An Uncommon Interview
April 24, 2012 by Jon Slott
Thumb through any of our industry’s publications and you’ll likely find interviews with the most experienced and accomplished individuals in the business; those who are at the peak of their careers, and whose work is widely recognized.
It makes perfect sense.
However, with that being the usual case, I thought it would be interesting to do exactly the opposite – an interview with someone who’s just entering our industry – at the very beginning of his or her career. Someone whose recognized accomplishments are still yet to come.
I can think back to what it was like for me starting out in the business. It doesn’t feel like that much time has passed, but in reality, my beginnings took place during an entirely different decade. I’m sure that things are different for someone coming up in 2012 - some things for better and some for worse.
So for this piece I’ve decided to interview BREED’s new intern, Julian.
He’s only been on the job for a couple weeks…
He’ll make the perfect victim.
Q: So how does it feel to be interviewed for a magazine during your first couple of weeks at BREED?
A: It was definitely a surprise to be asked…but I’m comfortable with it and I don’t mind sharing my experiences with you.
Q: Interesting that you use the word ‘comfortable’. With some of the other interns we’ve had, I was able to sense that they were a little intimidated – especially when they were first starting out. You seem very…comfortable.
A: I’m a bass player in a Latin band, and I think my confidence came from playing live gigs. I was a pretty shy kid, so the comfort I have around other people didn’t come naturally. The first few times on stage I was petrified, but after playing in front of people over and over again, it became second nature and it’s just carried over to other aspects of my life.
Q: Your upbringing was here in the US, but your parents are from El Salvador...
A: Yes, and that effected the path I took musically. Spanish songs would play throughout the house along with Spanish television. I wanted to explore what I heard from listening to my Dad’s music so I joined a Latin music program in high school. Little did I know that it would change my life, and I’d eventually be traveling all around the U.S to perform.
Q:: Every generation has a different experience in the job market and you’ve been handed some of the worst economic times our country has ever seen. You’ve also chosen the music biz, which is one of the toughest around. Given all that, is it a challenge for you to be optimistic about your future success ?
(Julian paused for a second, as though he didn’t understand why I‘d even ask him that question. He was either completely unaware of how the larger economy would affect him, or he didn’t really care. I feel for kids who are trying to break into the business with today’s economy, but thinking back to when I started out, I too was oblivious to the economy or how tough things might get).
A: No matter what other paths I’ve considered, I just keep coming back to music. And studio work in particular. I don’t really think about anything else…this is what I’ve chosen to do and I’ll accept whatever comes along with it.
Q: Well, I think someone coming up right now has one major edge over those of us who came before - and that’s the internet; with its free flow of information on any topic being accessible at any time. There’s been a huge advance in computer processor speed and software too. In what ways have those things helped you ?
A: Give me a night to learn a piece of software, and I can go home, get all the information I need on the net, and I’ll have the basics down by the next day. Companies today need multi-taskers, people who have a willingness to learn new skills. If I have the software at home, I’m able to get my hands on things right away and those new skills can be obtained pretty quickly. If not, I can still learn about it and be ready to get busy the next day.
Q: That’s great (sarcasm). And I had to learn new skills the ‘hard way’. You’ve mentioned that you grew up in a rough inner-city neighborhood, so I’m guessing you’re no stranger to the ‘hard way’ ?
A: Yes, it was very underprivileged with a lot of crime…and plenty of opportunity to get involved with it. I just ignored my surroundings, and instead surrounded myself with other activities like Academics, Sports, and eventually Music. There were 5 kids in my family, so my Dad needed to work 18 hours a day to keep us above water. He got up every morning and never made excuses. He always preached success and expected results. His philosophy manifested itself through everything I did.
Q: Lastly, if you had to describe what you think is needed to be successful in this business using just one word, what would that word be ?
Each of us at BREED began our career at a different time and we each started from nothing. I was ignorant to the possibility of failure then, just as Julian is now. Though some of his challenges may be different in 2012, his perspective is exactly the same.
All he knows is that he wants to be in this business.
And that’s probably all he’ll ever need.
Jon Slott is the Executive Producer of music company, BREED. He can be reached for comments at email@example.com.