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Meet Greg Conte of West Star Entertainment Group and NeedARecordingStudio.com in Chatsworth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Greg Conte.

Greg, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Well, I guess it started with The Beatles as a young kid. Although I was into music before them, they really spurred my interest in pursuing it as a career. Started playing guitar at 12, piano at 15, learned orchestration, arranging & film composing in college. While pursuing being a musician in Los Angeles, I was drawn to composing, producing and recording music and started watching the professionals I was working with in the studios to learn all the tricks of the trade. Technology is a big part of the industry, so I learned everything I could and eventually became certified in ProTools for sound & music production. I started my own company in 1999, built my own home studio, and have worked in film, TV, radio, theatre, internet and themed entertainment venues as well as produced indie music artists. Released on my own label, I’ve written, performed & recorded, rock projects, three “world music” projects, and most recently I’ve been the guitarist, writer & producer for a well-known blues/rock group called “Lookin’ For Trouble” (which was inducted into the L.A. Blues Hall of Fame!).

I’ve found a great little niche of indie film & music projects. Most of my business comes from word-of mouth, and what sets me apart from others is that on top of the audio engineering skills, I also have the musical background (I’m a multi-instrumentalist) and this gives me the added tools to offer orchestrations, and arranging, on top of producing & engineering their projects. I’m not afraid to work on any type of project – I’ve done everything from heavy metal to barbershop quartets, and orchestral music to Lakota Indian chants! Also, I’m a nice guy to work with and try to create a safe, creative space for artists and their projects. I get lots of reviews about my services from clients and I put them on my websites so artists can learn a little more about how I am to work with.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The music & film industry have gone through tremendous changes since I started my business. Technology has given the average person the ability to do things on their own computers that were not available 10 yrs. ago, so many larger studios have shuttered their doors. You really have to stay on top of those changes and either adapt or die. Used to be that when a film producer was making a film, they would hire a dialog editor, a sound designer, a background editor, a film composer & a sound mixer. Now, with budgets being smaller, they can only afford to hire one person to do all of those things – for one fee! The technology has made it easier to wear all those hats, but you still have to know your stuff in order to get that kind of work. Same with music artists. In the past, they would hire and rehearse a band to record their songs, now they want me to play all the instruments, which, thankfully, I am fully able to do! If you give clients quality work at a fair price, you can keep working. There’s also many more avenues that need content these days – internet, audiobooks, web series, corporate videos, etc… So there is plenty of work if you hustle for it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Anything that has to do with recording, high quality sound & music is in my wheelhouse. I’m not comfortable talking about myself, but I think I am most proud of my composing & producing skills. I have an ear for hearing what an artist’s song should sound like, or what a soundtrack to a film needs to be. Those are the fun parts of the job. But we also do voice-overs, audiobooks, dialog editing, sound-effects and sound design. One of the cool things that we can also do is create huge orchestral type scores using virtual instruments that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing, and at a fraction of the cost. This gives my clients a “big” professional sound for their indie films and music projects. Budgets are not of major concern either – I try to give my clients what they are looking for within their budgetary constraints.

What were you like growing up?
I come from a large, Italian family, am the oldest of six children and have lived in Los Angeles my entire life, Most of that in The San Fernando Valley area. I was probably an odd kid growing up. I wasn’t athletic or anything, and that kind of put me on the outside of what most kids were into. Music was my savior! If I wasn’t listening to it, I was playing it, or learning about it and how artists made those incredible sounds! I have always had music playing in my head all day long which, in a way, drives me to compose and record as much as I do. Personally, I’ve always tried to be nice, friendly, approachable, and I truly enjoy helping people. This is a big plus in my business, as people want to be comfortable showing you their artistic endeavors as they are letting you into their inner thoughts & feelings.

As far as other interests, I’m very family-oriented and still live in the Valley with my wife, two daughters, 1 1/2 yr. old granddaughter and two dogs. As far as other interests, I’m a complete classic car buff – go to a lot of car events and am even restoring a couple cars myself (I have two older, Rolls Royce in various stages of restoration). Love going to museums as well, which Los Angeles has plenty of to see. On the weirder side I have a great interest in anything extra-terrestrial & space related (probably more than you wanted to know!).

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3 Comments

  1. Stuart Butler

    March 22, 2017 at 16:36

    Great interview! Verifies all the things I thought of Greg and West Star for many years.

  2. David Chrenko

    March 23, 2017 at 21:18

    Had the pleasure of working with Greg at Warner Brothers Studios. He’s the real deal – and yes, definitely a nice guy.

  3. Sally Kimotek

    March 26, 2017 at 22:31

    I have always been so very proud of you. You told me in high school, in my yearbook, that you would make me proud, and you have…

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