WCA #114 with Monte Vallier

Working Class Audio Session #114 with Monte Vallier!!!


Monte Vallier grew up in the Bay Area and launched his musical career by dropping out of high school and moving to London with his band Half Church who he played  bass with. After making a record and playing tons of gigs with bands such as The Fall, Echo and the Bunnymen, and PIL,  the band called it quits in 1986. After interning at The music annex and Coast Recorders (Bay Area) Monte built his own studio with engineer Gibbs Chapman that was destroyed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake . It was that same year that Monte started working with the band Swell as a bass player. They Made 5 albums and toured extensively in the 90’s and eventually signed to Rick Rubin’s Def American label in 1993. They made all their our own records starting with a Tascam 38 but then took all the recording advances and bought more gear. They built studios in LA and NYC and in various places in SF to make the records. Monte says he truly learned how to a make a proper record while working with Swell. After Monte left Swell he got busy by producing other people partnered  with Marc Capelle to pursue commercial composition, film scoring, and corporate music and audio post , formed Jet Black Crayon with Tommy Guerrero and toured a bit, making  3 albums then working on 9 solo records for Tommy. Eventually Monte partnered with Jamie Kahn and Nathan Harlow to create a recording space in San Francisco in 2006.

Monte has worked with many bands and solo artists including,
Tommy Guerrero, Wax Idols, Mark Eitzel, Sean Hayes, Oxbow, Chuck Dukowski and Blackface, Weekend, Mall Walk, Houses of Heaven, Never Young, Wild Moth, Hariguem Zaboy, Terry Malts, The Mattson 2, Young Prisms, Wax Idols, Jet Black Crayon, The Mumlers. The Soft Moon, BLKTOP Project, Vetiver, Rova Saxophone Quartet (OrchestraRova-Larry Ochs), [the] caseworker, Beautiful Machines, Tomorrow’s Tulips, Peggy Honeywell, GoJoGo, Kelley Stoltz,  Money Mark, Swell, The Japanese Motors, Erik Arnaud, My Diet Pill, Warbler, Kurt Nilsen, Ice Sun, Xiu Xiu, TODD, Bunuel, LiXi, Seventeen Evergreen, Rupa and the April Fishes, Ghost in the City, Trust.

Check Monte out at:

www.ruminatoraudio.com and www.momentamusic.com

WCA #113 with Mike Wells

Working Class Audio Session #113 with Mike Wells!!!


Mike Wells has spent the last 15 plus years mastering, complimented by a lifetime in music as a musician, music theory graduate, recording artist, and recording/mixing engineer. From San Francisco to Los Angeles, Mike has had one hell of a  journey to get to the point of working with artists such as Green Day, PARRI$, Prince, and Gridlock. While we all have career ups and downs of which Mike is no stranger, Mike also spent many years trying to decipher a medical condition that developed later in his life that was eventually diagnosed as  Epilepsy.  Not to be deterred by his diagnosis and the seizures that come as a result, Mike developed his mastering business which is known for his incredible attention to detail and going the extra mile for his clients.  After many challenges that would stop most people, Mike persevered and is now at a point where he is longer facing the daily threat of seizures with the help of 21st century medicine. The biggest take away from this interview is that Mike doesn’t have a “poor me” attitude. He is upbeat and forward thinking and that’s inspiring .  Mike joins us from his studio in Los Angeles.




WCA #112 with Frank Wolf

Working Class Audio Session #112 with Frank Wolf!!!


Although Frank Wolf’s background was in music, he found myself drawn to “the other side of the glass” and changed his studies to Physics and Electrical Engineering.  While in college, Frank also built and ran a small studio with an old ½” Scully at it’s heart. (ahh analog!) During those years, he met the folks at The Village Recorder, and when he graduated, he was immediately hired as a tech.  While there, the staff was given permission to use the studios any time they were open so Frank was able to hone his craft with many, many hours of studio time!  One of the bands he worked with got a record deal, Frank left his employ, recorded their album and has been independent ever since.  Frank worked almost exclusively on records for many years, but eventually got and took the opportunity to start in both TV and Feature Films. For the next several years, he worked on many of Disney’s and Pixar’s animated films while also meeting and developing working relationships with many other composers and film studios.

Frank talks to Matt from his home in Los Angles about his background, tech talk about his home mixing setup and the templates he uses to mix music for major motion pictures as well as finances.

Show Notes:

John Cuniberti’s ONEMIC series as mentioned in the monologue.



WCA #111 with Nathan Harlow

Working Class Audio Session #111 with Nathan Harlow!!!


Nathan Harlow grew up in San Francisco, played in bands and eventually found his way into the world of live sound. 20 years later, his experience touring, mixing, recording and doing system design has allowed him the opportunity to work with artists such as Prince, Rob Zombie, Sonic Youth, Bebel Gilberto, Medeski, Martin and Wood and Primus. His skills are also in demand at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California, the Warfield Theater and Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California. On top of his live sound skills doing monitors or front of house Nathan is also trained in systems management and room acoustics. He states that his intention is to use his unique set of skills to assist in the creation of beauty and inspiration with elegance and grace.

Matt heads into San Francisco to chat with Nathan in person in his studio South of Market.


WCA #110 NAMM Power Chat

Working Class Audio Session #110 NAMM Power Chat!!!


