We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Dippold and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, what is the most important factor behind your success?
For me it’s always been my obsession with music and sound. Ever since I started playing the guitar at age 13 I’ve been fascinated and driven to explore this field. I’ve always wanted to know how things work, probably from an even younger age. But once I learned the guitar, I found the missing piece of the puzzle that allowed me to break things apart and put them back together again. The more I learned about music and sound the more I loved it. It was a feedback loop that allowed me to learn from myself.
Because of the guitar I got into studio recording, which meant I was able to mix my guitar and computer skills. My dad taught me how to use computers in the 80s. Once I started mixing music with computer software it gave me a new way to channel my passion. As I started to work with more and more with clients, I put my enthusiasm for sound into the work and people seemed to like it. I’ve always found that clients have been my best champions and advertisers. They’ve passed my name along to other people. It’s been a long line of connections that have connected one client to the next. I’m fortunate because this chain hat been going on for the last 15 years, and I feel very lucky to do what I love!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My sonic journey started by expressing myself with the guitar. As I got into studio recording I started writing songs. I have released 3 or 4 albums of solo work under my name and I have more unfinished work as well, which I’m really proud of. I’ve mixed and produced a lot of content for independent artists as well.
In the last 15 years I’ve been mixing more and more film. In fact, most of my work these days is mixing films and doing sound design. I’m really excited about all the films I’ve worked on. I mixed an Academy Award winning film, “Period End of Sentence”. The first film I mixed was a Smashing Pumpkins’ doc, for which I won a Cinema Award. Tammy Klembith is a director who I have mixed 3 films for. I won several awards for sound design and scoring her most recent film “What If”. I get excited every time I get a new job and get to add another credit to my IMDB page.
I wouldn’t say it’s been an easy process but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been fun. When I moved to California 15 years ago I packed all my electronics and guitars in my car and drove across country. I started advertising myself as a producer and I met a core group of people who introduced me to others. But it’s been a slow process building this network of connections. For example, my friend–Aaron Basler– who I played music with in college, introduced me to Sky Saxon from The Seeds, who introduced me to Kerry Brown, who introduced me to Billy Corgan. They have all introduced me to other people as well. I don’t want to say it’s been hard because it’s been fun meeting all these great and creative people and to see the network of connections unfold. However, I think my clients appreciate my attention to detail and that I have sharp ears; that I hear things that a lot of people wouldn’t hear. I think people also appreciate that that I’ll go the extra mile to make a project come together.
At the end of the day my work ethic comes down to being really excited about the work I’m doing. This seems to be the best thing I can do to keep working in this field.
In terms of my brand, I would want the world to know that I love sound and music and I love integrating sound with picture. I’m always trying to make the world sound better. I love music theory, harmony and melody, and all of the great musical works of music from the last 300 years. I also love watching great sounding films.
I’ve played guitar and studied music for the last 30 years and I’m trying to synthesize everything I’ve learned into a system. I think that once you have a system in place you’ll have emergent properties that belong to that system. I’m trying to mix all my skills–from playing multiple instruments, to sound design and mixing sound to picture. I think when you create a lot of ideas over time and you slowly encapsulate them into the sound, all that information gets translated as emotion when you listen back in real time. The emotion is what people really connect with. A level higher than emotion is a spiritual connection and that takes even more time to sew, but I think it’s really interesting and that’s my goal and destination for me.
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 have a house now in Monterey park now so if my friend came in town I would invite them here to see my house and studio and to have some of the great food in the San Gabriel valley.
The old houses and architecture in Pasadena are fun to look at. Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest is a great drive and it’s also a great place to watch the Perseid Meteor shower in August. Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga Rd are also fun mountain drives.
Vasques Rock and Stoney Point are two amazing places to climb rocks, and El Scorpion Park in the Valley has a really cool cave.
Ventura Blvd is fun to drive at night or to stop for food. Mulholland Drive is a road to see all the city. I like taking people out to Malibu on the PCH then to drive back along Mulholland from the ocean.
Venice beach and Abbott Kenny is a fun place to get food or drinks. Downtown LA always has some kind of art show or cultural exhibit going on.
Norton Simon museum and the LACMA are also fun times. There is no shortage of fun things to do!
To quote Steely Dan: “Drive west down Sunset to the sea.”
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of great mentors starting with my neighbor in high school, Stan Smith, who was a jazz instructor. Stan would invite me over during the summer and give me jazz lessons when he wasn’t busy teaching or gigging. He taught me how to learn the instrument and freboard through jazz theory.
Once I got into recording, Rob Griffin was a Grammy winning engineer who worked with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. He was also my best friend’s uncle. I learned a lot about EQ , compression and mixing from him. Brian Lucey was a mentor who taught me the studio and went on to be a Grammy winning mastering engineer. Kerry Brown gave me a shot working for him in his studio and he introduced me to The Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan. I learned a lot from both of them. The learning process continues with each new clients and job, so I’m thankful for that!