Hired in El Paso: How Orlando Gomez worked himself into a job
El Paso, TX Recording Connection student Orlando Gomez recently did what we hope most of our students can accomplish by learning on-the-job: he leveraged his apprenticeship /externship with Beacon Hill Recording Studios into a full-time position as an assistant engineer! How did he do it? To hear him tell it, it began with a simple mindset: treat it like a job, and try to keep it.
“I didn’t see it so much as school,” says Orlando. “When I got into Beacon Hill, I just had to do my best to keep the work there… keep my job. It was more like… it didn’t feel like school. It felt just like any job where you always have to learn something new.”
As a matter of fact, Orlando had this attitude from the moment he first heard of the Recording Connection. As a musician who had already dabbled a bit in producing and engineering, he had one basic goal: land a job in a studio. Beacon Hill was a newer recording studio in El Paso, staffed with experienced engineers who had previously worked with huge artists like Sting and Shakira. It was a perfect combination of experience and ground-floor opportunity, and for Orlando, the Recording Connection represented his chance to get his foot in the door while gaining the training and experience he needed.
Once he enrolled and got started at Beacon Hill, he was placed as an apprentice (extern) with producer/engineer Alfredo Gonzalez, who proved to be a perfect fit for Orlando. “I wanted to be both an engineer and producer,” he says, “and the good thing is that Alfredo himself is both of them as well… He specializes in music production and engineering, so it was a really good choice for me to get him as a mentor.”
Since starting at Beacon Hill, Orlando says he’s gotten to work with both local talent and major artists, including Latin Christian artists Evan Craft and Marcela Gandara, and even hip-hop icon B.o.B.!
“When B.o.B came in, we were all pretty excited,” he says. “We’d only been open for a little more than a year, and B.o.B was our first big artist coming in. So we were all pretty nervous, but once you are in the session, once you get focused on your work…you forget that you are working with famous people or renowned institutions.”
By treating his apprenticeship (externship) like a job and spending as much time in the studio as much as he could, eventually Orlando’s persistence turned into a full-time entry-level job. “Mainly when I work as a recording engineer, it’s with local bands,” he says. “If we get famous artists, I work as an assistant engineer mainly. And right now, I’m helping Alfredo out with some productions as an assistant producer.”
Now at the beginning point of what promises to be a long and rewarding career, Orlando is grateful for the opportunities he’s received from the Recording Connection—but he’s also reaping the rewards for making the most of those opportunities. “I feel lucky that I got the chance to work with a very talented group of people,” says Orlando. “I love being at Beacon Hill…I love all the people there…I just feel we have a good chance of being a really great production company.”