I took a trip from NORCAL to SOCAL to hit NAMM 2017. As I arrived I decided to put together a show based on “Power Chats/Talks”. 20 minute or so quick chats with friends about certain topics. Ben Lindell from Puremix, Sean McLaughlin, Andy Freeman, Gary Boss of Audio-Technica and Vance Powell joined me. Enjoy!


WCA #109 with Justin Pizzoferrato

WCA #109 with Justin Pizzoferrato

Working Class Audio Session #109 with Justin Pizzoferrato!!!


Justin Pizzoferrato is a recording engineer based out of western Massachusetts. He owns and runs Sonelab with Mark Alan Miller and also freelances from time to time.

Justin has worked with such bands as Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Speedy Ortiz, Elder, and many more in the rock genre. He got his start freelancing around Boston. After moving to western Mass, he noted the lack of studios and decided to open up his own facility. When he’s not in the studio, he’s hanging out with his wife and son, biking, or buying too many records!

Justin chats with Matt over Skype about Sonelab, recording life before kids, freelancing and work ethic.

Justin’s studio: Sonelab

WCA #108 with Chris Montgomery

WCA #108 with Chris Montgomery

Working Class Audio Session #108 with Chris Montgomery!!!


Chris Montgomery is an audio engineer and producer living and working in New York City. Having grown up in Glasgow, Scotland, he brings a musical heritage from one of the most prolific and diverse music scenes and applies this to his work in studio, live and field audio production. From live sound at The Bitter End to studio work and location sound at Dubway Studios, Chris digs in and tries it all.

Chris has worked with many notable artists including The Lumineers, Mumford And Sons, The Killers, Florence And The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Sheryl Crow and Damien Rice.

Having recently finished an 18 month period touring with multi-platinum recording artist, Rachel Platten, Chris is now focusing on a move to Los Angeles with the intention of opening a new studio. Chris talks with Matt about his decision to move from Glasgow, Half & Half, having a willingness to say yes to work and his new console.

More details can be found at www.chris-audio.com


WCA #107 with Chris Graham

WCA #107 with Chris Graham

Working Class Audio Session #107 with Chris Graham!!!


Chris Graham runs Chris Graham Mastering outside of Columbus, Ohio. Chris joined Matt for a Skype call from his mastering studio to talk about integrity, his business, his website,  the tools he uses to stay organized and audio conspiracy theories!

The following bio is from Chris’ website www.chrisgrahammastering.com

Before I became a full time audio mastering engineer, I was an audio engineer, music producer and musician. Like other audio engineers, I occasionally was put in the uncomfortable position of having to master my own mixes due to an artist’s budget problems. Mastering anything you’ve also mixed is a nightmare, but I quickly grew fascinated with the process and began acquiring specialized audio mastering equipment and software and working hard to hone my skills.

I started mastering every unmastered album I could get my hands on, and after showing my producer friends the results I was achieving, I was soon being asked to master albums all the time. Eventually, more and more people began asking me to master their projects, and I grew to really look forward to the reactions I would get after sending them my work. I soon realized that I enjoyed mastering music for other people more than I had ever enjoyed producing, engineering or even playing my own music professionally. As the projects kept coming in, I decided in 2008 to devote all my efforts to providing music mastering services, and stopped accepting work as an mix engineer or producer.

I had my mastering studio built, and the choice felt right in my heart. I couldn’t be more pleased with where that decision has taken me. Few things give me more satisfaction than the feedback I receive from people about how excited they are that their recordings are finally “coming to life.”

I still occasionally find the time to get out on the road and play my own music, but I prefer to stay home with my wife & our three kids and master music for a living. Mastering music for a living has been a blast and I love meeting and working with the incredible people from all over the globe that come to me for their mastering services.

My family and I live just north of Columbus, Ohio. My wife and I love Jesus, hanging out with our kids, leading Young Life, our Aeropress coffee maker, books, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

If you’d like to get to know me a little more before sending your project my way, please give me a call or send me an email.

Chris can be reached at: www.chrisgrahammastering.com

WCA #106 with Don Zientara

WCA #106 with Don Zientara

Working Class Audio Session #106 with Don Zientara!!!


Don Zientara is a musician and recording engineer as well as the owner and chief engineer at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, Virginia located outside of Washington DC. Don has a varied background that is part art, part military, part electronics  and ultimately all music and recording. While Don records many kinds of music, he is best known for his work with Dischord Records and DC Hardcore bands including The Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Fugazi and Bad Brains as well as many, many more.

Matt stopped in to Inner Ear Studios while on a recent trip to the Washington/Virginia area to interview Don in person. Enjoy!

WCA #105 with Michael Ashby

WCA #104 with Michael Ashby

Working Class Audio Session #105 with Michael Ashby!!!


Michael Ashby is next generation audio engineer who started out as a drummer, he was inspired by Grammy award winning engineers like Jaycen Joshua and Craig Bauermix. Michael has mixed for multiple Sony & Universal artists on his way up including Timbaland’s BK Brasco, Latoya Jackson, Fetty Wap, Sixx John (by Neyo), Grafh and more! He’s attracting the industry’s attention due to the overwhelming positive feedback from countless clients in every corner of the country. He has worked with a wide variety of underground artists since 2007. Michael is also a graduate of SAE Institute (School of Audio Engineering) in NYC. Michael is also the owner and chief engineer of Krematorium Studio in Long Island, New York .

Michael joins Matt over Skype for a conversation about his studio, his work schedule and his thinking behind building a studio business.


Michael Ashby on Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | SoundCloud