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Mix Regional News: Florida


With Grammy nominations for instructors on the rise at SAE Institute’s Miami campus, faculty decided to supplement their award nominations by launching a new Web-based video series titled Masters of Sound. This ongoing video series was to launch in January 2016 and continue throughout the year with monthly installments as a way to showcase the achievements of the school’s unique and diversely talented instructors, or “masters.”

The Masters of Sound series launch features two Grammy award-winning instructors. The first is Frankie “El Medico” Rodriguez, an educator who graduated from SAE Miami in 2002 and currently acts as the campus’ certified Ableton and Pro Tools instructor. While working for SAE for the past 12 years, Rodriguez has also built a name for himself within the Latin American music market. He has been involved in projects for notable Latin artists, including Daddy Yankee, Marc Anthony and Ricky Martin.

During his Masters of Sound series session, Rodriguez discusses earning his first Latin Grammy in 2007 for his work on Daddy Yankee’s El Cartel album. He also talks about being nominated for four more Grammys since his original victory. His advice to students is to never stop learning: “I’m still learning new things everyday, if not new, then better ways of doing things.” He goes on to explain that to truly succeed you must master not one but one hundred things.

The second Grammy award-winning instructor for the Masters of Sound series is Matt Desrameaux, one of the key engineers who worked on Pharrell’s Grammy award-winning track “Happy,” which debuted on the soundtrack for Despicable Me 2. During his interview, Desrameaux discusses his successes as well as the forgotten struggles of a sometimes hyper-glamorized industry. He reminds growing engineers to stay humble, because in this field it’s not about who you know, it’s about what you know. He says that his attention to detail and ability to get things done right is a key factor that has helped him reach success.

Desrameaux also discusses his previous Grammy nominations and a win that he received for his work on Stephen Marley’s album, The Book of Revelation. Toward the end of his interview, Desrameaux says that he’s currently working on projects in relation to the rebranding of ’90s rap star Trina, and shares a few spoilers of what to expect from the artist in the near future. You can view the Masters of Sound series playlist on SAE Institute’s YouTube channel.

Joseph Salamida of Vanquish Studios


Vanquish has recently opened a record label, Vanquish Records, representing musical acts from all over the world, along with countless producers, engineers and musicians. Studio owner Joseph Salamida says the label is also focusing on providing CD artwork and photography, which is run by his wife, Caitlin Salamida. “We are really striving to be a full package deal, doing our best to be a turnkey solution for our clients’ needs,” Joseph says. “In an industry that’s turned upside down right now, our clients feel safe and sound knowing they’re coming to Vanquish.”

The new label is releasing a major project this year for its artist Jina McCool. “This record really stretched us,” Joseph says. “Our lead producer, Chris Hardy, had to really dive into the mindset of the overall focused goal. Jina lost her husband seven years ago to cancer and has been writing and preparing for the album ever since. With her two kids by her side the whole way, we had to immerse ourselves into songs about loss, recovery, tragedy and ultimately triumph. We know this project will really help and bring closure for those who need to hear it.”


Clearwater-based Clear Track Studios recently opened a new state-of-the-art option for mixing and mastering: Studio M. Inspired by its own Studio A’s Wes Lachot design, owner/chief engineer of Clear Track Studios, Mike Johnson, created Studio M to provide a no-compromise approach in accurately shaping and finalizing artists’ sound. Construction for the 425-square-foot studio took approximately a year and a half to complete.

Studio M features a customized digital audio workstation with an SSL Matrix console, Dynaudio mains, compressors and EQs. There is currently one iso booth under construction.

The Live Room at Dream Asylum. Photo: Cheryl Fleming Photography


Two hit producers on the contemporary music scene, Nate “Danja” Hills and partner Marcella Araica, have added a cutting-edge, Walters-Storyk Design Group-WSDG recording studio to their N.A.R.S. (New Age Rock Stars) label. Danja and Araica are recognized for their work with artists ranging from Britney Spears and Madonna to Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z.

Dream Asylum’s 600-square-foot Live Room/iso booth is linked to two primary control rooms via below-floor wiring channels to provide flawless connectivity throughout the complex. The 360-square-foot Control A features custom-designed wooden wall-mounted equipment cabinets, which bookend an oversize client couch set on a raised platform beneath a dropped ceiling. A custom-designed rear-wall wooden resonator and a geometrical ceiling cloud distinguish the 269-square-foot Control B. Both control rooms are outfitted with identical SSL 9000 consoles and WSDG/ Augspurger Monitor Systems. Thanks to room-within-room isolation, Dream Asylum enables Danja and Araica to record live sessions via either control room, while a second engineer/producer simultaneously mixes another project. Distinguished by an oversize “fan”-inspired ceiling cloud, a 192-square-foot mixing/writing room has been created for guest artists.

WSDG Project Manager Romina Larregina says, “We worked closely with Marcella to find the most appropriate site for the studio, and formal design work on Dream Asylum Studio began in 2011. She is extremely savvy about design and acoustical issues, and having knowledgeable clients who can articulate their design and technical goals is always a plus.”

Carved out of a nearly 4,000-square-foot former warehouse in Hallandale Beach in south Florida, the Dream Asylum complex includes a lounge/screening room and a solarium, as well as two oversize in-wall tropical fish tanks.

“Danja and I have worked in many great studios, from Electric Lady to Jay-Z’s Roc the Mic,” Araica says. “I started out as an intern at The Hit Factory, and their Studio E Live Room was one of the best-sounding rooms ever. John Storyk’s design and acoustical skills contributed to the success of all those rooms. When we decided to build our own studio, we were committed to going with the best. I called John to bring WSDG on board. They worked with us on every level, and we love what they’ve done for Dream Asylum. It was a great collaboration.”

In other Dream Asylum news, the following projects were all produced by Hills, engineered by Chad Jolley, and mixed by Araica: Chris Brown’s “Discover,” Monica’s “Deep,” Jason Derulo’s “X2CU,” Meek Mill’s “Stand Up,” Kenna’s “Sleep When We Die,” and Luke James’s self-titled album on N.A.R.S. /Island Records.