We had the good fortune of connecting with Steve Turnidge and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Steve, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I used to think I had to save up for retirement – and I was stressed about actually doing that. Then, I realized that I love what I do so much that if I retired, I’d still be doing it! At that point I came to understand that I was already retired and working on what I love to do – and getting paid for it.

This is an example of a complete life with vocation and avocation aligned. If you love what you do, why would you stop? And if you don’t love what you’re doing, why would you continue? We have such a limited time here on earth, there is no reason not to find and follow your heart’s desire.

I allow the universe to make the set list – my definition of freedom is an empty calendar and a full life. I live to work, not work to live… both the living and the working improves me, my clients and the world around us.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Over the last four decades I’ve had a steady desire to combine art and technology and life in order to help make the world a better place. This brings up the question – for who?

Early on, I had the desire to be a “rock star”, and around 1983 had a synthpop band in Seattle, The UltraViolet Catastrophe. At this time I had a day job as an electronics assembler. At some point it became clear the rock star life was not forthcoming, so I found the need to choose a career. As assemblers, we had to make the same products over and over, with no end. I realized the drafters and designers who created the products only had to touch the idea once, then on to the next design. This was attractive to me, and with the realization that I didn’t have to be able to draw a straight line or circle (there were T-Squares and templates for that) I successfully pursued electronics drafting.

Combining the art of pro audio and the tech of drafting, I landed at Rane Corporation in 1986 (a pro audio manufacturer – mostly known these days for their DJ Mixers). Rane at the time was a very new company, and each of the owners did the production and engineering work in addition to their executive jobs. The President of the company was also the drafter, and Rane was growing enough that each of the owners were able to hire a replacement for their “day job” production work.

A major turning point for me was that my boss at the time didn’t really want to tell me what to do – my three month review was basically “you ask too many questions…” – so I learned at that time to see what needs doing, and do it. That led to a steady climb of digitizing the analog drawings and circuit board tape ups into AutoCAD, then applying the same transform to the cosmetics of the products. Then, taking over the manuals and datasheets with the new tech of desktop publishing; then addressing the computers and networks – eventually becoming systems manager of the company.

From there I joined some friends at Pavo (MIDITools kit fulfillment and OEM design) and Digital Harmony; we put audio on FireWire. This company had no idea of what it took to be a design and manufacturing house, so I designed an engineering operations system that I am using to this day. That company crashed in the dot.com bubble at the turn of the century, and I taught Audio Recording for a year at Shoreline Community College in Seattle.

During the late 1990s I had a deep interest in audio mastering, and finding out what that was about. I designed a method for mastering that I developed over the years that I published in my book “Desktop Mastering”. I’ve always been philosophical, and followed that nuts and bolts book up with a physics and philosophy book for the mastering engineer (and humans in general) called Beyond Mastering.

I’ve been fortunate enough to succeed in aligning my interests (avocations) with my work (vocation) and am able to master audio, design circuitry (mostly audio gear), and make music. We have a musicians collective in Seattle called The Player’s Lounge, from which we have recorded over 2500 tracks and have over 400 videos. This leads to a full life without much future planning.

Planning is a prison (but prisons provide food and shelter). I work with the understanding that the Universe has a better imagination than I do, and the Universe makes the set list.

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.
I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life (since 1960)…

One of the first places we would visit is https://www.robertlangstudios.com/ in Shoreline, just north of Seattle. Here’s a virtual tour: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=aXGeofdGmFQ

Next, we would visit The Player’s Lounge, where we make and record our music: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=BSEUMthm5BP

We’d go to https://www.sazonseattle.com/ for breakfast, and drive around Ballard, Fremont and Magnolia. We’d visit http://milsteadandco.com/ for the best coffee in town.

Of course the usual tourist things like going up the Space Needle, visiting the Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square, taking in the 360 degree view from Gasworks park on Lake Union…

For musicians we’d drop in to https://patchwerks.com/ and shop at https://jivetimerecords.com/ and https://www.silverplatters.com/

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I started the drafting department at Rane Corporation in 1986; it was in the 11 years working there that I learned most about audio and technology. Dennis Bohn was my mentor.

In books, “The Master Game” by Robert S. De Ropp was very influential by putting many thoughts that I had had together cogently. “Finite and Infinite Games” by James P. Carse also shifted my world view.

Recently, I’ve found “Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World” by by Timothy Morton is a transformative work that helps to get a handle on the intangible…

Website: http://www.arsdivina.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arsdivina/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arsdivina/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/arsdivina

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arsdivina/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/arsdivina

Other: My mastering portfolio: https://www.pinterest.com/arsdivina/mastering-work/ My Brain: http://beyondpandemicbook.com/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.