SAE were very excited to welcome IRKO, Multi-Platinum Award Winning Audio Engineer to all four of our UK campuses last week to deliver a series of inspiring workshops.
Starting at SAE Glasgow on Monday and finishing on Friday at our Oxford campus, IRKO inspired many of our eager guests with his story of travelling from Italy to America and making it big in the industry. Having worked with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez, just to name a few, IRKO has an impressive client list featuring many big names.
IRKO’s background is dominated by a love of music. Stepping into a studio for the first time in Munich at the age of 13, IRKO grew up listening to hip hop which not only helped him learn how to speak English, but also fuelled his passion for making music. After going to audio engineering school, he started out as a producer making music in a basement studio at first and then progressed to a larger studio in Italy before making the daring leap to New York where he got his first platinum award for his work on Jay-Z’s record.
With 20 years of experience behind him, IRKO is now well-established in the industry and living in Los Angeles. Due to his love of the genre, his work tends to lean more towards hip hop but he does dip his toe into other kinds of music too - if he likes the music, he’ll get involved.
Talking about the best parts of his job, IRKO simply enjoys making other people happy: “When I see the producer’s smile listening to the mix for the first time. It’s like ‘ok now I’ve done it, I’m happy, but they’re happy as well’ - I think that’s the best part.”
Mentioning the feeling of hearing his song when walking through a mall, it is clear that he is very grateful for his success and eager to pass his knowledge on. His #SpeakEasyWorkshop is an informal conversation with his guests, allowing them to ask him questions and lead the discussion.
During his tour of our campuses last week, he shared his documentaries with our SAE Extra guests, which gave people the chance to ask specific technical questions as well as delve into his career journey.
For him, his career highlights are definitely the “big stuff” as he calls it, which includes working with top calibre artists such as Snoop Dogg. But commenting on what the overall highlight of his career is, he says: “It’s just being able to turn my passion into a career.”
Having started his career 20 years ago when the internet was nowhere near as prominent, today it is a completely different environment. With the rise of technology there is more capability to deliver work but as he tells us, “all the big mixers are right there, next to me.”
Living in LA obviously has its perks, but it is the capital place for the industry which means plenty of competition. Luckily, IRKO is a highly-sought after audio engineer.
At the moment, he’s been doing a lot of work with Timbaland which involves various projects with different artists. But despite often working with the big names, he also works with a lot of unknown artists and has around 15-20 mixes open at any one time. Being a very busy and successful man in the industry, we wanted to know: what is the recipe for success?
Being good at communication with clients, being skilled with computers and being good at the job itself are the three qualities IRKO believes are needed to do well in this business. He also gives us a wise piece of advice:
"Do it for the passion and not for the cheque. We’ve all got to make money but to begin with it should be about what you can give to the music world."
So, what’s next for IRKO?
Other than his usual audio engineer responsibilities, he is continuing with his #SpeakEasyWorkShop travelling to Spain to visit Madrid and SAE Barcelona, and then on to Rome and finally Frankfurt before he flies back to LA.