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Studio Internship Diary

Max_H

Inspired
Hey all,

As some of you know already I recently moved to Reykjavic, Iceland to pursue an internship at a recording studio here. So far it has been a lot of fun and I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread that chronicles my experiences here both for the purposes of informing anyone looking to start interning (paying them dues) in the recording industry as well as giving insight on what it's like to move to another country.

This wont be updated every single day, just when I feel that there is something important to offer.

Let's begin...

1/2-1/3 "Travel... ugh"

My trip began in Bennington, Vermont at 8am where I got a ride to Albany, New York to catch a Greyhound bus to Boston. From there I took an Icelandair flight at 8:10pm. My luggage consisted of a gigantic suitcase carrying my PC, Axe FX, toiletries and my clothes. The PC and the Axe FX were both heavily (HEAVILY) wrapped in bubble wrap as I was going to be checking that bag. Overall that bag weighed 64 lbs and thankfully the nice man at the checking counter at the airport waived the overweight bag fee, what a dude. I also had my guitar gig bag that I was allowed to carry on to the plane and the kind stewardess offered to store it in the first class baggage area. For the 5 hour flight I watched Wonder Woman and Dunkirk (Icelandair has some sweet amenities) as well as played some Super Mario on my nintendo switch.

I arrived at Keflavik Airport around 7:30 am the next morning, however it was only a 5 hour flight, that crazy time difference eh? From there I took a bus called Reykjavic Excursions from Keflavik to a bus terminal near downtown Reykjavic. After that it was a measly 1 mile haul with my giant bag and guitar to the apartment I will be staying at. Now, I had made a mistake when initially contacting my landlord and said I would be arriving on the 4th, but it was the 3rd. Thanks to my incredible luck she happened to be pulling in at the same time as I arrived and let me in (no staying out in the cold all day thank god). After a brief bit of settling in I called my new boss, the owner and engineer at the studio and we went over a little bit of when I should be there and all that. Fast forward to the next day...

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1/4-1/5 "Construction Time"

I arrived at the studio a bit early thanks to the buses only running every 30 minutes. Speaking of the buses, there's a handy app that you can purchase your tickets on as well as see exactly where the buses are and when they'll be at each stop. It seems that Iceland has their shit together when it comes to public transportation. I met Mio and Mara and they got me to work straight away. So my first two days were spent cleaning, painting and overall tidying the place up. I was very much pleased to be able to be a part of getting the studio in good shape. It feels good to be involved. You could say I'm in good company. Mio and Mara are two of the sweetest, kindest people I know and I'm certainly stoked to be able to work with such awesome people.

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1/6 "The Open House"

I arrived at the studio around noon to begin helping the caterers get going with everything. Last minute touches, a bit of dusting here, a bit of vacuuming there and then the party started at 2pm. Overall I believe there were about 80-100 people that showed up. I met a guy who specialized in Icelandic curse words, so you could say we had a fascinating and vulgar conversation about that. Some of my duties at the party were to protect the mixing console from wandering starers with drinks in their hands, pick up empty drinks after folks, socialize, make coffee, and to make sure no-one put drinks on the Steinway Crown Jewel grand piano. The party went very well and by the end I was relaxing with a few beers with Mio's family in the Live room talking about American politics and sports. The party ended around 9:30 and after cleaning up I headed home on the 11 line, but not before big hugs from Mio and Mara thanking me for the huge amount of help I've been (I don't mean to brag, their words not mine haha).

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So today is now the 9th and Mio gave me Monday and Tuesday off. This studio has been 2 years in the making and I'm sure they're both very happy that the studio is up and running.

The space is gorgeous, more beautiful than any studio I've ever seen and it sounds phenomenal. We haven't done anything music related just yet (that starts tomorrow) but I listened to the piano tuner play the Steinway in the Live Room and that space sounds effin phenomenal. I am more than excited to start helping Mio record some absolutely beautiful music in this space.


My duties so far seem to be as follows:
-Make guests feel welcome and comfortable
-Coffee dude
-Set up and clean up
-Recall sheets
-Set up mics
-Vacuum and dust the mixing console and all outboard equipment
-Keep the Steinway as beautiful as possible
-Guitars tuned and set up

Anyhow, that's all for today. Next time I feel like there's something you guys would be interested in reading about, i'll post it here.
 
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guitarmanUK

Regular
Really enjoyed reading this, it sounds like you have landed yourself an amazing place to intern.

