WCA #089 with Ben Hirschfield and Scott Goodrich

Ben Hirschfield and Scott Goodrich

Working Class Audio Session #089 with Ben Hirschfield and Scott Goodrich!!!

Ben Hirschfield and Scott Goodrich are studio partners at Nu-Tone Studios. If you have followed my conversations with Chris Dugan and/or Willie Samuels  you’ll recognize their names. I thought stopping by Nu-Tone and chatting with these guys would be a great way to follow up on a story that started with Dugan and Samuels.

Ben Hirschfield began playing music at an early age and almost immediately became obsessed with the recording process. By high school, he was constantly making recordings for his own bands, as well as those of his peers. After touring nationally and internationally with his own music, Ben began focusing more intently on recording. While attending Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, he founded the now defunct Imperial Recording Studio with fellow engineer Scott Goodrich. Imperial quickly became a go to spot for local and national indie acts. While still running his own studio, Ben began an internship at Jingletown Recording, which led to a full time gig at the facility. Since 2012 he has been calling Nu-Tone Studios his home base, occasionally freelancing out of other Bay Area studios. He has produced, engineered, and/or mixed for artists including Against Me!, Green Day, Mobin’s Child, NOFX and The Story So Far.

Scott Goodrich is a Recording and Mixing Engineer from Oakland, California. He began as an intern at Jingletown Recording immediately out of school, and later established his profession in his parent’s garage with Ben Hirschfield at Imperial Recording Studios. Scott joined the Nu-Tone Studios family in 2012, and has since recorded bands such as The Story So Far, Culture Abuse, Worthwhile, and other notable groups. He’s worked alongside Hopeless Records, Pure Noise Records, Equal Vision, 6131 Records, and Adeline Records on a handful of successful projects. When outside the studio, Scott sings and plays guitar in his band, Daydream.

As I mentioned in the show monologue, here is the Go Fund Me page for the employees of Presonus who lost everything in the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  https://www.gofundme.com/2tf4gxh8

Also below are various links for Ben Hirschfield and Scott Goodrich. Make sure and check out some the pictures of Nu-Tone .







WCA #088 with Willie Samuels

Working Class Audio with Willie Samuels

Working Class Audio Session #088 with Willie Samuels!!!

Willie Samuels is Studio Trilogy’s senior engineer. A recording engineer, producer and musician with some serious studio chops, Willie began his career in his teens by operating a “guerilla style” mobile studio out of his parents old station wagon, traveling to record local bands in their rehearsal spaces, garages, or whatever space he could find that sounded good. By the time he was 18, he was an engineer and producer, working independently in many of the Bay Area’s historic studios. In 1996 he and partner Chris Dugan opened Nu-tone Studios in Pittsburg, California, which quickly became a mecca for local and national independent artists. In 2006 Willie began freelancing at the newly constructed studios of Talking House Productions in San Francisco. A few months later, he joined the production team at Talking House, serving as a staff engineer and continuing his quest to serve and develop local talent. In April 2010 Willie partnered with Justin Lieberman and Cindy McSherry to open Studio Trilogy. In addition to engineering and producing, Willie also works collaboratively with Justin and Cindy on sales and marketing for the studio.

Willie joins Matt for a discussion at WCA headquarters in Lafayette, CA for a discussion on personal sacrifice, doing what you love, working with CHris Dugan and potential changes coming in the future.

Studio Trilogy

Nu-Tone Studios

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WCA #087 with Lolly Lewis

Working Class Audio with Lolly Lewis

Working Class Audio Session #087 with Lolly Lewis!!!

Lolly Lewis studied voice, composition, and electronic music at UC Santa Cruz. While still in college, she was recruited for the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival’s Audio/Recording Institute, and she was Director of Recordings at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1981 – 1993.

In 1984 Lolly coordinated audio playback of her recording of John AdamsLight Over Water for its premiere performance in Los Angeles (Museum of Contemporary Art) and New York (Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music). In 1989 she toured with the Kronos Quartet providing live playback of the recorded portion of Steve Reich‘s Different Trains.

In 1998 she toured with Chanticleer as production and stage manager. Producing projects include the opera Tania (by composer Anthony Davis and based on the story of Patty Hearst), a premiere recording of orchestral music by Harlem Renaissance composer Florence Price, and a program of new chamber music works by composer Mario Davidovsky. She recently recorded all 68 of Haydn’s string quartets with San Francisco’s New Esterhazy Quartet in live performance.

As a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Lolly sang on numerous recordings including their 1995 Grammy-winning Brahms Requiem. She just completed a five year project for the San Francisco Symphony, running the COMMUNITY OF MUSIC MAKERS program.

