Wes Hagy: From Mechanical Engineering to Audio Engineering
Recording Connection graduate Wes Hagy recently got hired as a tracking engineer at Maximus Music (Jadakiss, Wiz Khalifa, Zaytoven), located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wes’ own journey into audio engineering and music production has been anything but straight ahead.
He’s always been methodical and good at math so when it came time to choose a major in college, Wes decided on mechanical engineering, figuring he’d be making the most of his natural abilities. But, he says, his heart just wasn’t in it, “I went for Mechanical Engineering at NC State. Did a couple internships while I was there but I just couldn’t find the passion that I was looking for, but I knew that I really had the engineering mind.”
Despite his parents’ objections, Wes decided to drop out but with a concrete goal in mind–finding the career path he needed to be on in life. Speaking of this tumultuous period, he says, “I was trying to make sure exactly what I wanted to do and the exact education that I wanted to get before I just jumped into another school.”
It takes courage to go against the grain. Although Wes’ parents didn’t agree with his choice to quit school, they supported their son in finding his passion. The love that Wes had for music since he’d first started taking piano lessons during his early childhood soon resurfaced. Then, he met up with Justin Allie, an old friend, and saw he was making beats and hooks. Within months, the two friends were talking about their musical goals and Wes found himself “really intrigued” with the prospect of pursuing music for a living.
Soon, Wes was looking at audio engineering as a viable career path but he knew he didn’t want to go back to sitting in lecture halls. He also knew that real-world experience would be crucial for him in getting his start: “I was like, ‘If I don’t get in a place where I can actually work hands-on and see how a real studio operates, then I don’t think I’ll ever get the balls to actually start it by myself.’”
His mom was right there to help her son find the real-world training he’d need to pursue his passion. Her search led her to Recording Connection and within minutes, Wes says, “I talked to a couple of admissions counselors. I was actually amazed at how interested they were in what I wanted to do, and the direction I was trying to take my life and were very helpful every time I called back. It was just impressive to me and worth the money and the time for me to see what the Recording Connection was like, because I had never heard of anything else like it before.”
Wes and Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker connected well right from the start. Ira could see Wes’ passion and that he was invested in learning by doing the homework each week, asking questions, and coming into the studio as much as he could. This ultimately paid off when Ira offered Wes the position of tracking engineer at Maximus. Even though he’s graduated the program, Wes is still heavily invested in learning as much as he can, knowing real knowledge and usable skills come by doing it and being right in the thick of the process, hands-on.
“I just want to try and master the tracking and engineering situation at Maximus as much as possible…get as much experience as I can working with artists, working with that equipment, just getting the feel for that environment. That would give me a little bit better idea of what I’m going to want to do specifically on a day to day basis in the music industry for the rest of my life.”
Bringing his own creative musical interests into fruition is also part of Wes’ life now, thanks, in part, to the skills he’s been able to grow through Recording Connection. He and Justin, the friend he started talking music with a couple years ago, are now actively working on music together. Speaking of their partnership, Wes says, “ We call my buddy Justin ‘Captain Hooks’ because he can pull a hook out of his you-know-what in less than a minute and a half. ..He’s really good at writing, and I love to produce and create beats…that’s the way that I feel like we can get the money to start with, to fund the ultimate goal.”
Once he set his sights on what he really wanted to do with his life, Wes made great strides in realizing his goals and finding creative and intellectual fulfillment. The self-described “math head” doesn’t view the creative and technical as antithetical forces the way some might, but as intrinsic parts of the same whole: “I believe creativity has to start with structure,” he says, “you’re either one [or] the other…some people that have both.” And he’s looking forward to using this sensibility to help other musicians achieve their vision:
“[The] artist is going to want to try and communicate to me the message they want to get across, [and] I also need to interpret that message and help them present it in a fashion that these people who don’t understand creativity…can understand it, and feel the music the way that artist intended. Otherwise, that artist could be hidden and not really heard at all.”
Wes Hagy made the difficult decision to change courses in his life. Going from mechanical engineering to audio engineering wasn’t the easiest transition to make but a necessary one. We’re glad to have been able to help Wes get on the right path to building a future that inspires and fulfills him every day.