We had the good fortune of connecting with Alfredo Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alfredo, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Taking an unpaid internship over a paid position. A little before I began my internship at Miami Beach Recording Studios, I was helping a local studio in Oakland Park get up to speed and was offered the head engineer position at the studio. The starting pay was decent with the ability to grow. At the time, being young and in college, that sounded like a good idea; but I was then offered an internship position at Miami Beach Recording studios. I was the first to ever be offered an internship so early without having already passed the studio courses because of my prior experience and my passion and love for audio engineering. While the internship was unpaid, it came with the ability to grow in my craft and learn so much more than I could have anywhere else. My pride is not in the money I make even though I am very grateful that I have been able to be successful in my business; the reason I am successful is because I pride myself more in my craft and the music. In truly being a real audio engineer and record producer and earning the respect of the people I look up to in the industry. I pride myself in making each record I work on as good as I possibly can and better than my last. When I work on a song, it’s about the beauty of the art and taking the artist’s message to the next level. That is why I have what I call passion projects. Something I recommend every engineer to pick up. A project that may not pay up front but that you believe wholeheartedly in and do for the love of music and the culture, and you can always work something on the back end. Of course we all have bills to pay and I don’t believe in being taken advantage of. But we also do what we do for the love of music. So I have my projects where we work it out on the back end.

What should our readers know about your business?

