RC grad and mentor Josh Denhardt helms EDM at Conway Sound in Denver
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Working in music professionally requires getting into the right ecosystem, having the right attitude, and the right skillset. After a few turns in what Josh as described as a “ski bum lifestyle” Josh Denhart had decided it was time to buckle down and get serious about a career. After some soul searching he came to the decision that music would have to be it. Despite the time he spent in college studying business, Josh simply didn’t have the willingness or capability to work in some cubicle in an office somewhere. If he had to get a “real job” to support his newborn son, there was only one business he wanted to work in— the music business.
So, Josh made the choice to put his goal of getting a career in music into high gear. A lifelong DJ and musician, he’d already developed an interest in audio engineering and production and had even visited friends at a very prestigious and pricey school in Arizona. Seeing that the friends who’d graduated from that school never landed jobs in the industry left Josh unimpressed. He decided to research his options. That’s when he found Recording Connection.
Josh applied and was matched with Ryan Conway of Conway Sound in Denver, Colorado. Right from that first interview he felt he’d landed in the right place. Josh says, “After meeting Ryan I quickly knew that he was definitely going to be the person I wanted to learn from because of his background, his personality and everything. Everything kind of clicked really fast, like that, and I kind of had a good feeling from the start…We basically just hit it off right away.”
While training as Ryan’s apprentice, Josh set his sights on learning as much as he could and proving his worth every single day. He was so successful that once graduation rolled around Ryan told him to stay. Over the years since, Josh has become a partner at the studio and in a move that shows a real entrepreneurial spirit, he’s heading up the relocation and construction of the future Conway Sound.
The new space will be perfectly suited to meet the needs of a bustling EDM community with multiple control rooms and a wing dedicated specifically to EDM training and stagecraft with “the ability to have multiple setups for live DJ performances with lighting,” Josh says, “People could have little, mini pre-concerts to practice playing live with a group of friends in the Live Area and have all the equipment to use, Ableton or DJ controllers of their choice. So that’s kind of the part I’m going to be investing in, to really launch that. When people see that, it’s going to be like, ‘I definitely want to be learning at this studio.’”
A devoted lover of producing in Ableton and being creative in one’s compositions, Josh is a big supporter of the electronic music scene in Denver and the surrounding areas. He looks forward to seeing his apprentices go on to play some of Denver’s many EDM venues and the yearly megalithic Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks which welcomes some of the world’s biggest talents from the world of EDM and electronica (Diplo, Ecotek, Nero, Green Velvet, 3LAU, Kaskade, ZHU, Hardwell, Porter Robinson, Excision and Datsi).
When it comes to getting what it takes to go pro, Josh says nothing beats actually doing the work and going through the process. For that reason, the Recording Connection students he teaches will ultimately be treated like they’re artists on his recording label, with all the same deadlines, standards, and expectations. This is true for even those apprentices who come in with zero production experience and who might not even know what a DAW is. After a month in the program, Josh says they should be able to “produce a song from start to finish.” As they progress, they’ll be able to produce at a faster rate of “three songs from start to finish in a week.”
Josh gets heady with it too and says, “I have very specific philosophies I’ve developed outside of the general curriculum that I feel that have made students successful. The first one is using the different hemispheres of your brain respectively to divide your time.”
In preparation for graduation, Josh brings out the student’s very first track. They play it and he says oftentimes “have a little chuckle about it.” After that, they crack into the tracks the student has composed and produced throughout their time in the program and, together, they tackle the mixing and mastering, of 3 to as many as 10 songs, what Josh calls the “expression and demonstration of everything they’ve learned” with the help of a little professional polish.
From ski bum to producer, business partner, and dedicated Recording Connection mentor, Josh’s journey epitomizes what it means to stay true to one’s passion and turn it into a thriving career that enables other artistic spirits to do the same. Josh is a diehard believer that creatives can and should make a living doing what they love. He says seeing what one is actually capable of can make all the difference:
“Once you get the wheels in motion and people start believing in themselves that these kinds of things are really possible…If you really just put the time, the effort, and the belief in yourself, you can really get things snowballing quickly.”
Way to go Josh! We can’t wait to see the new Conway Sound!