After graduating from Full Sail’s Recording Engineering program (now known as Recording Arts associate’s) in 2004, Brent Williams decided that studying Entertainment Business would also be beneficial for his career.
“After seeing where the audio industry was going – with the rise of home studios and lots of the larger studios shutting down – I felt like I needed to obtain knowledge about the business end of things to keep the odds in my favor,” says Brent.
It was a decision that paid off: Since graduating (again) in 2005, Brent has worked as an A&R rep for a major record label in Nashville and assisted live sound engineer Mike Ponczek, who’s best known for his work with Eric Clapton. He’s currently running Nevernothing Records, his own record label and artist management company in South Florida.
Brent hit the ground running after graduation, landing a job in the A&R division of Marion Records in Nashville, Tennessee. This budding record company was doing something novel in Nashville standards, scoping out acts that were “anything but country,” according to Brent. After that, Brent left Marion Records and moved to Dallas, Texas, after getting the opportunity to work at Crossroads Audio. It was here, working under sound engineer Mike Ponczek, where Brent says he really started to learn the tricks of the trade.
“He taught me to stay away from over ‘EQ-ing’ and showed me cool subtractive techniques that I use religiously today,” says Brent.
Brent went on to run sound for major music festivals like Bonnaroo before taking a job in Florida with Don Chamberlin Productions. Chamberlin specializes in booking big acts from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and Brent has worked the board for such living legends as The Temptations, The Diamonds and Bill Haley and the Comets.
Five years ago, Brent made the gutsy decision to start an independent label with his friend, South Florida-based avant-garde folk musician Mike Mineo. He currently runs Nevernothing Records while freelancing for Don Chamberlin Productions.
“The record industry is a very hard place to make money for sure, but we have been pretty lucky,” says Brent. “We’ve nailed down successful deals in publishing, and have had our artists’ songs featured on many TV shows and films.”
Mike Mineo (who has been called a modern day Frank Zappa) has had his songs featured on Khloé & Lamar, MTV’s Real World and Road Rules, American Pickers, and Best Ink. Brent uses both his business acumen and sound engineer knowledge on a daily basis at Nevernothing Records, and he’s currently working on huge spec deals with major players like Coca Cola. At the end of the day, Brent is happy with the direction his label is headed. “We are able to keep our artists booked year round and maintain food on their tables, all while staying local.”