Joe Barresi is one of the leading exponents of the alternative rock, metal and punk music genres in the world of music production. During his 30+ year career he has engineered, mixed, and/or produced albums by Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden, Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Anthrax, Bauhaus, Hole, The Melvins, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Turbonegro, The Jesus Lizard, Parkway Drive, New Model Army, Weezer, Wolfmother, Biffy Clyro, and Bad Religion, among others. With his massive-sounding, hard-hitting approach which has been described as a “wall of rock”, he has shaped the sound of many classic albums in those genres. In his career, Barresi has worked with a few well-respected producers like David Kahne, Michael Beinhorn, Rob Cavallo and Sylvia Massy.
Audio Engineer & Producer
Los Angeles, USA
Grammy nominated, multiple platinum and gold records
Credits: Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot, Judas Priest, Melvins …
He is now working from his own studio in Los Angeles, called Joe’s House of Compression, which next to an SSL 4000G+ console and the ubiquitous Pro Tools rig features an extravagant collection of assorted boxes, guitars, amplifiers, and countless pieces of outboard gear which Barresi uses in his quest for new sounds.
As a producer, Joe Barresi sees his role as making the band’s vision a reality and capturing an artist’s true performance. With his distinct recording techniques, he strives to achieve a unique sound that no one else brings to the table, giving each production something truly special.
Joe is a really nice guy and was cool enough to discuss his recording, mixing and production techniques with us in a Studio Talk with HOFA tutor and sound engineer Christoph Thiers. Joe shares these tips and techniques for getting your own, distinct sound, when you are starting out as a producer:
Christoph (HOFA): I would like to talk a little bit about guitars and guitar recording. You mentioned that you are a classically trained guitarist. Looking through all the great records you have done so far, there is a lot of very guitar-oriented music as well. You also already said that reamping is part of your process. So what would be your advice when it comes to tracking guitars?
Christoph (HOFA): So many people nowadays proceed like it is shown in the magazines or online when it comes to tracking, where you should use a certain mic and point at a certain spot. But if you want to have a great sound, a distinct sound, I think it is about finding the right mic placement. Especially beginners think it is about the gear, but I personally think it is much more important where to put the microphone as opposed to which microphone you are using. What is your opinion on this?
Christoph (HOFA): Do you usually capture a DI signal for reamping when tracking guitars and bass?
Christoph (HOFA): Do you use re-amping in mixing?
Christoph (HOFA): How do you find the right sound for the midrange of (distorted) guitars?
Christoph (HOFA): Can you share some secrets on the Tool bass tone?
Closing words – advice for aspiring producers:
Thus, for achieving your own distinct sound that makes you stand out in your career as an audio engineer, it is crucial to master also the technical side of music production. This is why we have designed our audio engineering courses to contain a very high practical content, from detailed introductions to all relevant instrument groups and the best techniques for miking and recording these instruments to comprehensive insights into the production methods of a wide range of musical styles.
You can find the complete interview with Joe Barresi on our YouTube channel:
Photos: Joe Barresi / Danielle Hardy