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

WCA #104 with Andy Deguara

WCA #104 with Andy DeGuara

Working Class Audio Session #104 with Andy Deguara!!!


Andy Deguara is a studio owner, audio engineer and producer working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His recording career started in 1994 as a Junior in High school. He obtained his first 4 track recorder and immediately started recording his friend’s vocals and D.J. mixes. It soon became very clear that He wanted to work in a studio recording and mixing records.

By 1997 Andy had moved up from his 4 track tape recorder to a single 8 track digital tape recorder and a small mixer. He also acquired a keyboard and sequencer which he was using along with the recorder to write and record songs. He would later have people write and record vocals to the music he created. This was the beginning of A&D Studios.

In 1998 Andy decided he wanted to fast track his recording knowledge and decided to attend the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Science in Tempe Arizona. Here he gained extensive knowledge in understanding acoustics, signal flow, Basic equipment maintenance and electrical engineering, along with live sound and music business.

Upon completing the Program Andy returned to the bay area where he began working for M.A.R.S Studios (Music Arts Recording Studio) in Aptos California. Andy started as an assistant engineer working on a variety of projects. Eventually he got the opportunity to engineer and run sessions on his own.

While working at M.A.R.S. Andy also continued making and recording music at his home studio. At this point he was running a full 24 tracks for recording and a 32 channel mixing board. His gear collection also continued to grow substantially. In the fall of 2000 Andy came across an opportunity to lease some office/warehouse space. He jumped on the opportunity and began building out a full studio. The studio consisted of a large control room, a good sized recording room, and a separated iso booth.

For the next 14 years this was the home of A&D Studios where Andy recorded a variety of projects that ranged from singer songwriters, independent record labels, independent Artists, and corporate work. Andy Worked with Artists like blues man Kenny Neal, rapper Too Short, and Metal Band Jeoff Tates’s Queensrych.

In 2014 the building that housed A&D studios was sold to developers. Andy was forced temporarily close down the studio and find a new location.

After two months of searching and not finding a suitable location that was not overpriced by the bay area’s skyrocketing real-estate market, a new opportunity was presented to Andy. A local community college that he had done work with in the past just finished construction of a new building that housed a space that was built and dedicated as a recording studio. The college offered Andy the opportunity to rent the space and use as a home base when classes were not in session. This new arrangement has allowed Andy the ability to change the way he operates his studio and has created new opportunities.

Since establishing the relationship with the college Andy has built a private 280sqft home studio which gives him the ability to edit and mix in his home studio and use the college studio to record and work on projects with clients. He also works closely with the college to help maintain the studio. He currently co-teaches some of the recording classes as well as holds special recording seminars for the students.

Andy Continues to record mix and produce records at A&D Studios as well as in his private studio. He also is available for freelance work and travels to studios all around to work on projects.

Andy’s TuffShed Pics.

Monologue Notes

SFgate article on Barret Clark

WCA #103 with Pat Patten

WCA #103 with Pat Patten

Working Class Audio Session #103 with Pat Patten!!!


Pat Patten came to be on Working Class Audio through a set of random circumstances. At our 100th show we chose his name at random to win a set of Audio-Technica  headphones. After talking Pat on the phone I realized he would make a great guest for the WCA podcast. He sent me his resume which is filled with a wide variety of jobs and experience including President of Commercial Sight & Sound, Inc., CEO of Kinekom, Inc., Studio Manager and Talent Buyer, Senior Record Producer and Festival Promoter, and now Mastering Engineer | Music Mentor-Manager and Music Educator at CEC (Central Education Center), Charter College & Career Academy. AT 60 years young Pat  continues the journey in the small town of La Grange, Georgia. We discuss relationship building, his students, and family. Check out http://www.jamgood.com/live/

Mentioned in the interview for those in California is the post production tax incentive.



WCA #102 with Frank McDonough

WCA #102 with Frank Mcdonough

Working Class Audio Session #102 with Frank McDonough!!!


WCA #101 with Leff Lefferts

WCA #101 with Leff Lefferts

Working Class Audio Session #101 with Leff Lefferts!!!


