From Newcastle, Australia to New York, New York, Darren Fewins Gets Going!
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Working in the recording industry is something many people work long and hard to break into. They hone their skills, they make connections, so that, eventually, they’ll be in the right place and time to break in. But what is one to do if they’re changing gears a little later in life?
Answer: Get in and work hard with Recording Connection.
Already an accomplished vocalist since the age of 12, Darren was ready to make a change while staying true to his musical sensibilities and talent. “I saw this opportunity a little later in life,” he says. “I felt the switch, like I wanted to switch to being behind the scenes and more.” For him, Recording Connection presented a viable path to getting him right where he needed to be, on either continent (visit Recording Connection Australia here ).
Darren, who is originally from Newcastle, New South Wales, in Australia, recently moved to Manhattan and made the choice to start his new life and career off on the same foot, in the Big Apple.
“My wife is from New York,” said Darren. “I could have had the opportunity to do the Recording Connection in Australia…I just chose to come here and do it. Everything that I thought I knew is now put under a microscope. Everything that I thought I was doing correctly, I’m kind of learning maybe it wasn’t correct, or maybe I’m learning why that was correct…my horizon is just so widened.”
Enrolled in the Recording Connection master’s i.e. Advanced Program, Darren is improving his skillset and deepening his knowledge of the craft as an apprentice to Mark Christensen Engine Room Audio located in the heart of the downtown NYC.
Just six weeks into the program, Darren’s already working with a 5 piece band he found and recruited himself. Now, they’re laying out the tracks right inside one of the lush, fully appointed recording studios at Engine Room, a world class recording facility whose client list includes everyone from 50 Cent, Common, and Trey Songz to The Killers.
Mark Christensen, Darren’s mentor, chimes in: “The master’s program is pretty open ended in a way, in terms of the curriculum, which is a good thing, I think. At Engine Room, we’ve taken that stance of like trying to walk the students through the entire process, from finding the band, so [working in] an A&R capacity, and then doing good pre-production, in terms of talking about song structure and all that, and then actually tracking them. So, we’re interpreting the program in that way of trying to be very hands-on with the student, to have the student really go through all of those steps in the process, because when you’re making a record, that’s all part of it.”
A newcomer to the United States, Darren had to get resourceful when it came to finding talent he wanted to record: “I didn’t know anybody in this country or city except my wife…So I went and found a band on the Internet, checked them out, went to see them, said, ‘Hey, I’m a student, and I need a band for a project, how would you like to be involved?’ Like old school.” Needless to say, it’s working out well for all involved.
Mark is waiting to go through the tracks one by one with Darren but says, “The engineers and everybody thought it sounded amazing.”
Getting the right “sound” was a big part of what Darren was after: “That’s something that I thought about before I came here and wanted to learn, too, is like how do you know what sounds right? I wanted to constantly hear what good sound was, what good production was, what clarity was, and what EQ spectrum everything needs to be, rather than what I was hearing and what I thought. I wanted to be surrounded by good quality, rather than the quality that I was producing. And that’s what being in this environment provides, like you have a good listening environment, you have great microphones, to hear that quality of recording…That matters for so many people these days who are at home, trying to make music in their environments, and they probably just don’t realize how much a difference a treated room would make, and knowing your listening environment. That’s something that I never thought about when I was doing my own stuff. I was kind of making something, and I’d be like, ‘Why, why aren’t I getting that sound? How can I…why do I go in my car, and it’s just all bass?'”
For Darren, getting “good” required getting exposure to the best, high-quality sound. Engine Room is giving him that opportunity.
So what are Darren’s plans for the future?
“I want to get a job as a producer. I want to have a hand in the writing process. I’d like to bring in clients to wherever I am, and I want to bring in clients and maybe even help them go through a writing process, and record. Because I want to, as I said, I want to be in that creative environment, and I guess eventually I’d like to have my own studio. Whether that was something for myself, or something as big as this, I mean, that’s a huge, huge goal to have obviously, but why not?…
The selling point of Recording Connection is that you are in a real studio…and I just, I figure you’re in the environment, you’re already getting the next step than what you would get in a school. You’re getting to meet people, you’re talking with people in the industry. Right at the very start of your course, you’re meeting people, you’re getting in that circle.”
And if you’re Darren, you’re making the most of every single moment.