Alumni Spotlight: Ray Ortiz
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am from Carpentersville Illinois, played guitar in garage bands in high school, started recording with inexpensive equipment because we needed someone to record the songs we had. Went to MMI and graduated in 2014. During my time there I was asked to help a mutual friend outfit a recording studio he was building in Mount Prospect, that consisted of me picking all the studio equipment and designing the layout and ergonomics of the rooms. After graduating I went to Foshan, China for 6 months. After I came back to the states i started working at Northern Illinois University in the Audio Visual department at the Holmes Student Center. A couple months into that job I landed an internship at the largest independent recording studio in the states, Chicago Recording Company. I sat in on sessions with R. Kelly, Mavis Staples, Chance the Rapper, D.R.A.M., Million Dollar Quartet, The Smithsonian's Folkways Records, and some Post Production here and there. After my internship ended I went back to Foshan for another 6 months and worked with a local studio called Ace Sound and did some sound effect placement for some cartoons that the owner was producing. After returning, again, the studio in Mount Prospect was finished and I was offered the position as Chief Engineer. I also went back to working at NIU as the manager of the Audio Visual department at the Holmes Student Center.
What is your position/company?
I am the Chief Engineer at Lubeck Studios
Can you tell us a little about what you do?
As the Chief Engineer I am the default and go to Engineer for any session that comes through the door. I keep track of our equipment, doing minor repairs to certain things like cables and my own personal microphones. If something needs to be repaired I take the necessary steps to send it off or let the owner know so he can send it off to be repaired.
What program were you in at MMI?
I was part of the REC department
What year did you graduate?
How did your education prepare you for your position?
I had some GREAT teachers, i didn't get to know all of the teachers but the ones that I did have, Kevin Guarnieri, Dan Harjung, Sean McMahon, and Biff. Getting to spend time mixing and trying out different mic placement whenever the studio was open was great. I think the biggest thing was bringing two bands into the school and recording and mixing them, that was really good resume builder. People want to see actual experience you have on your resume, not school projects. So by bringing them in in my free time it was REAL experience and not just a school project.
What is a day like for you?
I’ll get to the studio at around 8 or 9 and ill unlock everything fire up the system and turn the lights on. Usually I have meetings with the booking manager and owner because we are a relatively new studio. When I have a session I will come in an hour or so before, if I am not already at the studio, to set up mics, cue system, etc.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I get to listen to music for a living, I get to tinker and attempt to build things like microphones or guitar amps. Probably my favorite thing is to be a part of the creative process, I want to help someone else get their thoughts and emotions onto physical media. also getting to experiment with sounds.
Do you have advice for students in school right now?
Get people into the studio in your free time, if you want to be doing it for the rest of your life, it should BE your life. Also take the time to experiment with sounds, find something different that could be the next new thing. Try things that people will usually tell you not to do, within reason of course.