Studio Tour: Mystery Street Recording Company
The Chicago Chapter got the inside scoop from Joe Tessone, Owner and Lead Engineer of Mystery Street Recording Company, about what makes Mystery Street the recording studio it is today.
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Mystery Street Recording Company
Offers: Recording, Mastering, Production, Live Sound Engineering, Rehearsal Spaces, Audio and Music lessons, Karaoke Parties, Format Transfers & Audio Restoration, Equipment Rental
Recent work: The Pleasure Centers, The Polkaholics, Glass Mountain
History: Mystery Street Recording offers a creative and professional environment for recording, mixing, and mastering. With a carefully selected collection of analog and digital recording gear, and an experienced engineering staff, you’ll walk away with the album you’ve been dreaming of. Mystery Street strives to provide a hassle free environment and ensure that your recording session suits your specific needs, giving you the freedom to pull of the performance of a lifetime and have a great time doing it!
Q: What’s your favorite piece of gear in the studio?
A: I’d have to say our favorite piece is our echo plate. It’s a huge 8 foot by 5 foot tank that sounds unlike any other reverb I’ve ever heard. When I first got it, I plugged in, and was like that’s what reverb is suppose to sound like.
Q: Who have been some of your favorite artists you’ve had come through the studio?
A: Recently, we worked with Glass Mountain, a three-piece string band, who are really great. We’ve worked with The Polkaholics, and they’re very fun. We’ve done three records for them now, and we’re currently working on a fourth album. Everyone in Chicago needs to go see them. Another artist is Al Scorch, who is an old friend of mine that just recently signed to Bloodshoot Records. We work on everything though, from hip hop to bluegrass to punk. We work with a lot of different artists.
Q: Mystery Street has a lot of cool offers, including the opportunity for clients to trade in their gear for recording credit. How does that process work? What inspired you to start the program?
A: We started the program to mirror the City of Chicago’s trading your hand gun and get fifty bucks program, and we wanted to get recording gear off the street. We wanted people to take that gear that they don’t really know how to use that they never were able to get a good sound out of anyway, to give people what they paid for it in exchange for studio time. So they’re basically out nothing and they get real time in a studio.
Q: You also offer karaoke parties, which is really unique. How did that start?
A: We started that by a request, but most of the things I’ve done have been by request. Kids come in and we give them a tour of the studio while teaching them about audio. They get to leave with a CD of them and their friends singing their favorite tunes. It’s a fun way to introduce kids to a recording studio; it shows them it’s not that scary. When I was 13, I had no idea it was possible to go to a recording studio. I always thought “Oh, you have to get signed. You have to have a record deal.” I didn’t even know it was an option for me. I wanted to let kids know that they can just go to a studio— that it’s that easy.
Q: Do you have any words of advice to producers/engineers looking to get their start in the industry?
A: Take it slow. Jumping head first into opening a studio was probably a bad idea in hindsight. I had a lot of really great things that helped me along the way, but it’s really easy to get yourself into a lot of debt. Before you really know what you need, don’t go crazy buying equipment. Try it out; rent out of other studios. See what works for you.
Q: Is there anything else you want readers to know about your studio?
A: I think Mystery Street is kind of like your neighborhood bar. We’re a neighborhood recording studio. We have a very welcoming environment open to people of all ages. We have a huge variety of services. People don’t come here just to record a record; the bands that come here are here all the time.