So with a new website comes a new blog detailing Juicebox Recording. While the focus will be on techniques, gear and inspiration, I thought that I would use this first post to tell you a little about myself and my studio..
I grew up in Key West, Florida where I started fooling around with music production. I come from a musical family... My dad is a great guitar and piano player and my little brother is a monster guitar player as well. Me........ not so much.
While I couldn't keep up with my brother on the guitar I started fooling around with tape decks.... dubbing mixed tapes, recording into crappy tape deck microphones..... you name it, I was trying to put it on tape. My dad always had a bunch of oddball music gear and instruments in the house and one day he brought home a little Tascam Porta Studio. I was instantly smitten and thankfully the only one who ever figured out how to work it. So, by default, I became a tape operator. We had a few bands in the "jam room" and I recorded as much as I could (I wish I still had those tapes!). My rig then was a Tascam Porta Studio, a Realistic stereo cassette mixdown deck (with Dolby), a Shure SM57, a Realistic stereo condenser microphone and a little Tapco mixer. I used this setup for a long time until a Tascam 388 made it to the house. About that Time I was graduating high school and working as a FOH Engineer and DJ at Sloppy Joe's Bar. I learned so much there, mixing all kinds of different bands (and occasionally making board tapes). After awhile I decided to travel and moved to Pittsburgh to run sound for a dance band (and sell pianos). That didn't last long and I found myself moving up and down the East Coast until I landed in Charleston. I immediately bought a 4 track to go along with the keyboard that I had been carting around and started recording again.... This was a simple setup too..... Yamaha and Teac 4 tracks, some crappy microphones, a Roland Sampling keyboard and (the same!) Realistic mix down deck.
Fast forward a tiny bit and I met a cute singer who wanted to make a record and we shacked up and started cobbling together a very mundane recording rig.... Echo Layla 20bit Interface, Cakewalk recording software, A Peavey 14 channel mixer and a CAD Equitek E100 condenser microphone. We lived in the back of our little nothing studio for a year while we worked on her music....
Fast forward a few more years and I am single and working as a resident DJ in the most poular nightclub in Charleston. At the time I was making more money than I ever had so my gear lusting started in earnest.. The rig at this time was a Pro Tools and a Digi003 with a bunch of microphones..... This was the basis of the gear when I opened Voodoo Room Recording in 2004.
The gear list quickly expanded over the next few years with some nice gear and some not so nice credit card bills.... At the time we were running Pro Tools HD on a new Mac through a vintage Cadac mixing console......with a ton of overhead. I was married at the time and when that ended I sold the studio and moved to Asheville where I took a 5 year hiatus from music..... I still had some stuff in a storage unit.... A digi003, some microphones, headphones....... but I didn't even look at it for 5 years. Well.....after 5 years, the old "Buy Gear, build a studio" bug hit again. It started with a drum set, then a new digital recorder (Korg D32xd) then microphones..... and before you know it I'm looking for a rental to open another studio!
The first few years of Juicebox were spent in an old cheese proofing cooler (I was going to call the studio "The Cheese Factory"). I had 2 rooms, each about 15x15 and I recorded a lot of acoustic musicians there.... buskers, singer songwriters.... a few bands too but the space was really too small.
Jump to April 2016, a building that I had been driving by and saying "That, would be an awesome spot for a recording studio!" was available once again after the latest thrift store that was there closed. It was an old 1930's service station with dingy green walls and a bunch of cracked glass. After .08 seconds of careful deliberation I was the proud new tenant! It's been a lot of work so far.... the building was pretty rough but the general shape was there and after a few months of work we are up and running....
Juicebox Recording is a great but place...... when I think about my studio I envision the funky spots of the 60's and 70's.... Muscle Shoals, American, Sound City.... The space represents that.... a little gritty, yesterday's gear....... But the rooms sound amazing, much better than they should. I love it here.... I hope you will too.