Case Study: Passion and Hard Work Pay Dividends

Still Early in his Career, CRAS Graduate and Current Recording and Mixing Engineer Matthew Trenhaile Already has an Impressive Resume and List of Credits, Including with DC2Trill, Johnney C and Jhonni Blaze, Johnney C and Bankroll Fresh, with More on the Way.

Gilbert, Ariz., July 20, 2023 – Once Matthew Trenhaile realized he wasn’t going to be the best rapper to ever come out of South Dakota, he pivoted and entered the world of professional audio engineering to keep his dream alive and make a living in the industry he loves.

“Growing up in the small town of Aberdeen, South Dakota, I have always had a love for music,” said Trenhaile, sho graduated from Aberdeen Central High School in 2017 and The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) in 2018. “I knew early on that I wanted to work in a studio, particularly in the genres of hip hop and R&B, so I had bought a decent beginner studio setup. Being a professional rapper was not in my future, but I enjoyed learning about the recording process and what all those little knobs on a compressor or EQ did.”

Trenhaile explained that while he was finishing up high school, his parents had found out about CRAS online and then toured the school while they were visiting Arizona. Once they showed him pictures of the school and talked about what they saw and learned during the tour, he said he knew that he had to attend CRAS.

“CRAS gets right to it and it was very fast paced, and I admit that I had to work very hard in all of my courses,” he said. “Thankfully I had really smart and dedicated instructors as well as classmates who were willing to help me get through. In the end, CRAS gave me the basic fundamentals to succeed once I got out into the Industry.”

Trenhaile landed his mandatory internship at Atlanta’s Means Street Studios, founded by DJ Drama.

“CRAS was able to get me into my first choice for my internship, and I was determined to outwork all the other interns,” Trenhaile continued. “I worked my way into my first session within seven months and I took everyone’s shifts that they wanted covered and I was there nearly every day. I knew I just wanted it more than everyone else.”

Trenhaile’s dedication to his internship was noticed quickly by management and the engineers at Means Street Studios. He was sitting in on sessions within four months and was taking training sessions with smaller artists and other interns who were artists themselves. He also admits that he bombed a few, as he had trouble controlling his nerves. But he kept practicing until the nerves went away.

“My manager came to me one night and said, ‘You have a session,’ and so I walk in, and there’s Lil Yachty,” Trenhaile explained. “I was terrified but he had seen me recording and thought I was ready. I managed to get through it and haven’t looked back since.”

Trenhaile then moved to Wave Studios where he still mixes and take sessions occasionally. Then, in late 2022, an engineer called him to come into Quality Control Studios to cover his session. “I must have made a good impression the first night because I have been there since, working for the same man I had my first session with, Lil Yachty,” said Trenhaile. “Now, I work with artists signed to his label, Concrete, while working out of QC. I occasionally fill in when his engineer isn’t available to work with him. I have found my home for now at this point in my career and couldn’t be more grateful.”

As a recording and mixing engineer, Trenhaile is also on call for QC sessions outside of Lil Yachty and his artists. “I got that by being humble enough to mop up and take the trash out of the studio after a session when I wasn’t required too,” he said. “Management notices little things like that, and offered me to be on call with QC. But I always say, your bread and butter is always going to be your freelance clients.”

Still early in his career, Trenhaile already has an impressive resume and list of credits, including DC2Trill (Smooth Operator; In Here), Johnney C and Jhonni Blaze (Is It Me), Johnney C and Bankroll Fresh (Bank Feelings), with many more big name credits on the way as the culmination of his work at QC being wrapped up and packaged into an album.

“For those attending CRAS, believe me when I say that I wish I would’ve paid more attention to those classes learning what may be considered ‘boring’ at the time,” Trenhaile advised. “Things such as digital connections to an interface, codecs, etc. These classes may not be as exciting as a drum recording clinic, but you absolutely will need to know these things out in the industry. CRAS doesn’t teach anything not useful in class, so make sure you pay attention even if it isn’t glamorous material being covered.”

Trenhaile has one last piece of advice for parents. “I would highly advise parents to give financial support during the internship period if they are able to do so in order that their kids can fully invest themselves in their internship. Focus and hard work are everything.”

Article originally posted on MixOnline.