Sound City Studios
|Address||15452 Cabrito Road, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, 91406|
Sound City Studios is a recording studio opened in 1969 in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The facility had previously been a production factory of the English musical instrument manufacturer Vox. It was officially closed in 2011, when it ceased commercial operations, but it reopened in early 2017.
Sound City has contributed its signature sound to over 100 gold and platinum albums. The studio was privately held from 1970 until it closed its commercial studio services in May 2011. It was reserved for the exclusive use of its tenants, Fairfax Recordings, from 2011 until 2016. It was then officially being reopened in early 2017. Dave Grohl, former Nirvana drummer and current frontman of Foo Fighters, purchased the Neve Electronics 8028 Console from Studio A and installed it in his private recording studio. In 2013, Grohl directed the documentary Sound City about the studio.
The studio was run by Joe Gottfried and Tom Skeeter, who wanted to start a record company and get into artist management. After a rough start, Skeeter raised $75,175 to buy a state-of-the-art recording console from Rupert Neve, an English electronics engineer who built technologically advanced audio gear: "One of four in the world ... a 28-input, 16-bus, 24-monitor 8028 with 1085 EQs and no automation". During 1969, Sound City hosted the David Briggs productions Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus by Spirit and After the Gold Rush by Neil Young. On a more infamous note, cult leader Charles Manson made some recordings in Studio B in 1969, just a few months before the Manson Family crime spree. In the 1970s, Neil Young, Dr. John, Spirit, Crazy Horse, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, along with other bands, recorded music at the studio. Shelter Records founders Leon Russell and Denny Cordell found a home at Sound City as well, recording Leon Russell, Delaney & Bonnie, and Joe Cocker. Thanks to the Shelter founders, Sound City hosted a young band from Florida named Mudcrutch in 1974, providing an introduction to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that resulted in a relationship spanning over two decades.
In 1976, Fleetwood Mac recorded one track at the studio, "Never Going Back Again", from what would become one of the highest selling and most critically acclaimed albums of all time, Rumours. During the 1980s and 1990s, the studio was used to produce works from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rick Springfield, Ronnie James Dio, Foreigner, The Black Crowes, and Nirvana. Producer Rick Rubin chose Sound City Studios to record artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash (1996's Unchained). He also recorded Metallica's Death Magnetic, which entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at No. 1, at the studio.
Joe Gottfried died in 1992, at the age of 65. Tom Skeeter died on 12 September 2014, at the age of 82. The studio was officially closed to the public from 2011 through 2016, but in early 2017 a partnership was formed between Sandy Skeeter (President of Sound City Inc. and daughter of Tom Skeeter) and Olivier Chastan in order to reopen the studio. Sound City is now the home of two Helios Type 69 consoles and continues to utilize classic analog recording techniques in many of its productions, though a Pro Tools rig has been installed in each studio for the convenience of its clients.
Sound City Studios prides itself on having a very particular sound when it comes to recording drums. Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro insisted that one only had to set up the drums in order to get a good drum sound. Producer Rick Rubin said that "guitars sound pretty much the same everywhere, but drums change from room to room, and the sound at Sound City was among the best". Producer Greg Fidelman recorded the sound of a bass drum from each of the big recording studios in the Los Angeles area, subsequently playing the sample for Metallica without divulging from which studio the sound had originated. Based upon this sample, the band chose Sound City Studios to record Death Magnetic. In addition, when asked by Nine Inch Nails to be a guest drummer on some songs, Dave Grohl agreed only if the songs were to be recorded at Sound City Studios. The interior of the main studio has allegedly never been painted over, nor its linoleum tiles changed, due to fear that any such change would directly affect the "legendary sound quality" of the room.
- "Sound City Studios". Sound City Studios. Sound City Studios. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Coffey, Padraic (8 March 2013). "Sound City: Classic rock fans will find much to admire". filmjamblog. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
Sound City Studios was host to a plethora of talents, recording over 100 certified gold and platinum albums, before its closure in 2011. [...] The studio's incomparable reputation for quality percussion sound is tested in a brief high-energy montage of Grohl, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and other players behind the skins.
- Turan, Kenneth (31 January 2013). "Movie review: 'Sound City' is homage to recording studio equipment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Florino, Rick (29 January 2013). "'Sound City' Movie Review — 5 out of 5 stars". Santa Monica, California: Artistdirect. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Mervis, Scott (26 April 2013). "Movie Review: 'Sound City' captures heyday of a legendary LA music studio". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Filbin, Patrick (9 April 2013). "Rock Docs: Sound City (2013)". Buzz Weekly. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Deming, Mark (1 February 2013). "Sound City (2013) - Review - AllMovie". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Scoppa, Bud (1 March 2009). "L.A. Grapevine, March 2009". Mix. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- Q staff (May 1997). "The recording of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (February 1976 - February 1977)". Q (128). Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Staff (19 September 1997). "100 Best Albums Ever". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 April 2018 – via Discogs.
- McLaughlin, Katie (27 June 2012). "Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' at 35: Still the 'perfect album'". CNN. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- "Metallica | Chart History. Billboard 200". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "Dead Magnetic - Metallica. Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club : 2014 July to December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Ramsey, Colby, Studio Profile: Sound City Studios, Audio Media International, 17 Oct. 2011
- "Our History". Sound City Studios. Sound City Studios. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- on YouTube.
- Scherstuhl, Alan (30 January 2013). "Dave Grohl and Other Rockers Toast L.A.'s Sound City". The Village Voice. New York City. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Wren, Alec (11 March 2013). "Sound City Documentary – Review". harmonicjunction.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
Coupled with the console was the large live room, a room that defied its undesirable acoustical sizing and characteristics to generate drum tracks that would redefine rock music.
- Murphy, Ronan Chris (6 April 2009). "Sound City Studios Documentary. Neil Young to Metallica to Kyuss to Tom Petty to Nirvana". ronansrecordingshow.com. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
This place is heaven for analog recording gear fanatics and has what some consider the best drum room in the world.
- Fackenthall, Kent (19 July 2012). "The Sound of Sound City Studios". kentfackenthall.com. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Official Sound City Studios website
- Official Sound City Studios Facebook page
- Sound City Studios discography at Discogs
- on YouTube