In reflecting on the first networking assignment, I’ve learned that it is highly beneficial to prepare for networking at the events I attend. For example, if I am going to attend or play at a show, I will research the other bands playing and get to know more about them, the venue, and the person booking the show. This will give me an idea of things to talk about at the show and will make triangulating easier. Although some shows are better to network at than others, there is a lot I can get from these events that is very easy to miss. Going out of my way to chat with the sound engineer is another important networking opportunity. Outside of shows, I’ve found more forms of networking that proved to be beneficial.
I recently reached out to an engineer at Audiotree, the studio I’ve admired for the past three years, through his own website. I was searching for websites to get inspirations for my own and I found the website of Brok Mende. He is a full time freelance audio/mixing/mastering engineer that grew up in Jacksonville and moved to Chicago in 2012 to pursue a career in the industry. He’s interned with Steve Albini and worked his ass off to get recognized as an engineer in Chicago. From there he got offered the job at Audiotree as head engineer, but recently resigned to move back to Jacksonville to be with family for personal reasons. In my initial email through his contact page on his website, I introduced myself and said a little about what I’m doing here at JU and the projects I’ve been involved in. I mentioned my recent work with a mutual friend Corey Kilgannon, who is a singer songwriter that’s recorded with Brok in the past. After establishing my connection with a mutual friend and triangulating through that, I asked him if I could send him some questions about the industry, his workflow, and some other general inquiries. Within the same day he responded “Corey’s a good friend of mine, feel free to shoot me whatever questions you might have!” From there I asked him about his career path and what he would go back and change along the way to set himself up for where he is today, as well as some brief general questions about his perspective of the Jacksonville music scene and why he left to Chicago. He responded in five paragraphs in detail to all of my questions and asked if I had any more for him, which I did. After sending him some more questions, I also invited him to come to the next Bobby Kid show, which was conveniently opening up for our mutual friend Corey at Blue Jay Listening Room (Sunday 4/28). He was already planning on coming and actually recording this session, so everything really worked out for the best in this networking experience. After my last email with a plethora of questions he asked to meet up this week and chat in person. I am hoping to gain more understanding of his career and perspective, as well as inquire more about the Audiotree internship program, or any other potential internship opportunities.
Brok complimented my wording of questions, and could tell that I knew what I wanted to get out of the interaction with him. If I wouldn’t have triangulated and made the connection with our mutual friend, there’s a chance he wouldn’t have followed up with me.
I’m looking forward to planning for networking ahead of time at the next events I attend, and looking for places outside of those events to connect with people I admire and want to emulate.