Today we’d like to introduce you to Al Sgro.
Al, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I moved to Los Angeles from the East Coast in 1999, and by 2001 was helping get a music venue off the ground (The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood), which led to my first recording studio with a partner in 2004. After years spent touring as a multi-instrumentalist and producing albums, I was fortunate to have some luck scoring for TV & Film. I now live and work in Eagle Rock– where the music community and scene feels a lot like those carefree days on Cahuenga back in the early naughts.
Has it been a smooth road?
I feel like I got into producing right when the music industry was in a tailspin of sorts.
Budgets were down, and everyone was freaking out about piracy, Napster, etc. That made it tough to land gigs that could really keep the doors open, but somehow we managed.
Now, with the rise of digital & streaming, the royalties and pay-rates that have kept people like me afloat are in real danger of disappearing, so I try to stay informed about the fight to overhaul and update legislation for musicians. I do what I can to help.
At the end of the day, I’m lucky to work with talented artists and clients who want to put good things out into the world, and as long as that continues, I’m happy to stay strapped in for the ride.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m a producer and composer of music for many formats. I’ve made albums, scored for TV & Film, worked with creative agencies on campaigns, and hope to one day find time to release some music of my own.
I specialize in problem-solving and pushing projects to the finish line– finding solutions, nudging, nurturing, and generally bringing concepts to reality. I’m known for being a dedicated and honest collaborator who helps make work stand out, and I take pride in doing my best to make everyone feel comfortable as we get there.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I’d always assumed I would end up in New York, but 20 years ago LA was much more affordable. I couldn’t have imagined being able to own and operate a recording facility in Manhattan or even Brooklyn back then. Whereas, here in LA, I could be right in the thick of the city, and we were sort of secretly building this indie music scene as an affront to the plastic, surface, culture-less-vat-of-silicone stereotypes of the time.
For me, the music business has boiled down to personal relationships, and I doubt I’d have made as many connections if I’d been in Nashville, Austin, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, etc. But the trade-off is that LA has caught on in a big way. More and more people are flocking, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to find affordable spaces in which to work.
I hope LA continues to find space for the young creatives who want in. It’d be a shame to lose them.
Nora Schaefer, Chris McCaan