As an entrepreneur, I am always on the search for like-minded individuals – those who have the drive and determination to start their own businesses and “push the envelope” away from the norm. “Alternative Means Productions,” an independent audio production company based out of Treasure Valley, Idaho [and currently Southern Arizona] fits the bill.
One of the things that makes Alternative Means Productions unique is its level of mobility. Nic Klassen [owner and audio engineer] has found a way to bring both studio work and live concert engineering to his clients in an easily portable way.
My favorite unique quality about this company, however, is tied to the name itself. Alternative Means seeks to provide musicians with an alternative means of recording – to be a more affordable option than the majority of expensive, professional studios are. Read on to hear more from founder and audio engineer Nic Klassen:
What is Alternative Means Production’s mission statement and purpose / intent? How is Alt. Means different from other audio engineering companies?
“Alternative Means Production’s mission, in the start, was to provide a more affordable alternative to larger production and recording companies, as there were only two prominent production companies and recording studios in the Boise area at that time. So, on January 1st of 2018, I started Alternative Means Productions as a mobile recording studio. As 2018 went on, it quickly gained traction and I began recording local bands such as The Phets, Bone Haus, Social Fallout, and Tripping Hazard to name a few.”
What inspired you to begin this company?
“My whole life, I had dreamed of starting my own successful recording business. From the first days of elementary school band [where I started playing the trombone] I had seen pictures of people in these cool spaces recording music and it fascinated me. In high school, I was Capital High School Singer’s first official sound technician, and I was a tenor in the same choir. It was a handful, I’ll admit, but it was worth it. Unfortunately, due to some health concerns, I ended up dropping out only 4 months to the end of my senior year. So in early 2017, I got a job at Rocky Mountain Audio Visual, one of the 2 major production companies in the local area. From there, I took another job back at the Boise School District as their Auditorium Technician, and was also asked to record a band called “Sham” up in Moscow Idaho. I ended up loving the challenge that this task brought on and I decided to start it up as my own business. On January 1st of 2018, Alternative Means Productions was born.”
How have you combated the “naysayers?”
“There honestly have not been many ‘naysayers’ as you call them [that I can recall]. The majority of the community was very supportive and accepting of my endeavors.”
Where do you see Alternative Means Productions 3 years from now?
“I have always seen Alternative Means Productions as a mobile service. Since we started, we have not only moved to include live productions but also Audio Consulting. I have consulted with local churches, small businesses, doctors’ offices and even events like the God and Country concert of 2018 featuring Maddie Zahm of American Idol [a dear friend of mine and a member of Capital Singers, where I had also sung alongside her in high school]. In future years, I would hope to be able to branch out to other parts of the country, possibly invest in a tiny home trailer that could be used as a recording studio and mobile base for our live production needs.”
What do you do to regularly improve your audio engineering skills?
“Practice makes permanence so I practice, A LOT. When I have free time, I grab my computer and continuously remaster old projects; I go to local churches and ask if I can mix a couple weeks a month. I learn best by digging in and doing it myself so I dig in and practice hard.”
What is your specialty within the audio field?
“I specialize in live audio productions. That is what I started in and is by far my best field of study. I am also adept in studio audio productions and have experience in radio broadcasting.”
Name an artist whom you loved recording and why:
“Social Fallout was enjoyable to work with. They were very professional and their music was fast and energetic. Alisha Peru, of course, was also one of the best musicians I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. Her Idea for a live session album was challenging but very enjoyable to work through.”
What are some of your biggest challenges within this field?
“Some of the greatest challenges for me personally are financial problems that arise. One of the best things I’ve done for this was not going into debt with my business. I owned all of the equipment before I started and still own all the equipment personally. I also work extra jobs on the side to provide for other needs and to keep my prices down. Something that you can all do to help is support your local Artists. If you support each other, there are more resources circulating in our musical economy and that means that bands have the finances to record an album or put on a live show.” [Amen!]
What makes it “all worthwhile” for you?
“I’ve always seen myself as a catalyst for good messages, so when that band or single act comes in and you can palpably feel the power in their music… that is what makes it all worthwhile; that is what makes our world that much sweeter. I’m just glad I have the ability to be part of that.”
Any advice for those who are just starting out in the audio engineering field?
“Yes! Get out there and fail. No self made engineer is perfect and that’s when you learn your most important lessons. Get in front of a mixer and make some feedback, uncomfortably EQ instruments, bend the rules of basic audio, put plugins in the wrong order – I’m serious! People will question you and probably correct you, but take it with a grain of salt. Be confident but not Arrogant in the workplace, be seen but not heard in the studio, and practice your skills often!”
Throughout the many live concerts that I have played with rock groups over the years, I can genuinely say that the best live sound that we have ever had was when Nic Klassen was engineering the concert. If you are in Southern AZ or Treasure Valley, ID [Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian, etc.] and need an engineer, be sure to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Alisha Peru | www.alishaperu.com |