Hip Hop Archives - Recording Studio Rockstars

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Matt Mahaffey

RSR069 – Matt Mahaffey – The Band sElf & Composing Music For Cartoons

RSR069 – Matt Mahaffey – The Band sElf & Composing Music For Cartoons

My guest today is Matt Mahaffey, probably the most talented multi instrumental song writer, composer, and producer I know. Matt formed his own successful rock band, sElf and then cofounded Spongebath records an imprint of Zoo records. From 1995 on sElf and Spongebath became a shining beacon of hope for indi bands in middle TN wanting to shake the stereotype of country music.

After a decade in Nashville Matt moved to LA to be closer to his next label Dreamworks where he developed his production career continuing to write and record for his own band. He has a long list of artists in the studio including: Pink, Beck, Liz Phair, Tenacious D, Lupe Fiasco, Phantom Planet, Beyoncé, Butch Walker, Hellogoodbye, Forever the Sickest Kids, Miranda Cosgrove, The White Tie Affair, Keith Urban, The Sounds, L.E.O. and Smash Mouth. And recently Matt just played on Beck’s Grammy winning Album of the Year 2015, Morning Phase.

Matt has also created music for many filmmakers including Ivan Reitman, Michael Mann, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Andrew Adamson, and Hans Zimmer. And he also wrote music for Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shrek 4. And contributed music for the cartoons Ni Hao Kai-Lan and Sanjay and Craig. And other TV credits include: CSI Miami, DanceLife, Entourage, MTV, E! Entertainment, Weeds, and 60 Minutes.

He has even spoken at TEDx Nashville, and notably created the famous jingle for Expedia.com, and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live as the Muppet character “Animal” in a drum off with Blink 182 drummer, Travis Baker.

Free mix training with Lij at MixMasterBundle.com – Get yourself a T-shirt at: RSRockstars.com/Tshirt  – Theme music: SkadooshMusic.com – Join the Rockstar Facebook group! RSRockstars.com/FB

 Cool stuff we talked about on the show:
  • Matt’s studio Fresh Imperial Studio in Franklin TN.
  • Rehearsing in his parents basement and recording his first multi tracks with a dual cassette deck.
  • Shooting signs in WV and a pop up coffeeshop concert with Beck Hansen.
  • Jeff Turzo and the Overstayer Master and Servant. Using 808 in a rock band.
  • Composing for cartoons and film & producing bands in the studio.
  • Lots of other cool stuff! Including a the plugin Lethal for creating EDM.

Lij Shaw & Matt Mahaffey




Leave a comment at the bottom of the post and let us know what you think, and thanks for being a Rockstar!

FREE Mix Training with Lij Shaw
Get The Mix Master Bundle with over two hours of mix videos, multitracks, ebook, and mix template.
Pat Sansone

RSR068 – Pat Sansone – Recording with The Autumn Defense & Wilco

RSR068 – Pat Sansone – Recording with The Autumn Defense & Wilco

My guest today is my good friend Pat Sansone, a prolific, and talented multi instrumentalist, songwriter, and Grammy nominated producer.  Pat’s early bands included playing guitar with Beagle Voyage and Stretch Armstrong, a rock band influenced by Black Sabbath and the Butthole Surfers, and then his own power pop band Birdy. In 1999, Pat formed The Autumn Defense, in New Orleans, with his friend John Stirratt of Wilco.

They went on to record four full-length albums: The Green Hour in 2000, Which I helped record at Alex The Great in Nashville, and then Engine in Chicago, and then Circles in 2003, which I recorded right here at The Toy Box Studio when it was in my house, with cables running all over the place. In fact it was Pat who aptly named my studio The Toy Box Studio after recording here while surrounded by my collection of toy instruments. The Autumn Defense then went on to make their self-titled album The Autumn Defense in 2006, and Once Around in 2010.

While living in both Nashville and New York, Pat working as a producer and studio musician. He contributed to albums by Joseph Arthur, Andrew Bird, Josh Rouse, Mavis Staples, Swan Dive, Jenifer Jackson, Ryan Adams, The Clientele, and others.