Lolly sits down with Matt for a conversation that covers her recording rig, her thoughts on live music as well as many analogies of sports and movies and plays as they relate to recording.

Lolly’s company – Transparent Recordings 

Lolly on Facebook. 

WCA #086 with Emmit Brooks

Working Class Audio with Emmit Brooks

Working Class Audio Session #086 with Emmit Brooks!!!

Emmit Brooks has run Gold Dust Studios in the same location since 1975 in the Southwest city of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Gold Dust started as a home based studio at a time when very few people had home studios and it even included an echo chamber buried in the backyard! Emmit was a member of the famed Aggie Ramblers  Western Swing band that formed in 1957, playing guitar. After a recording session with Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico,  Emmit was bit by the recording “bug” and stayed in touch with Petty over the years. Petty was known for his work with Buddy Holly and the Crickets and he not only advised but also a major influence. Emmit was a from Melrose, New Mexico and moved to Las Cruces to attend New Mexico Sate University.

Matt joins Emmit at his studio in Las Cruces for a discussion about the history of Emmit’s studio and his career.

Emmit’s Studio http://www.goldustudios.com/

Bonus Pictures of Emmit’s studio.


WCA #085 with Jeremy Goody

Working Class Audio #085 with Jeremy Goody

Working Class Audio Session #085 with Jeremy Goody!!!

Jeremy Goody is the owner/operator at Megasonic Sound in Oakland, California and a has been a Bay Area audio engineer/producer and performing musician since 1990. After recording school Jeremy worked his way up the engineer chain at various Bay Area studios including Skyline and Bay Records. Eventually he started  the first incarnation of Megasonic in a West Oakland warehouse across from a cement factory. Jeremy eventually moved out of the warehouse and  into a family owned building to create version 2.0 of Megasonic.  With a desire to build a studio of high quality, he hired famed studio designer Chris Pelonis to design the studio and Brian Hood ( Listen to Brian on WCA #084) to build. The results can be seen in our video tour below.

Jeremy has worked with John Santos (2 grammy nominations), SFJAZZ,  Anticon label, Lyrics Born. Jeremy is also a current member of Winfred E. Eye and played in: Dance Hall Crashers, Cat Five, Pitch Black, Damon and the Heathens, The Uptones. He’s recorded 3 Solo discs as Balanceman. Matt talks with Jeremy about the studio process of the studio build, his history and his financial approach to his studio business.

Check out Disktracker which is mentioned in the show.





WCA #084 with Brian Hood

Working Class Audio with Brian Hood

Working Class Audio Session #084 with Brian Hood!!!

Brian Hood is a rare combination of recording engineer, musician, journeyman studio builder and master carpenter. Brian along with his amazing crew built the new Tiny Telephone Studio Oakland, California that opened in January of 2016,  as well as Tiny Telephone Studio B in San Francisco and many other studios large and small in the Bay Area. Brian has a perspective that sees the studio from “all sides of the glass” which most do not have.  When building the new Tiny Telephone, it was decided to run the studio for 6 months then close down for a month to see what changes needed to be made with regards to their Neve console, acoustics, and any other changes that needed attention. Matt catches up first with Tiny Telephone studio owner John Vandeslice for a catch up interview on what they have learned in the last 6 months since opening. Matt then follows up with Brian Hood  to hear his perspective on the build as well as learn about Brian’s multi-faceted world of construction, music and recording.

Check out Brian’s pictures taken during the Tiny Telephone studio build. http://www.workingclassaudio.com/wca-bonus-content/bonus-content-brian-hood-wca-084/

WCA #083 with Pablo Munguia

Working Class Audio with Pablo Munguia

Working Class Audio Session #083 with Pablo Munguia!!!

Pablo Munguia earned  a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After trying his hand at making a records with a friend Pablo decided to  attended Berklee School of Music where he studied music production and engineering. He then graduated in 1997.

Pablo moved to Los Angeles and joined Westlake Audio, where he assisted renowned producers and engineers including Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, David Foster, Randy Jackson, Tommy Vicari, and Matt Forger, as well as recording artists such as Sting, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Carole King, Ricky Martin, Eros Ramazzotti, Michel Polnareff, Usher, L.L. Cool J., Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys. As a freelance engineer, Munguía worked with NSYNC and Britney Spears on two multi-platinum releases. He also engineered for the Who, Lionel Richie, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, and the Backstreet Boys, and for top Mexican artists like Thalia, Paulina Rubio, and Carlos Cuevas.

Munguía has been nominated for 16 Primetime Emmy Awards and won five times in the category Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special. He has also worked with the audio teams responsible for the Super Bowl halftime show, The American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, The Billboard Awards, and the BET Awards. Additionally, Munguía has worked on American Idol, the X-Factor, and the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics in China. In Mexico, he worked on the Pan American Games and was in charge of the audio for La Academia: Última Generación.

