Welcome to RubyRed Productions! I named my production company after my mom and dad (my mom’s first name is Ruby and my dad’s childhood nickname was Red). It started in a studio I bought in Atlanta, GA that used to be an old studio called Purple Dragon way back in the ‘80s. It had a colorful past to say the least.
When I bought and started remodeling it, I found the old SSL automation floppy disks for Elton John’s “Lion King” sessions that were recorded there, along with several syringes and other drug paraphernalia behind the fridge that belonged to the old owner, apparently.
My friend used to engineer there back in the day, and he told me that the big dent in the monitor section of the SSL 4048E that came with the place was from a police SWAT team raid. Apparently, two thugs showed up demanding their tapes from the studio owner and pistol-whipped the engineers. When the SWAT team showed up, the thugs jumped on the console to climb up and hide in the drop-tile ceiling, only to be caught and arrested by enforcement.
When I found myself needing to relocate to LA due to my growing producer demand out there, I sold it. I moved an entire semi truck of studio to a house/studio in the canyons of Malibu, CA, and all was great until a wildfire struck Malibu in 2007 on Thanksgiving weekend. It wiped out my entire house and studio while my family was in NY for holiday, and I came back to nothing but the suitcase and the acoustic guitar I had with me.
It was an awful blow to the head and heart, but I eventually and slowly collected one piece at a time, and got together a decent little pile of creative toys over the last 10 years. I also built my own studio in Santa Monica near the beach, and I love it.
Guitarmageddon here. I am a shredder, first and foremost, so I love me some guitars. We (my engineer Todd Stopera and I) have a little of everything. We aren’t trying to pride ourselves on our collection of “rare” or vintage instruments that may sound good but would be a bummer to scratch or drop.
I like useable shit. Stuff with a soul that can be found for $200 from a pawn shop. But the occasional boutique guitar or custom shop model is also fun. To me, guitars are for playing, not collecting. I have a good selection of Fender, Yamaha, and Duesenberg stuff, along with some random acoustics of all types.
This is my baby. My old engineer, Jake Sinclair, found me this late 1800s Steinway upright grand piano in some rich person’s garage up near Oprah Winfrey’s house. They let us have it for $1,000, and it’s the best-sounding piano I’ve ever had or heard. It has a soul like no other, and its imperfections are perfect. I’ve used it on almost every recording I’ve done for the last 10 years.
A wide angle shot of the tracking room. I’m a big fan of having the “one room setup” for the control room and tracking area. I do a lot of records where I’m playing a lot of the instruments, and I like to turn around and grab it and go.
I don’t care about conventional acoustic treatments, separation of sounds, etc. None of that shit matters when making a great recording. I’ve made some of my best recordings in bedrooms and some of my worst ones in $2,500/day commercial studios. Just because there’s a good-looking receptionist and a nice fruit bowl and deli tray doesn’t mean you’re gonna get an inspirational recording done.
I like a comfortable atmosphere where people aren’t sweating the clock because of the pressure to deliver every day due to the cost and intimidation of the building’s “pedigree.”