When popular musicians like Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch), Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society), and Joe Walsh (the Eagles) are looking to build professional recording environments in their homes, they call Full Sail grad Zack Fagan.
The 1998 Recording Arts grad has run his own Los Angeles-based company Under The Wire since 2007, specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of commercial and private studio environments for several clients. Zack can attribute some of his company’s success to the technological boom within the music industry that has led many recording artists to seek alternatives to the traditional professional recording studio of yesteryear.
“Lots of bands and artists started to realize that if they’re going to spend money using recording studios and plan on making records for a long time, it often makes sense to build something of their own, either in a home environment or a commercial space,” Zack says. “Some of our clients have a very clear idea of what they want to do, and I just listen to their goals and guide them. Others are much more open to collaborating on ideas. Every project is custom and operates differently.”
After attending a Motley Crue concert as a teen and converting early on to the rock-n-roll way of life, Zack eventually came to Full Sail with his sights set on becoming a recording engineer/producer. And while he’s still active in that facet of his career (he recently worked on Black Sabbath’s 2013 album 13), he quickly saw the opportunity to find work in parts of the recording industry he hadn’t considered while still in school.
“Working as an engineer early in your career can be tough, and I soon realized the importance of having multiple revenue streams. Anything audio or video-related seemed to always come natural to me,” he says. “I’m a technical person, and having the experience and training at Full Sail made it that much easier to transition into other kinds of work.”
Zack has worked with many clients over the years, but Joe Walsh is one that stands out to him as a particularly meaningful experience. “I’m currently working on designing the fourth studio set-up that I’ve done with Joe. He’s a fantastic individual, and one of the classiest and most professional musicians I’ve met,” he says. “I mean, he’s in the Eagles. It doesn’t get any better than that. To have the privilege of working with him in such close quarters, and to have him call me just to talk about stuff and ask me what I think is amazing. He’s a guy who could clearly hire anyone in the world to build his studio, and he picks me. It’s an incredible feeling.”
As Under The Wire continues to grow, Zack finds himself in the remarkable position of being tapped to help artists he loves create the music in the latest chapters of their careers.
“Helping artists do what they do is the best feeling,” he says. “Being able to give advice to musicians who are extremely successful and very good at what they do is such a cool experience. I get to create the spaces where these artists create their magic. The environment we create ultimately influences the artist in the creative process. It’s incredible.”