Discovery Channel, Syfy, and NBC. Additionally, he’s collaborated with Grandmaster Flash on his latest album, The Bridge. Neil is also the Co-founder/Creative for the award-winning virtual instrument developer, Heavyocity Media, Inc.
Jason Graves is a British Academy Award-winning composer who has brought his passion for music to video game franchises such as DEAD SPACE, DUNGEON SIEGE, FEAR, HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC and COMMAND AND CONQUER. His music has become synonymous with unique, cinematic textures combined with modern aesthetics and he is renowned worldwide for his cinematic, immersive and award-winning music.
Whether recording a Hollywood film score with a 90-piece orchestra for a Martin Scorsese film, tracking vocals with Beyonce, engineering the Spider-Man cast album for Bono & The Edge, or mixing Fashion Rocks in 5.1 to a TV audience of millions, Lawrence Manchester’s experience and versatility have made him one of the busiest professionals in NYC. To date, this 2010 Grammy-nominee has engineered the scores for three Academy Award-winning films: The Departed, Frida, and The Red Violin. He’s collaborated with some of today’s most accomplished composers (Danny Elfman, Carter Burwell, Marc Shaiman, Elliot Goldenthal, Howard Shore) and finest directors (Ang Lee, Julie Taymor, The Coen Brothers). Lawrence is also the music mixer for NBC’s Emmy-nominated Late Night With Jimmy Fallon where he’s mixed live performances by The Roots, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Green Day, Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, Keith Urban, Public Enemy, Dave Matthews Band, The Dead Weather, My Morning Jacket, and The Muppets. In the studio, Lawrence has engineered records for Grammy-winning producers Phil Ramone, Steve Lillywhite, T Bone Burnett, and Jack Douglas and has recorded some of the most varied artists of our time including Diana Krall, Justin Timberlake, Michel Legrand, Sondre Lerche, Art Garfunkel, Regina Spektor, Natalie Dessay, Ron Carter, and Patti LuPone. As a producer, Lawrence has worked with Kelli O’Hara, and Sutton Foster, and director Michael Moore.
David Bowles (Swineshead Productions)
Swineshead Productions, LLC is a classical recording production company, formed by David v.R Bowles in 1995, providing high-resolution surround-sound studio and location recording production, engineering, editing and mastering. He provides finished audio masters to well-known classical record labels, paid download sites and video production companies. David has over 80 commercial recordings to his credit, the majority of them as producer and engineer. He has recorded hundreds of live performances and produced broadcasts for NPR and the BBC. Services are offered internationally. In 2012 Mr. Bowles will be Visiting Professor at the Recording Arts programme at Indiana University (Jacobs School of Music). He has also been guest lecturer for audio programmes at the Banff Centre, New York University and The Peabody Institute. Mr. Bowles is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES): he was on the Board of Governors and served on committees for the 2008 and 2010 conventions. He alternated between chair and co-chair of the San Francisco section of the AES between 2005 and 2010. He is a voting member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and is active in their Producers & Engineers Wing. Mr. Bowles received audio training from Tony Faulkner, John Eargle and the ESARI at Aspen Music Festival. He received BMus and MMus degrees in violoncello from The Juilliard School and a certificate in early music performance practice from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Netherlands. For many years he performed and recorded as cellist with period-instrument orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Ric Schnupp and Darien Shulman
Ric Schnupp and Darien Shulman are an award-winning music production, post-production, and custom music partnership based out of New York City. Together they work to provide custom music and audio engineering services for films, TV shows, commercials and recording artists.
Darien has composed scores for numerous films and documentaries, including the upcoming feature Funeral Kings, starring Kevin Corrigan, as well as the comedy short Last Words, starring Mark Pellegrino (LOST) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead). Previous film scores include Trigger, Front Page, Laid Off By Lehman, At the Door, Write That Down, The Funeral, The Cure, Suture, and Life Is What Happens.
Ric is an award-winning audio engineer and mixer. Recent albums include Grammy Award Nominated Soul Call (2011), by Chandrika Tandon, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Across the Universe, and Kanye West’s Graduation. In addition to score mixing and re-recording mixing projects with Darien, Ric has worked on The King’s Speech (2010), Knight & Day (2010), Boardwalk Empire, Royal Pains, Bob’s Burgers, and The Good Wife.
