Building the Nashville Dream | 253

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The Dark Horse Institute’s Student Life

I enjoy observing how new students at Dark Horse Institute perceive the Nashville Dream on their first day there. I always have a small amount of curiosity about what each student will do with their three and a half months of audio engineering instruction whenever a new semester begins. As you may anticipate, not everyone starts here at the same skill level.

While some students are total beginners, others have more background in the music industry. Even while Dark Horse advises beginners to get started straight away, it doesn’t hurt to have some experience working on the side. Wherever you are on that spectrum, you get the same outstanding service with DHI.

opportunity to train in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the top music cities in the nation! This story is about a couple of new students who aren’t holding out to live the “Nashville Dream” even though there’s still plenty of place on the “getting out and exploring” soapbox for everyone.

Welcome Mike and Nico.

Jackson Riley Zanzucchi, NicoHere are two men who signed a lease to live together as roommates for school but who had never met before. They are from Ohio and Chicago, respectively. Mike Riley is a typical All-American boy with a smile on his face and a song in his heart, or rather, a lot of tunes. Almost immediately, Mike found himself performing on stage with his guitar and singing.He let some fresh Las Vegas air in by opening his automobile door.

Nico is the Music City Muscle, in contrast. Nico, in contrast to the notorious Chicagoan from the 1920s, is a decent person who actually gets things done behind the scenes. He is a motivated child who won’t accept “no” for an answer. His background in recording is deeply ingrained in the spirit of the Chicago hip-hop movement. He hasn’t stopped constructing the Tower of Babble—I mean, his apartment recording studio—since he parked his automobile for the first time as a Tennessee resident. He is a drummer and guitarist.

They have only been audio engineering students at Dark Horse Institute for 4 days, but what 4 days they have been.

The Conversation

Sean: Why did you decide to go so far to Nashville to get a recording education?

Nico: Even though I had a consistent clientele and had been recording rap and hip hop in Chicago, I didn’t think I would be as successful as I wanted to be as an audio engineer without more training. Since I was around 9 or 10, music has been my love, therefore this is all I want to pursue.

Sean: You guys have already spent the entirety of your first week of classes working nonstop in the DHI studio. Tell me about your group’s recent microphone competition.

Nico: It was excellent! I had never had the opportunity to deal with a tube microphone before, and I also discovered some things about dynamic microphones that I had never known. Dennis is a great professor and a great man!

Mike: I agree, I enjoy his stories and his extensive knowledge. I have a strong sense that I will gain a lot from him.

Sean: Tell us a little more about the setup you guys have built for a recording studio in your flat.

Nico: As soon as I entered the flat, I started assembling my recording equipment. (laughs) I believe I irritated my mother by refusing to arrange anything else.but she overcame it ultimately!

Sean: From Facebook, it appears that you guys are interacting with people, touring Nashville, and networking practically constantly. How are you guys managing to record such a large number of individuals in your home recording studio?

Nico: (laughs) Mike simply sort of runs into folks at random while he’s out!

Yeah, you know, people always advise immersing oneself in the local culture. Nearly every night, I attend writer’s and open mic evenings.

Sean: Do you have a secret for making new friends?

Mike: In all honesty, I always use the “New” card. Nashville residents are generally quite kind, but what if you let them know you’re new? They will genuinely open up to you. The best! I have never encountered a cruel person. while I’ve been here, a person.

Sean: You have been a student at the Dark Horse Institute for four days. What has been the finest experience thus far?

Mike: I adore how interactive we have been. We’ve just started recording and have already begun studying the console (Trident 80b)!

Nico: Ever since I arrived here, I’ve had the feeling that I’m stuck in a fantastic dream that I can’t wake up from. I’m having a blast while learning a ton!

We publish more articles like this one every Thursday if you liked reading this one. Please share this interview with a friend, and we want to hear from you in the comments!

Sean Rogers is a seasoned producer and audio engineer in addition to serving as the director of student services at Dark Horse Institute. He is recognized for his work on big label projects for artists like Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, and others. He has more than 7 years of expertise in career advising.

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