Online (Aus)

15 Jun 2020

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15 Jun 2020

Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani, Green Velvet, Ludacris & Linkin Park are just some of the names that mix engineer Dylan Ely has worked with over his 24 years in the music industry. He has been instrumental in some of the largest grossing tours, world-renowned studios and countless music hits. In this first-ever online Masterclass, the acclaimed engineer/programmer/entrepreneur breaks down his technical process for mixing, signal flow, tour production and programming.

We sat down with the audio guru ahead of his exclusive Masterclass series with SAE. 

Hi Dylan, you certainly have worked with some big names in the industry! Could you please give us a brief overview of your career to start?

I started working in a recording studio at 15 years old. My love for recording began in High School when I took an audio engineering class and the rest is history! After my last year of High School I was still recording bands every night until the wee hours at the school’s studios, I decided then to take it on at a higher level at Full Sail University in Florida. After graduation, I moved back to Denver, Colorado and interned at the best studio I could find for two years. I then moved to Chicago, I started working as a tech, then as an assistant and was then asked to become part of the engineering team for R. Kelly, who was at his peak popularity (1999). I then went on to freelance in Chicago, and worked with many other amazing artists such as; Ministry, Green Velvet, Vince Lawrence, Elbow, and more. After making a name for myself there, I was offered a job at Battery Studios in NYC in 2001. I worked there for a couple months before going freelance again. I was freelancing for a time working with a lot of different artists such as; All American Rejects, Timbaland, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Petey Pablo, Kevin Rudolf. I then landed at PIE studios in Long Island, NY as the chief engineer. While I was there I worked on projects with; Cheap Trick, Cindy Lauper, J-Lo and Alicia Keys. Whilst on tour (2005) as a Backline tech / Programmer, I was offered a gig with Linkin Park on the road as their Pro Tools / Playback engineer, I accepted that gig which I held from 2006-2013. I was in charge of all things “electronic” on stage: playback, drum triggers, midi keyboards/triggers, and samplers. I combined my studio skills with the touring at that point, partnering with their FOH [front of house] engineer to record, mix, master and release EVERY Linkin Park show for “official bootleg” releases from 2007-2012. My touring career has continued along with making records in my studio up until now. 

Why did you become a studio engineer? And what do you most enjoy about your career?

While in High School I found a love for the “art” of recording. I enjoy being able to express my creativity via the “sound” and later to find a “vibe” of the sonics that I could impart on a band’s recording. I enjoy helping an artist realize the vision of their songs! I also enjoy the sense of joy and pride an artist gets from being satisfied by the final mix / art of the project that you were able to accomplish with them.

How do you see the future of your industry?

Wow, this is tough, obviously now. I do see a rebound of touring in a BIG way. There are going to be people worldwide that are in NEED of music again combined with people being cooped up for months, the touring industry will become more competitive than ever. I also think that the demand for recorded music will be rejuvenated due to an influx of new music,  people will also want something tangible they can place value in after putting a lot of their life into perspective.

What can attendees to your masterclass series expect?

I think they can expect ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! I want to offer a full unbiased perspective. I was lucky, my career was not always candy coated that reaffirmed this was the right career path for me many times… 

What will attendees find valuable and what lessons do you hope they walk away with?

The value I can offer versus other audio pros is I have a diverse skill set, I also came up in the tail end of “old school” technology and saw the “new school” come from its inception. I hope they walk away with a broad view of what the industry has to offer. I really want attendees to know that there are NO rules and that it's ok to try new things and to always keep learning how to better their craft.

What does it mean to you to be able to present these masterclasses?

I'm very excited to share my career and perspectives about the industry, good and bad. I hope that someone, even one student has an idea that they had never had before and that they use that idea to help make better art and help them see a clear space for them in the industry, and maybe I can even learn from them one day down the line.