We had the good fortune of connecting with Camilo Velez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Camilo, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance is such an important topic, especially during the times we’re living in. Speaking just for my industry, there’s this feeling among record producers, engineers, composers and songwriters that you’ve got to be constantly over-worked and sleep deprived to be “successful”. There’s a lot of flexing going on in the industry where people brag about having slept an average of 3 hours in a month, drinking 10 cups of coffee a day or falling asleep at the wheel on the 405 after going at it for 36 hours straight. I believe this is all BS. Being in a creative field means that I need to feel my best to perform my best. In a way, I look at it like I’m an athlete. The better my diet, my sleep habits, exercise and overall “downtime” are, the best I’m going to perform. Simple as that. I set very specific boundaries as far as my work hours go and people who work with me know I won’t work after a certain time, unless there’s a deadline or something like that. I need the time to rest, to go out on a walk, check out a museum, a concert, eat amazing food and spend time with my girlfriend, family and friends. At the end of the day, everything I do outside work informs and enriches my creative life, so I’d be missing too much if I decided to focus my entire life around work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I consider myself and artist first. The way I approach a production or composition comes from me thinking as an artist or designer. To be able to succeed in any artform, the concept needs to be flawless. I spend a lot of time understanding what each song is about, what makes it unique, what stands out the most and what doesn’t feel really good at the beginning about it. This is very similar to design thinking and design process. I’m super anal about which sounds I choose and why I choose them. It’s like choosing the right color palette in a painting.
I got to where I am today through hard work, connections, passion and an insane amount of luck, fate or whatever you want to call it. A lot of it has been having many hours of preparation, but then it’s all about being at the right place at the right time and seizing the opportunity. It certainly hasn’t been easy. As an artist, there will always be critics, in my case, myself. I am my biggest critic, which can be crippling at times, but at most times it’s insanely encouraging. I like proving myself wrong and pushing my limits every single time.
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?
I’d definitely take them on a walk through DTLA, go to the arts district and have a burger at ERB. A day at the beach is a must, probably somewhere in Malibu because the drive is amazing. I’d take them to LACMA, The Broad and The Huntington gardens. Dinner in Sugarfish on me, burgers in In n Out and brunch at Paper or Plastik Cafe in Mid City are also a must. I might sneak in a day at Disneyland because why not. Hopefully, a different concert every night.
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?
Definitely my girlfriend, Maria Vertiz. She is one of the most talented people I know and we constantly push each-other to be better. We inspire each-other a ton and having a person like her in my life has been incredible. She’s a mirror both personally and professionally.
Leo Birenberg and Jordan Seigel are two very important people in my life as well. They gave me the chance to step into the industry right after college and have given me huge opportunities since. I’m lucky to have them both as mentors and guides in this crazy field of ours.
Leire Aguilera Sol Avi Erez