Backbeat: Pensado's Place Web Series and Vintage King Audio Launch Gear Expo 2013 in L.A.

From left: Dave Pensado, Herb Trawick and producer Rodney Jerkins chill out before launching into one of the expo’s interview sessions. While chatting with attendees, Jerkins revealed that one of his upcoming projects includes the soundtrack for the Nina Simone biopic. (Gail Mitchell)

Approximately 1,000 attendees from 14 countries gathered on a hot and humid Saturday (July 20) in Los Angeles for the inaugural Gear Expo 2013. Presented by online music production series “Pensado’s Place” and Vintage King Audio and staged at the latter’s Sunset Boulevard facility, the daylong expo (10am-4pm) treated attendees to interviews featuring leading producers, engineers and composers from the music, film and TV industries, the latest gear and software and exhibit booths plus a live performance by musician/composer Side Brain.
Serving as Gear Expo 2013’s hosts: “Pensado’s Place” namesake/mixing engineer Dave Pensado (Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Elton John, Michael Jackson) and the show’s executive producer, industry veteran/artist manager Herb Trawick.  “We’re all part of the same big club,” Pensado told the mix of professional and aspiring producers, engineers, songwriters/composers before segueing into one of the day’s short, informal interview sessions. “Community is everything.”

Jeffrey Turner, partner with Provident Financial Management (and whose clients include “Pensado’s Place”), brought son Cole to the expo (Gail Mitchell)

Joining Pensado and Trawick during one of the sessions were songwriter/producer Rodney Jerkins (Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson) and film composer/producer Francois Tétaz (Gotye, Kimbra). Jerkins touted the networking and information-sharing benefits of such events, noting that he was discovered at a young age by producer Teddy Riley at an industry conference. “If it wasn’t for that event and Teddy, I might not be here,” said Jerkins.
Among others sharing work and career insights during the interview sessions: songwriter/producer Alex Da Kid (Eminem, Imagine Dragons), Grammy-winning mixing engineer Manny Marroquin (Rolling Stones, Kanye West), television/film composer Robert Duncan (“Castle,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), songwriter/producer Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas) and engineer/mixer/producer Ryan Hewitt (Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers). 

Television and film composer Robert Duncan takes five with his friend Katie at Gear Expo 2013 (Gail Mitchell)

Between interview sessions, enthusiastic attendees were encouraged to chat directly with the special guests, hosts and the 25 manufacturers’ reps who were on hand from such gear and software companies as Apogee, Blue Microphones, Empirical Labs, Mojave Audio and Tree Audio. In fact, many of the attendees treated the aforementioned like rock stars, eagerly offering up their expo badges for autographs.
“I really appreciate this event,” noted one attendee, who told Trawick that Teddy Riley needed to be one of the guests at the next Gear Expo. “These are people who care about and are passionate about this side of the industry; about what happens behind the scenes.”

Alex Da Kid (left) and Manny Marroquin talked about their work chemistry.  “We communicate sometimes without words,” shared Kid. Added Marroquin “We have fun while taking the work seriously, which makes for a creative environment.” (Gail Mitchell)

Now part of the curriculum at 90 colleges globally and viewed in 250 countries, “Pensado’s Place” ( grew out of a health crisis suffered by Pensado, says Trawick, the creative impetus behind the show. Its burgeoning success later spurred the idea for the Gear Expo, which Trawick envisions as a series of pop-up conferences around the country. Sponsors for the inaugural event included the Producers & Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy, Avid, Women’s Audio Mission, Bedrock-LA, Izotope, Gobbler and Sae Institute.
“We are the TV show for this community and they treat us as such,” Trawick told Billboard. “So it’s important for us to continue to help inform what they do.”