We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Gaeto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor to my current success is directly related to the relationships formed with my clientele. Those that choose to do business at my studio are not seen as a customer to profit from but rather a trusted creative partner. I work with a large number of humbly talented vocalists and musicians that approach every project with the utmost passion. By going into business with artists, I become an investor in their creative stock, I offer every tool in my skillset to help highlight the gifts these creatives have been given. Many say to be careful when doing business with friends; however, I can truly say I have made so many connections since starting my company. I feel blessed in being able to call more than half my roster close friends, and some, even family. There is no bond like making music together and I plan to continue making genuine connections with all of my customers. My success has given me the resources to create a safe space for artists to feel connected, heard, and have a free flow to their thoughts. This space has been the birthplace of many great records and I vow to always maintain this same energy to impact the brand of creatives of all over the world.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When it comes to the completion of records, many creative factors are left up to choice. For instance, many artists choose to simplify their recording process by keeping the layers to a minimum and only focusing on recording a lead vocal. This is usually due to a lack of knowledge on how to mix elements such as backgrounds, dubs, harmonies, and adlibs cohesively into a record. My art often has many layers that aim to increase the depth and impact of my recordings. For years I had struggled to fit many of these elements into my records, but over time I strengthened my skills in this profession as I continued to study and learn from legends in the industry. My journey has included an excess of 10,000 hours in the studio recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering records. At the onset of my career, I had minimal resources to work with, which allowed me to tap into my creative side uniquely. My journey as an engineer not only showcases how I leveled up my skills but the investments I made into my gear. The best advice I would give to any aspiring engineer is not to be above working for free. There are many instances in which there is no budget, so evaluating what you will gain from each experience is crucial. With each gig booked, you will perfect the art of working with others, sharpen your techniques, and be able to interpret others’ musical tastes. I invite the reader to understand that projects take hours of dedication from the moment recorded to the time perfected in post-production. My job is complete only when the listener reaches an alternate reality while absorbing the art in its intended way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Considering the ongoing pandemic, many of my regular leisures have shifted. While social distancing, we would stop by Urth Cafe for a dark roast and a light breakfast. On our way to Sunken City in San Pedro, we would enjoy a lunch from the seafood market on the Redondo Beach pier followed by a visit to the Fun Factory for arcade games. On a separate day, I would take my best friend on a hike to Paradise Falls with a six-pack of sours from Good Times Brewery. We would end the night lounging in the studio and making music. On a third day, I would introduce my best friend to the Grammy Museum at LA Live, followed by an early dinner at (*Travis Scott Voice*) Str8 Up Tacos in La Palma, CA. Since my best friend is a horror fanatic, I would take him on a nighttime adventure giving him a personal tour of all the haunted places spread throughout LA, especially to see Wolf’s Laire haunted mansion. The rest of the days would be spent exploring cities, watching movies at the Paramount Drive-In, and eating lots of good food from several eateries. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a great deal of my success to a professor and mentor of mine named David Greenberg. As a head professor of my program in St. Petersburg, FL Professor Greenberg always made time for his students and was always willing to sit down to have one on one conversations. Once he recognized my passion for mixing he took it one step further allowing me to work alongside him in his studio. There were many sessions where he advised me on studio etiquette, sound reinforcement techniques, and mixing secrets. It was here that I was able to hone my skills and rewire the connection between my brain and my ears. I owe my success and continued passion to David Greenberg and all of his staff at St. Petersburg College’s M.I.R.A. Program. My education not only taught me career secrets but gave the me experience to make a real connection with musicians across all genres.
Other: Twitch: @OpenTheGaets Tik Tok: @DJGaets
Adam Episcopo @shotbyaemedia Malcolm Spruill @malco.s