Roth was born in 1974 and grew up in Riverside, California. Roth's parents are lawyers who have worked on civil rights and discrimination cases. After moving to New York City to attend New York University in the early 1990s, he launched the record label Desco Records with record collector/partner Phillipe Lehman. Roth also played, recorded, and wrote material for Antibalas and other bands on the Desco label, often under a pseudonym. After Desco folded, Roth formed Daptone Records with Dap-Kings saxophonist Neal Sugarman.
Roth is an outspoken proponent for analog recording, having once said, "Show me a computer that sounds as good as a tape machine and I'll use it." The distinctive glasses Roth wears on stage and in interviews are the result of a car accident which left his eyeballs lacerated, blinding him for 10 days.
As a recording engineer and producer, Roth has won two Grammy awards: in 2008 for Amy Winehouse's acclaimed "Back to Black" album, recorded with the Dap-Kings at Daptone's House of Soul Studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and in 2012 for recording Booker T. Jones' "The Road From Memphis."