What does an Audio Engineer actually do?
Luca Pretolesi and Nik Hotchkiss just visited the CRAS Gilbert campus to give a great seminar on electronic music mixing. Luca predominately uses Apple’s Logic Pro software for his electronic music. He has a list of achievements, earning numerous credits working with the following artists:
- Snoop Lion
- Major Lazer
- Steve Aoki
- Bruno Mars
- Black Boots
- Cypress Hill
- Duran Duran
- Calvin Harris
- 2 Chainz
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- Gareth Amery
- Lil Jon
- Hot, Hot Mouth
- Morgan Page
- Mr. Skeleton
- DJ Politik
- Shelco Garcia
Luca works with Studio DMI in Las Vegas. In addition, his team have created “The Alliance” which is a platform suited for producers, DJs, and audio engineers to learn more about their craft. Memberships to The Alliance include access to live, streaming content such as “fly-on-the-wall” studio sessions, where you can see a behind the scenes look in how engineers make the sounds they make. There is also access to industry relevant tools such as useful session templates for various DAWs, sample and plug-in packs, tips, advice, and so much more to help get a good foothold of mixing electronic music.
Luca has been a featured guess on Pensado’s Place, DJ Tech Tools, SoundBetter and Future Music Magazine. SoundBetter is a marketplace designed to hire professional sound engineers, producers and singers such as Luca. Luca’s career began with two years in formal audio education in Milan, Italy. He was very passionate about the early days of electronic music, and was starting to get into production right as sampling was getting very popular.
Their seminar covered virtual tours of the studios they’ve worked in and some of the things that have happened within those walls. He detailed his history, who he’s worked with, and some of his inspirations. Talking about one of his prior seminars, instead of just talking about his job, he said “I want to open a Major Lazer song that I mixed. I want to take you guys here, and really go over single, individual channels, outboard gear and plug-ins, and re-build the mix.”
For our CRAS event, Luca chose to deconstruct his work on Diplo’s remix of Beyonce – Drunk in Love. He demonstrated his workflow, outlining using other songs as references, and the difference between using a mastering reference, or just a mixing reference. For about an hour he went through track-by-track, showing his techniques using EQ, compressors, grouping and stem mixing.
Finally, we opened the floor to a Q&A session, where CRAS students had the opportunity to ask Luca questions that had been burning in their minds.
“I’m blown away by CRAS. This place is unreal. I was uninformed about this amazing school! I want to go back and be your age, be here and do it all over again! This place is amazing. CRAS is next level. The problem is this: sometimes, you find information that can take you to a wrong place. Don’t go crazy just to watch YouTube tutorials all day. Just because they are on YouTube doesn’t mean that it’s proper information. That’s why a school like CRAS, that’s the base. Then, you can do your own work [researching online] after. A lot of people say, ‘oh, just go to YouTube, you’ll find a lot of information.’ Yes, you will find a lot of information, but not necessarily good information. That’s what this school really is about.”
Check out the entire seminar here!