Youtube web series Archives - Recording Studio Rockstars

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RSR022 – Michael Hardesty & Stephen Turney – 24HrRecords

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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RSR022 - Michael Hardesty and Stephen Turney


Today I have a special show for you with two very cool guests, Stephen Turney and Michael Hardesty. These guys produce, engineer, and mix, both records and music videos. Together they created 24HR Records a Youtube web series that hand picks a team of musicians, locks them in a studio, and tasks them with writing and recording three original songs in 24 hours.

Each episode is brought to you from a different recording studio, and even The Toy Box Studio has been home to one of these creative all nighters. Check the episode out!

The entire bleary eyed, coffee addled, musical journey is captured on film, record, and photos. The entire footage is then distilled down to its very essence to create one 12 minute episode and three music videos.

24HR records is also part of the larger Made In Network, an eclectic Youtube network pairing up cool music themed shows like 24HR Records, Find The Beauty, and Music Video Sins.

Stephen Turney is a producer and engineer based out of Nashville, TN. Originally hailing from the great state of Texas, Stephen moved to Tennessee to attend the Belmont University recording program, and has been making records ever since. Musically he’s a pianist by trade, an engineer by necessity, and a producer by proxy. Stephen has also worked with me at The Hay Bale Studio at Bonnaroo, and various records at The Toy Box Studio.

Michael Hardesty is from Ohio originally having also moved to Nashville for the Belmont University recording program. He is Production Director at Made In Network, and continues to produce and engineer in the studio, as well being the head engineer for the Bonnaroo Hay Bale Studio.

Michael Hardesty

Michael Hardesty

24 HR Records

Stephen Turney

“We bring musicians together that have never met and make them write on the spot” @24HRRecords

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Jam Session:

Q - What was holding you back at the start?

Stephen: Oh definitely myself, hands down. I probably would not be doing recording and production if Michael isn’t as ambitious as he is and would wake me up when we were in college to go down to the studio to learn more. I’m someone who constantly doubts myself and my work, so that’s something that’s perpetually helped me.

Michael: I think what was holding me back was social skills.The fun parts about music and creativity is that it's generally better when more than one are involved. I had to spend a lot of time figuring out myself and how to communicate to other people so that I could talk to bands and get them in the studio and get them excited. That was a huge barrier for me, and I’m still working on it.

Q- What was some of the best advice you got early on?

Stephen: Something that I did not do that I wish I’d done.. As soon as I was out of school and was trying to make a living for myself, was to go get some other gig that had reliable money coming in. No matter what it is, waiting tables or whatever something that's flexible, but still make sure your rent is coming in. I just rolled the dice on that for like two years living paycheck to paycheck and it was really stressful for me. It’s hard to go present yourself and set rates when you’re like begging for money.

Michael: Early on, a lot of people kept reminding me not to undervalue myself because a lot of the toughest situations that I’ve gotten into in the studio really do come down to those rate negotiations. A lot of gigs I took that ended poorly, would have been better if I would have said, you are trying to undervalue me, it’s literally not worth my time to do this.

“There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a project before talking about money” @24HRRecords

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

Stephen: I know a lot of people probably do this, but I love doing it.. a lot of parallel compression on drums when mixing I’ll usually set up three different aux’s. Paralyzed compression is, say you have a snare drum on one track and you create another track with like an 1176 cranking on the same snare track (hard compressing it) and you blend those two signals together. It’s a good way to get away with a lot of compression without it really sounding like you’re really using a lot of compression.

Michael: One hack I enjoy is realistically to use the room and use the bleed. So much of modern recording is ridiculously isolated. It definitely gives you “a” sound, but why not have a bass amp by the drummer? Like that kind of blend can really work to your advantage.

Q - Share a favorite hardware tool for the studio

Stephen: My go-to thing is a distressor it can do so many different kinds of compression. I don’t know how electronics work, but man you can pull off so much stuff with that box.

Michael: I’m an AEA- R84 fan. That is thee overdub mic. It’s not the most expensive ribbon mic in the world, but for some reason it makes sense to me and it stacks really well. We’ve done entire overdub sessions on that mic from guitar to vocal to aux/percussion and at the end of the day you have 20 tracks that all sound amazing together.

“Educate yourself in music. You do that by listening to good music and playing good music” @24HRRecords

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Q - Share a favorite software tool for the studio

Michael: Anything SoundToys. I’ve had the chance to work with UAD, they’re amazing, but not quite affordable. SoundToys is unbelievable. They bridge the gap from technical to creative.

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

Stephen: Actually for me, a lot of the business stuff I stole from you, Lij. I’m a big fan of that Freshbooks accounting stuff. I hate doing accounting and i always loose track of stuff. That thing is nice, not that expensive and works well for me.

Michael: I use a service called ToDoist, all it is is a to-do list, but it’s free and it helps me when I wake up at 4am thinking about things I need to do tomorrow. It’s really simple.

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?

Stephen: As far as finding people to work with, I would start going out a lot of the local clubs and forcing myself to go up and talk to people. I would also start or join a band. As far as gear, I would get a laptop and depending on money I would get an API 4 channel (mic pres), buy whatever interface I could afford, handful mic and mic stands, and try to be mobile and not relying to stay in one place.

Michael: Gotta echo Stephen, go to all of the places where creative people are, shows, art exhibits, coffee shop, get out and talk to people. In terms of gear get one of the boxes with the pre and converter are in one. I might have to sell something to get my R84.

“You can’t stop cool” @24HRRecords

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

Stephen: I think just work really hard. I the people that are really good at recording and producing are the people who stay up all night or all day just playing around with their tools and learning them inside and out so when you’re on a session, you know the answer to whatever problem has come up.

Michael: Keep your musical ties running. I don’t play as much as I want to. Don’t act like it’s just the musicians job to make the music. Be a good musician yourself so when you come into the studio you have the most knowledge about music that you possibly can.