In 2004 Pat joined Wilco following the departure of multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach. And now Pat plays guitar, keyboard, maracas, and several other instruments, as well as singing backup vocals with Wilco. He was also involved in the writing and recording of Wilco’s albums: Sky Blue Sky, Wilco, and co producing The Whole Love in 2011.

Pat has also created a book of photography called 100 Polaroids, a collection of polaroid photographs taken with an SX70 camera, from his travels with Wilco and The Autumn Defense. And he has worked with many great musicians and artists along the way including: Dawes, Jamie Lidell, Phil Selway of Radiohead, The Future Monarchs with Josh Shapera, Elizabeth Cook, Garrison Starr, Richard Julian, and Will Kimbrough.

Free mix training with Lij at MixMasterBundle.com – Get yourself a T-shirt at: RSRockstars.com/Tshirt  – Theme music: SkadooshMusic.com – Join the Rockstar Facebook group! RSRockstars.com/FB

 Cool stuff we talked about on the show:
  • Pat’s musical beginnings in Meridian MS.
  • Peavey headquarters.
  • Recording Heartbreaker with Ryan Adams.
  • Recording at the Wilco loft, at Easley Studio, and with Josh Shapera at the Mixin Administration.
  • How to record fantastic drums on your record.
  • Recording Wilco acoustic guitars with an iPhone.
  • Why Freddie Mercuries sound great in the mix.
  • Working with Richard Dodd
  • Recording Hammond B3, Leslie, piano, and Wurly.
  • Why Jeff Tweedy prefers recording his vocals with an Shure SM7.

This is the great video showing you how a Shure SM57 sounds on electric guitar in 7 different mic positions!

Here is Brand New Song from Americanitis by Will Kimbrough and co produced by Lij Shaw using the iPod mic for vocal and acoustic guitar.

Jeff Tweedy Sukierae with more demo guitars recorded on iPhone that became part of the record.


Here is Jack Ashford from the Funk Brothers of Motown showing us how Tamborine is really done right!

Tack Piano

Autumn Defense performing at East Side Manor, a beautiful studio in East Nashville.


Leave a comment at the bottom of the post and let us know what you think, and thanks for being a Rockstar!

FREE Mix Training with Lij Shaw
Get The Mix Master Bundle with over two hours of mix videos, multitracks, ebook, and mix template.
Carl Nappa

RSR067 – Carl Nappa – Producing and Mixing Hip Hop with Nelly & The Hit Factory

RSR067 – Carl Nappa – Producing and Mixing Hip Hop with Nelly & The Hit Factory

My guest today is Carl Nappa with over 30 Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum records as an engineer, mixer or producer. He has worked with a long list of high profile artists in Rock, Hip Hop, R&B & Pop. In his 20+ year career Carl is credited as engineer or producer for more than 50 million records sold.

He has been a staff engineer at The Hit Factory in NYC, owned and operated “Hell’s Kitchen Recording and Social Club” In NYC for 4 years, is a voting member of NARAS and now also teaches in St Louis at the Ex’Treme Institute by Nelly.

Carl’s extensive discography includes many names that you will recognize like: Nelly, Chris Brown, R. Kelly, N’SYNC, Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube, NRBQ, Blondie, Moody Blues, John Mellencamp, Mariah Carey, Prince, Wyclef Jean, Run DMC, Pet Shop Boys, Alan Parsons, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Missy Elliot, Madonna, and the Manhattan Transfer. And the list goes on and on…
 Cool stuff we talked about on the show:
  • Stealing donuts to make a big impression on the studio as an intern (we don’t recommend this!)
  • Recording with Extreme
  • Mixing on various consoles

  • Working with Prince at The Hit Factory.
  • How to mix from careful notes.
  • How to know when your mix is done.

  • Recording Sean Pelton on drums.
  • How to soundcheck drums like a pro!
  • Setting up Nelly’s Home studio.

  • How to get great Low End in a mix.
  • Sample level bass management.
  • How to get better fast at recording and mixing when you are just starting out.

Leave a comment at the bottom of the post and let us know what you think, and thanks for being a Rockstar!