On the academic side, from 2006 to 2009, Munguía worked in the Entertainment Studies Department at the University of California, Los Angeles Extension (UCLA Extension), where he was part of the committee that revamped the institution’s curriculum, and also taught Advanced Audio Engineering Techniques and Independent Music Production.

Pablo talks with Matt over Skype from Valencia. Spain about his early days at MIT, making records in Mexico, immigration, unions and his transition from making to records to working on live television.

Plus here’s a link to the book mentioned in this episode.


WCA #082 with Justin Phelps

Working Class Audio interview with Justin Phelps

Working Class Audio Session #082 with Justin Phelps!!!

Justin Phelps is currently the Chief engineer and designer of the Hallowed Halls recording studios located in Portland, Oregon. Justin began his career in 1996 at San Fransisco’s famed Coast Recorders  as the house engineer. At Coast Justin received considerable guidance from Chief engineer/producer John Cuniberti and studio owner/gear guru Dan Alexander. Four years later Justin switched to being a freelance engineer and spent the next few years working out of the Bay Areas finest studios including The Plant, Prairie Sun, Studio 880, Tiny Telephone and Studio D . In 2004 he acquired the lease to  Hyde Street Studio C which is considered one of the more historic recording spaces in San Francisco. After restoring Studio C to it’s former glory it became one of the busiest rooms in San Francisco for the next five years. Justin met his wife Deanna Phelps  in San Francisco and shortly after the birth of their first daughter they began a new chapter by relocating to Portland, Oregon.

In 2010 Justin founded Cloud City Sound with  Super Digital owner and veteran engineer Rick McMillen.  In the summer of 2014 Justin  recorded and album for  Bike Thief .  . Like most album productions it lead to a lasting relationship between he and Bike Thief members Febian Perez and Greg Allen. It also lead to the making of an incredible new studio. that ended up becoming The Hallowed Halls. Justin was hired to design and build the studio in a former library.  The facility features one of the best sounding large tracking rooms in the Pacific Northwest and is home to Justin’s personal studio and mix room as well.

Justin talks to Matt about his early days working at Coast Recorders,  about his family’s new guitar business, and about leaving the Bay Area

More on Justin at www.justinphelpsrecording.com

Photo by Ryne Freed

WCA #081 with Drew Bollman

Working Class Audio #081 with Drew Bollman

Working Class Audio Session #081 with Drew Bollman!!!

Drew Bollman moved to Nashville in 1998 and started interning and assisting at the Sound Kitchen. While Drew worked with many great engineers he happened to meet and work with  Justin Niebank (Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts,  Brad Paisley, and Kenny Chesney) and would end up working him for over 10 years. That experience and training  allowed Drew to start first engineering for other projects and become an in demand freelance engineer working non-stop. Since then Drew has worked with artists such as Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill, Hunter Hayes, Keith Urban, and Patty Loveless as well as many other great artists. IN 2010 Drew won a Grammy  for best Bluegrass album of the year.

Drew was on vacation at his parents house but graciously agreed to an interview. Matt and Drew discuss the ins and outs of freelance engineering in Nashville, work/life balance and his favorite producer/engineers in and outside of Nashville.

Link to recording using Audio-Technica AT 2035 mentioned in sponsor break. https://soundcloud.com/josephinejohnsonsings/light-it-up

WCA #080 with Jessica Thompson

WCA #080 with Jessica Thompson

Working Class Audio Session #080 with Jessica Thompson!!!

Jessica Thompson is our featured guest on WCA #080 . Jessica is a Grammy-nominated mastering and restoration engineer as well as an archiving specialist who has digitized, restored and revived historic recordings including The Bottom Line, Caffè Lena, Erroll Garner, the Woody Guthrie Archives and the Newport Jazz and Folk Festival, which included performances by Pete Seeger, Roger McGuinn, Dave Von Ronk, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doc Watson, Miles Davis and Jean Ritchie.
Jessica’s remaster of Erroll Garner’s iconic recording The Complete Concert By The Sea (Sony/Legacy) was nominated for the Best Historical Album Grammy in 2016.
 In addition Jessica  has also cleaned, digitized and restored rare vinyl and cassette recordings for Awesome Tapes From Africa and many Numero Group compilations.
 In her previous career as a radio producer, she interviewed drummer Max Roach and the organ player at Fenway Park for WGBH. Additionally she has spun records and CDs on the airwaves of WGBH, WFMU, WZBC and WESU.
Jessica joins Matt for a discussion about restoration and mastering while really diving into the nitty gritty of the craft.
Links mentioned in the show.