Look forward to the next episode. :)
 

TG3K

Veteran
Sounds like you're already getting into the groove. I enjoyed your write-up and will be looking forward to seeing more.
 

pauly

Fractal Fanatic
Good on you Max,
Please keep us posted :)
thanks
Pauly

Hey all,
<SNIP>
Anyhow, that's all for today. Next time I feel like there's something you guys would be interested in reading about, i'll post it here.

Sjáumst!
 

Max_H

Inspired
Awesome to read. I was thinking about how things were going so far with you.

Good stuf!
So far it is going very well!

To continue...

1/10 "First Day of Recording"

The day started with me getting there about 6 minutes late as my bus app lied to me and said there would be a bus at a certain time and after standing, waiting for 20 minutes it finally updated. I HAAAATEEE being late. Oh well, Mio and Mara are very relaxed and weren't worried about it. So we began working on some vocals and piano tracks. Setting up the microphones was a blast and is probably my favorite part of the whole thing. So from all that I learned how the engineer likes his cables managed, stored, and handled. Also I have a better idea of some decent piano recording techniques. Patch bays blow my effin mind and I want to learn all about how they work and how to use them etc etc. At the end of the signal path is Pro Tools. I was VERY impressed with Mara's skill not just as a musician but as a recording musician, quite impressive to behold.

Near the end of the day we went over some projects I'll be working on during my time at the studio. At some point I'll be organizing the cable drawers, making custom length ethernet cables and making recall sheets for all of his gear.

1/11 "Day Two"

Got there early this time, screw the bus app, I just get on an earlier one. It's been quite icy out on the roads as it rained the day previous and all of that froze overnight so it took a bit to walk up the slope to the studio... 1 step forward, slide down 2 feet, repeat. We got right back to work on recording.

Had an embarrassing hiccup when I left the control room to get the two of them some coffee and tea... you have to go through the Live Room to get to the kitchen from the Control Room. I thought they were still listening back to a take when I walked back into the Live Room with the tea and coffee and they had been recording(!!!!!):oops: oh the shame I felt. Heart crushing, truly. I wrote down in big letters on my notebook "CHECK BEFORE ENTERING THE LIVE ROOM!". I guess that's a good lesson to get early on, nonetheless still embarrassing as all hell.

The signal coming in through the mixer is incredible! While I was watching him today, I was taking some notes on things he is doing that I need to figure out how to do quickly in Reaper such as splitting audio, set fades at blistering speed, zoom in and out with key bindings, multi-select track audio, set markers for song sections, and quickly punch in/out while recording with great precision. Just gotta peruse the Reaper manual a bit.

All of this recording is making me wish I had someone to record besides myself. Anyone want to come to Iceland and live in a basement while I record them with a USB mic? No takers? Ok fine haha.

Anyhoo, that's all for now.

p.s. Thanks for all the positive comments guys. Be sure to leave some criticism too if you have any.
 
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Yes interesting read for sure - I was in Iceland for a little over 2 weeks back in September - one of the most amazing places on earth. You are lucky to spend time there. Hopefully you have some time after getting coffee to take in all the country has to offer. Thanks for sharing !
 

TG3K

Veteran
...It's been quite icy out on the roads as it rained the day previous and all of that froze overnight so it took a bit to walk up the slope to the studio...
Well, to be fair, the place is called Iceland after all. :D

Great read, Max. I'm thoroughly enjoying following along.
 

Max_H

Inspired
Well, to be fair, the place is called Iceland after all. :D

Great read, Max. I'm thoroughly enjoying following along.
For the record it's warmer here than most of the northern US. The coldest I've seen it get here is about 30F
 

GiRa

Forum Addict
So far it is going very well!
What I've noticed is Mio tries to get as AWESOME of a signal coming in through the Neve 5088, Portico II and his various other inboard and outboard gear. Any work with plugins is done after the fact to correct a thing here, a thing there, nothing drastic. I greatly enjoy watching him work and the speed and efficiency of it all.
IMHO the old school approach where you get the best input as possible is the most efficient ones. Then the plugins can help for small stuff.

I need to figure out how to do quickly in Reaper such as splitting audio, set fades at blistering speed, zoom in and out with key bindings, multi-select track audio, set markers for song sections, and quickly punch in/out while recording with great precision. Just gotta peruse the Reaper manual a bit.
I think that Reaper default keybindings are totally crazy on these matters, it will take a while to make it behave in a matter that makes sense.

You coul try Mixbux32C, where you get a console like workflow and shortcuts that makes sense (coming from a protools, tape guy).


Thank you sooooo much for posting this, it is an awesome read!
 

Jiffzillla

Veteran
Glad to hear it’s going well, Max! If the studio owner is ok with it, I’d love to see some pics! Continued success, my friend. I know it feels good to be off and running!
 
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