Charles Godfrey on How he Got Hired at the famous Sonic Ranch
- Recording Connection graduate Andrew Marshala Overcomes Addiction & Gets Hired at Mentor Studio - October 8, 2020
- What Recording to Tape is Like - October 6, 2020
- What Kind of Music Producer Are You? - September 29, 2020
If you’re a known audio engineer or musician in El Paso, Texas, odds are you’ve worked at Sonic Ranch. It’s the largest recording studio in the world. Artists from all over the world go there to create their music. It’s a massive sprawling complex of recording rooms, mixing suites and engineering bays. And, as if that’s not enough, there’s also onsite housing, permanent living facilities, support staff and don’t get us started on the breathtaking view.
Charles Godfrey, acclaimed engineer and Recording Connection mentor, refuses to work anywhere else. He’s been making music at Sonic Ranch for over a decade. He’s worked with numerous high profile acts, including: Portugal The Man, Beach House, Sublime with Rome, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mudvayne and many more.
So much of making it in the music industry is about being at the right place during the right time and being able to show you’ve got what it takes when that moment arrives. Seizing the moment and having his eyes open changed Charles’ life for good. Charles was in a lull. He had his own home studio but had to take a job at Guitar Center to make ends meet. He made the best of it and within about three months he’d risen to a management position in the drum department. Seeing a guy touring the department, Charles made it a point to engage him and ask him if he needed help with anything.
The stranger looked at Charles and said, “Do you do drums here?”
“Yes, sir. I’m the department manager,” Charles responded.
“Do you know how to tune up drum kits?”
“Well yeah, I tune up everything over here, man.”
“Well how about you come down to Sonic Ranch and tune up some kits for us?”
Turns out the “stranger” was none other than Tony Rancich, the owner of Sonic Ranch.
Charles drove up to Sonic right after his shift, met Tony, and tuned up the drums while they chatted. Tony liked what he heard and vouched for him with the crew at Sonic, telling them, that the then twenty-something-year-old Godfrey had the job.
A full decade later, Charles, now a well-known engineer, also trusts his gut when it comes to bringing apprentices in. He’s willing to take a chance on the people who feel right and gives them the opportunity to show what they’re made of. Apprentice Mario Ramirez was one such person. Others at Sonic didn’t quite vibe with Mario but Charles “felt a connection with him in some cool way” so he told Mario to join him at his home studio for an extended tryout. Mario jumped at the opportunity.
Charles says, “I could tell he was hungry because the first week, he was there until the lights were turned off…He’d get there bright and early in the morning asking me if I need anything, or if everything’s okay. He would know when not to talk, he would know when to talk, and then from there I was like, ‘Wow, it’s obvious at this point,’ because he was so good. And then from there, after that session, I brought him back to the Ranch…it just worked so well, he just jumped right in and a couple weeks after the whole thing he got hired on.”
Being in the ecosystem and staying open and engaged is vital. Charles Godfrey kept his eyes open and one simple greeting turned into the opportunity of a lifetime. Mario Ramirez jumped at the chance to prove himself when he could have just as easily walked away feeling rejected. Success comes to those who are always seeking out opportunities and making more and more opportunities happen. Take the plunge. Jump into the ecosystem and swim.