Music Alum Talks Industry Work, Performing, and Teaching

Lucas Gienow is a music recording professional who teaches at Lebanon Valley College

Lucas Gienow ’16 received a bachelor’s degree in Music Recording Technology, now known as Audio Music Production, from LVC. He shares a look at his career in music recording, his role as an adjunct instructor in the LVC Music Department, and performing with his band, Nearly York.

What were some of the most valuable skills and lessons you learned in the music program at LVC?

The major’s music theory and performance components have shown to be some of the most valuable information I took away from my time at LVC. Classes like Aural Theory with Dr. [Jeffrey] Lovell and my private voice lessons with Dr. [Rebecca] Lister gave me the tools to communicate what I want from session musicians and vocalists and take musical ideas quickly from my head and lay them out in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). My knowledge of theory and performance has helped to set me apart from others in the industry.

What is your day-to-day job in music recording like?

I’m fully self-employed, so my day-to-day changes with the seasons. Working remotely in Lebanon, I’m constantly on Zoom calls and streaming audio from around the globe. I can be editing band sessions from Nashville in the morning and doing a remote vocal session with a Canadian vocalist at lunch, only to send the finished files off to mixing in Lancaster and mastering in Australia by the evening. I’m doing a lot of vocal editing and production work right now. I also have a few production clients that I’m working with, and I play about four to eight gigs a month with my band, Nearly York. Another big part of my daily workload includes producing electronic dance music (EDM).

As an entrepreneur, I’ll always keep an open mind and take on different types of work if they come across my desk and feel like a good fit! In the past two years, I’ve mastered several blues records and rock singles, mixed a few songs in the rock/country/pop world, provided freelance guitar/bass/piano/vocal overdubs, edited a podcast, given production/songwriting lessons, and most recently started teaching Electronic Music Production as an LVC adjunct.

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve been involved with throughout your career?

The two biggest projects for my career so far have been editing and programming for my first U.S. Major Label album, Jon Langston’s ‘Heart On Ice,’ and editing a single that went #1 in July, ‘Six Feet Deep’ by Royale Lynn. I worked on eight tracks on that Langston record and sang harmonies along with my regular editing duties. If you know what my voice sounds like, you can pick me out clear as day, and I’m super proud of that! I’m always proud of my production work as well. I’ve got a bunch of singles and a few records out now that I’ve produced, artists such as Madison Olds, Ben Chase, Grace Abel, Hearts On The Run (Universal Norway), and Nearly York. I have a few unreleased productions that I’m itching to see come out, but more on that soon!

As an instructor at LVC, what lessons do you hope to impart to the Audio and Music Production students?

I’m trying to make sure that students leave my class with a better understanding of the careers they can pursue with this degree, and I want them to know how to be good assistants to the people who have the job they want. LVC’s program offers a broad view of an entire industry, and there are so many different roads you can take with this degree after you graduate. It isn’t easy to become a seasoned professional in your chosen concentration in the four short years you have at LVC, but that’s not what I believe the point of the major is. The best way to learn how to find your dream job is to work and learn under someone who’s already doing it. There are some basic concepts that are universally useful in the audio world, and if my students can master them before they graduate, then I am confident that they can build off them to do whatever it is that fires them up.

How has the music recording field evolved just in the years since you’ve graduated?

As for how the field has evolved since I graduated, everything has gone remote. 2020 was a rough year for a lot of people, but it was the beginning of a heavy shift to remote production and collaboration because everyone was stuck at home with nothing to do but write and record. You don’t have to live in a music hub to work in music for a living anymore, although I still believe that nothing can replace in-person connections when you’re getting started and don’t have much of a catalogue to speak for your work quality.

What do you like best about your career?

I love working for myself, making my schedule, and setting my rates. I enjoy the excitement of no two work weeks being the same. I love meeting talented people and becoming friends with people worldwide through music. I enjoy sitting down in front of my speakers every day and focusing on music. It is exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.

How do you spend your free time?

I’m a complete nerd when I’m not working on music or spending time with my family. I collect Pokémon cards with my stepdaughter and own every next-gen video game console. Video games are my favorite way to relax after a long day. However, my wife and I hope to add to our family, so I have a feeling my days of having time for video games are numbered!

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