We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryan Caruso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Music has been a part of my life since I was 5 years old. Im 41 now. I started playing violin, then piano and moved on to guitar, bass and drums. I’m now recording, producing, mixing and mastering music for a living as well as playing guitar in my band Vicki’s Dream. Playing music is the only thing I ever really enjoyed that didn’t feel like a school assignment, work or a chore. It’s how I connect with myself and my inner emotions. I always dreamed about being famous, or at least a well-respected musician even though idea seemed far-fetched to accomplish.
A bit of a back story, I struggled a lot through school because I have a learning disability. I spent years in college trying to find majors that fit but I just couldn’t make it through any of the courses no matter how hard I tried. Since all I can think about is doing music, I thought I should just give audio engineering a try. I went to the Atlanta Institute of Music in Duluth to learn audio engineering and it changed my life. I just knew, from the first day of class that this was the right path for me. Shortly after I graduated, I got a job working at EOA Digital Studios in midtown Atlanta as an engineer, recording, mixing and mastering for artist. I also been giving opportunities to work in the film industry working on set and doing post production. Through the years of my experiences with engineering, I been expanding, working at other studios in the areas such as Love Work Studios in Norcross, Ocean Way studios in Nashville and Plush Studios in Orlando. It took a long time to get here but I’m proud to say “I do music for a living!”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being an audio engineer, you face many challenges. You need a lot of patience and great work ethics when working on other people’s projects! I can’t stress that enough. You have to bring other peoples visions to life. You have to emulate how they want their music to sound. You have to get their project done in the expected amount of time and everything must be on point. You could do all the tricks and special effects you can think of on someone’s project to try to impress them but if they don’t like it, you have to be humble about it and not take it personal. You will come across clients who barely know anything about music or its terminology and you have to try to communicate with them to understand what they want. Sometimes you are giving projects to mix that are poorly recorded or arranged and you have to figure out how to make it work. You will have extended days of no sleep trying to get projects done on top of running sessions. You have to learn what works and doesn’t work. I have had some disastrous experiences in the past but I learned from them. I been through stages where I felt I’m wasting my time and felt I would never be successful in this business. The key, I didn’t give up! Heck, I just recently won a mastering contest. Over 400 people mastered the same song and my master won! Probably not really a big deal but from all the struggles and failures I have been through all my life, it was like winning a Grammy. Another goal I hope to accomplish someday.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My friends who come visit me from out of town would have an interesting adventure. Im big into the small low key type places. Places like east Atlanta bars like the Flat Iron, 529 or Smiths ole bar or the Highlander. I don’t really fit in with the typical club scene. I am a big foodie and love trying different restaurants. I don’t have a favorite restaurant here in Atlanta but I have to say the Vortex and the Highlander have the best burgers, Woodys have the best cheese steaks, Wing Nuts have the best wings, Hammer Heads has the best oysters and Mon Chun Hong is the best Chinese restaurants in the city that I have tried. I also like going to the Star Light drive in movie theater, strolling through the shops in 5 points, the doll head trail and Oakland cemetery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have a long list of people to give a shout out to that I am grateful for them being a part of my life. I would not have achieved my goals if it wasn’t for them. My parents for putting up with my crazy adventures, my musician friends whom I have played music with that helped me grow as a musician, my teachers at AIM who gave me the back bone I have to make it in this industry, my mentor Paul Gasparro (rip) who pushed me to be the engineer I am today and the clients that I have gained throughout this journey.