KMD Productions held its first Pro Audio Speed Mentoring session on April 8, 2020, connecting 18 industry professionals with a collection of aspiring students from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe, Ariz.
Using a platform technology geared specifically to 1:1 connections, mentors were able to keep the community connections alive and moving forward, rotating around the virtual room and providing direct access to students. Backgrounds of mentors were varied and represented nearly all aspects of the professional audio industry—from audio post-production engineers and music video editors to mastering engineers to longtime music product industry execs to pro audio manufacturers and FOH engineers.
“With in-person meet-ups on hold, we are all looking for ways to connect with the audio community that we’re so passionate about,” says Karen Dunn, principal of KMD Productions. “Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to put on events. It’s a part of that sense of community in this industry that I love.
“With the spread of COVID-19, in-person events are not happening, so I’ve been searching for ways to bring our community together,” she continues. “I am fortunate to know a great group of people in the industry who volunteered their time to meet with students from CRAS. It was an awesome opportunity to meet some industry giants and talk about anything for seven minutes per session. I’m just trying to use technology to make human contacts.”
After the successful trial run of the event, KMD Productions is planning an ongoing series to address a variety of topics relevant to professional audio. If you are interested in participating in future events, contact Karen Dunn at Karen@kmdpro.com or visit her website or Instagram page.
Industry experts on the Speed Mentoring sessions, all of whom donated their time for the free event, included:
Chuck Ainlay: Chuck Ainlay has lived and worked in Nashville Tennessee much of his life and has been fortunate enough to produce/engineer many of country music greats including George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, and The Dixie Chicks. As well as, mainstream artists like Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Peter Frampton, Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie, James Taylor, Jewel, Bob Seger and Pentatonix. He’s proud that the resulting work has earned four Grammys, two CMA awards and ten ACM awards.
David Angress: David is the principal of Angress Consulting, chairman of Stray Electrons LLC, and was chairman of ADAM Audio GmbH, the Berlin-based manufacturer of precision studio monitors. His career includes decades as a senior executive with companies that include Guitar Center, Harman, and AKG. As an industry consultant, he utilizes his extensive international experience in product management, importing and exporting, and relationships throughout Europe and Asia to his clients’ advantage
Tony Baraz: Tony Baraz is a DJ, Music Producer, Tastemaker and Music industry veteran with over 20 years in the MI Industry. He worked as a buyer for DJ, Lighting Live Sound and Recording at Guitar Center for 15 years, working closely with manufacturers to shape the products in those categories. He now heads US Sales for Serato. He is also a talented musician and multi-instrumentalist who works with artists in every genre from Stevie Wonder to Biz Markie and everything in between.
Emiliano Caballero: Emiliano Caballero is a mix engineer, music producer and songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. Besides his music production work, he is one of the co-founders of the plugin company Leapwing Audio and a lecturer at the Abbey Road Institute.
Maureen Droney: Maureen Droney is the Sr. Managing Director for the Producers & Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs). A former recording engineer for artists including George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and Santana, among many others, she has a degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from California State University, San Francisco and has taught audio seminars for companies including ABC and CBS Television. She has also worked in both artist and studio management, was the longtime Los Angeles editor for Mix magazine, and has three published books. Her most recent, co-written with its subject, is Al Schmitt on the Record: The Magic Behind the Music, chronicling the life and career of the most awarded recording engineer in history.
Tyler Gordon: Tyler Gordon is a recording engineer who has worked with Coldplay, Logic, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and others. He loves to work on full albums taking them from start to finish. His web site is: http://www.tylerjgordon.com
EveAnna Manley: EveAnna Manley Entrepreneur and owner of Manley Labs, America’s most beloved champion of the vacuum tube for high end studio recording electronics as well as audiophile products. If you want to get into the geeky world of manufacturing, EveAnna might be able to share some of the insight she has acquired since 1989 building all this tube gear!
Gavin Lurssen: Gavin Lurssen has been a mastering engineer since 1991 and has been in the forefront of, and contributor to the many technical developments that have taken place in the industry over the past two decades. He is a twelve-time Grammy nominee and a four-time Grammy winner. Gavin has always supported the independent music community and feels the more people can express themselves artistically in an affordable manner, the more it leads to a healthy industry.
Patricia Nieto: Patricia Nieto is a producer/director living in Miami. She is Co-CEO and founder of Wyster Media, a Miami based creative agency and production company. She began her professional career in marketing and sales specializing in brand marketing and promotion strategies primarily in the entertainment industry. She drowned herself into film and video after producing an independent film which inspired her to take the concept to the stage and produce a live spin-off of the comedy “Mr. Melvin.” Many of her music videos have been dance/club song chart toppers on Billboard and she has worked with music legends such as Kathy Sledge, Martha Wash, and Nile Rodgers.
