18Mar
2017
Tips for Managing an Audio Studio

Jack Nigro graduates JMC Academy’s Audio Engineering and Sound Production course at the start of 2015 as has since become The Grove Studios manager and one of their in-house engineers as well as working as a freelance audio engineer/producer and managing artists.

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In his time at The Grove he has not only worked on many of his own projects, but has assistant engineer credits on albums by Sarah Blasko, The Delta Riggs, DZ Deathrays and Ian moss to name a few.

Managing an Audio Studio comes with many challenges alongside the many rewards. “Being a studio of a very high standard, my main role is to ensure that that standard is kept. We have many large budget bookings so when producers and artists of this esteem arrive here everything needs to feel great and work like a charm. Studio presentation and organisation is key, that is an incredibly important thing I have learnt. I would say the biggest challenges I have faced here are when some of our important analogue gear goes down and you have a very large session running on a strict time line. No matter how well we maintain our gear, some of it is very rare and old and we also for some reason seem to get struck by lightning a lot! Trying to get a hold of the 1 or 2 people in the state that can fix our issues whilst quickly sorting alternate solutions can be stressful at times but extremely important.”

If looking to manage a studio yourself, Jack had some great advice. “Make sure the studio looks and feels great 100% of the time. When clients walk in everything should feel clean, organised and work like a charm. Add some vibe to top this off! Another crucial thing is to make sure everything has a place. A studio of this size has every sort of cable, adapter etc. that you can imagine and knowing where everything belongs and works will help your session set ups become so much smoother. One last thing is treat your clients with respect. That is a given.”
 

Here at JMC, we encourage students to volunteer and intern throughout their studies to gain valuable knowledge and experience, as well as more contacts in the industry. Half way through studying at JMC , Jack began interning at The Studio. “Usually I would study and work during the week and then on weekends I would intern at The Grove. It started out making coffees, transporting clients and even gardening! Then I started bringing in good amounts of my own work and getting trusted to engineer sessions here. When I finished at the start of 2015, Scott Horscroft the owner here, asked if I would like to join full time and take care of a lot of the studio operations and bookings here and continue to work on sessions.”

“My personal favourite thing about the industry is the people you meet. I have made a lot of fantastic friends that I always go to shows with now and obviously share a lot of common interests. On par with this, is being able to be creative as your job. When you are working with a killer band or artist, the vibe is feeling great, the song is heading in a great direction and everyone is in the zone, time absolutely flies.”

So what did Jack have to say about his time at JMC? Well… “The JMC audio course is a really well rounded audio degree. They really do cover key components of a lot of aspects you will face in the real world. Not everything is about "EQ your snare like this". Though that is super fun, it really is not that important and you will learn this yourself. I found the acoustics courses, engineering courses and business course in tri 6 particularly helpful in my job. They also have an excellent range of lecturers. Glenn, the head of the department really cares about his students and offering them the best education possible and guys like Pat Maloney and Michael Carpenter are highly experienced and active producers, giving great first hand knowledge. The other thing at JMC which was great was the Studio access they had available for students after hours. I was fortunate enough to have The Grove close to home and available to me, but for students in Sydney, the fact that you have 4 studios available weekly to use for free is insane!”
 

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Finally, we asked Jack what advice he would give current students looking to make it in the industry. “WORK DAMN HARD! I know that sounds obvious, but so many students do not understand how it works in the industry. Things will not fall into your lap. Go out and find work and keep practising and working on your skills. Another really important thing is to not go into any recording session with an ego or that you know better. A lot of the great emerging and established producers I have met are super humble and some of the most friendly and approachable people I have met.

One last thing I think is really important is to make yourself versatile. The music industry has so many avenues where you can earn money. For example, I am a freelance producer/engineer, I also manage The Grove and an artist. But there is heaps of work in live sound, video and radio, events, education etc.”

Find out more about studying Audio Engineer and Sound Production. 

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