My business and studio in particular is based on my love of music and audio engineering. My studio is built by audio engineers and artists for audio engineers and artists. I have the best gear not because it’s flashy, but because I love the way they sound and make you feel. And although I have top of the line equipment in the studio, there is a saying in the Audio Engineering community “It’s the EAR, not the GEAR”. The gear is great if you know how to use it, but the most valuable thing in any studio is the staff running it, especially the audio engineer of the session and in charge of recording the record and capturing the sonic emotion of the song. Not only is our knowledge and skill important which I have spent years growing in and will continue to learn and be a student of until the day I pass on, but also in our connection with the people we work with. The artist-engineer connection is very important. I am extremely prideful and grateful in the fact that most of my clients have become close friends and we do frequent barbecues here at the studio or in their homes. Many of them have also trusted me to run all their live sets as well as all their studio recording and mixing. I also believe in honesty, I am open with my artists about their songs as well as about my own shortcomings. I believe that when I record and mix a record, the mastering should be done by a mastering engineer who specializes in mastering and I have built partnerships with amazing engineers such as my brother Shane Slack. I built my studio because I love music and I love what I do. I love how a song is the only true universal language. It can make you feel something and work through issues as a form of therapy and it can also help celebrate a momentous occasion at the same time. You can convey an emotion with sound and harmonics imparted in a mix when words just won’t do it. When I worked Pro Audio sales in Guitar Center, I met many people who built studios throughout South Florida, but none were Audio Engineers or producers. They built the studios off an idea that they can capitalize and take advantage of artists who are beginning and don’t know better. I pride myself in caring about my clients and their art as if it was my own. I am an Audio Engineer and record producer first and foremost. I also love recording all kinds of music and love recording full bands, not just vocals. HADEE. is an Alternative Pop Rock artist, Voiikano is a reggaeton and Dembow artist, and Wiill is a rapper and singer with Jazz and R&B influence. I love music, not just a particular genre. My business is also not only a recording studio. Alar Audio Research is the name of my parent company. I build and maintain sound systems for a number of commercial businesses such as other local studios, clubs, bars, a multitude of churches, and restaurants like Kostas Greek Eatery in Pompano Beach and Pal Rancho Colombian restaurant in Coral Springs. I also teach recording and mixing classes to upcoming engineers. Like any business, this has not been easy at all. I have had my fair share of losses and investments in people who took advantage until they no longer could. The running costs of a studio that gets the sound of mine are also very high. But if you love what you do and are determined, you learn from every situation and you grow. L’s stand for Lessons, never for Losses. Sometimes you have to sacrifice going out to clubs, buying that new car you want, moving out sooner, birthdays, and things of that nature. When you own and run a business, all the business costs are yours as well on top of your personal expenses, and many times, that new microphone may be a better purchase than upgrading a car or going out that weekend. Those late nights and 48 hour days are what separate you from the rest. When I worked at Guitar Center I was called crazy by my manager and co workers because I would go to work early in the morning, work a full shift, leave, teach a recording lesson in my studio, drive to Miami to another studio, work until 7am, drive back up to Broward, shower, nap, and back to Guitar Center to work again. But that is what is necessary to be successful. And there were many days like that until I was able to build up my studio and make my business my 24/7 full self employment and even now, we still pull all nighters in the studio. And through all that, There is nothing else I would rather do.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The answer to this really depends on where any of my artists are performing that week. I am blessed to work with such talented individuals and seeing HADEE., Glass Cities, J.L.G., or Wiill live is an awesome experience so that is the most important thing on the itinerary. I am also a little different from others. I see the fun in going to clubs and they can be cool, but they are not where you are likely to find me regularly unless we have a show there. Throw Social Delray and Dirty Rabbit in Wynwood are cool venues and places I would recommend to anybody coming to town who likes clubs and they are also surrounded by other cool bars and clubs. Rhythm and Vine in Ft. Lauderdale as well. For my speakeasy lovers, The Apothacary in Ft. Lauderdale is one of my favorites. For those who like to enjoy a glass of wine and a little live music, there is no place better than Lagniappe in Miami. However, I am an undercover nerd. I don’t get much time to keep up with the world of comics and such, but anybody who is ever in town needs to check out Tates comics, and my favorite store, Way Back When Antique and Collectibles. The owner Joey is awesome and they have a great collection of vinyl records and collectibles as well as antiques and WW2 memorabilia. As far as restaurants go, I have been eating at El Paso in Coral Springs since my family moved to the states when I was a toddler. Kostas Greek eatery also has the greatest pizza hands down. Pal Rancho is an awesome Colombian restaurant. and my completely biased favorite, Casa Borinquen in Hollywood. The best Alcapurrias I have ever had, they compete with some places back home in Puerto Rico, which makes since as it is as authentic as it gets. Some of the chefs went to highschool with my mom in our home town of Patillas, Puerto Rico so you can see why it’s so nostalgic to me. If I’m not in the studio or at the movies, chances are you can find me at one of those places.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am big in collaboration and collaborative growth and learning with the people I’ve come up with. Those who are still in the picture and those who are not, all play an important role. Nobody does it all alone. Even the bad experiences are lessons. I have to thank God first and foremost, my family as well of course who have become some of my strongest promoters and have grown to become very supportive, especially my dad who was the most skeptical and against a career in music at first. My blood brother Luis (Senpai_LuGaming on Twitch) who every night for five years dealt with the music coming from my home studio. He is the true champion here. And my hero and grandfather Don Luis Rivera, may he rest in peace, was one of the strongest inspirations in choosing a career in music as well as taught me many lessons on how to be a man. There are a few VERY special people in particular as well such as my former mentor Marko Ruffolo who gave me my first opportunity to step into a real recording studio, and current mentor and more importantly, close friend, Pablo Reynoso (owner of Miami Beach Recording Studios and President of AES South Florida Division) whom without them, there are many lessons I would not have learned; both good and bad. I also have to send a big thank you and shoutout to my brothers Tino, Matthew, Voiikano, HADEE., Glass Cities, J.L.G, Shane Slack, Javi, Biko and so many more who have trusted me with their music and craft, especially Tino, Biko Rajay and Matthew who have been there since the beginning and have seen the growth from nothing and have watched me earn everything I have built with my own blood, sweat, and tears. I used to put up blankets and record Matthew in the bathroom of my old house in Coconut Creek when I was first starting and learning. Jeff (Tyderia) as well who recommends me a lot to clients. My highschool wrestling coach, Coach Burns who has always been supportive of my career and was there for me when my family went through tough times. Without his leadership during those formative years, I would not be the man that I am today and will grow to be. My highschool graphic design teacher Mrs. Lotus Cliff who was the only other teacher who believed in me and when I began my career back in Highschool.  Lastly, Joey from Way Back When who gives great advice and support as well as owning an awesome store that he opened for us on his day off in order for Voiikano and I to do a photoshoot for his new single “Burlao” available now on all streaming platforms with a special surprise coming very soon.

Website: https://dot.cards/alaronthemix

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/AlarOnTheMix/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alfredo-rivera-b853a8249/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alaronthemix

Facebook: facebook.com/100058468750872

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwDGCPx3JdhstGNYBzfm6nQ

Other: TikTok: @AlarOnTheMix

Image Credits
Luis Rivera, Hadee Dosani, Javier Castillo, Sabrina Kay, Pablo Reynoso, Carlos Martes

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