Don’t Give Up Your Dre Job
SAE grad shares musical journey through Hollywood.
Audio engineer Aldo Arechar has been a part of the Oscar and Grammy award-winning composer Hans Zimmer’s team at Remote Control Productions for almost four years. He worked with Zimmer on films like Dune and The Lion King — both of which Arechar was recognised by The Recording Academy. In this interview Arechar shares his journey; starting out studying at SAE Creative Media Institute; to carving a career as an audio engineer and working on some of the world’s biggest films; and of course what it was like shaking the hand of music legend, Dr Dre.
Arechar has now worked with some of the most prolific composers in Hollywood, including Hans Zimmer, David Fleming, Henry Jackman, Ludwig Göransson. To date Dune’s Oscar winning soundtrack has been the most satisfying project that he’s been a part of. He was also recognised by The Recording Academy for his contribution to the Grammy award-nominated recording.
“I was there from the beginning, and could see how the ideas developed from scratch — that was mind blowing for me. I was part of the audio engineering team recording singers and flautists, and I worked closely with David Fleming. My role was to work with David, to deliver all the creatives to Hans, who would then prepare and finalise the soundtrack for the film.”
Growing up in Mexico, Arechar was encouraged by his parents to explore his passion for music, firstly through a Casio piano and later the drums. “I didn’t have the best kit, but I said to myself I’m going to try to make it sound as good as I can. There are a lot of tricks that you can do, but at a certain point I hit a limit in what I could do with the technology I could afford, which is when I went to SAE,” Arechar said.
At SAE Byron Bay, Arechar studied for a Bachelor of Music Production, where he learnt about the fundamentals of producing music. “Getting to meet other creatives who had other passions was very satisfying, as we were then able to collaborate on music and other projects. I liked the opportunities to experiment and ask questions about the methodology. In my second year, I learnt how to put together a business plan, which was really beneficial — particularly when I moved to LA.”
In Los Angeles, Arechar had the opportunity to network with fellow audio engineers, including 21-time Grammy award-winning sound engineer Al Schmitt, who worked with the likes of Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. “Al and I became good friends, and he showed me another side of the music business that he only knew — which was all about showing kindness and love to the artists and people you work with.”
Arechar would get an insight into the Al’s work, when he was regularly invited to sessions at Capitol Records, the studio made famous for Frank Sinatra, Norah Jones, and Aretha Franklin. “On one occasion, Al was recording strings for Dr Dre’s Beats documentary. It so happened that Dr Dre was also there which was crazy. Getting the chance to shake the hand of one of the biggest icons of the music industry was pretty surreal.”
In 2019, Arechar was recognised by The Recording Academy as an assistant engineer for the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for The Lion King, which he worked on with Hans Zimmer and David Fleming. “David and Hans were working on a demo for the ending of the film, and I was in the studio with them to provide playback, and record the singers,” Arechar shared. “It was a special moment, because more and more people started to come into the studio to listen — Hans was there, and it came to this beautiful crescendo. I felt honoured to have been a part of that, and it made all the hard work worthwhile.”
For those audio and music students out there who may want to follow in his footsteps and engineer film soundtracks in the future, Arechar gave some valuable advice. “Understanding the basics of audio production is crucial, and somewhere like SAE will give you the foundational skills you need to start off in the industry. Aside from that, being adaptable, having a good attitude, and being likeable are important. And by likeable, that can just mean listening — being able to read a room is key, and that comes with time and experience.”