Leff Lefferts has spent the his career working in audio for  music and film. He graduated from Berklee college and music with a degree in Music Production & Engineering in 1997 and  joined on at the famous Plant Studios in Sausalito, California that same year as an intern. He quickly moved up to assistant engineer and was able to work on records with Metallica, Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Primus, Oysterhead and Joe Satriani. In 2003 after leaving the Plant (which later closed it’s doors) Leff signed started working at Cutting Edge Audio in San Francisco  to handle Pro Tools System Design & support. It’s through Cutting Edge that Leff made contacts at Skywalker Sound where he would ultimately end up working next stating in 2006 as a Digital Audio Technician. In 2008 Leff made a lateral move to take on the role of Assistant Sound Designer, Sound Editor, Mixer working with the legendary Randy Thom.  In the position Leff has gone on to work on films such as Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age 3-5, Coraline, Rio, Flight, How to Train Your Dragon 1&2, Crimson Peak, The Walk, The Revenant and Allied.

Leff and Matt (who have been friends since the early 2000’s meet at Matt’s house for a chat. They were accompanied by Matt’s Bulldog Moto who snored for 90% of the interview.

WCA #100 with Stephen Hart and Cookie Marenco

WCA #100 with Stephen Hart and Cookie MarencoWCA #100 with Stephen Hart and Cookie Marenco

Working Class Audio Session #100 with Stephen Hart & Cookie Marenco!!!


Well here it is,  WCA #100! This was recorded at 25th Street Recording in Oakland, California on Friday, November 18th in front of a live audience. You can either watch it on Facebook  or listen to the podcast. This episode features Stephen Hart and Cookie Marenco. Enjoy!

More On Stephen

Stephen is a former  mixer in residence / chief engineer at the “The Site Recording” in Marin County, Director of Recording Services and owned “the mixroom” at Bay Area Sound Studios and chief engineer and lead mixer at Fantasy Studios. He holds multiple platinum and gold albums, “Blues Album of the Year 2000” for Stevie Ray Vaughn and Albert King, and has been on staff at The Plant Studios, EMI Italia, Forward Music Taipei and spent many years as an international freelance mixer. He has recorded and/or mixed many hundred’s of albums with total unit sales of 40 million. Artists include David Bowie, Santana, John Lee Hooker, En Vogue, MC Hammer, Tony Bennett, Isaac Hayes, Flora & Airto, White Stripes, Santana, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MG’s, the Staples Singers, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, the Neville Brothers, the Hong Kong Philharmonic with Amei, Steve Cropper, and a host of European and Asian pop artists. Stephen has also recorded for legendary producers George Martin and Tom Dowd.  Scoring Credits include – Be Kind Rewind w/Jack Black & Danny Glover and Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog. Also, Titanic, Grizzly Man (Herzog), and Oil on Ice. Film Post credits (foley stage) include Amadeus, Boogie Nights, Airbud, Blue Velvet, Dead Poets Society

Committed to the Bay Area recording community, Stephen is currently a National Trustee, and past S.F. President of the Recording Academy SF Chapter, is an AES member, and a member of AIMP (Association of Independent Music Publishers) and on the Recording Academy’s National P&E Advisory Committee and the curriculum advisory board for Xpression College.

More on Cookie

Before digital audio, CDs, MP3’s, the internet and email, Cookie Marenco founded OTR Studios, with a dream to record acoustic musicians in their most natural settings. Now, OTR is the oldest owner founded studio still in operation in the Bay Area with a reputation for the highest quality work, incredible musical performances and professional style. With a span of more than 20 years in the industry, her experience with analog, vinyl, digital, live recording, and working with thousands of musicians on more than 400 recordings brings a rich history to every session or consultation.

As OTR’s main producer and chief engineer, Marenco oversees all recordings of her staff to ensure the same quality and professionalism throughout. Marenco is sought out by many manufacturers to beta test new products including Tascam, KRK, Millennia, NHT, Goddess Labs, Universal Audio, etc. Now a writer and video instructor for EQ magazine, Marenco tests and designs new products, creates educational videos using OTR as a base of operation. Interns come worldwide to study in OTR’s ongoing learning program for those serious about a career in the music industry.

OTR is also the home base of Blue Coast Records, the critically acclaimed audiophile label where Marenco developed Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E), the proprietary recording technique used by the label.

