Name: Eric Kalver
Major(s): Contemporary Writing & Production and Drum Set Performance
Hometown: Cranston, RI
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Why did you move to the city you’re living in now?
Two months before graduating, I was on spring break visiting Los Angeles with my dad. I had no set plans for what I would do after graduating but an old friend, while meeting up at In-N-Out Burger, convinced me that I should move to LA as soon as possible. As a pop arranger, drummer, and movie buff, I knew that he was right, plus, I was done dealing with snow. I visited LA one more time to make sure this was the right move and then drove 3000 miles with all my belongings from Rhode Island to Los Angeles. My best friend joined me and flew back once we arrived. We were so excited that our 5 day plan ended up turning into a 3.5 day plan. For those who are planning on driving, TAKE YOUR TIME! I had to rush because I had a job waiting, but I wish I had left earlier to explore more of the country.
What should a new alum focus on as they enter the job market?
Be likable, be prepared, and dress accordingly. Personality is key when applying to any job. Don’t be afraid of taking a full time job; we all have student loans, bills, and food to pay for! When I first moved to LA, it took me 8 months to get a stable music job. Take up as many jobs as possible during your down time, you never know who you will meet!
Can you touch on the importance of your networking, skill and talent?
I am a strong advocate of networking but also stress the importance of making it feel natural. I remember attending my first alumni event after just moving to Los Angeles and I was one of those people that just handed out my card to everyone. Looking back on it, I see how nerves got to me and I made zero connections with anyone. The most important quality I look for in connecting with people is that they’re a good hang. It doesn’t matter to me if they are the best musician in the world or if they are put on a pedestal; if I can’t connect with them as a person, the relationship seems forced. Never take for granted who you are working with; you never know if they will bring you along for the next gig. Being a good and reliable human is above skill and talent on my list. Be a swiss army knife of genres and be over prepared for any gig that comes your way. Your employer will remember that next time they need someone reliable.
What is something you’d wish you’d known “then” (before starting Berklee, during Berklee, or your first year out of Berklee)?
During Berklee, I wish I had a better understanding of the legal side of music business. I can’t stress how important it is for all musicians, songwriters, and composers to understand how licensing and songwriting splits work. If you are putting in a lot of time to a band, you need to talk with your band members about what your role is.
What has been the most challenging about your transition from college to career?
The most challenging thing for me was understanding that when you enter your post-college life, you may not be doing exactly what you planned on right away, and that is okay. If you have many goals that you want to achieve, you can do them all, but think of it as different pieces of a pie chart. Each piece represents a goal and not all of them will be the same size/be given the same amount of devotion. If you can maintain everything you want to do, regardless of how much time you spend on each goal, then you can say you’re doing everything you love. It takes time to understand that but once you do, it helps clarify that you’re on the right path.
Eric Kalver is a 2009 Berklee graduate who works at Activision Games as the Music Coordinator. Originally from Cranston, RI, he is an accomplished drummer, arranger, and composer. Eric has orchestrated on movies such as Fast Five and Skyline, is a published arranger through Alfred Music Publishing, and has written music that has been used on The Talk on CBS and Fox Sports. He is well known in the LA comedy and theater scene where he plays drums at Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City Hollywood, and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
Two Five One is a series of blog posts by alumni. They write about two places (where they’re living & their hometown) answer five questions about their post-graduate experience, and it’s a one-off post. For more information about blogging for Berklee as an alumni, email email@example.com