Fall 2017
TRY Studio Stories
Meet David

Name: David Hughes
Location: Oakland, California
Art/Craft/Discipline: Pro Tools Audio Production

A pro who knows the tools are only as good as the person using them so he works to know them inside and out.

Intro by Jennifer Arzt
Technical. Creative. Sound master.
Inviting you to step up to the mic
Meet David
Oakland, California

After leaving David’s studio, I reflected on the time I spent there and David’s story. Two words kept coming to mind: lucky and resilient. 

Taking the leap to start his studio was as you’d expect. A leap. There was equipment to invest in, space to set up and perfect the sound quality in, and then the clients to find. 

It would have been impressive if he took that leap once. But after not one but two shady landlords forced David to pack up and move out of his customize spaces, he took even a bigger leap and just made his own luck.

He and his wife bought a house and turned the entire first floor into his studio.

The studio has the perfect mix of rock & roll and privacy. It feels like a place you can let your guard down and perform naturally. There’s some kind of alchemy in the air that begs for you to add your mark, say something, play something, learn something.

The space is an extension of David’s personality. He’s genuine, professional, and interested in making the best thing possible, no matter what it is; an album, a podcast, or an audio book.

And just like how music evolves so do the tools to record it; the recording industry isn’t immune to the fast-changing world of technology. David embraces the changes, learning about the new tools, trying them out, and discovering what ways he can add their strengths to his workflow.

He is constantly out there, talking to others in the field, and asking questions. He seeks to improve his craft, has a keen ear (David played a clip that, to my untrained ears, was the best sounding sound I had ever heard and he said that it was time for new speakers.), learn from others, and explore all the possibilities. 

So step in and roll sound. 

Read on
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· How did you get started working in this area? ·

I did an internship at KITS Live 105.3 FM in San Francisco back in 2000. Just talking with so many musicians at that job gave me inspiration to start working with local independent musicians on their recordings. I got a laptop and some recording gear and spent a lot of late nights in garages and living rooms. We recorded all sorts of music from Reggae to Speed Metal and everything in between.

Record, Edit, & Mix · Learn Pro Tools with David

I got so much experience at this job that I took out a loan and established a physical location for the studio. There I worked on producing albums and helping musicians craft their sound. As the years passed, I started to teach some up and coming engineers how to refine their ears and start focusing on how to mix music. I’ve now taught over 50 engineers how to be successful in the music industry and I’ve even offered for a few of them to work directly at my studio.

· Where do you find inspiration for your work? ·

I attend many local concerts and listen to a lot of indie music. It’s always good to have some new sounds grace your ears and it gives me a new perspective on what people are composing and listening to these days. There will always be an element of the past in music, but it’s the new cutting edge sounds that always intrigue me and fuel my passion for working in the music industry.

Record, Edit, & Mix · Learn Pro Tools with David

· What’s a project you’ve done that you’re proud of?  ·

I’m quite proud of all the projects that I’ve worked on. There have been a few that I’ve taken under my wing and really invested a lot of time into producing. I’m currently working with a R&B vocalist from Phoenix, AZ. He’s got so much soul and emotion in his lyrics that it almost brings everyone to tears. It’s been an extreme pleasure to work on music that has so much potential to make a tremendous impact on the world.

Record, Edit, & Mix · Learn Pro Tools with David

· What tools do you use? Have a favorite? ·

Pro Tools HD is my primary software program. I’ve invested over 20 years working with the program and know it inside and out. I’m also very attached to my 3rd party plugins that go with the software and allow me to sculpt and design the sound to my liking.

Record, Edit, & Mix · Learn Pro Tools with David

· What’s your workspace like? ·

The studio is the entire first floor of my home. I’ve designed the space to be inspirational and professional.

· Favorite spot in the Bay Area? ·

I love going to A’s games at the Coliseum. I’ve been attending A’s games since 1989 when my father would take me to go see the A’s. He would buy tickets for the games and then surprise me with them after school. I grew to love baseball and now attend games with my younger brother on a regular basis.

Record, Edit, & Mix · Learn Pro Tools with David

· What music do you work to? ·

I work to whatever the client brings in. The best part about my job is that I’m always listening to new music. Being the one that gets to shape that music is even more rewarding than I could ever imagine.

· What have you always wanted to try? ·

I’ve always wanted to buy an ATV and just go make my own trails out in the wilderness.

· What kind of projects can people try with you? ·
David's Studio
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