From No Audio Training To Gold Records (Joey Sturgis Interview)

2015 Nov 05, 2015

How can a guy from zero audio training to making gold records with some of the most sought after bands in the industry?

Recently I sat down to interview popular metalcore producer/mixer Joey Sturgis (Of Mice And Men, The Devil Wears Prada) and he shared his incredible story of home studio success. From working in his buddy’s garage studio to producing EPs that helped get a band signed, and all without any formal training, it’s an encouraging backdrop to a very successful career in the music industry.

If you ever want to make music for a living or simply want your mixes to sound better, this conversation is for you. It’s packed with amazing nuggets of wisdom from a super humble and approachable guy.

I Was Just A Dude In A Garage

Joey’s rise to producer stardom is an interesting one. From being a drummer, to simply wanting to help record his own band’s demo, to being the go-to recording guy in his area, it all happened by fiddling with equipment – in a studio that wasn’t even his.

I was just a dude in a garage…and it wasn’t even my garage either! – Joey Sturgis

In this conversation Joey unpacked his story, his recording and mixing methods, and even his beginning recording setup that helped land him his first major gigs. He covers:

  • He learned recording/mixing by simply fiddling with gear. Trial and error style – 9:30
  • How he landed big clients the old school way – by going to their shows and talking to them – 12:20
  • He used $49 Behringer mic preamps on the first Devil Wears Prada EP (that got them signed!) – 20:08
  • The big secret to getting his sounds that you can use too (hint: it’s not the gear) – 29:55
  • How he gets precise and tight tracks that still sound musical and breathe – 34:50
  • His layering technique for bigger and unique sounds – 37:40
  • Why there’s more opportunities now than ever to make a living doing audio (and how to spot them) – 52:10

Don’t Focus On The Tools, Focus On Ideas

One thing that Joey said near the end of our talk was priceless. He said, “Don’t focus on the tools. Instead focus on ideas.”

What he meant was that what matters most when it comes to making a career out of music or simply recording and mixing a better sounding album of your own songs, is the idea or the ideas the music supports.

If you know what you want to create and have that idea so clear in your mind, then you’ll find a way to make the recording sound that good. Persistence and fiddling work.

The same is true with my career in this business.

I didn’t know it was possible for me to make a living doing audio at the time – but instead of focusing on the right web tools, or business strategy, or living in the “right” city, I simply focused on the idea of helping other home studio owners leverage their talent and affordable gear to make killer sounding music.

My relentless pursuit of this one simple idea has helped me build a brand and resource that literally helps over 200,000 people each month world wide. And in turn it’s been vocationally, musically, and financially rewarding for me.

The same can be true for you – no matter what you’re pursuing – it’s all about the ideas, not the tools. So look for ideas to support and make realities and you’ll get farther.

Check Out More From Joey

If you want to learn more about and from Joey, here are a few awesome resources.

Go watch his Creative Live classes and get schooled on recording and mixing techniques from the man himself.

Listen to his podcast (you’ll find me on one of the episodes) and get motivated to make better music.

Demo some of his plugins and if you like them consider supporting him and purchasing your favorite ones!

Let me ask you now: what was one thing Joey shared that surprised you or encouraged you in your music making adventures? Share it below!

Discover The 6 Steps for Creating a
Radio-Ready Song from Scratch"

Enter Your Email Below To Receive The Free 17-page PDF,
"6 Steps To A Radio-Ready Song"

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.