Tina Morris: Tina Morris is the Studio Manager for The Village Studios with over 20 years in the recording business. Before becoming studio manager Tina worked as a studio tech, recording engineer and producer in Boston first and then Los Angeles.
Michael Pearson-Adams: Michael Pearson-Adams, Waves International Director of Training and Development has been working with Waves for over 14 years, as well as being a working mix and recording engineer since he was 17. He has worked with the likes of Creed, Shakira, Kylie Minogue, INXS, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Tommy Emmanuel and Crowded House, to name a few.
Chris (C-Rod) Rodriguez: Chris “C-Rod” Rodriguez, is considered to be one of the top producers and remixers working today, with credits ranging from Latin artists Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez to a string of recent smash successes in EDM and dance music (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Pet Shop Boys). Chris is part of the dynamic team in Miami Florida that owns and runs Wyster Media.
Paul Sandweiss: Paul Sandweiss got his start in the business working for Wally Heider Studios in the late 1970’s where he became chief engineer of mobile operations. Paul currently is the owner/ president of Sound Design Corporation which is an audio post production house located in Hollywood California. When not at the studio working on comedy and music specials paul likes to mix live broadcast shows including the American Music Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, The Oscars and the Superbowl Halftime shows. Although most Sundays Paul finds time to hit golf balls somewhere with friends.
Rafa Sardina: Los Angeles based Fifteen-Time Grammy® & Latin Grammy® Winner Producer/Mixer/Engineer Rafa Sardina has built an eclectic and impressive client list over the years: Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, John Legend, Rosalia, Elvis Costello & The Roots, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, David Foster, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Placido Domingo, Celine Dion, Rachel Platten, Harry Conick Jr, Josh Groban, Tim McGraw, Mariah Carey, Shakira, Dr. Dre, Dru Hill, Armando Manzanero, Luis Miguel, Paco de Lucía, Katherine Jenkins, Zaz, Stewart Copeland, Sheryl Crow, Soul Coughing, Angelique Kidjo, ChocQuibTown, Beto Cuevas, Kevon Edmonds, Kina, Juanes, Angie Stone, Calle 13, Illya Kuriaki & The Valderramas, Alejandro Fernandez, Juan Gabriel, Jackie Evancho, Naturally 7, Michael Bublé, Cristian Castro, Clare Fischer Big Band, Macy Gray, Robbie Williams, Nick Jonas, Anitta, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Patti Austin, Alejandro Sanz, Natalia Lafourcade, Soweto Gospel Choir, Miguel, Residente and Beyonce among many others. He has received over 60 Grammy & Latin Grammy Nominations.
Andy Tompkins: Andy Tompkins is the Director of Marketing & Communications for NAMM, where he is responsible for helping a global community maximize membership benefits, promote music education, and convene at two annual platforms, Summer NAMM and The NAMM Show. Tompkins has more than 25-years of sales, marketing and management experience, with specialties in event production and digital marketing. He graduated from the University of Colorado in December 1995 and completed an MBA with the University of Irvine in June 2007.
Ken “Pooch” Van Druten: ‘Pooch’ is a tenured and acclaimed Producer, Engineer, and Live Sound Engineer. His track record of recognition for flawless engineering started from Berklee College of Music through three Grammy nominations and a history of Platinum and Gold Records. He is the FOH Engineer and production master behind Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Justin Bieber, Iron Maiden, KISS, Guns & Roses, System of a Down, etc. and holds close to a dozen FOH Engineer accolades.
John VanNest: For the last 37 years, John Van Nest has been the owner of two of Los Angeles’ finest recording facilities, Image Recording and Resonate Music. Over the years, he has hosted artists of every genre, including Michael Jackson, Guns and Roses, Tim McGraw, Madonna, J. Balvin, and the Notorious B.I.G. John’s studios have won two prestigious TEC Awards and have hosted hundreds of Grammy nominated projects.
Bernard Weiser: Bernard Weiser is a professional Supervising Sound Editor working in ADR/Dialogue and Sound Effects/Design. Starting his career in picture editing, his talent brought him into post production sound, where over the past 32 years he has worked in Television and Feature Motion Pictures for most of the major studios in Hollywood. Recently he was Emmy nominated for his work on Deadwood: The Movie and True Detective. Other credits include Bad Times at the El Royale, It, and American Hustle. Bernard is President of the Entertainment Industry Professionals Mentoring Alliance, (EIPMA). Additionally, Bernard is Vice President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors Organizations (MPSE) and is the producer of their annual Golden Reel Awards. Bernard teaches Sound Design at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television’s Graduate Program.