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Music Production Faculty

Chopper Black

From Paula Abdul to Yanni and Bobby Z, as well as hundreds of artist in between, John “Chopper” Black brings over forty years of experience to McNally-Smith College of Music.

As a Musician, Producer and Audio Engineer, Chopper’s extensive knowledge in Recording Studios, Audio Recording, Music Production, TV and Radio Advertising, Live Performance and Live Sound, inspires his passion in the mentoring of students in the arts of Music Production and Recording.

He has worked with many of the major record labels such as Virgin, Capital, MCA, Motown, and Warner Brothers, just to name a few. Chopper has multiple Gold and Platinum Records to his credits.

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Christopher Blood

Christopher Blood

Department Head, Music Production

Christopher Blood has covered a lot of ground in his two decades in the recording industry. Starting off as a drummer in a local rock band, Blood worked his way up the studio ranks, recording several of the premier artists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 1997 he became co-owner of A440 Studios. In nearly a decade at A440, Blood recorded and produced countless albums for top local and major label artists. He has also worked in a number of the top recording studios around the country, including Stankonia in Atlanta (Outkast’s studio) and Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.

In 2006, Blood started a new chapter in his recording career opening the Twin Cities-based Sonic Edge Studios, where he continues to work with top local, national and international talent. He is also very active in the live sound scene and has been a design and operations consultant for recording studios in Minnesota, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas. Blood’s recording credits and clients include: Atmosphere, Next, Juvenile, Mr. Cheeks, James Grear and Co, Big Walter Smith, Lil’ Romeo, Eyedea & Abilities, Brother Ali, Unknown Prophets, Black Flood Diesel, Anderson Windows, MN Dot, Boulder Buddy’s, Sony Records, No Limit Records, Universal Records and Rhymesayers Entertainment.

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Ricardo Ehramjian

Ricardo Ehramjian

Ricardo has been active as a recording engineer for a variety of bands, commercials, and television spots as well as drummer and band manager for Tim Mahoney and the Blue Meenies. He has expertise in software, computer hardware, and high-end pro audio equipment and has served as store manager for Knut-Koupe and sales representative for Guitar Center.

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Bryan Forrester

Bryan Forrester

Bryan is the owner of Forrester Audio Networx, a production studio specializing in broadcast audio, including V/O record, music composition, sound design, and mix for radio and TV commercials. Bryan has worked as audio engineer or producer for numerous commercial clients including Target, Best Buy, Pillsbury, Chili's, Northwest Airlines, and Purina. While at Hudson-Forrester Studios, Bryan worked on numerous acoustic and jazz recordings. Bryan is also an accomplished bass player and vocalist and has worked throughout the U.S. and Canada as a performer and recording artist.

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Chad Helmonds

Chad Helmonds

Born and raised in the Bay Area of California, Chad complete his first degree, a BS in Journalism and Mass Communication, at Humboldt State University in Northern California. He then moved to Minneapolis to attend IPR. After graduating as valedictorian, earning the ICON award and becoming Pro Tools and Logic certified, Chad set out on a series of internships and freelance work before opening up his own professional studio Black Apple Productions/Studios.

Chad is a producer, engineer, musician and songwriter with a strong engineering background and production skills to match. He has worked with both national and local artists in various styles of music. “Music is one of the most powerful entities in the world. It is one of the few things that have the power to invoke emotions within millions and millions of people. As a producer and engineer, I am given the honor and responsibility of capturing and preserving an artist’s musical and emotional integrity, essentially for a lifetime. This is something I take to heart and never take lightly.” Chad greatly enjoys being a studio owner and having the opportunity to work, produce and write with diverse musicians all across the country.

Outside of his recording life, Chad enjoys writing his own music and filling in as a musician for various bands. He is also the master of knowing how to fast-forward through commercials and hit the STOP button on his TIVO right before the show comes back on. He is also working hard toward earning his Pro Card as a competitive Strongman and Powerlifter.