Carl’s mixes:




Carl Nappa

Executive Director & Campus Director EI

Vatterott College ex’treme Institute by Nelly

800 North 3rd Street St. Louis MO. 63102


314.241.1089 fax

314.637.4908 cell


Web | Facebook | Twitter

FREE Mix Training with Lij Shaw
Get The Mix Master Bundle with over two hours of mix videos, multitracks, ebook, and mix template.
Danny Wyatt

RSR066 – Danny Wyatt – EDM and Mix Master Wyatt Academy

RSR066 – Danny Wyatt – EDM and Mix Master Wyatt Academy

My guest today is Danny Wyatt, a multi-platinum, Grammy and Emmy nominated audio engineer with credits from Ultra Records to Old Dirty Bastard to Norah Jones, and one of the most influential mixing and mastering instructors and course designers. In the last decade he taught over 1,000 producers and audio engineers how to mix and master modern styles of music from deep house, minimal techno, and trance to hip hop, trap, dubstep, and drum’n’bass. Many of his students have had their tracks hit the iTunes and Beatport charts.

After teaching at SAE and DubSpot, a school for budding DJ producers, he went on to launch his own school, the Mix Master Wyatt Academy, where you can learn everything about composition, production, mixing, and mastering from the basics all the way to advanced. 

If you are ready to get serious with your EDM production then check out: Mixmaster Wyatt Academy



Use Coupon Code: RSR10 for 10% off any course!

Cool stuff we talked about on the show:

  • Recording with Gladys Night, Steve Windwood, Curtis Mayfield, Lenny Kravitz, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springstein, Eric Clapton, The Isley Bros, Branford Marsalis, Aretha Franklin, BB King, Rod Stewart, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John.
  • Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Sound Bombing records.
  • The origins of BackPacker Hip Hop
  • Why organic sounds will make a comeback in production.
  • The evolution of Hop Hop production and mixing.
  • Why Hip Hop sounds different today.
  • “Once while mastering I accidentally made someones jazz album mono. And it got released like that!” Danny Wyatt
  • How what we aspire to in production is a bit like being in middle school.
  • Why getting rid of the bad is the best way to get to the good in mixing.
  • Big Room is the new one and its replacing Progressive House. But then theres minimal and theres Techno. And theres Tech House, and theres Deep House. Theres Tropical House…
  • Why Dubstep sounds like Transformers having sex!
  • How to get big bass in EDM
  • How to get loud mixes in EDM
  • How to get the pumping breathing sound for EDM.
  • Beset practices for multiband saturation.

Leave a comment at the bottom of the post and let us know what you think, and thanks for being a Rockstar!






FREE Mix Training with Lij Shaw
Get The Mix Master Bundle with over two hours of mix videos, multitracks, ebook, and mix template.

RSR026 – Matthew Weiss – The Pro Audio Files

(Press play on the green strip above or listen on iTunes with the link below)

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

If you dig the show I would be honored if you would subscribe, and leave a rating, & review in iTunes.

RSR026 - Matthew Weiss - The Pro Audio Files

My guest today is Matthew Weiss, a Grammy nominated, and Spelleman Award winning engineer. He began his career assisting such notable engineers and producers as Bobby Eli, Mark Marshall, Denise Barbarita, and Ron St. Germaine.

His credits include Arrested Development, Snoop Dogg, Dizzee Rascal, Uri Caine, Sonny Digital, Mega Ran, King Midas, Armageddon, Ronnie Spector, and too many more to mention here.

Matthew also executive produced the self ­titled album "Soul Veggies" which debuted at #47 on the Indie Billboard Chart, #97 on the Hip Hop Billboard Chart, and #188 on Billboard's Top 200.

Most importantly for your Rockstars, is that Matthew loves teaching audio recording and mixing. He has appeared as a guest speaker at Cornell University, ProStudio Live, and SXSW. And his audio education tutorials are among the best selling and most highly regarded that you will find.

Matthew has teamed up with The Pro Audio Files to create many courses teaching you everything from mixing Hip Hop & EDM, or Rock and Pop music. He also offers advanced courses diving deeper into topics like mixing rap vocals or Hip Hop beats.

When you are ready to learn by example, you will enjoy Matthew’s Mixthru Series where you get to watch over his shoulder as he mixes an entire song from start to finish in real time. It’s like getting to hang out in the studio with a master mixer for hours during a real mix. Matthew even stops along the way to explain every detail. So you know not only what is going on, but why he is making all his mix decisions.