Marenco’s creative and technical skills have touched almost every aspect of the business. She is widely known for the quality of her audio engineering skills and for drawing out passionate performances from the artists she produces. She has engineered or produced 5 Grammy-nominated records, several Gold records and an Academy Award-winning documentary. Her artist credits include Max Roach, Brain, Kenny Aronoff, Steve Smith, Brady Blade, Tony Furtado, Tony Trischka, Dirk Powell, Rob Ickes, Charlie Haden, Tony Levin, Steve Rodby, Buckethead, Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Ernie Watts, Glen Moore, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Jennings, Pat DiNizio, Kristin Hersch, Brad Mehldau, Matt Rollings, Kevin Kern, Art Lande, Clara Ponty, Chanticleer, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mark Isham and Michael Tolcher. Her production and engineering skills can be found on projects for Monterey Jazz Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Marinfest, Midem, Hard Rock Cafe, Windham Hill Records, Verve, Rounder Records, Om Records, Sony, Warner Bros. and others.

Marenco was an early pioneer in internet audio being the part of the Liquid Audio team offering the first copy-protected music downloads in 1997. She was a producer and A&R representative at Windham Hill Records working on over 100 projects during her tenure, including producing Winter Solstice 2, the highest selling compilation in their catalogue. Marenco’s production company, Cojema Music, oversees her work as an independent producer, supports entrepreneurial pursuits and helps to launch new artists. Cojema Music also looks after the operations of OTR Studios (a professional recording facility in the San Francisco area), Blue Coast Records (a high quality acoustic music label) and Goddess Labs (silver cable company).

Combining traditional recording values with new technology and a unique vision for marketing strategies, Marenco continues to blaze ground. In 2005, Marenco launched a record label, Blue Coast Records, showcasing talented acoustic musicians and high fidelity recordings. The first offering, Blue Coast Collection, has achieved critical acclaim winning the Ultimate Sound Award at the 2005 CES Show for NHT Speakers. The July 2006 issue of La Nouvelle Revue de Son, a French audiophile magazine, lifted the recording to legendary status as a “must have” recording. It received 5 stars in every category and sparked Blue Coast Records in France. Blue Coast Collection was released in 2007 in the United States.

Blue Coast Records’ unique sound can be attributed to a new recording technique for surround called ESE (Extended Sound Environment). Marenco teamed with French engineer, Jean Claude Reynaud, to develop this patent pending process. ESE is a trademarked recording process with a “no compromise of quality” attitude that combines the best of tried and true recording techniques with the latest developments in technology. Sony America aided Marenco in her efforts with their Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording devices and a new disc format called Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD). The ESE technique is featured in the MAY 2004 issue of MIX magazine.

Home based in the Silicon Valley, Marenco has consulted with many companies seeking to further audio and musical interests. Her conception of Liquid Live continues to be used by Liquid.com, the download division of Walmart.com. Recently, she has consulted with Unbound Technology, a cutting-edge enterprise combining affinity networking, cell phone technology and internet audio. In 2005, she coordinated efforts of Abeo Corporation with the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to provide the entire festival grounds with free wireless internet access.

Many of Marenco’s innovations take place at OTR Studios, long a staple in the Bay Area community known for high quality acoustic recordings as well as unusual electronic music. She was a pioneer of digital recording in the mid 80’s and continues to experiment with new technologies such as Direct Stream Digital, SACD and DTS while supporting classic methods of recording. OTR has recorded over 400 artist album projects during the last 15 years. Marenco continues to beta-test audio products as she had done for Liquid Audio, Mackie, Tascam, Millennia, Studer and NHT. Young bands, engineers and technicians of various disciplines hone their skills at OTR. Marenco spreads her industry knowledge as a regular writer for EQ magazine. She provides interviews for radio and print, sits on industry panels and teaches college workshops. She has served on the NARAS Board of Governors and the Board of Directors of George Coates Performance Arts, represented various organizations on industry panels (AES, NARM, AFIM, Folk Alliance) and created fund raising events for Art into Action (an environmentally pro active non-profit organization).

The Early Years

In earlier years, Marenco composed music for film and television including commercial spots for Nissan and AT&T. Prior to her work in engineering, she performed and toured with many jazz legends, orchestras and her own electronic ensemble. She has a multi-instrumental musical background studying and teaching piano, oboe and sitar as well as being educated in classical, jazz, ethnomusicology, acoustics and composition.