An Interview at The Market Recording, Los Angeles
Nick: So today is June 3, 2021. How long did it take you to create what we now lay our eyes on?
Pete: I think it was probably about June or July-
Pete: - of 2019 when we like kinda came up with the idea.
Kyle: Yup, exactly.
Pete: And thought about looking for a place, a space to do this and kind of the first thought that we had was this place so we reached out to our friend’s parents. You maybe know the story of Laura and how we all kind of ended up here?
Nick: Mhmm, yes I am familiar.
Kyle: Laura was a badass in the music community and then we reached out to her family kinda with this intent; cause Pete and I had our own little production rooms and were kind of like, “what if we put our gear together and create a super studio?” kind of idea. Where would we do it? What was happening at Laura’s place, we didn't know; and we reached out to the Peters’ family and told them what we wanted to do in Laura’s honor a little bit, and image; image is better than honor, I’d say; and they were really onboard, so we began. And that was probably -
Pete: That was fall; probably September 2019 is when construction, version one began but we went through a lot of different plans and different iterations of the design like in increasing levels of seriousness and legitness; like at first we were just going to put up a wall or two and move our gear in and start working in a DIY way!
Kyle: It was going to be like a DIY almost garage but with some kind of nice gear in it!
Pete: And then our truly generous and wonderful landlord was like “What if we got a contractor to do that instead of you guys?” So then there was a plan B, and then the contractor was like “We should probably do this to code” and that is plan C, which brings us up to date. With Covid, construction delays, permitting delays, all that stuff, it took a really long time; so we've only really been in here with our gear for about two and a half months, maybe a little less than that; and we’re getting ready to properly open in a couple weeks. So we’ve been doing private bookings, stuff like that. We have a launch party coming up the last weekend of June.
Nick: Alright, yeah, the end of this month. In the making of this, what would you say is the hardest part?
Kyle: Hardest part, I guess there were some daunting parts. There were a lot of details. I guess one of the hardest things was committing to some of the things that we ended up getting really lucky on. Like there was acoustic design and stuff like that that we consulted with experts on and kind of dipped our toe, into but aren’t experts ourselves by any means, and kind of were moving so fast with the contractor that we just were building stuff, and we’re really happy with how it all turned out; it turned out all in our favor. But there were some pretty daunting things like going through, and trying to figure out how to acoustically treat things.
Pete: Even before that, going through the floor plan, are the ratios of the room correct, and is the volume of the live room going to translate well? And stuff like that. But you have to make these decisions so early and then you can’t go back.
Kyle: Yeah, you’re looking at them on a paper going like “is that going to feel big? I don’t know, that's going to be our live room, does that seem small or big? I have no idea.”
Pete: “Is this going to sound neutral, is it going to sound live, is it going to sound boxy, boomy?” Like, all of those things we'd like plan for, and spin our wheels on, and we didn’t get to know until eighteen months later.
Kyle: Yeah exactly! And then you fall asleep on it, and it’s gone, until like yeah you start to get to walk into the studio.
Pete: I think just, the waiting for that first day was the hardest part. Waiting for the first time that we could make noise in here. Because it was basically close to a two year process.
Kyle: It was definitely two years of coming by here and checking in on a construction project that we were slowly seeing come along.
Pete: And a million emails and meetings, we built a lot of the diffusers and stuff, and furniture..
Kyle: Yeah the hardest to build was probably the quadratic diffusers. That was the hardest thing, they were just a pain.
Pete: We’re not carpenters.
Kyle: Yeah, Pete’s almost a carpenter, and I’m, I’m almost a carpenter’s assistant’s son.
Pete: We didn’t stain them, they started looking a lot more legit when a professional stained them.
Nick: They look great!
Kyle: Oh yeah we learned there is an art to staining, the guy who stained them really did change the look.
Pete: I hope to never have to do that again.
Nick: Um okay, so that was the hardest part, what was the most fun part?
