Los Angeles Recording Connection student Jake Kiyokane works with DJ Mustard and Anthrax, lands gigs at mentor’s studio!
As Recording Connection extern Jake Kiyokane, and he’ll tell you one of the keys to success in the studio is just showing up and being available. Having completed his basic course and now working through the master’s program at Serenity West in Los Angeles, CA, Jake has already had the opportunity to assist on sessions with major acts such as hard rock band Anthrax and hip-hop producer DJ Mustard. What’s more, he’s now getting paid gigs at the studio!
How did he accomplish this? Simple: he told them he’d show up whenever, and they took him at his word.
“I think they just found I was willing to put the effort in for it,” he says. “I started just hitting them up more, like, ‘Hey, I’m available—you know, you can hit me up whenever you want and I’ll be there.’ And they started calling me more and more. And then later, I was there practically almost everyday of the week.”
Before long, he found himself being called in to assist on sessions for some of the many major artists that Serenity West works with. He recalls finding himself working with Anthrax in the studio, and specifically took note of how guitarist Scott Ian handled himself in the studio:
“It was cool just seeing all his mic placements, and just how important it is just exactly to get that right spot for the mic,” says Jake. “He’ll walk all around the room a dozen times, just trying to find that one spot for the right sound.”
Of course, it’s not just the availability that’s getting Jake the gigs—it’s what he does while he’s there, and what he’s been doing for years: building his skills through hours and hours of practice. Jake first got the bug for recording and producing when some friends of his formed a band and got him a copy of Pro Tools so he could record them.
“I started messing around with it a little bit in my room in college,” he says, “and from then it just set off. I would be up all night, until 5 a.m. just trying to figure out how to do something…I would skip classes just to play with Pro Tools more.”
When Jake figured out he wanted to do audio engineering for a living, the choice for him was clear: he needed a school alternative that would give him the hands-on experience he needed, which is why he decided on the Recording Connection.
“[In] college, you go, you take tests, that’s it, you’re done,” he says. “Out here, you’re connecting with people….You have one mentor, and he’s just with you and he’s teaching you.”
Now finishing his master’s program with the Recording Connection, Jake continues to build a rapport with Serenity West and finding paid work with them. Thanks to the connections he’s made and his dedication to make himself an asset to the studio, he’s now well on his way to a successful future doing what he loves.