Shaun Wall (MTSG Productions)
Shaun Wall’s audio career began when an engineer at an open mic night had reached his limit and asked if he wanted to take over doing sound. This unexpected event started a two-year journey of learning about the audio world. He decided to return to college, finish a degree, and he wholeheartedly jumped into an audio education at Webster University. A few weeks later, he added cultural anthropology as a second major. Through the study of culture, community, and his personal experiences of how music can bind people together, he embarked on a mission to foster a deeper sense of community among audio engineers. While at Webster, he helped create and bring into existence AES’s first-ever student convention: the Central Region Audio Student Summit–which is now in its fifth year running. His involvement branched out into all areas of the event including sponsorship acquisition, organizing the panel/workshop schedules, contacting and securing guest speakers/panelists, taking care of any day-of-event needs, and directly interfacing with the guests and attendees to improve the convention’s effectiveness in providing desired information at a quality level. These skill sets built a foundation for the position he currently occupies. At this time, he is touring as an FOH engineer for a wonderful band and ism in the process of becoming their tour manager as well.
With experience in doing a “little bit of everything,” Flash Feruccio currently works out of his home studio consisting of a mix room and small vocal booth. An example of that little bit of everything, recently completed mixing nearly 100 different songs in less than a month for Scion — a division of the auto manufacturer Toyota; he had been hired by the company to record 28 bands in one day appearing at four different venues in Lawrence, Kansas, for the Scion Garage Fest. Other than doing projects for Scion, Feruccio works regularly with Golden Globe-winning composer Richard Horowitz (Any Given Sunday) as well as highly acclaimed vocalist and composer Sussan Deyhim. Feruccio has also engineered for Marcy Levy, Billie Myers and Steve Ferrone. When it comes to live sound, it’s the constant challenges that adds excitement for Flash. He says that its about being able to foresee the issues before they arise. It’s about taking it to the next level and pushing boundaries. Also, the expectations of the musicians as well as the audience. Multitasking without the “undo command” of a computer and being a part of the performance is a task that inspires. A live engineers tools, environment and coworkers change from venue to venue and perhaps from week to week or day to day which is refreshing because it forces the engineer to re-calibrate their ears and mind always. During the years of working with live sound Flash has worked with a wide range of genres and artists such as Sly Stone, George Clinton, Bruno Mars, Patti Smith, Raphael Saadiq, Sussan Deyhim, Richard Horowitz, Will Calhoun, The English Beat, Members of the DeBarge Family, Curtis Blow, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Planet Asia, Krondon, Percy P, Chino XL, Ras Kass, Evidence, Keith Murray, Medusa, Jurassic 5, Beat Nutz, Eric Bobo, Leon Mobley, Van Hunt, Chris Pierce, Raheem DeVaughn, Dwele, Eric Roberson, Carmen Rizzo, Wayna, Herman Jackson, Quinto Sol etc.
Steve Remote (Aura-Sonic)
Steve was just 18 years old when he started Aura-Sonic, Ltd. and has been with Aura-Sonic Ltd., the home of ASL Mobile & Location Production ever since. Steve has said, “My passion is my work; if I’m not the best at what I do, then I’m not anything really.” Mr. Remote’s mindset: We don’t just “sell” our equipment packages, we sell our experience. We build environments! The key to our success is the consistency of our values, methods, expectations and (most of all) the outcome of the projects we get involved in. Steve has been recording, engineering, mixing and producing live production ventures for over thirty-five years and doesn’t like to be pigeon hold into any one style or genre… Recent selected artists include: Brecker Brother Band Reunion, Crosby-Nash, The Decemberists, Earl Scruggs, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Hiromi, John Oates w/ Sam Bush, Regina Carter, Sufjan Stevens, and Wynton Marsalis. Past selected artists include: Aerosmith, Allman Brothers Band, Beck, The Beach Boys, The Black Crowes, Blink 182, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Carlos Santana, Chick Corea, Coldplay, Donald Harrison with Ron Carter & Billy Cobham, Frank Zappa, Green Day, Hall & Oates, Herbie Handcock, James Blunt, Jane’s Addiction, Jeff Buckley, Lenny Kravitz, Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Police, Radiohead, The Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Stone Temple Pilots to name a few. Steve worked on 15 recordings that been nominated for various Grammy Awards of which three have won… 1) Gil Evans and the Monday Night Orchestra – Bud and Bird won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band in 1989; 2) Paquito D’Rivera Quintet – Live at the Blue Note won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2001; 3) Mingus Big Band – Live at Jazz Standard won Grammy for Best Jazz Large Ensemble Album in 2011. Nominated five times since 1987, Steve Remote takes home his first TEC Award for JVC Newport Jazz Festival, in the category of Remote Production/ Recording or Broadcast.