As a parent, I learned around the time my two daughters entered middle school that it was time to start paying closer attention to who they ran around with. Not to judge, and not to forbid or promote any particular individual. They would find their own way, make their own mistakes and celebrate their own triumphs, with their own friends, same as I did growing up. I just wanted to pay attention because I knew that teams matter. I knew that who we choose to spend our time with has a great deal of influence on who we are, whether personally or professionally.
I am reminded of this time and again in my travels through the audio industry, which seems to be fueled by the very formation and implementation of “teams.” Tours have road crews, film and television have groups of sound editors and mixers, studios have engineering staffs, manufacturers have product development teams, and labels have project and artist management pipelines involving dozens of people across multiple cities.
Every project is a production, and every production needs a trusted team to succeed. I was especially reminded of this in mid-September during our Mix Presents Sound for Film & Television event, on the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City. The day ends with an evening Sound Reel Showcase, where we run eight-minute reels from 10 big films, in Atmos, featuring some of the year’s best in sound design and mixing. In assembling the credits list to pass out the audience, I left off two key names. I told the audience, of course, and apologized, but I still felt terrible. For an editor, that is just plain bad. And it’s especially egregious when crediting a post-production sound crew, where a supervising sound editor’s team is everything—from trust in the dialog
editor, to reliance on Foley, to confidence in the stems delivered by the composer and music editor, on to the artful impact of the re-recording engineers.
It’s really no different in music recording; there are just fewer
job titles, and the contributions often come from many different
directions. When an artist goes into a studio, the studio
becomes the focus and the song gets recorded. But before any of
that happens, there can be songwriters, arrangers, orchestrators,
managers, engineers, producers, assistants, marketing types,
console makers, software developers, equipment dealers, studio
designers, friends of the family and a wide range of varied and
other services that have a part, no matter how small, in creating
That’s the team, and every team is different. On the cover
this month, in an effort to recognize and represent the range of
characters that might contribute to a recording project, we asked
longtime New York City studio owner and music industry veteran
Troy Germano about his team, those people who have helped him
in his career and who help fuel the industry, often unrecognized.
Here we have a small sampling of some big-time professionals,
from Steve Jordan to Joan Jett, from Dave O’Donnell to Jon Haber,
each of them selected because of their relationships over the
years. There are many, many more New Yorkers equally worthy
of inclusion. This is simply a Bob Gruen snapshot of a day in the
life. A New York moment.
Troy Germano, admittedly, has a pretty sweet Contact list in
his phone, and he has a rich history at the heart of the New York
recording scene from age 6. He ran around with Julian Lennon as
a child, and his team sometimes includes Keith Richards, Lady
Gaga or Ryuichi Sakamoto. But that’s not the point. Developing
long-term relationships and assembling a team that you trust, in
both your personal and professional affairs, is one of the foundations
of living a successful life. No matter where you ply your
craft, no matter the size or scale, the team matters.
And yes, my daughters gravitated toward some true and good
friends, from all types of backgrounds, and are now both out of
graduate school and adding to their own teams. They’re figuring
it out, and I couldn’t be prouder. I hope they never stop.