RAC Alumnus Interview: Mario Anzola

What is your background in music prior to enrolling at RAC?

"I learned to play classical guitar by the age of 13, by 15 I bought my first electric guitar and started to learn the riffs from Punk Rock bands. At 18 I was a part of a couple of bands and got into in playing and producing electronica. By 21 I was djing venues that focuses on Rock and Dance Music. By 23 before moving to Toronto I had produced a couple of albums for the bands I was a part of, as well as my solo electronica album."

What kind of music projects did you do before graduating from RAC?

"I’ve been producing and performing a style of instrumental beats with electronica under the name: Anzola. I also played guitar in band here in Toronto that didn't last very long."

What was your experience like at RAC?

"My experience was RAC great, I would have enjoy more studio time, never the less I made a lot of valuable connections and learned a huge amount of skills I use every day in my own production."

Did anything particularly influential happen during your studies at RAC that shaped the decisions you’ve made since graduating?

"Yes, it did. At the time I was offered the chance to book a whole night at an venue with the music I wanted to play. This cause an action that I can only describe as necessary to what I do today. It was thanks to the support, advice and loyalty from my peers and ultimately my instructors that drove that initiative to do my own shows."

Where do you work? Describe the studio, and how did you get the gig?

"I am the Founder of Subtle Blend: a monthly Producer Showcase promoting the work of local artists. The event showcases them playing live sets with their analog gear. I perform at them, promote and produce these events every month.

"The only studio I’ve work for is my own. It is a acoustically treated room where I play and record various instruments. I use 3 Synthesizers, a drum machine, a sampler, delay pedal, loop station, guitar and bass amps for textures, 2 dynamic microphones, one condenser, and a 2 channel 24 bit interface into Pro Tools.

"The first Subtle Blend gig I got was by going out on my own and getting a night booked. I also hold the position of Account Manager for Canadian Art (well know magazine and website) and I got that gig through the Live Good Project."

Any recording session that was particularly memorable?

"The band recording final project at RAC was probably the best time I had there."

Anyone impact your professional career?

"I've been impacted by a lot of people in my professional career, if I were to narrow it down to my experience at RAC then definitely the interactions with Brian, Danny and Rob where of great influence to my career. It was great to have the ability to speak to professionals in the industry on those levels."

How would describe the Toronto music scene ?

"Competitive. There is a night booked for every single style of music in this city every month. People listen to a ton of music here and yet there a few styles that dominate the venues, other styles get attention if someone comes into town and there are others that are always growing. I honestly feel like people in this city like supporting more the person that plays the music, than the act as a whole elaborate result. It almost looks as if the process of watching an act become successful is the biggest reward, its to see that build up and then if they “make” it people call them sellouts. What do I know."

What are your personal goals and ambitions? Long term, short term…

"This is a loaded question that I will answer with the following key points in order to make it shorter: "Long term: I want to build and run my own record label and have final say on everything. I want to compose music for movies. "Short term: I want to produce albums for bands I love. I want to perform and tour as my solo electronica project and release a number of albums over the next few years."

Do you have any advice for people interested in starting a career in music & recording?

"Save your money now. I’m serious. If you are planning on starting a career in music to make money, save your money now. Don't waste your time if your truly don't love music for what it is. A career in music does not come with proven steps to success or guarantee of anything. If you truly love it music, if you really appreciate sound for what it is, then go for it, it will be more rewarding than you can ever image. You don't have to be a musical genius to express a thought and you don't have to be a virtuoso to write that sounds beautiful. But don't waste your time if your motivation is to make money."

What opinion of the recording biz would you share with our readers?

"I am not the most qualified person to give you an opinion of the recording business, but it is a business after all.

"My honest opinion is that a business that once was focused on recording albums is now focused in recording singles. We once used to listen to full albums and love bands that would work in that format of concept. Now we follow a trend of only picking out singles from an album and buying them for a dollar. We are creating artists without substance. Artist that are way more popular now in terms of revenue that some biggest most influential names 40 years ago."