Studio Spotlight: The Vocal Lounge
- Who are you and where are you from?
Jon Sosa Owner of The Vocal Lounge and Summation Mix from Visalia, CA.
- How did you get involved in the Long Beach Music Scene?
Still really new to the scene only having moved to Long Beach 2 weeks before the first pandemic shutdown (great timing right?) Since then Iʼve just been searching for artists through shows and online and enjoying every aspect of the scene.
-What's your educational background in music / record production?
All self taught on the recording side besides spending time in the studio as a guitarist in bands. My formal education is actually on the hardware electronics side of music making.
- Any Mentors youʼd like to mention? What was their influence?
Honestly, finding audio mentors has been really tough in my experience. I think mentors are the most important thing to ones career and would love to find one some day (hint hint to all you experienced audio professionals out there). I was lucky to have mentors in my old life as a hardware developer and technician (which I still spend time freelancing as a Pro Audio Repair Tech). I wonʼt name names, but they taught me the techniques of working professionally on a team, which carries on in my life as one of the most important lessons Iʼve ever learned. Iʼve encountered so many different personalities and knowing how to work with them to achieve a goal is what this life is all about.
I love the logo for the studio, howʼd you come up with it?
My cousin Evan at Text and Type has always designed my stuff and recently just helped me with branding as well for The Vocal Lounge. Heʼs super rad and really challenged me to develop branding consistency across all platforms. I havenʼt been as consistent as I used to be, but goodness, the internet is hard…lol.
- Primary Services and Clientele
Vocal recording of singers in Singer/Songwriter, Rock, Pop Rock, and Pop have been my primary clientele and I love it.
- What are some Unique aspects of the studio?
I have air conditioning in my booth and great snacks, lol. Other than that I keep things bright and comfortable with a pleasing studio asthetic. No dark dungeons and LEDs here. Its a lounge where you can get great vocal takes.
- What makes a session at the Vocal Lounge so special?
Vocals are not like other instruments, they need more attention as they sit front and center in the majority of productions and thatʼs the kind of attention they get here at The Vocal Lounge. I have never been very good at generalizing, so focusing on one aspect of a production has been and will always be more enticing to me as an audio professional.
-Long Term goals for the studio? Where do you see the studio at in 5 years?
I would love to have a deeper connection with the community. I would love to expand the space literally only for the reason of having shows to support artists and give them a vibey space to bring their fans. Iʼve never liked the idea of private studios so having something that can be more like a storefront would be the absolute dream. The current space is technically all I need, and I donʼt want to expand to quickly of course, but I donʼt see myself staying in my current room for too much longer.
What equipment that you use is indispensable during a session? What makes it special?
A very very good talkback. Face it... good records are so much more than equipment. Communications are so important to keeping the flow of a session going. There is a reason why talkback buttons are the most worn out part of any old console and thats because it gets used and used heavily. I use the integrated TB on my Apollo unit (which is a great piece of kit) and its been holding up well, but who knows how many pushes its got left on it. The integrated software talkback control on Apolloʼs Console is rad and the onboard microphone picks up what the producer is saying as they sit on the studios famous blue wing chair all the way in the back of my room.
- Advice for local musicians about to make a record?
Buy a $200 all in one recording kit, open up garage band and learn how to make a decent demo for pre production. Getting your ideas down in a way that you can play with in the box is rad and will save you a ton of money. Donʼt try and record the damn record yourself (refer to previous questions first sentence for why). Donʼt worry about the specifics (microphones, guitars, amps..etc) just try and get the general melodies, rhythms, and lyrical content. Its nice when the studios producer/engineer can hit the ground running with a decently done demo.
- What projects have been completed at the studio that youʼre proud of?
I'm proud of everything that comes out of this studio, but youʼll have to wait to hear them because everything Iʼve worked on so far (studio has only been in operation for about 6 months) is still in its development phrase as far as I know of. Luckily Iʼve been working with artists that take this seriously and donʼt just dump things on Sound Cloud / Band Camp before raising awareness of its release. Keep an eye on the website for future releases. I believe there is something coming out April.
This like the “Whats your favorite food question” I always think pizza then I remember sushi. First that comes to mind is "Shyga! The Sunlight Mound" an album by the band Psychedelic Porn Crumpets I'm obsessed with literally anything that comes out of the Australian scene. But ill throw in a super close 2nd place to Courtney Barnettʼs "Things Take Time, Take Time". Courtney Barnett is another wildly talented Aussie.
- Local Band:
This is only based off of what Iʼve heard with my limited time in Long Beach, but with my personal tastes, my ears have been perked up by this dude Chapis and this other guy Addy Moore both which have this dreamy, bluesy, groovy thing going on. Their music always catches my attention whenever they release anything on any platform.
- Local Restaurant:
I canʼt say I'm much of a restaurant kind of guy, but ill say my favorite place to eat is at Chucks Coffee Shop on Ocean Blvd. because it reminds me that I'm extremely lucky to have a great life living in the warm sunny beach town of Long Beach. Will it win a Michelin star? Absolutely not, but it sure is a great place to drink a piping hot cup of extremely average coffee shop coffee and thatʼs good enough for me.
- Local Bar:
Murphy's Pub. Its a mix of old dads who just want to chat with their fellow old dads and what I can only explain as possibly masters students who are just trying to figure out what to do with their life. Itʼs lovely.
What advice would you give someone starting up their own studio today?
I can only speak on my mistakes and lessons Iʼve learned from them. One being, make sure you have a good working presence in the community before you open up. If you canʼt name 10 people that could possibly be patrons and love the experience then maybe more research is necessary.
Shout out to anyone in special in the community?
All of the artist that Iʼve worked with so far and all those around town - thank you for your beautiful art and your willingness and efforts to keep making and sharing it.
Interested in booking time at The Vocal Lounge? Click here to contact Jon today! Just scroll to the bottom and fill out the Contact Form.
*Studio Spotlight is a monthly blog focusing on local Long Beach Studios, Engineers, and Producers who primarily work with local Long Beach bands. Do you know of a studio, engineer, or producer we should feature? Let us know!*