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John Krogh

John Krogh

John Krogh is an award-winning composer (ASCAP), engineer, producer, sound designer, and multi-instrumentalist who writes music and provides audio production services for advertising, TV, film and new-media clients.  John has produced music for national and international brands such as Fox Sports, Microsoft, Verizon, Ubisoft, and Adidas, and has garnered two Telly Awards for his original compositions. With over 300 music placements to his credit, Krogh’s music can be heard on programs from such networks as The History Channel, MSNBC, Tru TV, Bravo and National Geographic.

John Krogh is also a published author and music technology authority, having written hundreds of artist interviews, feature articles, and product reviews for Keyboard and EQ magazines. During his tenure with these publications, John served as Technical Editor, and later held the position of Editor-at-Large (Keyboard).  He has been cited in numerous industry periodicals and books, including The Guide To MIDI Orchestration (Gilreath). He remains an active contributor to the music technology publishing world.

In addition to his studio work and music publishing experience, John Krogh has toured the globe as a music programmer and playback engineer for live concerts and television performances with such artists as The Eagles, Don Henley, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson, to name a few. Notable performances include the 2006 Winter Olympics, Good Morning America, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The David Letterman Show.

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Joe Mabbott

Joe Mabbott

Joe Mabbott was raised in a musical family, and began his own life in music as a drummer at the age of 2. He grew up as a performer, and after high school he felt it was time to turn his passion into a career. After graduating from The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix, he relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota in February 1995, and accepted an assistant engineer position at Trail Mix Studios. At the time, Trail Mix was a studio primarily known for its work in post production for the television and film industry. After four years at Trail Mix working on a vast array of commercials and short films, as well as numerous album projects (in all facets- engineering, mixing, editing, sound design, and playing drums and percussion) Joe then started freelance engineering around Minneapolis at several post and music studios.

In 2001, after two years of steady freelance work, Trail Mix Studios hired Joe back full time as manager and head engineer of the facility. In 2003, he bought out Trail Mix Studios and reorganized it as The Hideaway Studio, and his experience and style lured many of Minneapolis’ top hip-hop and indie rock acts, immediately establishing The Hideaway as a favorite of local artists.  Joe’s work with national and international touring artists like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Cloud Cult, Golden, Heiruspecs, I Self Devine, The Plastic Constellations, 5 Mile Chase, and many others has turned the Hideaway Studio into one of The Twin Cities more reputable and successful studios.

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Scott Malchow

Scott Malchow has over 30 years of experience in the music and recording industry. He has worked as a session musician, arranger, producer, and engineer on many different types of projects. These include national radio and television advertising, film and video scoring, educational materials, church publishing, interactive game music, and corporate communications, as well as numerous CD projects.

Formal Education: B. A. Music, Augsburg College

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Greg Reierson

Greg Reierson is the owner and operator of Rare Form Mastering in Minneapolis. He has spent the past 27 years working in the audio industry with a primary focus on audio mastering since 1989. In that time he’s mastered more than 4,000 commercially released albums for a diverse group of local, national and international artists including Prince, The Cure, Jonny Lang, Rita Coolidge, Bernard Allison, The Marshall Tucker Band, Tommy James, John Kay,Willie Murphy, Alexander O’Neal, Cloud Cult, The Honeydogs, Bruce McCabe, The Suburbs, Lorie Line and many others. In addition to the art and practice of mastering itself, and always in the pursuit of improving his craft, he spends countless hours designing, building and modifying electronic and electro-mechanical devices and learning as much as he can about music, sound, audio perception, acoustics and audio technology. Mastering is a subtle art — every little bit helps. Greg is a member of the Audio Engineering Society and a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Formal Education: B.S. Mass Communication, B.S. Sociology, North Dakota State University

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David Wiens

David Wiens

David Wiens graduated from the Conservatory at the University of Missouri, Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance. He then began freelance session work as a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and producer until he was hired as the Chief Engineer/Producer at Forerunner Music, a small ministry related record label in Kansas City, where he recorded and produced over twenty albums.  Along with teaching at the McNally Smith College of music, David still works independently as a producer and recording engineer, and enjoys making music on his Chapman Stick.

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