I’ve been a drummer since the age of ~8 or so. By the time I reached high school (around 1999/2000) I began to experiment with home recording (in an effort to record demos of some of the bands/projects that I was involved with). Unfortunately home recording was incredibly frustrating back then, but certainly a learning experience… I recall using an old, fat PC tower and an Aardvark Aark 20/20 PCI interface (Photo here). I’m pretty sure I spent more time frustratingly troubleshooting my equipment than I did actually producing recordings, but all in all it was an excellent start into what would basically end up being my education and career in the years to come.
2. So you’re in a band? Tell us about it!
As noted, I was a drummer for over 15 years. I used the term “was” because my drumset has now been sitting dormant in my childhood basement for nearly 5 years now. I studied at New York University for college (Music Technology major), so moving into Manhattan for ~4 years made it impossible to maintain the drumming habit (as there was virtually no space for me to store it). I of course kept up the hobby (and still do to this day), but my interests quickly shifted more towards electronic music and performance post high school (I blame this on home recording as well, as it got me more interested in computer music and electronic music in general). The “band” that I’m in presently is actually an electronic/pop project that I have had going since about 2005 (on and off) called “Declan’s Well.” It has changed faces several times throughout the years, and I have no intentions of ever “blowing up” or whatnot – it’s simply an incredibly satisfying / distracting hobby that I hope to continue for years to come (I absolutely love creating/tinkering with midi controllers and new software/plugins/synthesizers/etc).
Last year I actually used the service Kickstarter.com to raise funds (a bit over $2500) to put out a “real” album (real in the sense that I was able to afford better production, mixing, mastering and other various things such as album artwork and whatnot). The result was my latest release “Campaign Capsized” — completed last March. All “backers” to the Kickstarter project received various tokens of appreciation (such as Tshirts, advanced copies of the album, drinking mugs, stickers, etc). It was a LOT of work and I’m very pleased that it’s just about died down now 🙂
3. How did you get involved in The Great Voice Company?
I graduated NYU in June of 2009. Shortly thereafter I had an opportunity to do freelance editing with Great Voice (just several days a week when things were busy – doing audio editing for a myriad of voice-over projects – primarily telephony/IVR since that what 90% of Great Voice’s clientele is — founded by Susan Berkley, the voice of ATT and Citibank). After freelancing for a while, I kind of mutated into more of a production assistant to the (then) production manager at the time. The business grew a bit, and my manager actually moved to a new position as a result of that growth (taking control of web promotions and marketing and whatnot). Luckily I was right there as the most obvious choice to fill in for him and take control of the production department (and have now been doing so since).
4. I see that your degree is in Music Technology, how did you go from that to voice over?
I chose the Music Technology program at NYU because it covered a pretty broad range (recording / engineering / live sound / electronics / music theory / etc). Being a drummer my entire life, the (surprisingly large) amount of music-based courses were a bit tough to get through, but absolutely rewarding. I honestly had no idea where I would end up coming out of the program, but I knew it was a safe bet to be doing at least something related to audio. My entrance into the VO world is entirely a result of working for Great Voice. I honestly had very little idea of how huge this environment was until I was introduced to it. It’s really quite unbelievable how large of a network it is (and how many different genres/niches there are). This REALLY helps me out in my own personal freelance life though (both in networking AND in learning all of the ins and outs of this world (i.e. interacting with both sides – clients and talents – as well as engineers).
5. So you’re listed in several places as an ‘Abraham Lincoln enthusiast’. He is pretty awesome, but how did you get interested in him?
This is a question that I always have a tough time answering 🙂 I’m really not a history buff by any stretch. He was also my favorite president, and it was more of a hobby to collect memorabilia than it was studying or reading up on him. Unfortunately friends and family caught on though, and only made it progressively worse and worse (buying me peculiar Lincoln-related memorabilia as birthday gifts and whatnot). It just seems to keep growing and growing…
Next week Cliff Zellman, creator of Done by Six productions, audio master, producer and coach is the subject of next week’s interview!