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Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories 11-16-15 Mentor News By Britney Tobin & Jeff McQ

Mentor News
  NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Recording Connection mentor/music industry veteran Josquin des Pres chats about his musical journey and why he loves to hire his apprentices     Originally hailing from France, producer/engineer/songwriter Josquin des Pres has had a long and highly productive career in the industry, from his early session work as a bass player to a long songwriting collaboration with Bernie Taupin (Elton John’s lyricist), to producing sessions for major icons like Jack Johnson, The Gipsy Kings, Techn9ne, Carly Smithson, Slightly Stoopid and also with players like Peter Frampton, Ricky Skaggs, John Jorgensen, Jerry Donahue etc. to composing for over 40 TV shows, the list goes on and on”. For over 15 years now, he’s operated Track Star Studios in San Diego, CA, one of the area’s most acclaimed recording facilities.   It goes without saying that we’re extremely pleased to have Josquin as a long-time Recording Connection mentor. He frequently hires his students, and one of his former apprentices and employees, Phil Higgins, even went on to open his own studio in Nashville and is now a mentor himself!   In a recent conversation with us, Josquin talked a bit about what led him from performing to producing, and eventually opening his own studio. He also talked about some of his current and former students, why he loves to hire his apprentices, and the opportunities his students get by learning on-the-job. The best nuggets of that conversation have been mined for you below.  
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  ON HOW HE MOVED FROM PLAYING MUSIC INTO PRODUCING MUSIC:   “After [living in] France, I moved over to LA and became a studio bass player and playing with different people—San Diego also—and just being a bass player for hire. And I was in a few bands—I was in a band called Stress with Jimmy Crespo from Aerosmith. When that broke up, I was interested in the production side of music, so I decided to start producing. My first records were records from bands coming from Europe, Luxembourg, France, because I have relationships over there. And then I met Bernie Taupin [Elton John’s lyricist] through a mutual friend and started writing songs with him in the late ‘80s, and landed a deal with Warner/Chappell Publishing. All that came about. At the same time, I had my own little studio to record my own songs, and I bought more and more equipment and developed that even more…I moved down, in fact, from LA to San Diego to work with a label called Cargo Records, which was the label that signed Blink 182. I did almost 30 records for Cargo between ‘95 and 2000.”  
RC apprentice Hayden Lewis, Josquin Des Pres and Ian Sutton at Capitol Studios in Studio A.

RC apprentice Hayden Lewis, Josquin Des Pres and Ian Sutton at Capitol Studios in Studio A.

ON WHY HE STARTED HIS OWN STUDIO:   “It was really simple, actually. As we were doing more and more records for Cargo and I was getting paid as a producer and then I was taking the projects to local San Diego studios, I decided, for the money I was paying, I could build my own and collect that money from the record label. So I built my own studio while I was working at others. And when it was open and ready to go, that’s basically when I started, Track Star.”   THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION MUSICIANS HAVE ABOUT MAKING A RECORD:   “Cost. A lot of people don’t understand that it all depends [on] what you’re making a record for. If you’re making a record for fun, then it’s okay, it’s simple. Nowadays, everybody has Pro Tools. Everybody can do it at home or wants to do it at home. But I tell lot of people, I have a basketball, doesn’t make me Kobe Bryant…They’re recording at home without any knowledge, and the project just doesn’t sound that good, so it can’t go very much further. The advantage actually of the teaching program is, now, we can teach people how to get good mixes and good recordings at home and at least help them further their music.   ON WHY HE LOVES TO HIRE RECORDING CONNECTION APPRENTICES:   “Our entire staff is people from Recording Connection. And it’s been like this since our older guy took the Recording Connection program 14 years ago and became an engineer here then moved to Nashville, opened his own studio in Tennessee…The reason is really simple: We work a very specific way. I like music producers a specific way. I have a lot of short cuts how to do it quick and good. And when an engineer has apprenticed here, it’s so much easier. If somebody leaves or wants to go somewhere else, the first place I’m going to look is who is my best student because he knows what we do. I’ve had engineers from other areas who’d learn on their own or from other schools, but they don’t know what we do, and I seriously question actually what they’ve learned.”   JUST A FEW OF THE STUDENTS AND GRADUATES WHO CONTINUE TO WORK WITH HIM:   “Phil [Higgins], he had done the program 12 years ago, even more. He moved to Nashville. Thomas [Burdett] took over. Phil opened his own studio in Nashville. And we work with him at least on a weekly basis…We still work with him hand in hand trading files and working on music together…[Thomas] is our main guy. He learned very quickly. He not only had music knowledge, plays multiple instruments, he has computer knowledge and electronics knowledge…That’s your all-around guy…Tim [Schumann], mainly, we use him for sessions…mainly recording, tracking, same with Hayden [Lewis]. They’re very fast on the computer, great editing skills…Aaron [Castro] mainly focuses on doing all our dance programming, electronic stuff…he did both programs, the basic program and the master’s program.”  
Track Star Studios

Control Room in Track Star Studios

ON WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE AN APPRENTICE AT TRACK STAR, AND WHAT HE LOOKS FOR IN APPRENTICES:   We take our job very seriously, “We even have a dress code. We have a dress code for apprentices too. Basically, we have all these rules to follow, how you behave around an artist, how you behave around celebrities, because we do have celebrities coming through. And it’s a great environment. So I look for usually people of any age but they must understand and love today’s music…They’re also usually very good on computers. They always bring in new music for us to get accustomed with, so basically, people skills, technical skills, and some understanding of music are important.”   ON THE BENEFITS AND EXPOSURE HIS APPRENTICES RECEIVE:   “When people study here, they not only learn the hands-on of what you’re going to do every day, but they’re literally working on projects that are going on the air. When you study at Track Star, you can walk out, and you’re not only going to have the experience, but you’re going to have some names on your resume. We do all the music for MTV Catfish, the TV show. So if I have students who work on that in some form, I tell them, “You can put that on your resume, that you worked on MTV Catfish.” We used to do Pimp My Ride, Cribs, all these different shows, Teen Mom. It’s a big plus to come to Track Star, because it’s not only the skills and the real life experience, but it’s also some form of credits when you walk out of here.”   ON WHY HE LOVES WHAT HE DOES:   “I love doing it. Every day, I get up, and I do music. That’s a big plus. And I’ve been doing music for 40 years professionally. I’ve never had a day job in my entire life. But this is my day job, basically.”    
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