For Fernando Reyes, it’s all about vibes.
Take the building he works out of in New York City, which just so happens to be one of the most iconic recording studios in the world. Founded by Jimi Hendrix and built by renowned studio architect John Storyk in 1970, Electric Lady Studios is a Greenwich Village institution.
“There’s such an energy to the building itself that you can’t get anywhere else,” says Fernando. “Jimi had a vision for a creative space for artists, and that’s how we operate to this day. We put as much thought about placing lamps and rugs as we do about the technical side of recording.”
Good vibes also helped Fernando get and keep a job.
The 2015 Recording Arts grad always knew he wanted to work in New York City, so before graduation, he sent out his resume to as many studios in the city as he could. A few weeks later he flew to New York for an in-person interview, which landed him an internship.
“The usual internship program at Electric Lady Studios lasts for three months,” Fernando explains. “I worked as hard as I could during my three months. I built good relationships with staff and made sure they could trust me with important tasks.”
At the end of his internship. Fernando expressed interest in staying on as an assistant. Unfortunately, there was no position open at the time, but since Fernando was willing to continue on as an intern, the studio managers let him stay. A month later, a position opened up and Fernando was officially hired on as part of the staff. Through Electric Lady Studios, he eventually started working with Michael Brauer, a GRAMMY Award-winning mix engineer who has worked with artists like Coldplay and John Mayer.
“For Michael, it’s about personality. Sure, I have experience in ProTools, but it was really important for him to get someone with the right attitude since we spend so many hours in the same room. Attention to detail is everything. Whether I’m doing something in the console or mailing a package out for him, I have to be aware and in control of my surroundings at every moment,” says Fernando.
Over the last two years, Fernando has worked his way up from general assistant to become one of Michael’s personal mixing assistants, where he’s had the opportunity to work with artists like Beth Ditto, Big Boi, and Phoenix, the latter of which was a huge deal for Fernando.
“I used to listen to their first record, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, non-stop in 2009. When we received the session for their first track on their new album, I started preparing the mix session on my laptop in my living room. That was a surreal moment for me.”
As far as advice for new grads, Fernando says it’s all about making people comfortable.
“Work as hard as you can to make yourself stand out,” he says. “It’s all about finding that right balance with people, where you’re building good relationships without overstepping. And be patient. Timing is everything.”