The music scene in the 21st century and the professionals within it have greatly evolved over the last 20 or so years. Musicians, engineers and producers now need to be extremely versatile, and also be able to perform their craft on the go. Dhruv Agarwala is one such audio engineer and producer making waves within the hard-to-penetrate Los Angeles music industry. Agarwala has been invited to speak and perform at TedX events in addition to recording for clients at high profile studios across the country. We had the opportunity to ask Agarwala about what it takes to be successful in the music industry.
What were the highlights of your speech at TedX in Dubai, and what was the experience like also performing at a high profile event like TedX?
I really enjoyed talking about the relationship between music and society, and the importance of musical education in schools. The importance of music in my life is incredible and I was happy to be able to express that. The performance was very enjoyable as well. I felt a lot more comfortable behind the drums than I did behind the mic. It’s always a pleasure to perform for audiences.
Given the role of an engineer largely takes place in the studio one would assume, what studios in which you have worked in have been the most impressive and/or distinguished?
It’s becoming a lot more frequent that projects are being completed in home studios and bedrooms. Technology has definitely made music production more affordable and achievable. However, the inspiration you get from working in a studio steeped in history is priceless. Spending a summer at Electric Lady Studios in New York, and now working in studios such as The Village and East West in Los Angeles help you gain a new perspective on your work that you can’t get while working in a bedroom.
What would you consider to be your biggest inspirations and influences in regard to both your music career and your decision to bring your talents to the U.S.?
The vibrant music community here and the cultural diversity of America is something I admire. The opportunities one encounters here are unmatched.
What would you say is the most critical characteristic a musician or engineer needs to have in order to be successful in the music industry?
I think it’s really important to be good at your job, but equally important to be a good person. You spend a lot of time together with other people when making albums and it’s always pleasurable when you enjoy each other’s company while working.
Are there are particular styles and genres of music that interest you most or you feel the most familiar with as an engineer?
I’m always looking to expand my musical tastes and find new things that excite me. I love working on many different styles of music.
What are some of the more challenging aspects of being an audio engineer that most people may not think about?
There are a lot more positives than negatives about the job. Yes, the hours are unpredictable and you can spend days indoors however I thoroughly enjoy this job.