DIY Producer Profile: Josh Jakubowski

How long he’s been producing: Since 2001
Home studio location: Cannon Road Recording Studio, Freehold, NJ
Resume: A Life Once Lost’s A Great Artist, the Gaslight Anthem’s Sink or Swim, Lickgoldensky’s Lickgoldensky
Seminal recording: Hot Cross’ Risk Revival
Most well-known recording: My Chemical Romance’s Astro Zombies (off the Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland soundtrack)

You’ve played in bands forever. Why’d you want to start recording them?
  “It was by default. Someone needed to record demos for my bands, so I did it. Then it got to the point of making real records for them. I started working with Vince [Ratti, Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer]. He was a good teacher. He made me realize I enjoyed the recording process.”

Does being a musician help you to be a better engineer?
“One-hundred percent. I put myself into the guitarist’s shoes, the drummer’s, the singer’s, whoever. I’ve recorded so many times as a musician, [so] I know what I want the guitar to sound like, or how it should blend with the vocal melody. I think engineers who aren’t musicians have a harder time because, and this might sound weird, but it’s a spiritual thing. In the end, it isn’t about a sick tone or a $5.000 amp. It’s about getting an energy. It really has to have energy.”

In addition to owning a home studio, you’ve worked in professional ones. How do the experiences compare?
“There’s two completely defferent situations. In my studio, I feel like I’ve had a different relationship with my clients. But I learned a ton working in professional studios. It’s also cool to hear and work in different rooms, to work in a sick control room the size of a gymnasium, while Aretha  Franklin mixes her new record downstairs.”

Do you think home studios are affecting the big pro ones?
“Absolutely. Bands that would have been going to the professionals are now using their advances and royalties to build their own studios. Why spend §30.000 recording in a studio when you can put that money into building your own? All the famous places are closing. It’s a dying industry. There aren’t huge-budget records like there used to be.”

What do you recommend to bands who are going somewhere to record?
“Do as much pre-production as possible. Make sure everything is straight. i did Circa Survive’s first demos with Colin [Frangicetto], so Anthony [Green] could start writing his vocal melodies. You have to do as many demos like that as possible. I tell the singer to get their shit together a month in advance. Start training early and often, like it’s an Olympic sport.”

What about those who want to start their own home studio?
“Pick your projects wisely. Make sure you mesh with the people you want to record. It doesn’t mean you have to love their music. But you should make sure you can work together personality-wise as well as direction-wise.”

Is there one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
“The [Shure SM] 57 microphone. The 57 is always your best friend, when in doubt, go to the 57. It’s so fucking standard, but that’s because it’s so versatile. It can also take a beating.”

Has it in the studio?
“Hell yeah! I’ve had A Life Once Lost in here.”

SOURCE: Alternative Press Magazine


DIY Producer Profile: Stephen Pedersen

How long he’s been playing: Since 2000
Home studio location: His basement, Omaha, NE
Resume: Bright Eye’s A Christmas Album, Criteria’s When We Break, The Loekill’s These Moments Are Momentum
Seminal recording: Criteria’s En Garde
Most well-known recording: Tilly And The Wall’s Wild Like Children (“This record blew up, and then I accidentally delected the whole thing from my hard drive”, Pedersen laments.)

These days, do you think it’s worth it to spend big bucks to record in a traditional studio, or can most albums be made in a home environment?
   “I think it depends on the artist. With a big bucks studio comes a producer and all kinds of fun instruments. So if you’re the type who needs some direction or someone to bounce ideas off of, then it might be worth the expense. But for my purposes, the home studio is ideal; especially in light of the fact that free time is hard to come by as of late. The convenience of having it all right there in my basement is crucial to my making music.”

What’s the recording process generally like for Criteria?
 “Once I’m marginally keen on my own records the album in its entirety in my home – then I use my favorite rock drummer, Michael Sweeney, to lay down drum tracks. On When We Break, we tracked the drums in our bassist AJ Mogis’ [Presto! Recording Studios] in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the majority of the remaining instruments were tracked in my asement along with vocals. When all the tracks are recorded, AJ takes my weak-sauce tracks and polishes them into razor-sharp diamonds of thunderbolt roc.”

What was the biggest obstacle to recording your own albums?
“The biggest obstacle making my own records was not sucking the life out of the sogs by recording and re-recording each little riff. With Criteria, we were not afforded the luxury of having time to record together in a room rocking out in unison, so I was tasked with creating a sense of urgency and liveliness.”

What do you think is the biggest advantage and disadventage to home recording?
  “It might sound weird, but the biggest advantage is that I can edit myself as often as I choose; the biggest disadvantage is too much time to edit myself. Ultimately, te main challenge is creating energy and urgency in recordings that are pieced together over months in a windowless basement.”

Do you think traditional studios will ever be completely obsolete?
  “No. I hope not. I still need them – and AJ Mogis – to make my records sound like sweet, sweet rock lightning.”

SOURCE: Alternative Press Magazine