Graduate Spotlight: Miles Deiaco

We’ve been corresponding with our graduate Miles Deiaco and wanted to share his success with you. Here’s a bit of his story!

After completing classes on campus, Miles headed to San Francisco for his internship. He interned at Different Fur Studios and graduated CRAS in 2008.  He is currently an engineer/producer in the San Fran area.

During your internship, what was your most memorable horror or success story?

Well I ended up interning for about a year at Different Fur Studios, and my most memorable success was when I was made a head engineer and given keys to the studio. Also it was very exciting when I got asked to go on a national tour that was super kushy.

That being said, it was a road of many up’s and down’s. I don’t think I had horror stories, but there were times while interning that I felt like quitting. Interning is not easy, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. But I say hold on the best you can and success will come.

How did you end up in your current position?

Upon my graduation I immediately moved to SF,  a city I thought would be a good cultural fit for me, because in the end if you’re not happy where you live, why start a career there? Through the help of the CRAS internship department, I got an in at Different Fur Studios as an intern. I was working 10 hour days for free, doing all the typical phone answering and coffee making to put my work in. I quickly started pulling in my own sessions with local bands. At a point I was pulling in the most clients, not including generic cold calls to the studio, and within a year I became an assistant engineer. In another 6 months I was promoted to head engineer and continued tracking and mixing bands on Different Fur’s awesome SSL 4K. During this time I was also juggling in general 3 or 4 local sound club gigs which supplemented my studio income.

After working at Different Fur for about 3 1/2 years I got a call from the production manager of Boz Scaggs (an international touring musician who won Grammy’s in the 70’s and is still riding a successful and long lasting career). Funny enough, I met this gentleman at a Different Fur industry party about a year earlier. He said that he liked my vibe and credentials and decided to call me when a touring position opened up. It was two grand a week salary, plus $50/day per diem, not bad.

So I decided to leave Different Fur, hop on a plane and begin touring the country with the Boz camp. I was hired on as a Pro Tools operator, stage tech, and drum tech. It was very exciting going from city to city, and staying in awesome hotels (Boz takes care of his crew!), and having the great salary. Plus the tour bus experience is very fun as well!Miles at the console

During this time, when I was home, I got contracted to record and mix the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (one of – if not the biggest – bluegrass festival in the world, held in beautiful Golden gate park and boasting 6 stages). Artists like Emmy Lou Harris, Robert Plant, Connor Oberst, Mike Patton, just to name a few, played this festival. I was contracted to multi-track record one of the stages to a Pro Tools rig for the 3 day duration of the festival (there were engineers on each stage recording). This was really great money for the amount of time it required. Then after everything was recorded, 1 to 2 songs from each act were chosen, and I was contracted to mix all the songs. It was really satisfying being able to mix such huge artists! I’ve done that 2 years in a row thus far, and will be working it again next year.

After a year and a half touring with the Boz camp I started re-thinking my priorities. Although I loved that gig and the money was spectacular, I realized my true passion was working on albums, as well as continuing my growth as a musician. I felt strongly my path towards being a strong producer/engineer consists of being a strong musician and having an extensive knowledge of music application. I’m not the hands-off Rick Rubin type, haha. I really like producers like Nigel Godrich, who also work as musicians and are sometimes considered another member of the band. That being said, about a year a ago I decided to leave the Boz tour to come home and work on albums. Also, during my touring period, while off, I started a band that became what is currently “Strange Hotel”, a band I love and believe in. A project that helps me strengthen both my studio and musician chops. We released our debut full length album a few months ago, and recently released an official music video for our single song “All the World is a Strange Hotel”

Have you ever found yourself star struck, or in an unreal moment?

No. I’ve met and been backstage or in the studio with various stars but it’s not really my thing to be star struck. The more you act like a fan, the more you’ll be treated like a fan. The more you behave like you belong around stars, the more you will work around them.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?

Don’t let ANYONE tell you what you can and can’t do. Of course respect who you work for, and I’m not saying don’t do your duties. Go above and beyond.

I’m saying studio management, owners, other engineers, ect have in the past told me I wouldn’t achieve this or that, or it’s not worth it to do this or that, or I couldn’t do something this way. And I generally proved them wrong. There are always lessons to learn, but follow your heart, and do your best the best way you know how, and you’ll be successful.

Are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?

Stay inspired, have a great attitude, find what you do well, and work from the center of that space! Other skills will develop around that.

What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time @ CRAS?

So many!! It was such a transformative period in my life. The overall experience is imprinted in me and a center point of my success in the industry.

I really liked running the late night sessions, and having access to the live sound room. I like being in charge, haha.

But it was all so important!

Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?

Again so many! I feel the CRAS has a wide spectrum of personalities, teaching approaches, and knowledge bases. Which is how it works in the real world so it’s a good preparation. That being said I really liked Brock’s strait forward passion. I liked Mike Jones laid back, yet wisdom filled approach. I loved how Nancy had so much patience in her classes and made students feel comfortable. I liked Brian Burill’s teaching style and analogies. John Berry, Allen Leggett, Dave LaBounty, Paul Richards, Jeff Thomas, Jason Losett, Sean Conkling, just to name a few who come to my memory at the moment, I’m sure I’m leaving out some great ones!

Now that you aren’t touring anymore, what are you doing?

Since I’ve been back I’ve been recording and mixing bands as an independent contractor at various studios depending on my clients needs and budgets. I also work out of my home studio in which we have a Pro Tools HD system, Apogee and 192 interfaces, outboard gear  (LA-2A, Twincom stereo compressor, LA-4, to name a few), API and GML mic pres, the API master section with the 2700 stereo compressor… We have a pair of Genelec speakers and a pair of NS-10s. Not a bad place to supplement my studio work and offer clients a much lower rate.

All in all I want to thank CRAS for giving me the jumpstart I needed to get into this amazing career, and for a great price (the main local audio engineering school here in the bay, Expression, is roughly $80,000 to attend!)

I also recorded, mixed, and co-produced my band “Strange Hotel’s” new album and music video.