Recording Career Fast Track: From Student to Chief Engineer
IN THE BEGINNING HE WAS SKEPTICAL…..
Back in 1999, Preston Boebel was looking for employment opportunities in the music business. He described himself at the time as a pseudo-musician who noodled around with his guitar. On the advice of his mom, he started looking for something that would allow him to hang around a recording studio and be able to fool around with all those knobs and buttons. He came across the Recording Connection, mentor extern music recording and audio engineering program. It sounded too good to be true–here was a recording program that partnered you one-on-one with a professional audio engineer in a real recording studio. As Preston said at the time, “I thought at first that it was iffy, sort of sketchy. But let me tell you, as soon as I walked into the recording studio I knew this was real.”
THEN HE MET HIS MENTOR, LOS ANGELES AUDIO ENGINEER BRIAN LEVI…
Like many recording engineers, Preston Boebel has always been fascinated with music. He tried his hand as a player, but it never really seemed like the right path. “I was kind of a psuedo-musician!” he jokes, “dabbling in guitar.”
When it came to figuring out his career, he got some good advice. “My mom suggested that I go to work in a studio,” he explains. “Her exact words were to get a job ‘turning the knobs’ there. She didn’t know any more about what actually went on than I did.”
Preston did some research, and concluded that Entertainment Connection’s Recording program offered the “best bang for the buck.” So he set up his interview and walked into Clear Lake Audio to meet owner and head engineer Brian Levi.
Brian Levi, a Recording Connection mentor in Los Angeles, knows how hard it is to break into the music business and loves to give back. He staffs his studio with Recording Connection graduates, including Preston, who became his chief engineer a year after graduation.
AND NOW HE’S THE CHIEF ENGINEER AT A TOP LOS ANGELES RECORDING STUDIO
Preston is a great success story, for both himself and Recording Connection. He is by no means the only success story we have, and like our other success stories he made the most of the opportunities and experience The Recording Connection Music and Audio Engineering School Alternitve provided him. We recently caught up with Preston at Clear Lake Audio in Los Angeles where he remains the Chief Audio Engineer, doing the job he loves.
IT ALL STARTED THE DAY HE WALKED INTO THE RECORDING STUDIO TO MEET HIS MENTOR
THINGS BEGAN MAKING SENSE…
“The first thing I saw when I got to the studio were gold records on the wall,” Preston recalls. “No Doubt, Dwight Yoakam . . . I was blown away!” And that was just the beginning — Clear Lake’s full client list is long and impressive.
“Jimi Eat World, Ringo Starr, Flea, Paula Abdul, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Clint Black, Trish Yearwood, Adam Ant, Lagwagon — I couldn’t believe I was going to be in a studio where all these people recorded!”
His first look into the control room was just as overwhelming. “The console looked about three miles long, with millions of knobs. Of course, since then it has shrunk dramatically,” he muses.
HARD WORK AND GREAT MENTORING STARTED PAYING OFF…
Although he walked in knowing virtually nothing about recording, Boebel studied hard and worked even harder. Within a few months, owner Brian Levi was calling Preston in to work on more and more sessions, including many with freelance engineers.
“The great thing about this program is that you’re exposed to so many different influences, all of them in a professional working environment,” says Preston. “Even the ‘outside’ engineers were eager to share what they knew. It was great to learn from people with different styles and approaches to recording.”
Preston’s work ethic soon paid off: within 6 months he was assisting on most of the sessions. After a year he was hired as the studio’s chief engineer. It’s a job with many challenges.
“One day I’ll be doing horn overdubs, the next I’ll be recording vocal tracks or guitar riffs,” he says. “I’ve gotten to work with some awesome musicians, like [drummer] Dennis Chambers and [bassist] Billy Sheehan. And, ironically, I have met some screen icons: Steven Seagal, David Cassidy and a few others have done sessions with me.”
Boebel also does post production for films and television. His credits include the HBO hit Six Feet Under, Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story, and several Dreamworks projects.
The greatest part? “It’s not like any ‘job’ I’ve ever had,” he says. “I enjoy being in the studio because no matter what I’m working on, it’s always an adventure. I have loved music all my life, and getting paid for being involved in music is great!” And as they say, the rest is history.