IPR Presents Adam Levy's DIY 360 Featuring Industry Discussion Panel

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By Erin Finnegan

On Friday August 12, students and staff at The Institute of Production and Recording welcomed industry professionals Andrew Thomas (studio owner), Greg Reierson (Mastering Engineer), and Carl Torgerson (professional guitarist) to DIY-360. As this week was a media arts discussion panel, all listeners were informed of how these three professionals got started, where the industry has taken them, and how we as students can get a step ahead.  

Beginning his musical career as a guitar player, Thomas became interested in recording music when he saw the value in learning the recording process for himself. After buying his very first recording device, Thomas began recording not only his own music, but that of his friends as well. The simple purchase of this device and the desire to learn eventually lead him to a career as an Audio Engineer.

 Also beginning as a musician, Torgerson started creating music when he was a young child. Playing guitar and writing music quickly consumed his life, “anytime was the perfect time to play music.” states Torgerson.  Leading up to his adult hood, he wasn’t only playing and writing music but teaching others as a professor in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.

Reierson, on the other hand, initiated his musical career by tracking listeners’ locations at a Radio Station. He admits this is where his mastering career began. Learning the trade of mastering came easily for Reierson and after twenty-seven years in this industry he has worked on over four thousand commercial albums: including the last four Cloud Cult albums and the last five Prince albums, just to name a few.

 With a room full of students, eager to learn about this tough industry these three gave great advice.

 “The only thing you have in this industry is your name” said Thomas who then continued by adding “ You can be the best at what you do, but if people can’t enjoy being around you on a social level, people will hear about it, and won’t work with you because of it.”

When asked about tips for success, all agreed that the music industry is very referral based; “Don’t forget to say “hi” to people” said Thomas. In agreement, Torgerson then gave a quick overview on how he jumped from amateur guitar player to professional; “Don’t be afraid to ask your more experienced peers for help” he encouraged. “When I decided I wanted to do this for my career, I asked a lot of my friends who to go to and that’s ultimately how I landed those beginning jobs, and to this day I still work with some of those people.”  

Reierson mentioned that he felt this industry was very opportunity based. “ You have to be at the right place at the right time, know the right people and know the right thing to say.”  As the discussion of knowing how to work with people continued, Thomas was very adamant that everyone interested in working with musicians should learn to read and play music. He stressed that playing music in front of people is a nerve-wracking thing, and that, when an engineer or producer understands how a client feels as the client plays their music, it not only helps to gain their trust but it also makes communicating much easier.  

In conclusion, Torgerson surprised everyone with a performance of his song “Same Day.”

 This week’s DIY offered a wealth of advice as to how IPR students can get started and work their way to success; by saying a quick “hello” or asking for advice, the opportunity to make a living doing what we love may be closer than we think.

Adam Levy’s DIY 360 is now available to watch in its entirety on IPR’s YouTube Channel: IPRpresents. Please comment if you stop by.

Posted by Christian Groves

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