Kyle: Building the quadratic diffusers haha.
Pete: The most fun, I think was - so we got the contractor’s like “we’re done-ish”, there’s still a few things they need to wrap up, on a Tuesday, and we had our first session on a Friday. So this was dead empty and we moved everything in and got it functional enough to start working and made a record that week!
Kyle: Yeah, that week exactly. Like we basically weren’t sleeping it was like go home at 2 in the morning, come back at 7am, if not earlier and just keep attacking. We had Josh in here, we were hooking things up, crossing our fingers, everything kept working, every flip we switched happened, three to four days of stuff.
Pete: It did feel a little like, I’m not super spiritual or anything like that, but like it was like there was a guiding hand, everything went right here. There are so many connections in the walls, so many solder points, and we haven’t found a bad one yet. Like, there’s thousands.
Kyle: Yeah, exactly, and it worked from that day one, which was crazy.
Nick: Okay, so in here, what gear are you most excited about using...are you most excited about that’s just present...things like that, if you had to pick out a few items?
Pete: Over the past 15 years or so, both of us has amassed quite a lot of stuff and I’m always excited about the things that Kyle has brought that I don’t have history with, that I'm like learning, like all this legit-ass outboard, this NTI EQ, stuff like that, Kyle has a Wurlitzer that’s on loan at the moment; the PMC speakers are amazing.
Kyle: The Altec, exactly, we both brought in similar yet different gear, and we were both kinda sick of our own gear, or not sick of it, but had used our own gear to the nth degree so it was a cool refresh.
Pete and Kyle: The BX20, I think the BX20 is a really cool, unique thing we have here.
Pete: Really the thing that we’re both most excited about is this crazy beast. This is the JCF prototype console, doesn’t have a name yet. It’s all motorized, it’s an analog console that we can recall, which is crazy.
Kyle: JCF boutique audio designer, builder Josh is a friend of ours and he put this console in here and it’s not only its own console with full analog summing, but it’s its own converter. It’s its own front end, it is a studio within itself. And Josh’s converters are not to sleep on.
Pete: They’re like his party piece, it’s insane.
Kyle: He’s not known for consoles, he’s known for converters, but he made this badass console to come with them kind of which is pretty cool. With his PEP system which is another kind of weird boutique internet searchable thing, that basically emulates tape in a very scientific and very powerful way.
Pete: Anything we say about it will be an oversimplification, but it’s awesome.
Kyle: I cannot describe it.
Nick: Okay, PEP?
Kyle: PEP, yea that's what it’s called, you can google it, there’s not a lot written about it, but you can google it. Basically Josh and his crazy brain saw a bunch of people making tape emulations and they were kind of focusing on saturation, distortion, and different head types, and these things; and it’s just like, that’s not why we love tape -
Pete: Well it’s not the only reason.
Kyle: Yeah exactly, that’s not the only reason we love tape. He went in and kind of - and now this is where I can’t do it - I won’t call it mathematical, but he looked at it from a very scientific point of view and applied it into these processing boxes.
Pete: It has to do with the time that different frequencies arrive. Again, we’re out of our depth, but it sounds awesome. This desk overall is just an amazing tool for making records and we’ve been learning it and now we can like fly on this thing.
Kyle: It’s a worthy centerpiece for sure.
Nick: Wow, that’s incredible.
Kyle: Yeah it’s pretty cool. And then paired with Pete’s Audiotronics, which is the complete opposite, kind of an old school dinosaur console that Josh has also gone through and made very clean and useful.
Pete: This is like a muscle car, like a ‘68 camaro or something, and this is like a spaceship.
Nick: That’s cool. The next question I had was, which you’ve already talked about, but if there’s something else that piques your interest when I ask this question - what gear is here, maybe besides the console, that sets the studio apart from other studios in your opinion?
Pete: We’ve got a couple solid microphones, a Klaus Heyne looked-after U67, and a Fet47.
