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“Berklee Valencia is the jumping-off point towards a broader education about life and music, one that doesn’t end.”
Alexander Ramírez M.M.’17 is currently working at Electronic Creatives in Los Angeles after meeting Laura Escudé, the chief executive officer of the company, when she visited Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, in 2016. His job involves managing artist sessions and production needs, and running shows and rehearsals with major artists. Previously, Ramírez was the head of audio and sound design for the 3-D film Dimorphic, which was screened at the Hemesfèric theater in Valencia.
Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in Berklee’s Music Production, Technology, and Innovation program at the Valencia campus?
For myself and for many of my friends and peers, the chance to shake up our entire lives, to leave our home countries to dedicate a real portion of our lives to the pursuit of music – this is why we chose to go to Berklee Valencia. With it came not only the experience of living in another country but the experience of meeting people from all over the world with similar values and mindsets about music.
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned at Berklee?
Undoubtedly the lesson is that education never stops. So much can be learned in a year, but Berklee Valencia is the jumping-off point towards a broader education about life and music, one that doesn’t end.
Would you advise prospective students to come to the Valencia campus for their graduate programs?
Absolutely, if you are able to turn the one year in Valencia into a lifetime commitment.
What things did you learn at Berklee that positioned you for success when you left and got your job?
In this field, people are friends before they are coworkers. People hire those they trust and can get along with. No matter how virtuosic you are, if you are going to hole up and become involved only in your own music and projects, you may not find that people are willing to work with you later.
How did the International Career Center (ICC) help you develop your professional career?
The ICC helped me secure my post-grad internship at Electronic Creatives.
You have been working at Electronic Creatives since August of last year. What is your role, and what do you do on a daily basis?
My current title is production technician. As Electronic Creatives is a company/agency that provides music tech designs for touring artists, my role is to manage artist sessions and performance rigs and to run shows and rehearsals with these artists. Much of my time is spent communicating with the various parties about the needs of the production and helping to ensure that we have the people and gear to meet those needs.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?
Definitely, the opportunity to work with major artists is a plus to the job—hat and the luxury of being surrounded by really cool and smart people who all love music like I do.
Laura Escudé, CEO of Electronic Creatives, visited Berklee’s campus in Valencia in November 2016. Did you meet her then and discuss any possibilities of working together?
While we did meet then, it wasn’t until the following spring that I properly let her know my intent to work for her. I was still mulling over which areas of the industry interested me most. Now I joke with her that, come spring, it wasn’t her who decided on me, but the other way around.
Prior to this job, you worked as head of audio and sound design at Between the Dimensions for the film Dimorphic. Can you tell us more about that?
Working on Dimorphic was the largest scale single project I’ve taken on to date. Myself along with Matt McIntyre and some 30+ other Berklee students came together to create a 40-minute, immersive IMAX film in 6.1 3-D sound that was shown at the Hemesfèric theater in Valencia. From the project management perspective, it was a feat. Organizing productions from 10 or so musical collaborators into a cohesive film was a challenge musically and logistically, and this is to say nothing of the process of aligning the musical "vibe" with the visual/conceptual content of the film itself. It was an amazingly rewarding experience for my skills and knowledge as a producer, engineer, and collaborator.
Watch Ramírez perform with his graduate students band Alta Tensión:
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would simply encourage current and future students to take a hard look at music in the modern day and realize that this is not a lifestyle that will be traditional by any means. If you need 9-to-5 stability, you may sacrifice your creativity. If you need artistic freedom, you may have to sacrifice your comfort level. Susan Rogers gave a really amazing talk about the sacrifices she made to get where she was as a producer and engineer; I think being vocal with yourself about what you’re sacrificing can help answer the question you may ask yourself from time to time, about why you chose this lifestyle and what it means to you. Because the answer isn’t that music means everything to you: life is bigger than that. The answer is that music means enough to you to sacrifice a whole a lot of other things in order to have a life dedicated to music. For some people, this doesn’t need to be explained; permission to sacrifice doesn’t need to be granted. For me, it did.