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Daily Inspiration: Meet Sam Arjes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Arjes.

Hi Sam, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am primarily a musician and songwriter and have been for most of my life. Having grown up in Kansas City, Missouri, I got my professional start in the downtown KC music scene by playing in local bars and coffeehouses.

Around 2008, I moved to Clearwater, Florida, and took a break from performing to pursue other endeavors, eventually getting married and starting a family.

I remained passionate about music, however, and with significant technological developments happening in the field of home recording, I bought a Macbook Pro, and some cheap recording gear, and started learning everything I could on the subject. I had a pretty good-sized catalog of songs I’d written over the years and it became my goal to record as many of them as I could.

Fast forward to the present, and my passion for creating music has expanded to helping other independent artists bring their own music to life. I have had the good fortune to have worked with and learned from some of the best producers and engineers in the biz, and have recently launched my own music production company, Oceanbird Audio Productions.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There is a lot of data out there, and an endless amount of experts offering tips, tricks, and tutorials. This is a blessing to anyone just starting out on the do-it-yourself route; however, the sheer vastness of information available can also be daunting.

It’s very easy to fall down the YouTube “how-to” rabbit holes and end up confused and frustrated, due to a lack of direction. Therefore, I suggest finding a clearly structured path for learning–whether it be a class, online course, a series of step-by-step online tutorials, etc.

Preferably you know of or can get connected with an experienced professional in the field who would agree to mentor you. I know of studios and pros that will train up-and-coming producers for a fee. I also know of many top producers who got their start by interning or working as an assistant to other producers/engineers.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
At Oceanbird, our goal is to offer professional, high-quality services in all aspects of the music-making process–from co-writing and composing; to recording, producing, and mixing; all the way to the final stages of promotion, including album artwork and EPK (electronic press kit) design.

Having spent two decades as an independent artist, I understand the limitations that come with that particular lifestyle. Therefore, I strive to provide top studio results for those who don’t typically have a top studio budget or resources.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out.
When learning to become a producer or engineer, it is important to balance studying with DOING. You can spend a lot of time reading, listening, watching videos, etc.

But the real way to build your skills and confidence is by actually practicing and going through the motions–testing various mic placements and recording techniques, trying your hand at EQing of tracks, training your ear to recognize and isolate certain frequencies, etc.

You likely won’t be very good at first, but like anything else, you learn how to do something correctly and confidently after you’ve worked it out for yourself through tons and tons of practice and mistakes.

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