Learn Directly From Matthew Weiss!

(Keep reading to see the special discount offer created just for your Rockstars!)


Improve your mixing skills by watching a professional mix engineer at work. Learn the what, why, and how as Matthew mixes right in front of you.


Learn How To Mix Drums, Synths, Bass, Vocals, transitions, Drops, and More!


Levels, Compression, EQ and everything in between!


This is the place to find all of Matthew's tutorials and courses in one place for one monthly price!

The Pro Audio Files have created a special offer just for your Rockstars...

Now you can get 25% off of any Matthew Weiss product. (For a limited time so act now!)

Just use the code RSR25 at checkout​

Jam Session 

Q - What was holding you back at the start?
A - Money! It’s really hard to go places and do things when you’re working at a pizza shop.

“The most important thing in mixing and production is the decision making process” @WeissSound

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Q- What was some of the best advice you got early on?
A - I was backstage at a concert going on at temple university and KRS-One was the headliner and I got a chance to talk to him backstage. I asked him what's the magic key to success. and he said to me, “If you really want to stand in your own light, help someone else stand in theirs”, and that pretty much shaped my whole career.

“The direction of the hustle is a little different… I call it downstream production” @WeissSound

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Q- Share with us a recording tip, hack, or secret sauce.

A - Understand the instrument you’re recording. If you want to get the best sound sonically speaking from a voice. They best way is to understand the mechanisms that go into vocal performance because if you know those mechanisms you will get such an improvement of sound at the source. You can throw up a bullshit microphone going into a bullshit preamp and still actually get sonically speaking good results.

Q - Share a favorite hardware tool for the studio
I've got a fairchild clone. I love my hardware, a lot of it's modified to do what I want it to do. I got a Bricasti Reverb recently, that thing sounds so good. I picked out all this stuff for very specific purposes, not all of its expensive. I’ve got a drawmer punch gate, I’ve got a Bellari tube exciter and it's been modified, and that's not a very expensive unit, and I have a $7,000 compressor that sounds really, really good.

“I’m miscredited or not credited probably as often as I’m credited” @WeissSound

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Q - Share a favorite software tool for the studio

A - There's so many of them. Waves Inphase seems to keep making its way into my life. It’s one of the few things that you can do in terms of processing that actually adjusts the source recording. Getting a perfect phase relationship between things like miced bass cabinet and bass DI is pretty irreplaceable.

“If you do your work on the front end, it makes things like mixing a whole lot easier” @WeissSound

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Q - Share with us a tip for the business side of the recording studio

A - I haven't found too many great resources for the business side of things, so I would love it if your listeners send me their resources! I had been checking out accountants and decided to be my own. I talked to managers and ultimately decided to be my own manager. I’ve had assistants and all of them have been unfortunately fired. So I end up doing everything myself. I write my own contracts because I have yet to find any resource that helps with that. Google is amazing. If you want to know things, like what goes into a split sheet, but you can google it and get a sheet to print, and learn what it is and what it does. Be self-sufficient.

“Bragging rights are great, but nothing beats the experience” @WeissSound

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Q - If you had to start over what gear would you need? How would you find people to record? And how would you make ends meet while you got started?

A - You need a laptop because you have to be able to communicate with people. Whatever budget that you can get for equipment, but put a good amount toward necessities: an interface, a respectable microphone. My first microphone was an Audio Technica 433 A, I still have it and still use it. When you’re buying gear, try to buy the stuff you are going to keep. And don’t forget to save money for expenses on the way up. Be selective about who you’re working with, but know these are the people who are ultimately going to shape your career.

“Some decisions will turn out to be mistakes” @WeissSound

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Q - What is the single most important thing a listener can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio?

A - Get into the studio. Whatever sacrifices you have to make, trust me. What is going into a studio and buying studio time yourself in the face of that? Whether you’re going to college to get your degree in finance, it's a sacrifice in the beginning. You incur debt or pay out of your own pocket to get an education, to gain access to people, to form connections and network and expand what you’re doing. And after you make that sacrifice, the idea of the investment is it pays off down the road. So be willing to make sacrifices and realize they aren’t as big as they are when you’re making them.