Gear as a job

Hi everyone,

Apologes for the category choice, not sure which one is best for this general chat. I’m just curious to hear about your career or work relationship to music, if at all. I’m pipe dreaming a bit after reinvigorating my love of music/gear after moving abroad, and find that the passion is becoming yet again quite consuming. I’d love to hear about the sort of careers, part or full time, anyone has transitioned into, like building or repairing gear, distro or sales, or anything that involves making music a bit more than a hobby. Having said that, a solid job in anything is great and hobbies are what make passion grow! Just a fun thread to pass ideas about this if anyone cares to chat. :slight_smile:

Edit: seeing others chime in with their actual jobs, I appreciate the openess to share here. I’m an esl teacher in Thailand. Really rewarding having stuck through the first few years but like others here, would love to transition into something musical/arts related…dare even linked to that creative writing degree haha.

Nice to hear from everyone here. Love this community beyonf chatting about norns scripts.

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I went from mastering part time in 2009 to full time in 2011 and never looked back. I don’t earn nearly as much as I did when I had a “regular” job, but am much, much happier.

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I work as a consultant for synth manufacturers and do tons of beta testing on the side. Sometimes this can be a negative experience since you can’t let your creative side win over focused testing on a specific module. But then again I work with tons of super nice people who make amazing things and that is just ace. Not a full-time job though, even though I sometimes work more on that than is healthy. I’m trying to transition to game audio but there simply aren’t enough hours in a day.

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when I had a “regular” job

What was your “regular” job, if you don’t mind me asking?

I feel like I’m in a similar spot - I’ve got a good job in software at the moment, and sometimes enjoy it, but I’d be sad if I was still doing it in 10 years. I need to find something else to transition into, and I’m very passionate about music, so watching this thread with interest!

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While you aren’t asking me- I just wanted to chime in and share in your frustration. I’m a Security Architect, or a log junky :wink: which ever is fine by me. However, I often catch myself day dreaming of returning to bread baking or even being a mail man… One day, I’ll make that change (hopefully).

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I started touring with my first music project when I was still going to school. Which was obviously a dream come true, but it also spoiled me in regard to career choices. I was set on making it as a musician and went through a really rough patch when that project declined.

Did the audio engineering education thing and managed to work freelance for some time, but it wasn’t really sustainable. Best gigs I landed were in mastering and education, broadcast and advertising were terrible.

Started doing tech support in music tech at some point out of necessity and it set me on a path that led to technical writing as a part-time employee. Been creating documentation and educational content for music software and hardware for almost seven years now.

Not working full-time has been key for me. My music making has benefited a lot from not dealing with audio in my day job, and actually working with the instruments and tools I write about is one of my biggest assets.

Even though I am happy about my current arrangement, I wouldn’t mind going back to working on music full-time. It’s not always easy to balance projects, and I still long for being in the studio all day, every day.

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That’s a curse and a blessing these days. I’m fully remote and 20% of my brain is focused on completely blocking off the fact that I have a very welcoming modular system right next to my working space at the studio during working hours! :laughing:

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Yeah, it’s really difficult to manage distractions when working remotely. Luckily, I moved my studio to a separate space before the pandemic. It wasn’t compatible with family life at home. I dread the commute, but it helps focusing. By being in the studio all day, every day, I meant without other obligations, however. One can only dream. :slight_smile:

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Writing in any regards is really interesting to me, as it was what got me through to a college degree way back when. Could I politely ask how you ventured into that in a general sense? Thanks for sharing your insights! :pray:

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I was an English Grammar, Reading, Composition and EFL teacher at a prestigious private high school in Kawasaki.

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That’s awesome. Japan was and is permanently on my mind as where I always wanted to teacha and live for a sojourn. Somehow wound up in Thailand though and never left! How long did you live there?

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12 years, in Yokohama. Loved it. 5G a short train journey away… :wink: Half my family are Japanese now too. :slight_smile:

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That’s really cool to hear you lived that life and transitioned into the music job. Been wondering about the possible shift back to the US but I’m tied to Thailand with my partner too and thankful for it!

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Yeah, I’d probably still be in Japan but my partner’s job took us from Tokyo, to Milan, to Paris and now back to Milan again, this last decade. I’m from the UK originally, but not lived there this millennium. Luckily I can do mastering from pretty much anywhere as 95% of my clients are remote/online.

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I ended up designing lots of eurorack panels, software UIs, some DIY synth enclosures, logos, websites and whatnot for music gear manufactuters and software developers. Over the year this became www.papernoise.net. Which is now a full-time (and sometimes more than that) job for me and my wife.

It all started from my passion for electronic music and – back then – DIYing my own instruments.
Through this I got to work with what I loved doing. It’s been an awesome and wonderful journey so far, but as everything in life, it comes with some caveats.
Because of my work I got quite a few pieces of gear and software (mostly modules) to test and validate. Through this (I like to keep a physical archive of the things I’ve worked on) and because, hey you need to buy some gear to better understand what you are working with and for, I ended up with quite a few crates full of music making tools.
Part of my setup, especially my modular systems are not definied by my musical intention, but by the projects I have worked on. So they are defined by my design goals and, more than that even, by pure chance.
This can be both interesting and annoying, but I decided to accept this and just roll with it. Let it be a cage-ian aleatoric influence on my music making.
The last year though, has been so busy that music making is mostly a way to wind down after a long day of work.

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So nice to read this. I am literally doing exactly that right now. I feel nervous but also very excited. It’s been a long haul of some very challenging jobs, but choosing what you want to do is super valuable. Congrats to you @Gregg you are an inspiration :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I’ve had an affinity for writing since I was very young, and aspired to be a journalist at one point, however my professional career as a tech writer started when I was working in tech support, which included maintaining the knowledge base.

After writing and editing KB articles for 2-3 years, I applied to an open position in the Documentation team. Our focus is a bit broader now with all things learning, however most of my time is still spent managing and authoring product manuals.

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People can be really fickle, we really like everything to be perfect. But sometimes things suck a bit, sometimes they’re awesome. My life tends to be mostly working for cash, and every now and then bursts of passion project creativity. I think during the pandemic a lot of folks are contemplating this passion-style pivot. I’d like to, but at the same I sort of agree with some others, just working less in general can give more time for the thing you’d rather be doing, so it’s about balancing the spinning plates on everything in your life such that it can all manage to sing in concert. I think I decided, even though this pang which is created by your passion makes you feel like you need to go find some more aligned role or something, for me I realised… it kinda doesn’t matter. Really, want I want is to work on my stuff and have the energy for that, and not be burnt out from my day job. So I agree with others it’s about balance, but it all comes down to the individual really and what they’re aspiring to achieve. (I work in audio visual production - so closely around gear a lot, but it’s nothing like sitting down to sink your teeth into a new composition)

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Full time audio/recording engineer, DJ, producer, musician for the past 30 plus years.
My wife and I also run a dance company and I’ve been doing more teaching/mentoring to young engineers in the past few years.
Very rewarding, tons of ups and downs over the years, especially lately, but super rewarding.

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Friend of mine became a mailman and he loves it. Probably plays a lot more music than before too.

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