one to watch … Jake Mazzuca, 27

Tour / Production Manager Jake has recently set up brand new company Advocate AV with his business partner Callum Yates.

Currently touring with ‘The Reytons’  we spoke to him following their ‘sold out’ 4500 capacity hometown show at Magna in Rotherham. We asked him to share his career highlights and insight …


How did your passion for the production industry begin? 

I’ve loved music since a very early age and have been in bands, playing instruments and going to gigs since I can remember, so I always knew I wanted to work in the music industry. My passion for production came from being a lover of gigs and that awe inspiring feeling you get when you witness the power of a well put together live show. I wanted to be a part of giving people that feeling! I was able to start working with bands in the live environment and found great joy in elevating their music through different production aspects. It’s so important to me to give the bands I work with the best chance possible to stand out from the rest and give their music the best platform to be true to itself. I think this passion probably comes from being in bands myself and understanding what it feels like to live and breathe the music, you just want it to be the best thing people have ever seen or heard – I want to make the bands I work with feel like they are giving the audience that experience. My path into the production industry began when I started working for a record label in Manchester. They had a recording studio which I really wanted to work in as, at the time, I wanted to produce and engineer bands on record. However, I ended up working on some of their live gigs that they promoted around Manchester and I absolutely loved it. Coming from an audio background, I immediately found interest in that side of things so trained up as a sound engineer and started to work on as many gigs as I could, eventually the bands I was working with that were on the label started touring and that’s when I was really able to start cutting my teeth on all things production. The gigs got bigger and bigger and my role grew with the bands from a FOH Engineer to the Tour Manager and Production Manager.


Did you know how to start your career?

I think that the music industry is a really difficult industry to know exactly what you want to do and how to start progressing straight away. Most of the people I know who work in music started off with a totally different idea of what they wanted to become. I always wanted to work in a studio, but now the thought of that terrifies me! For me, the natural step was to study and go to university as I had been pursuing the production based courses at Spirit Studios for a couple of years. I visited the studios after I finished college and was really inspired by the tutors that were there at the time, as they were all industry pros that had been there and done it.


So, what did you end up studying?

I studied the Studio & Live Music Production course at Spirit Studios for three years. It was a really good experience and I would recommend that path to anyone looking to start their career in music. Not only did I learn invaluable technical skills in both studio and live music, it instilled a much better process of educating myself whilst gaining some very important contacts which enabled me to develop my career once I left university. I actually got my first job with the record label through the university – without that who knows where I would be now.


Was there anyone who influenced you along the way to get to where you are today? 

When Larkins first got signed, their record label introduced us to Richard Larkum and Chris Leckie who then came on tour with us for a couple of weeks. Rich was operating lights and Chris on sound. Now these guys have done it all with the biggest bands on the biggest of stages. Not only have they been there, but probably gave the best show that venue has ever seen and heard – and they’re with us in a basic splitter van with a couple of lights thrown in the back playing to 150 people in the middle of nowhere. With the career that they’ve had so far and the bands that they worked with, they could’ve had the biggest egos and treated our small tour as just another pay check in between stadium tours. But instead, they were the most humble, kind and hard working people I had met and showed me the level of professionalism and the incredible technical skill that is required to be at the top. It was so inspiring for me and it’s always a reminder that I still have a long way to go before I can consider this a success, I have done nothing in comparison to some people and that is really humbling and motivating!


What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The biggest highlight is starting our company Advocate AV (sorry for the shameless plug!) with my business partner that looks after production, tour management and everything relating to live for our bands. It’s a culmination of all of the hard work we have put in with the artists that are on our roster and it represents our passion for what we do. I am lucky enough to have had some amazing individual highlights I could put here but one of my biggest goals at the start of this journey was to make a living doing this, so the joy of working with such amazing artists as a job is the best thing in the world and I feel very privileged to be able to do that.


How have you spent the last 2 years?

Me and my friend started a business that had absolutely nothing to do with music, so a complete career change! It’s been a very difficult time for everyone and the biggest thing that hit me was that I absolutely did not have a plan B! I’m starting to work on that backup plan now but when you’re in this job all you want to do is focus 100% on progressing and moving onto the next gig/tour. I think another massive thing it highlighted for me was how much happiness working in live music brought me. I found it really difficult to live without the banter, hard graft, adrenaline, change of environments etc. Although I loved spending more time at home with loved ones and cooking more, I’m very happy we are starting to get back touring again.


What was your highlight of 2021?

I have two! The first show back and the last gig of 2021. The first live show back after lockdown for me was absolutely exhilarating and once I had remembered how to do my job again it was a reminder of how much I missed it! I was working with Larkins who are a band that I have been with from the start and it was so good to see how much it meant to their fans seeing a live show again. The last show for me was a hometown show with The Reytons at the end of a 6 week long tour, hearing 3,000 people sing the band’s lyrics at the top of their voice with the production I helped put together as the backdrop was really special. It was the epitome of why I love the job so much, seeing the bands absolutely nail it live with the production giving the show the energy and life it deserves.


What would your advice be to yourself 5 years ago?

Always do more! Never settle for something because it’s easy and convenient. If you have a dream, go and do it and stop wasting precious time.

Always do more! Never settle for something because it’s easy and convenient. If you have a dream, go and do it and stop wasting precious time.

Any advice to anyone who wants to work in this industry?

I would say to really nail down your basic technical skills and knowledge as that is the stuff that is almost expected of you, it’s your soft skills that often set you apart from the rest. Always stay humble, show up on time and if you don’t know something then ask, I always had a fear that asking someone how to do something would make me sound weak, but it’s the opposite. Most people in the industry really want to help other people and will do what they can to aid you on your journey, if you want to shadow someone for experience or if you want to learn something from someone then ask! They will most likely say yes and who knows where that will take you. If they say no it will hopefully be for good
reason and there are plenty of other opportunities out there.


What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

I’m really looking forward to meeting new people, working with bands and hopefully starting to travel more again! It’s a really exciting time at the moment with loads coming up so I just hope that the world can get back to some consistent normality.


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