Employee Spotlight: Rich Renken, Artist Relations/Customer Advocate
1. How did you come to work at Line 6?
I met a super-cool cat who works for Line 6 named Darrell Smith and learned that he was a killer keyboardist and musician. On a project I was engineering and mixing, we hired him to play keys. We became good friends and he and I were doing a live gig and, knowing that I’m a bass player, he asked me if I needed a job working on a new bass amp that became the Line 6 LowDown®. I love using effects and have had vintage pedals as well as a ’73 SVT® bass amp. The more we talked, the more I like the idea of working for a company like Line 6.
2. How long have you worked for the company?
6 ½ years.
3. What has your experience with Line 6 been like?
Amazing, challenging, invigorating, rewarding and satisfying. As the quote goes, “Find a job you LOVE and you will never work a day in your life.” I am never off the clock. I live, love, sleep and eat Line 6 and it is my pleasure to do so.
4. Can you share some of the highlights you’ve experienced at the company
That’s very hard; there have been so many. I am proud of every product I did as a Product Manager, but for sure M13 and its variations being adopted by so many pros is a personal cause of the warm-fuzzies for me. Product managing and then being the in-house luthier for James Tyler Variax® modeling guitars, and working with artists and the public to create that killer guitar, is another big source of satisfaction. I have been having a blast working in my new role in Marketing with artists and the public. It is already another highlight and I’m looking forward to many more. All that said, my biggest highlight was winning the Evo “911” award, which is a Line 6 employee award, for keeping my cool after being trapped in an elevator for three hours.
6. What role does music play in your life?
It is all encompassing. I came to California in 1986 to go to The Dick Grove School of Music. I have worked as a semi-pro musician playing with many bands and artists such as David Ruis and Kate Miner as well as with players who have played with Jane’s Addiction, John Mayer and Smashing Pumpkins. I also started a band called the Tories with singer Steve Bertrand that was signed to N2K. I also have done quite a bit of front-of-house mixing for major bands all over the world.
I currently have a professional hobby as a mix engineer. I have mixed many artists such as Maroon 5 (which ended up being a DVD/CD of “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long”), Dave Matthews Band, Evanescence, Widespread Panic, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Gogol Bordello, and many others for TV broadcast and the Web for companies like Control Room and AEG. I just finished mixing a “We are the World” Haiti documentary for MTV. I have also mixed CDs for artists such as David Ruis, Jeremy Riddle, Fin, Vancouver Left and many more.
7. Do you play any instruments, and if so, which ones?
I am a bass player. I play occasionally but my real musical outlet of late is mixing music.
8. Do you use any Line 6 gear? If so, what are some favorite products, and how does the gear help inspire you to make music?
I love and use an M9® and LowDown® Studio 110. I can gig in almost any environment and size of venue with just these two. With the direct out and XLR out on the Studio 110, I can hook up and turn any bass rig and any sound system into something that to me sounds as good as a giant SVT® rig, and the M9 gives me an amazing octaver as well as other useful and inspiring effects. As a mix engineer I use POD Farm™ heavily. I use our API preamp model as an EQ on guitars, vocals and snare. I reamp the direct bass using our models based on* the SVT® and Flip Top bass amps. I use the Analog w/Mod delay model on vocals. Honestly, POD Farm and my Universal Audio’s UAD-2 Quad® card with UAD® plug-ins are my two main weapons while mixing.
9. What have you learned about the significance of music instruments/products in the lives of musicians?
They are how we communicate. If they are not inspiring and exciting, they will not get used.
10. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A basketball coach and math teacher, and before that a computer programmer.
* All product names used in this webpage are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Line 6. These trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose tones and sounds were studied during Line 6’s sound model development.