Young Guru breaks down music and technology at AT&T Foundry in Silicon Valley

photo credit: a.r. shaw for steed media

Young Guru has served as a top music engineer for artists such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Kanye West. Guru recently took a trip to Silicon Valley where he toured the AT&T Foundry and discussed innovation and music. During his trip, he spoke with rolling out to share his ideas.

Why was it important for you to visit the AT&T Foundry in Silicon Valley?

Well, I just feel like AT&T is on the cusp of figuring out what the new things are. That’s the whole purpose of the Foundry. The purpose of the Foundry is to innovate, and find out what the next big things are, or even if they are not big things, things that are going to move the culture, move the needle for human beings in general. That, combined with Black Enterprise is the perfect combination for myself to be involved in.

How does the tech world and music world relate in some ways?

For me, it’s really good for me to be able to make requests on things that I see in my immediate form of music that I create, and some of the problems that are there, and to help bring together some of the problem solvers with the problem. Music is moving into a new era, technology is moving into a new era and it’s very important for us to be able to develop some new things that will help everyone so if you look at AT&T which is basically a phone company, but they’re innovating in so many different ways that are going to help that company, and help society, it’s the same thing in music. We’re trying to figure out what the new ways are to deliver music, how to get artists paid, now that our music business  is now moving into a whole new business model. And instead of trying to keep the old business model going, we’re figuring out what’s the best way for us to move into the future.

Where do you see the future of music?

Streaming is where the music industry is going. It’s going to become the bread and butter of where they’re going to see revenue from their recorded music, but also the live show. But not just the old live show, enhancing the live sbow and figuring out interesting ways to include lighting and some new effects that are being developed.

How does one go about becoming a music engineer?

The first step to being an engineer is to learn the science of music. Go and figure out what frequencies are, how music propagates the air, acoustics, and how to use equipment. There’s a lot of science there that needs to be done before someone just consideres themself an engineer. A music engineer is someone who mixes and records music. You also have mastering engineers who master albums, which is a different process from mixing. So on the recording end, you need to know microphones. You need to know all the different types of microphones, sound pressure levels, and where the sound actually comes from in the instrument. In today’s society, not only do you need to know instruments, you need to know computer programs, or DAW’s (Digial Audio Workstations). You have to understand spacing, delays, reverb, compression, EQs, etc. The mix engineer’s job is to present the record. Some people are mastering engineers and their job is to take all the tracks and combine it into one project.

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