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Working Class Audio #208 with Manny Sanchez

Working Class Audio #208 with Manny Sanchez!!!

Manny Sanchez began his professional career in audio in 1999 as an unpaid intern at Chicago Recording Company. He had no formal training but a hunger to learn and quickly began assisting on high profile sessions. In 2000 he was the third assistant on the last Smashing Pumpkins sessions before they had their first hiatus. He befriended Billy Corgan and Billy insisted he be placed on any further sessions at CRC. In 2001 Billy formed Zwan and asked producer Bjorn Thorsrud to inform Manny that Billy would like him to engineer the demos for the band. This was a daunting task for Manny and he had to request that the demos be recorded to analog tape because he hadn’t learned Pro Tools yet. Billy agreed and eventually Manny was asked to record their album “Mary Star of the Sea” alongside producers Alan Moulder and Bjorn Thorsrud. The recording of this record would have a profound affect on Manny and would shape his entire career.

After finishing up a long and arduous stint working solely for Billy, Manny decided he needed to branch out on his own. He built IV Lab Studios in 2004 in a 100 year old vault inside a family friend’s building in Wrigleyville. This decision to build inside a building that he did not own would play a significant roll in the life of the studio, but as a hungry young twenty-something he didn’t question the opportunity when it came to him. The studio was a great success considering the changing landscape of the music business and played host to the best of local talent as well as national acts. It was within the walls of IV Lab that he solidified his relationship with jam/prog favorites Umphrey’s McGee, as well as pop-punk icons Fall Out Boy, both of whom he still works with today,

In 2012 the building that housed the studio was lost to foreclosure and the new owners wanted nothing to do with the studio. This crossroads put things into perspective for Manny and he began to seek out new homes for the business as well as other potential work that was in line with his experience. Luckily for the studio it found a new home in Lincoln Park with some new partners that owned the space so the hope was it would be its forever home. Manny was happy the studio would survive but also unsettled by his own career trajectory and ready to make a change.

Leaving the studio in the very capable hands of his partners he moved to Los Angeles in 2013. He had fallen in love with LA over 4 months in 2010 while producing Patrick Stump’s solo record in Hollywood. In late 2012 he was contacted by former Fall Out Boy tour manager Dan Suh and asked if he could come to LA and engineer for PSY at the height of his “Gangnam Style” popularity. This wasn’t the most ideal creative outlet for Manny but it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. The gig was open ended and he remained in LA after it was over and planted his roots.

While Manny has continued to work on music as mostly a mixer he has also found new opportunities in the world of TV and film in LA. He works as the Senior Manager of Audio Production at a cable network and oversees all the sound design and mixing for the network’s marketing content. He also works as the only promo mixer for Ellation who owns the popular streaming services VRV and Crunchyroll. Unfortunately IV Lab lost its 2nd home in 2018 due to a building sale and will most likely be disbanded in 2019. It was a great run for such a big facility and it operated in a difficult business environment for nearly 15 years. The life of an audio engineer is not an easy one and it has become increasingly more difficult to make a living as home recording/mixing and audio streaming have become the new normal. Manny considers the time he had exclusively in the music industry as a blessing but also is happy to use his engineering skills across several platforms of opportunity today.

About this Interview:

Manny joins me to chat about his early experience in Chicago working with Billy Corgan, studio ownership, the cost of real estate, working  with Psy in smoky control rooms and his ever expanding world of post work on film trailers in LA. Enjoy! – Matt

Show Notes and Links