The GarageBand glory days of Keegan O’Guedes are now paying dividends. Since kick-starting his career at RAC, the recording engineer has established himself as a fixture in the Fredericton music scene, not only through collaborative projects but with his own signature sound.
One piece of gear you can’t live without?
Macbook (for DAW, plugins, etc.)
Proudest accomplishment so far?
My McDonald’s placement? Netflix placement? The various music communities I’ve built? I’ve got a lot to be grateful for!
Most important trait in a collaborator?
Best release of last year?
I didn’t really keep up with releases last year, so for art’s sake I’ll say Donda.
If I weren’t a musician I would be… probably still working in the kitchen of Boston Pizza.
Producer and engineer Keegan O’Guedes built the road to freedom by betting big on his dreams. The Caledon-raised, Fredericton-based creative spent the early part of his career putting in the work and seizing every opportunity to make a name for his craft. The result – a multitude of impressive proficiencies and connections that land him massive gigs with everyone from NBC to Netflix.
Most recently, the East Coaster committed himself to the inspiring objective of artist development with his latest venture Renegade Sounds Studios. Influenced by the imagination and teamwork of today’s EDM giants, Keegan has also been cooking up some songs of his own, with “In the Depths” offering a taste of what’s to come. The industrious grad took some time to speak with RAC about his dynamic trajectory, and the power that comes from realizing your passion.
RAC: Who is Keegan O’Guedes? Tell us a bit about yourself, where you’ve come from, and how you began your musical journey.
Keegan: I’m currently 28 years old, living in Fredericton, New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada. I grew up in Caledon, Ontario. Throughout elementary school, I played guitar everyday, and by the end I was jamming with friends in a band. In high school I discovered GarageBand on my brother’s laptop, which gave me a reason to play with music. It was at that point that I started bringing people by my parents’ house to record in my bedroom, at my first studio.
I knew I wanted to do music my whole life. In high school, I remember when it felt like everyone was stressing over what school they wanted to go to afterwards. I knew I was going to an audio engineering and music production school. During my last year of high school, I toured a few of the audio schools in and around Toronto and found the one that excited me most – RAC.
I finished the program, then moved home for a few months before moving back to Toronto with my brother. While working at Boston Pizza as a line cook, I spent every second outside of the kitchen working on music and trying to find some way to get into the industry. I did a few “internships” and odd gigs around studios, and finally found myself talking to a studio owner who offered me a position as a recording engineer. From the moment I started at the studio, while still taking on every recording and production gig that I could land, it was only about three months until I got fired from Boston Pizza.
Now I’m full-time in the industry, with no other help or source of income, and I’m all in. So far, because of music, I’ve been able to work with companies like Netflix and McDonald’s, and also work with some really great artists like Qwinn.
RAC: Which artists have influenced you the most across your career? What is it about their craft that motivates you?
Keegan: I would say Deadmau5, Skrillex, and Diplo. The way they have been able to innovate and execute is huge to me. It seems that each one of these acts has pushed the needle forward and which is something that I find really exciting.
RAC: When did you first realize that music production was something that you wanted to pursue?
Keegan: There was never a thought to do anything else (I think I told my mom I wanted to be a pro skateboarder once). I just always occupied my time with music. I would practice guitar everyday and jam with friends, I was even in the church band. One thing led to another, and I was making beats in GarageBand. I eventually realized my dad had a microphone, so I plugged that into my interface and all of a sudden I found that I’m recording now, too. I think there was a moment in high school when someone paid me to record them in my bedroom, and it was a huge epiphany for me, like “I could really make money off this? Oh shit!” For me, it wasn’t just music production but music as a whole, and I was hooked.
RAC: After beginning your career in Toronto, you moved out east and began to pursue your dreams in Fredericton. Describe the music scene in New Brunswick – what makes it distinctive?
Keegan: The music scene in Fredericton is something special. The city itself is small – so small that when I first visited, I thought “no way is there even one artist here”. However, as time carried on, I was able to discover artist after artist and see how much talent really is present in the community. Throughout the summer of 2021, I was hosting shows at local venues that were selling out – shows with artists I had been working with, all while helping the community see what talent is right at home.
RAC: Since moving to Fredericton, you’ve built Renegade Sounds Studios, a recording studio and artist development hub. Tell us more about this venture – what does it mean for you to have a studio of your own?
Keegan: Really it’s a continuation of all that I’ve learned and picked up through my time in Toronto. Initially, when I moved here, I was looking for any studios in town to work out of, and – just my luck – I couldn’t find any functioning studios. There was one that I found on Google; I left voicemails and Facebook messages, and got no reply… so I built my own studio. I then branded it as “Renegade Sound Studios” and built the space for the artists and producers of Fredericton to develop their craft.
I do monthly meetups for artists and producers, and do a mixtape series called 506 Vol. 1,2,3, etc. on top of that. 506 is the area code over here, and the idea for the mixtapes was to encourage collaboration and be an outlet for artists to release more music as well.
RAC: You’ve also got some music on the horizon, with an EDM EP freshly mixed and mastered. Walk us through this upcoming release. Was there anything special about the creation of the music?
Keegan: At the end of 2021, I had the feeling that it was time for me to try my hand at production again – just for fun, for personal creation. I booked one week off on my calendar to create, and then another week after to do the final touches on those tracks (production, mixing, mastering, etc.). The EP is dance music, electronic stuff. I made everything on my laptop, and I’m excited to share it with the world. I was so excited after creating the first beat that I sent it to Qwinn (a friend of mine) to write vocals over it as well. I think it was less than a week from me initially sending the beat over and us meeting up to record what is now “In The Depths”. I’ve just been waiting to find an interesting way to release the song, so what better way than with this interview?
RAC: Reflecting on your musical education, what were the biggest takeaways from your experience?
Keegan: My biggest takeaway from RAC is that relationships are everything in this industry. You can learn some technical stuff on YouTube today, but being in the room with others who are pursuing a similar goal as you is where the magic happens. I was able to make friends with a lot of producers and engineers who later became my support network while we all continued on our journeys in the music industry. I’d like to give a special shout-out to Jeff Penny, Raj, Rob Sanzo, Danny J, and Guillermo Subauste. I wish I remembered more people at this point, but whether classmates or teachers, these are the people who made my time at RAC great.
RAC: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your craft? How did you persevere through it?
Keegan: So far, the biggest obstacle I’ve had to face is the mental obstacle of thinking my career would only work in Toronto, and that outside of Toronto I wouldn’t be able to compete in the music game. How wrong I was…
RAC: Thanks for your time, Keegan! Tell us what you’re most looking forward to in 2022.
Keegan: Thank you for showcasing me! This is a tough question, because life is so uncertain right now. For me, one of the most important skills is being able to adapt, so I’m most excited to see where life takes me this year – who I’ll be able to help, and what music I’ll get to make. I’m a simple guy, I just want to make great music with great people. Simple.
Written by Rebecca Judd
Illustration by Yihong Guo