We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Estrada and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is everything. Especially in terms of going out and being your own boss. I can’t think of a career risk greater than forgoing the stability of a retirement plan or consistent paycheck, but that also applies to the creative process. It’s my job to capture lightning in a bottle and without taking creative risks we can easily get stuck in a formula based process. I want to break that formula. I want to discover new sounds in unconventional ways, I want to push creative people to lay it all on the table.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I own and operate a LA based recording studio called Pale Moon Audio. I started playing in bands at a young age and was always excited to get in the studio. Unfortunately I didn’t have many great experiences whether it was due to a condescending engineer, an assembly line like environment or just overall poor quality recordings- I wanted to go out on my own and offer something different. I started my first studio in 2005 as a place for young local musicians to get quality recordings at a low price in a positive environment. 16 years later I am still operating by those standards. I’lI often be working with a successful band on a big release one day followed by a group of teenagers excited to be tracking their first demo the next day. It’s keeps the “job” exciting and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Breakfast would be Millies cafe in Pasadena, It’s a classic diner with a great vegan breakfast menu. Lunch would be El Cocinero in Van Nuys, Hands down the best vegan Mexican food in Southern California. Dinner would definitely be at my all time favorite restaurant Vinh Loi Tofu in Reseda. All you have to do there is go up to the counter and tell the owner Kevin to pick your meal for you. He’ll ask if you want it spicy and then the rest will be left up to him!
After all that eating I think the following day would require some sort of outdoor activities. I’d suggest a trip up to Angeles Crest forest. Hiking the trail to the Big Horn Mine or up to the ruins of the Echo Mountain house.
Alternatively I’d suggest going to the Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita and spending the day alongside rescued farm animals or Wolf Mountain sanctuary in Lucerne Valley where you can meet up close with rescued Wolves. Yes actual wolves.
I would finish the week off with a Saturday night trip to my family restaurant ‘Casa Del Sol’ in Tustin to catch my Dad’s Mariachi group Sol De Mexico live in concert.
If you didn’t have one too many margaritas that night then I would suggest a Sunday Flamenco brunch show at El Cid in Silverlake. As you can tell, my idea of a perfect week would Involve lots of vegan food, a couple hikes, live music and lots of animals.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my parents. My Dad gave me the gift of music. It runs back several generations and I don’t take that for granted. My Mom was the one that really fostered that gift and made sure it stayed on track whether it was getting me to trumpet lessons, teaching me about rhythm via her dance background or letting me order every CD I wanted from the Columbia House ad in the weekend paper.
All photos by Jonathan Weiner