I Knew I’d Like These Guys!

Why did I know? Because Luis Del Villar, father of rising star Isaak Presley, handed me a business card for his production company, I.P.T., which stands for Isaak Presley Team. I’d like to underscore “team” because that’s where they “had me at hello.”

Team building has been an important part of my career and my spiritual development. From mentors to vendors to record companies to friends to consultants, I’ve surrounded myself with teammates who elevate my scene to the next level. I can’t imagine succeeding—or even basking in the afterglow of a successful endeavor—without the joy of sharing the experience with teammates. 

Isaak is off to a good start. He has a new TV show, A History of Radness, ft. Henry Rollins and written by Andrew Green of Hannah Montana fame.  Isaak is currently finishing a full length Christmas album. Obviously talented, he’s fully aware at age 12 that teamwork and specialization are key to his ability to focus on what he does best. His father Luis, who composed and produced the album, has an impressive pedigree, having toured the world working with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Cher. Luis is devoted to his son, but not in a psycho Dance Moms way—he has raised his boy to be a courteous, polite and engaging young man with a down to earth attitude.  

Isaak’s engineer, Kevin Lanctot, is a music lover with a genuine affection for both father and son. He’s a true team player: instead of being threatened by the decision to hire a ringer to mix “his” album, Kevin rose to the occasion and delivered all the “ready to mix” audio files in a manner that made my job as easy and efficient as possible. He even drove three hours to my studio so that I could show him how to prep the files for my workflow!

Although I probably don’t need to write this much about these guys in the attempt to make my point about team building, I’m happy to do it because they’re good people who are destined to provide the rest of us mere mortals with worthy entertainment for many years to come. Keep them on your radar!  

A good team not only ensures good quality, it also expands one’s professional network.  Another member of the IPT Productions team, BJ Smith, is an amazing singer/producer/artist who’s toured with Toni Braxton, Rick James and En Vogue. He’s been vocal coaching Isaak, with excellent results. BJ called me for the mixing gig because one of my IndieProMix teammates, Tony Shepperd, who mixed BJ’s new album, recommended me. 

While Tony has marquee name recognition thanks to his work with Kenny Loggins, Take 6, and Shelea, there are several other folks on my team who are unheralded, but vital to my ability to provide such a high level of service to my clientele. Industry insiders know, and rely on, these folks, but music fans probably have no idea of what these people do and why their services and products improve my quality of life. From time to time I’ll spotlight them in Pinging The Pros, a new facet of this blog. 

The format of PTP will be a brief introduction that explains why we are teammates, followed by 3-4 interesting questions.  I’ve already set the wheels in motion with Shane Gaalaas (drummer from B’z, who’ve sold more than 80 million albums), Gil Griffith (Wave Distribution, Eventide), and Doug West & James Aschow (Mesa/Boogie). I’m looking forward to sharing some of their behind the scenes stuff with you guys. Until then, happy team building!