Give us some background where are you originally from?
I am originally from Colorado. I was born in Littleton, Colorado. When I was a year old, my family and I moved to California. I lived in Orange County until I was six years old, then we relocated to Dallas, Texas. After Dallas, we moved to St. Louis, MO and I lived there from fourth grade until I graduated from high school. I normally tell people I am from four states. Each state I have lived in is a deep part of my psyche and has formed my perception of the world. The easy answer would be St. Louis because that is where I spent the majority of my life, but like I previously stated, I consider the other three states a very important part of my life.
You are currently attending the Musicians Institute in Hollywood Correct?
Yes, that is correct. Tell us why you decided to attend the Musicians Institute in Hollywood.
I just graduated from Colorado State University, and I wanted to further my education. Music has been my passion ever since I can remember, so I decided that there was no better way to continue my education than through a music school. I wasn’t ready to go into the corporate world like my brother and father, (because that’s not my style), so I decided to attend the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. For one, I am an artist and I produce and mix my own music. I realized that the best option for me to pursue my dreams would be to come to Hollywood (the epicenter of entertainment), and learn how to become a sound engineer so I could engineer my own music while learning the other components that make up the music industry. They teach you a wide range of the skills needed to be successful in the industry such as; how to hear sound correctly, recognize frequencies and understand how to conduct a session and run a studio, along with a lot more valuable information. What do you expect to gain as an independent artist by attending the Musicians Institute?
I expect to gain a multitude of things by attending M.I. as an independent artist. For one, M.I. is an incredible place for networking and getting your name “out there”. All of the teachers that teach at M.I. are extremely qualified and proven in the industry. They all have connections and they all know their trade to the smallest details. Some have received Grammy’s for their work; most if not all have worked and still work with famous and established musicians. For example, one of my engineer instructors has worked with 311, Brian McKnight, Bone Thugs, and Def Leppard. In fact, that particular engineer is so good at his job that McKnight pays him just to be in the studio when he’s recording to make sure nothing goes wrong and everything is exactly like Brian wants it. He isn’t even his sound engineer anymore; he is just paid to be there. Another great thing that I have already gained through M.I. are the connections that you make with your peers. I have already started collaborating with my boy V.I. (Vic) who I met at M.I., and we have formed a band called Two $cholars $hort. I have met a plethora of musicians who I also intend to collaborate with: guitarists, violinists, pianists, drummers, keyboard players, vocalists, etc., all at different talent levels from pro to beginner.
Tell us about some of your experiences at school and how they have motivated you to become a better artist.
The school has clinics every week that feature various musicians or prominent producers/people in the industry who come and speak at the school. Scientist will be coming to give a clinic soon and that should be a very influential and informal lesson. These clinics give additional information that we might not learn in class or elsewhere. There are often live shows occurring as well and that is inspirational to see because it makes you realize how talented your fellow students and teachers are.
Do you think your choice to go to a music school is going to give you a better advantage in the music industry and if so, why do you think that is? Absolutely. In the small amount of time I have been attending M.I. I have already learned twice as much about the industry than I previously knew. They provide a large amount of information that you can’t read in books, and that I feel a lot of people don’t know. They tell you the mistakes they made so you can learn from them. Also, it won’t hurt to have a college degree and an education from one of the best music schools in the world.
Now that you have attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood for a little while, is music school something you would suggest to fellow indie artists and producers and why?
Definitely, you should never stop learning and challenging yourself, and as cliché as the saying is “knowledge is power”, it’s true. There is a lot to learn from the teaching staff at M.I., and the equipment at the school is world class. In Studio A, there is a beautiful SSL 4000G console with forty-eight channels, top of the line monitors, and a solid acoustic room for recording. The networking and connections that you can make at this school is unbelievable, and the location is perfect. The information that you receive at the school will only further your level of expertise, and you will have more control over your sound and vision.
Do you find yourself more focused on your career in the music industry than you did prior to attending music school and if so, why do you think that is?
I am more focused that I have ever been. I finally have the tools to further my career and education in the music industry. At the school all of the top of the line equipment is at my fingertips and I am being taught how to use it all. It is very exciting and I can’t wait until I have my own studio. I am more focused because, unlike other places I have lived, Hollywood is all about entertainment, and that is my passion. Every type of music that you want to explore is located here, and the amount of musicians and artists that come here is astronomical. Tell us about some of your favorite teachers and how they affect your creativity and development as an artist.
It’s hard to single out a single instructor that I have at M.I. because they are all so talented and cool. A couple would be David Hewitt, Ted Greenberg, TJ Helmerch, and Otto (superotto.com). Dave is very relaxed and chill individual who has a lot to teach because he’s seen it all and experienced it too. TJ is one of the founders of the RIT program at M.I. and a very talented musician. Ted has received multiple Grammy’s for his work in “Standing in the Shadow of Motown”, and is a very intelligent man. Otto is a certified master of both Pro tools 8 LE and HD, and Logic 9. I almost forgot Nels Jensen who is a bad ass with pro-tool, production, mixing, and post-production. He has worked with Flight of the Concords, (he engineered their last season), Jamie Foxx, and other successful musicians and artists. You are originally from the mid west and now you are on the west coast. Tell us, have you noticed any differences in the struggles of being an independent artist in St. Louis vs. Hollywood?
No, not really. I would say that everything is working out better if anything out on the West Coast. Even though there is a massive over-saturation on the music market right now, especially for hip-hop, the networking and capabilities here are far more substantial than the Midwest. Don’t get me wrong; St. Louis has it on lockdown. I just wasn’t able to make the connections that I am here. Do you have any new projects you are currently working on that we should keep an eye out for?
Always. Especially right now. My buddy V.I. and I just created a new band called Two $cholars $hort. We’re working on our first album, and we’ll hopefully have it out in a couple of months. In the meantime, you can go to my website on myspace, myspace.com/lokeiistl, and check out some of the tracks. I’m going to put up some of the new tracks we’ve been pouring our heart and soul into, but only just a taste. I got to keep you hungry so I can feed you later.
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