Kyle: Both by Klaus, pretty darn special. We have a lot of awesome flea market microphones.
Pete: Yeah, I’m big on that, finding old Shures and Altecs and RCA mics, rolling the dice at the flea market, I’m sure you’re familiar with that.
Pete: I have a lot of twenty-dollar microphones and some of them work.
Kyle: And some of them sound really really cool!
Pete: I have a pile of mics that should be awesome, just need a new ribbon, or some love.
Nick: I know a guy.
Pete: Our philosophy is kind of having the instruments on hand, I think that’s something that sets us apart from the large format studios. Like in this room and the next room there are twenty five or thirty guitars at any given time, and a drum set, a real Rhodes, a real Wurlitzer, an old organ, a little piano, like all that stuff is here and is part of the place. The amps, we’ve got a bunch of old tube amps. Stuff like that.
Kyle: Yeah, he’s got a couple custom built amps that he built that are pretty cool.
Pete: Got some great Casio keyboards. In my experience, a lot of studios that you go to are amazing rooms in terms of the rooms themselves, the recording gear; but they don’t have as much of a vibe that I feel like we’ve been trying to bring here, and they rarely have any instruments, maybe a piano or a B3. We want this to be an inspiring place.
Kyle: Yeah we have a mini Marco Polo Piano, funny enough you spotted that, you are like my only mini piano brother, like you’re into mini pianos too? What’s up! These are really cool!
Nick: Yeah, I have never seen one of those before, now it’s on my radar!
Kyle: Yeah, it was a buddy at a garage sale, and he was like hey I cant keep this, and he had just had a daughter and he said when my daughter gets old enough to play piano I want it back, I was like cool, and that was probably 10 years ago now, and it’s been with me ever since!
Nick: I was also going to ask you guys what your backgrounds are like, like maybe what led you to have a studio and amass all this gear over 15 years and come together like this?
Pete: So I went to school to study recording, music production and engineering, and then I moved to New York and ended up doing a lot more paying, session playing, playing gigs, and also producing; a lot of engineering on the side. And then I ended up moving out here where I met Kyle, doing a lot of the same. Got into composing quite a bit. Got into TV film, a lot of ad stuff, worked on a cool video game, kind of all over the map stuff. For me what this place is about is kind of refocusing back. What I’ve always wanted to do is make cool records that I love, and you know, explore the studio, be open to all the weirdness, so yeah, my background is all over the place, but all music of one kind or other, and just getting back to the original spark.
Kyle: I have a slightly different background but we converged at a point, I went to school for recording, recording arts, I was going the four year route. That ended up not working out great for me; I ended up dropping out because I was working at a studio called Conway, which ended up being like a high-echelon pop studio so I started to get more involved with the more pop side of the Los Angeles recording scene, and did that for quite some time, and saw what that was - good, bad, or indifferent - and then was offered a job as a staff engineer at a publishing house that specialized in making music for movie trailers, and I joined that place as kind of a Pro Tools op, swiss army knife, and that’s where I kind of got into composing. I’d always been a guitarist and played in bands, and whatnot, and toured around, but that’s kind of when I jumped into the composing side of things and from that started a publishing company called Confidential Music, and I’ve been doing that for about that last 8-9 years now. And then Pete and I came up with this idea and then to fall back into what you’re saying, the idea of why I spun out into this whole trailer music publishing thing, the whole reason that we both kind of ended up in this thing is because we love making records, making sounds, we both love breaking things and fixing things, and really using this space to refocus ourselves back on that.
Pete: We met playing in bands essentially, and through mutual friends and stuff, but we had a pretty quick kinship of, “oh you do a lot of the same things that I do, like we’re both guitar players, producers...
Kyle: Pete’s a better guitar player than me, so he would be the first call and he wouldn’t make the gig, and then I would get the call, and that actually is kind of how it happened. Pete would be the standing guy on the gig and then they’d be like, oh shit Pete’s out of town well Pete was like you can call this guy Kyle, he also kind of does the same thing, so we had a lot of overlap.
