September 5, 2012
LARS Alum David Martinez Working for Niko Bolas at Capitol Records
David Martinez loves music, his favorite genre is in the rock, country and blues realm. Fortunately for David, with his current position as Assistant Mixer to Niko Bolas at Capitol Records, he's surrounded by some of the greatest music legends in the biz. David focuses mainly on the technical aspects such as setting up the session, opening and cleaning up the Pro-Tools session, importing templates, editing, and so forth, so Niko can focus on the creative. The good foundation from studying audio engineering at LARS definitely came into play, as well as being in the military for eight years. David got this first gig from instructor Anne Catalino and happened to be in the right place at the right time:
"You can't be that guy in the corner waiting around being told what to do. You have to be on it. Pretty much everything they say about the industry is true; you have to work hard."
David Martinez graduated from The Los Angeles Recording School, a division of The Los Angeles Film School, in January, and on the same day of graduation, he had his first day of work as an intern at Stagg Street Studios. While at Stagg Street, David had average intern duties which included setting up and breaking down sessions for artists' studio time. This provided the hands-on aspect of working at a studio and the ability to listen to great music! It was at Stagg Street Studios that David met Niko. David's work ethic stood out from others, so Niko asked him to come work for him at Capitol Records.
One of the first things David learned while working with Niko at Capitol Records is, rather than just copy what someone else is doing, develop your own style. While working as an assistant, you're not going to take over someone's job anytime soon, so the second best option is to provide a service that can't be duplicated. Most recently David worked on LeAnn Rimes' record doing sound editing. While Niko was working on her record, LeAnn Rimes' producer turned to Niko and said, "Hey does your friend here want to make some extra money?" David received an editing credit for his work but is still very humble about it. When asked if he would like the record to win a Grammy, he replies, "That would be great of course, but I'm just thankful for the opportunity to work."
David Martinez is originally from San Bernardino and moved out to LA after spending eight years in the Army and then four years at Cal State Polytechnic University. At Cal Poly Pomona he studied music and further developed his ability to read and play music. Being in the army helped develop his mentality that is similar to that in the music business.
"People at the top in the music industry have been in it for a while, so you don't get their respect right away. You have to earn it. The military works in a similar way, and I'm used to that, especially in the sense of not making the same mistake twice. When you put your ego aside, do the work, and be the kind of person people want to be around, it helps you move along a lot faster."
Having this mindset and knowing others with the same has proven very beneficial. Alan Cao, who's also a former air force vet, always refers him for gigs and vice versa. Niko Bolas has worked on everyone in the music industry; Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, KISS, Steve Perry, and many more. "Basically you can't go to someone like that and pretend like you know everything." David says. Although David's knowledge and experience has helped, the most obvious factor to his success is his great positive attitude. Currently he's working on a remix for The Mavericks as well as a few mixing projects for Mayer Hawthorne. If you're interested in working with David or have any questions for him, you can contact him at email@example.com.
David's advice for those pursuing a career in music:
"Work hard, be enthusiastic, and don't fake it because everyone will know if you do. Try not to get fired, because there is someone else right behind you ready to take your job."
With so much success already under his belt and such a humble, positive attitude, there's no doubt that David is one of our most successful alumni out of LARS.