Studio Tour: Jason Goldstein

Los Angeles-based composer and musician, Jason Goldstein, has been making music since a young age. He began playing piano in elementary school church, which eventually led him to pursue a degree in composition and economics at Tulane University in New Orleans. 

His passion for composing music can be seen in his home studio. A work of art that has been an ongoing project for the past 8 years. The space is flush with gear and instruments, creating a creative space for an entire band or a lone producer. 

What was the first piece of gear you purchased?
The very first one? I believe it was a fender acoustic guitar. We always had a piano in the house growing up, but I couldn’t quite carry that around with me. 

What is your favorite?
My favorite piece of gear is this Rhodes. It's a converted suitcase that used to belong to Chick Corea. There is a ton of history behind the keyboard... It's in perfect condition and it is, hands-down, the best sounding instrument in here. It’s almost like playing a grand piano. 

Which gets the most use?
When I’m in the studio? Other than my interface, I’d say the Nord gets the most use. I use it as a midi controller too, and it makes recording parts and notating very easy. 

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What was your influence when you began building the studio?
That's a good question. Essentially it was an old band/rehearsal room growing up. I eventually started getting into producing and I begin collecting my equipment one piece at a time. I basically did some research and saw some home-studios for myself, then I started building it around the pieces that were too heavy to move (aka the Leslie cabinet in the corner). 

Did you go for digital or acoustic first? Or analog or digital?
When it comes to music production, I started off with digital/electronic music first. I was composing songs, just trying to get my ideas out so I could dance to them in the shower. Then, my friends and I started learning about the more advanced electronic techniques. 

I loved it because helped me listen to sound in way that I had really hadn’t before. 

How do you decide what to work with?
Well, it depends on if I’m in here working with a band or if I’m in here recording something for myself/someone. If I’m with a band on keys, I’m either gonna play the Hammond sk2, the Nord stage 2, or the Rhodes. If there’s no bass-player in the band, I’ll stack a MicroKorg, a midi controller (though my comp), or Moog sub 37 on top to play bass. If I’m recording parts for a track and I know what sound I need, I’ll find that instrument, and run it direct/mic’d with an amp. I tend to keep my Nord or Korg Sv1 plugged in as a “piano” whenever I’m in there. 

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How do you approach composition within this setting of your home studio?
Good question. Whether it's writing a song with someone, producing electronic music, or scoring some video, I generally first think about the instrumentation that works for the story. If I’m making a track for something/with someone, I’ll generally take my ideas straight into the DAW from the start. You can do whatever you want in the DAW— anything is possible. With my own personal compositions, however, I write on an acoustic instrument or using only pencil and paper then record audio into the DAW. 

How do you connect your instruments in a composition?
Well, I’ve studied a lot of classical music. Even in the most intricate and unimaginably difficult music, there is an element of call and response. Like one person says something, the other responds. One instrument plays something that takes us from A to B, and another responds by taking us from B back to A. Most of the music that gets made in here are either songs or grooves-based jams, but even then, there are elements of call and response occurring throughout the music. As long as there is a premise or groundwork for the song, then the melodic stuff can be “connected” as long as it goes somewhere, and comes back. 

How do you decide what to purchase?
I only purchase things on a need-to-buy basis. For example, a long time ago, I needed a bad mono-sine-sub-gliss sound for a gig, so I got the MicroKorg. However, I’ve always had a big-toy savings going. I recently bought myself the Sub 37 because...it was time. Cables, picks, and hardrives, for the most part, seem to the most disposable items in here. 

For people looking to build their own home studio, what are five things they should know? 

1. Put someone who inspires you on the wall

2. Better gear does not mean better music. 

3. Monitors before anything else

4. You can make an entire album with one sm57

5. Take a break if you’re working for an extended period of time, you need it!

View Jason's catalogue and request to collaboate http://bit.ly/JasonGoldsteinMusic

Libby Donnelly