How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "COMMUNITY"
Town of Birth: Charlotte, NC
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: I am a music producer, engineer, and mixer. My life’s purpose is to be there for people in an empathetic and nonjudgmental way...to cut through the layers of masks and formalities, and summon the true spirit(s) within us, for the purpose of understanding and healing.
“As long as we’re at least being some kind of reflection of soul, even if it’s a fun house mirror reflection of soul, then we’re doing good. And if it’s just completely contrived and there’s no soul there, then that’s when I’m like, ‘alright, we need to quit f’ing with this song, let’s try something else.’
I feel like that’s what I’m usually looking for when I’m working. I’m just closing my eyes, and it’s like I’m finding where it’s coming from. And then, I try to realize it to its highest potential that the song can go.”
I think James always accuses me of being that “heady” guy, so he probably assumed I’d be the best fit.
“When I learned how expensive opening Rialto Row would be, I looked at the piece of paper and I was like, ‘this is exactly what I asked for - it’s just not the way that I thought it would come.’ I think that’s the problem - your resistance is how it should come. But ask yourself ‘did it come? What you asked for, did it come?’
It will come if you believe it, and that eliminates the resistance of how it should come. So, when I realized that what I asked for came, it was like no questions asked, I’d be a fool not to do it. And then literally two months later the studio was built...and it’s beautiful.”
Ryan Zimmerman, known around town as “Wolfy,” has had the career trajectory people dream about. He spent 8 years producing music from a storage unit and dealing with all the complications surrounding that (he and Justin Osborne turned an annoying construction noise into an integral part of the song “Gay in the South”).
However, his hands-on involvement with the songs and his knack for helping artists find their signature sound gave him a name in the Charleston music scene and beyond. These days, he produces at Rialto Row recording studio. He works with both local artists and people who come to Charleston just for him, including Band of Horses.
Despite his astronomical career growth, he is a down-to-earth kind of guy. He still puts just as much effort into his work, if not more, often spending 15-18 hours a day producing. The people he works with say he’s just as likely to have a deep, honest conversation with someone as he is to joke around.
“I’ve had to learn to accept that I DO have desires. I DO want this nice recording studio. I DO want a song on the charts eventually. I DO want a band that’s relevant. I DO want to go on tours where there’s people that come see us play. And I DON’T think it’s f’d up for me to desire those things.”
Tea or coffee?
What temp (meaning degrees) is the absolute best for sleep?
I like it on the cooler side, 68-69 degrees
Where does music sit in your body? How does it flow?
It depends. Sometimes I feel it in my chest, sometimes my gut, sometimes my body. Mostly, I hear it playing in my mind, pretty much nonstop. If I get stuck on an idea I try to take a walk. Or just close my eyes and imagine the future, when the song is finished... and access that point.
Why is it important for you to translate words and sounds for other people?
It is a gift given to me by loved ones and mentors. I feel a tremendous debt of gratitude to continue for others, and stick to my original intentions for my life.
What does it feel like to have a desire to move past a situation, but not knowing how you will be accepted on the other side?
I try to always remind myself that I was created and probably not my own creation. It gives me peace knowing pretty much no matter what, under that lens, I’m accepted just as I am. Sometimes, I can even believe I’m perfect in my flaws.
“I was super religious growing up and played music in the church. I was convinced at some point that there was no God. I used to just stay up arguing with people because they were religious. I was like ‘there is no God, blah blah blah.’ I would pick people out and try to debate them.
I think it came from some jealousy. I just wasn’t having this experience that everybody else was having. I remember being in church being like ‘God, if you’re real, just talk to me, I want to hear.’ And it just would never happen to me, so I just assumed it wasn’t real.
But then I got it. And, I went through 9 months of everything really lining up, and people coming into my life that I needed. They were guides of some sort, or reflections of me that I needed to see. And that led me to my girlfriend. I even got a little involved playing drums in church. Full circle. Perspective.”
Khari Lucas, aka Contour. Khari and I spend quite a bit of time parsing through thick philosophical conversations, usually dealing with ethics, morality, and spirituality. I feel like he never wastes his words, and I love listening to him speak.
“I like imagining that we’re just on the cutting edge of this reality and we’re supposed to live it out to the fullest. That’s our testament... to show in image, picture, actions, words what this beautiful life is. Our life is the message.”
Check out some albums Wolfy has worked on and stay tuned for his solo project
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley Article: Caralie Byrnes Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.