Joe Mabbott is an engineer who has directly and indirectly influenced me in many ways.
I remember years ago in high school, blasting Atmostphere – Seven’s Travels in my car, basking in sonic hip-hop bliss. It’d only be years later in class with Joe at McNally Smith College of Music, where I’d find out he actually mixed and recorded that album (among many others I enjoyed).
Joe is the owner/engineer at The Hideaway Studio and a faculty member at McNally Smith College of Music. He records and mixes some of the best and most respected artists in the Twin Cities, including but not limited to: Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Doomtree, Dessa, POS, Toki Wright, Heiruspecs… the list goes on.
Incidentally, Joe also sparked my whole idea for the Quiztones Frequency Ear Training App.
I recently caught up with Joe and asked him a few questions:
Buying the studio that I managed and starting fresh. Owning my own studio was one of my “10 year goals” when I started working in this business. It happened in 8 years, so I was really happy it all fell in place the way it did. I felt a sense of accomplishment and panic all at the same time. Great feeling.
Defining moments as an engineer?
When I started getting recognized for the records I was recording and mixing. I was always in bands and making my own records with my own groups, but when I started getting asked to make records for people that hadn’t heard the groups I was in at the time. But instead having heard records I worked on that had nothing to do with the scenes I was involved in as a musician.
How has being a drummer and musician helped you be a better engineer?
I think it helps have some type of musical background to better the flow of making records. The more you understand music in general I think the more you can communicate with artists and producers about the end goal or a recording.
I’m not schooled in theory as well as I should be, but I feel I have a natural knack and ear for what works and doesn’t work in creating music. I do have a good understanding of drums and what makes for a good drum sound, so it doesn’t hurt to have the backbone be strong, that and I have a great drum tracking room, so that helps too. : )
What current and/or recent projects are you involved in?
Just finished mixing a bunch of records in the last month. 3 Full Lengths:
- Big Quarters “Party Like A Young Commie”
- Dessa ” Castor, The Twin”
- Doomtree ” No Kings”
- 3 EPs for Big Quarters, Prey For Paralysis, and Literali. Not sure what the titles of those records are yet.
Any other upcoming projects/releases you’re excited about?
Started mixing the new Brother Ali record that is due by the end of September and a group called The Thank You Notes that I am recording, mixing, and co-producing. Pretty pumped about both these projects.
Tell us about the recent upgrades you did to the Hideaway Studio.
Earlier this year I completely remodeled and rewired my control room and set it up in a way that is much more user friendly for outside engineers. I’m making a push to open the studio up to the public more and welcome engineers and producers to come work out of a great room. I’ve held it too close and personal for the last 7 years. There’s way too much cool gear and the space is where I want it now. It needs to be shared. Plus there’s a bunch of new gear coming this year too… always new gear : )