Zak `Thready` Threadgill
 Zak `Thready` Threadgill

September 15th, 2022

SoundGym Hero: Zak `Thready` Threadgill

Lead engineer for Auction House Beats with a passion for poker, currently from Minneapolis, MN, Zak “Thready” Threadgill is this month's SoundGym Hero!

Who are you, and where are you from?

My name is Zak “Thready” Threadgill. I’m the lead engineer for Auction House Beats,  located in Minneapolis, MN.  I’m currently 30 and loving life.  Music is a passion for me, and engineering has led me down an amazing life path.

How did you get into music?

I first got into music while in High School. I would spend an hour or two playing around with FL studio making electronic music and hip-hop beats.  It was never something I thought I would seriously pursue as an adult.

I was an athlete most of my life until I had a career-ending knee injury while playing rugby. I had torn ligaments in both knees, which required a LOT of rest. I didn’t enjoy partying or going out because it took a lot of effort just to leave the house. I quickly sank into a depression.  That’s when I found music.  

It became a passion that grew continuously, and by my senior year, I decided I wanted to pursue music as a career no matter how much time and effort it took. The journey wasn’t quick, but it was worth doing. I've been interested in music for about 10 years but have worked professionally as a studio engineer for a year and a half.

What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?

Outside of music, Poker is definitely my next passion.  I love the idea that it’s both skill and luck.  It’s one of the few professional sports in the world where a very good amateur can have a legitimate chance at beating a professional.  I currently play in a free weekly tournament with points and a season.

I also enjoy driving go-karts and was part of a league for a while.  It’s such a fun way to let off steam. Plus, I feel nostalgic and pretend I’m in Mario Kart.  I think the kid inside of me is always looking for fun.

What inspires you to keep making music?

Knowing that I can impact other people's lives is a big motivator. I’ve got Bipolar Disorder, and music has become an outlet for depression.  As I’ve gotten older, I found the more vulnerable and open I am about sharing my story and music’s role in my life, the more other people open up about their struggles.

It’s also incredibly rewarding to hear you’ve impacted somebody’s life in some way or form. Music is a universal language that speaks to people in different ways. One song can change the lives of countless people who relate to the lyrics.

If you could sit down to a session with any artist, who would it be?

Kanye West. He was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, so I relate to him in that aspect.  The man has accomplished basically everything he said he would while the rest of the world called him crazy.  So I respect that about him.

I feel it’d be interesting to ask what his advice would be for young artists, engineers, and producers.  

Any habits you have before starting a session?

In the mornings, I like to start my days with meditation and coffee.  It helps relax my mind and build the motivation I need to work throughout the day.

I start ear training and do SoundGym as a warm-up before working on mixing and mastering projects.  This routine has been a huge part of my ability to grow as a person and engineer.  It gives me confidence that I’m proving and headed in the right direction in my career.

If you could pick one, what would be the theme song of your life?

"Meant to Live: by Switchfoot.  It’s a song that reminds me life is about other people.  It reminds me that my fulfillment comes from my impact on others.  Awards and accolades are great, but they don’t bring long-term happiness. I get hyped up and motivated to help others when I hear the song.

What is your favorite piece of music gear you own?

It depends on what the job is. I love my Apollo Twin for recording, and it also introduced me to Universal Audio and some of my favorite plugins. I mix completely in the box right now, so I love plugins based on hardware.  

The first plugin on almost every mix is the UAD Ampex ATR-102.  It adds depth to the mix and gets you that “analog feeling” very easily.  So by default, that would be my favorite plugin though I use Slate Digital’s FG-Stress as the first compressor on most of my vocal chains for the thickness I can get with the release.

What is your favorite SoundGym feature? 

I’m a competitive person, so seeing what percentage you rank at is a big motivator for me. 

Turning ear training into a “game” with levels and high scores is brilliant. I know my ears are getting better because the games get harder and harder as you go, but I can pass them the more I play. Seeing my score and trying to beat myself keeps me feeling like I’m always taking a footstep forward as an engineer.

What's your most useless skill or talent?

Hindsight, by far, is my most useless talent.  One must pay attention and time your words perfectly when pointing out something obvious in a situation.  Everyone must know and think it, but you must be the one to say it.  There's a lot of self-doubts that can stop people from stating the obvious, like "Do I need to say it?"  I overcame that doubt.  But it's totally useless as the wrong decision was already made in the past.

What does the future hold for Zak “Thready” Threadgill? 

Right now, I’m focused most heavily on engineering and producing music for work while advocating for mental health as a personal mission. I’ve been sponsoring a local Taco Tuesday in Minneapolis with an amazing open mic.  

I believe with dedicated ear training (why I love SoundGym), I can only get better.  My goal is to work on a billboard-topping song.  I love my work and can’t wait to see what’s coming.


You can follow Zak Threadgill on his WebsiteFacebookInstagram


Yohai Zilber
Sep 15
It was great to get to know you!
Fritz Dean
Sep 15
Great interview..
Cuantas Vacas
Sep 15
Very inspiring. Nice to meet you, Zak.
tom snow
Sep 15
Colin Aiken
Sep 16
IL Gualdo
Sep 16
Appreciate all the kind words! This career truly rewards those who put in the work. Looking forward to hearing everyone else's journeys!
Udo Keimig
Sep 18
Grats :-)

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