Pete: Yeah, I think we both recognized in each other that we were both working in the industry but we ultimately wanted to be making more records, that’s what i get most excited about. And it’s a luxury of side-stepping a little bit and then stepping back, and being like what lane do we want to be in here.
Nick: That definitely makes sense as far as having a recording studio, it indicates that you want to make records.
Kyle: Which is funny cause we ended up finding ourselves in all these production facilities where it didn't feel like these guys were into making records, they were into getting ad placements, or into doing whatever they were doing. But it was like what happened to the vibiness of us hanging out, and trying to like “let’s put it through a Leslie or play it on a 12 string?”
Pete: There is nothing wrong with that world, we’ve lived in that world for years at this point, but there is definitely something that I missed about “let's take those vocals, let’s reamp them through a Leslie, let’s use the bathroom as a reverb chamber” like everybody always says they're going to do, but they use Aaltaverb instead because it’s two clicks away. But yeah - I just get more excited about moving air, doing things in the real world. The ad world, or composing world even, rarely has the time for that.
Nick: Well it’s not even maybe wanted, long form when they want it to be short form. What are your guys’ hope for this space as time kind of goes on?
Kyle: I think for it to gain a reputation of a place where both quality records come out of, but the quality of the experience of making the records kind of becomes - it wears it on its sleeve, so not only is it cool things happening here, but you want to come here because it’s a fun place to be. And hopefully you know a friend that made a record here, you read about a band that made a record here, and it becomes a destination because of what it is, not just what we’re doing.
Pete: One of the strongest things about our scene here is the people, the kindness in Echo Park, in our immediate group of people that we’re already connected with. We just kind of want to carry that spirit of generosity that kind of brought us in here to begin with...bringing it back around.
Nick: Wow, that’s awesome, I love that, I’m all about that. Um okay, just one last question. Are there any sort of dream artists that it would be a dream come true for them to come record in your studio?
Pete: Bruno Mars.
Both: Paul McCartney.
Kyle: I just listened to a really good - he was just on Howard Stern; a good interview!
Pete: There are so many heroes out there. I’m kind of thinking more about like, somebody who people will look back and be like I can’t believe, ya know..
Kyle: Yeah, you know, it being more of a breeding ground for like The Band; The Band had the Big Pink and that became a matter of Shangi-L for like Robbie Roertson and like it becoming this hub of cultivation; like we didn’t know what we were making when we were making it, kind of thing.
Pete: That’s the feeling that I get about this place. I don’t think a big pop artist is going to be knocking down our door any time soon. I’m not ruling that out, but I don’t know that that’s where I live.
Kyle: I mean if Death Cab wants to make a record that would be awesome. But there’s a lot of bands like that, just people that would be great to collaborate with. We’ve kind of built it so things come in here, we’re not trying to aim it so much.
Pete: I think it would take a lot for us to be star struck, we’re pretty chill. Anybody that wants to make a good record is who we want in here.
Kyle: Yeah exactly, people who care about the patience of switching out a microphone versus just being like did that sound good enough, let’s try it one more time with this different microphone and move that one across the room
Pete: Anyone who’s got the patience for us.
Kyle: If the actual working outfit of Wilco all came here, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
Pete: Yeah, I would lose it.
Kyle: Yeah that’d be pretty gnarly.
Nick: Well maybe they’ll tune in.
Kyle: Yeah you’re closer to them out in Nashville actually! I wouldn’t be surprised if Tweedy’s creeping through your Instagram! That would not surprise me at all.
Pete: So many things too...The Loft!
(all laugh jovially)
Stay tuned for more studio features!
You can reach The Market Recording here: themarketrecording.com
You can read more about Laura Peters here: https://buzzbands.la/2019/03/24/laura-peters-remembered-psychic-love-bandleader-elevated-those-around-her/