Matthew Linesch (B.A. – RECA ’09) is an independent producer and recording engineer who currently works with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (ESMZ). We caught up with him while he was in New York visiting ESMZ on tour to chat about how SFTV prepared him for his current gig and some of the projects that have been keeping him busy.
You have worked with a number of bands, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Tell us about your work with them, and how you got hooked up with ESMZ? After graduating from LMU and working on my own with independent bands for a few years, I received a call from Alex Ebert, the lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I met Alex maybe 11 or 12 years ago in L.A. while he was the lead singer of Ima Robot. We would run in to each other and keep in touch from time to time. I always had a feeling I would be working with him at some point in my life, and now, here I am.
The past couple years I have primarily worked with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but months where they may be on the road touring, I work with other groups. I have a studio in Ojai, California that I share with the band called the Ed Shed. We recorded and mixed ESMZ’s last two albums there–Here and the new self-titled album Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We did our final mixes on the most recent record here in Los Angeles at Ocean Way Studios. My work with ESMZ has really expanded my reach of clients, as well as given me an opportunity to sharpen my skills, taking my career to the next level.
What are some of the other projects you have been working on? I recently engineered a score by ESMZ’s Ebert for a film called All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford. Actually, Redford was the only actor in the entire film–there was no dialogue, making the music we created so crucial. This was a fun project because it brought me back to my film school days at LMU.
I am currently working with Dave Mason, one of the founding members of the band Traffic, who has been a huge influence musically on me. We have two records, a live record from one of his recent tours and a studio album. I have worked on quite a few other projects recently including producing and engineering a record for a band called Insects vs. Robots, a band actually created by a former LMU student, and I recently mixed a great record for a group called El Sportivo and the Blooz.
How did you break into producing/sound engineering/mixing? While I was a student at LMU, a gentleman named Ross Hogarth came to one of my RECA classes and gave an awesome presentation. I was very intrigued by his approach to music and his genuine love of music. After graduation, I started working for him as an intern/assistant. I worked for him for about three years, sometimes on big projects. The first project was the new Doobie Brothers album–I was just getting to know life outside of being a student, so this was a very eye opening experience. We went on to do some recordings with Don Henley, a French artist by the name of Tête and most recently, the new Van Halen record.
During this same time, I was making my living by taking what I learned from Hogarth and applying it to other projects. I found bands with small budgets, created relationships with various L.A. studios that would give me studio time for cheap and continued to work day in and day out. I discovered very quickly the deep passion that I have for making music and realized the more I pursued creating music, the more passionate I became about it.
What is your favorite thing about your job? Every day is different–no record or job is ever the same. There are always new challenges and experiences, and I am constantly learning. Even as I sit in New York answering these questions, I realize what a thrill it is to have different opportunities across the country to do my craft.
How did the RECA program prepare you for your current position? RECA’s instructors and curriculum gave me the skills and knowledge I needed to enter the industry and stand on my own two feet. The minute I stepped into a studio after graduation, my education continued at an incredible rate. The resources and equipment available to me as a student were superb. In fact, I decided to install the exact same Trident console in our Ojai recording studio as the one in RECA’s studio, an example of the top resources available at LMU.
The RECA program is ultimately the reason I was able to connect with Ross Hogarth and get my start in this business. I have been able to connect with so many talented musicians and artists through LMU and RECA, and having a strong network is extremely important when you’re working in the music industry.
What advice would you give someone who wants to break into your field? Stick with it! This same advice was given to me a long time ago and it really holds true. This is a very challenging career path. It is very competitive and can be discouraging at times, but sticking with it is the most important thing you can do.
The new Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes album has been receiving rave reviews. What’s your favorite song off the album? That is a very tough question for me, as I feel so deeply connected to all of the songs! If I were to have to pick one today, it would probably be “Life Is Hard” – it has such a strong message. The lyrics and the way Alex delivers them are so honest and true. I hope others feel those emotions through the song as well.