“Women in Music”: An Essay by Brina Kabler for Women’s History Month

Brina Kabler © 2023
Brina Kabler © 2023
In honor of Women’s History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays reflecting on identity, music, culture, inclusion, and more.
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Today, LA-based audio engineer and producer and Sons of Silver keyboardist Brina Kabler shares her essay, “Women in Music,” as a part of Atwood Magazine’s Women’s History Month series.
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“WOMEN IN MUSIC”

ReEducation - Sons of Silver

by Brina Kabler

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this celebration of women. I’m honored.

It’s a really interesting time to be a female engineer working in the industry right now. When I first started, I rarely met another female audio engineer in the live setting or studio. But now, I feel this growing community and network of female engineers and producers, all connecting and raising each other up.

It’s great, too, that there’s a growing trend of high schools and special programs (like Women’s Audio Mission) bringing recording and production classes to the youth. I feel this has, in turn, brought more opportunities and exposure to girls who may not have had the exposure in the past. I would have loved to have had that education earlier on.

Brina Kabler © 2023
Brina Kabler © 2023

I grew up going to shows every week, all throughout my teens and twenties. I was also a musician. Music was a huge part of my life. But it never occurred to me that I could be the one recording and creating the music. Not until much later in my life, after college and a career to follow. I was looking for a new direction and found myself interning in a recording studio. I really lucked out. It was a rare environment for a recording studio, where I was encouraged to hang out in the tracking room and watch the engineers. To learn and observe. I fell in love with the process immediately and went back to school to study audio engineering.

I started working as a live sound engineer while I was still in school, taking gigs at local venues and festivals. I also worked as a live sound/recording engineer for a show that involved story tellers and musicians. I ran both the live sound and recorded the show to Pro Tools, then mixed the show for podcast. I was definitely in over my head with those first few gigs. But I was passionate, worked hard and kept an open mind. I said yes to every opportunity that came my way. Being a good hang also helped in situations where experience was lacking. People appreciate working with someone who is enjoyable to be around and is easy to get along with.

Brina Kabler © 2023
Brina Kabler © 2023

Shortly after graduating, I began searching for a studio job. I ended up getting an interview at the Village studios. I started off in reception and later became a runner. As exciting as it was to be working in a major studio, I found myself missing the intimate vibe I originally found when I first entered this world of sound. So, I kept up with my live sound gigs and put feelers out for a smaller private studio. I ended up connecting with a private studio in Topanga Canyon as the head engineer. I loved it. I worked there for 3 years while continuing live sound and side projects here and there.

In 2010 I had to part ways with the Topanga studio to travel with my family. When I returned to LA, I started engineering at a private studio in Los Feliz. While working there, I began dipping my toes back into performing. Singing and playing keys with my then-boyfriend. The band evolved from a singer songwriter act to an indie rock band. It became a central part of our lives. So, in 2014, we decided to build a recording studio of our own, to have a home for our collaborations and recordings. I’ve been recording and mixing at our studio since then.

It’s been such a wild ride balancing the life between touring musician and studio engineer. The touring has made me a better engineer. The engineering has made me a better musician. For me, it’s the perfect balance between creativity and technology. I love the collaboration, the science, and the magic in seeing a song come together. The magic that moved me from my youth. – Brina Kabler, audio engineer and keyboardist for Sons of Silver

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ReEducation - Sons of Silver

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