Interview with Executive Producer Finn McKenty | By Angela Kinzie
Since its inception four years ago, CreativeLive.com has been growing in record numbers. Founded by Chase Jarvis and Craig Swanson in 2010, the online classroom provides free, quality, affordable classes in highly sought after careers and creative ventures. Offering more than 500 classes to over one million students across the globe, CreativeLive has been praised by Forbes, The New York Times, and Wired. The site’s catalog consists of five different areas: photo and video, art and design, music and audio, maker and craft, and business and money.
The latest additions to CreativeLive’s workshops are found in music and audio, also the newest of the site’s categories. Here students will find workshops taught by professionals in alternative, punk, and metal, among several other genres, teaching details on recording, engineering, producing, performance, and attaining finical success with a career in music.
Finn McKenty, Executive Producer of music and audio says the style of music and instructors the site features is an intentional move on his part.
“That is definitely deliberate. First of all, I come from the ’90s hardcore scene, so those are the people I know, but our target audience is what people call ‘bedroom producers.’ There aren’t that many people who actually work at recording studios getting paid to produce other people’s music. The vast majority of people out there are recording their own music, and the two biggest groups within the bedroom producer community are metal and EDM [electronic dance music]. I don’t know why. Metal doesn’t sell that many records, as I’m sure we both know, but it sells a lot of gear. If you go to Guitar Center, probably almost half of the guitars, basses, amps, drums, and stuff are oriented towards metal, hard rock … or whatever. Maroon 5 sells a lot more records than The Faceless or Periphery, but people who make music are not into pop. Right now, most of it is what you’d call metal. We’re starting to bring in more EDM stuff now, so that’s going to be the big emphasis for the next year.”
Professionals teaching music and audio workshops include members of bands such as Converge, who offer “Gear Gods presents Studio Pass: [guitarist] Kurt Ballou.” Guitarist, producer, and engineer Eyal Levi, notable for his work with August Burns Red, Whitechapel, and Black Dahlia Murder, instructs students on “Digital Drums with EZdrummer.” “Recording Rock Vocals with Andrew Wade” will teach you how to record, mix, and edit vocals with insight from a professional who has worked with names like A Day to Remember, The Ghost Inside, and labels Epitaph and Victory. “Your First Studio Job with Andrew Wuepper” is an in-depth look at landing your dream recording and engineering job. In “Making Money with Music,” authors Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan break down how young bands can best use digital distribution, while also getting their music in stores and on the radio.
Explaining how instructors are selected, McKenty clarifies: “A lot of these people are my friends. Eyal Levi is one of my best friends who also happens to be a very smart, articulate guy and a great producer. So he and I were just like, ‘Hey, let’s do this!’ The same with Big Chocolate; those are just my friends. Now that it’s starting to get bigger, getting a little more coverage, people are coming to us and are interested in doing stuff. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, but it goes both ways.”
In 2013, students watched an estimated 10 million hours of free online education. “It has definitely grown a lot since then,” McKenty says. “I can’t tell the specific numbers, but we’re growing a lot. If you just look at the number of classes that we add to the calendar… We’re doing two, three, four classes a week, whereas before we did one or two. For anyone wishing to watch a live class, the price is free. However, prices vary when purchasing courses available to access at any time. Length also varies; many classes last only a few hours, while some run the course of a few days, with each day having the same allotted time slot.” Visit www.CreativeLive.com for a full listing of classes, times, and information.