Jonathan Cain

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"We like the sound of QSC speakers because of their ability to reproduce vocals in such a great way. They’re lightweight, perfect size for what we wanted for the studio."

-Jonathan Cain

Interview 

QSC: Jon, you've just opened the doors to a brand new studio complex in Tennessee; please tell us about that. 

Jonathan: Well, two years ago, I started looking for a creative place to work. I had tried to work at home, and found it to be distracting, having teenagers and three dogs, and it really felt like I needed a place to do my thing. And I had all this gear left over from my home studio back in Marin County that I had for almost 15 years. So, with all the gear, I decided to bring it out here to Nashville to look for a new home for it. So we found a bungalow out here in East Irish Drive and began planning. We got Chris Huston, from Huston designs, from the Sound Kitchen, to help us. Jerry, our engineer – an amazing engineer -  helped us put it together. And of course, with my wife Liz, we started planning. My friend David Kalmusky and we realized that we both needed a home, so I thought it was the perfect scenario. David being an engineer, producer, musician - to have a space as well, to look after things when I was gone on the road - we would co-exist together in this creative space. This Addiction Sound Studios, as we call it now, is named that because of the fact that it was the Tennessee Drug Abuse Council, and we just thought it was kinda cool to name it Addiction Sound. We thought about all kinds of things; we have a graveyard back there, believe it or not. Those are our neighbors in the back. So, it was basically a teardown. We kept the slab from the meeting room, and then went forward with the help of Bruce Most, our contractor and his crew. So David was here, he lives down the street, and together we watched every phase of it; from pouring concrete to the framing, to the actual parking lot scenario. We took the asphalt out and we could actually dig down below the parking lot. So we added a chamber down there. There's a live chamber underneath the parking lot. We're not really open yet, as of April; hopefully in May, we'll be doing our first project. I believe that Emerson Drive is going to be coming in here to do their album.  It's more of a project studio than a demo room; there's an apartment upstairs – 5,000sqft – I think we're one of the biggest buildings on the block. My wife Liz did a beautiful job decorating the place; we'll show you a bit of that later.

QSC: What's the history of that console?

Jonathan: The console behind me is a Trident TSM, from England. It's 40 inputs. The console was the original console at the Record Plant. They recorded many, many hits on it. Great producers. Ron Nevison recorded "We Built This City "Let's see, we had Jefferson Starship, we had Heart – "These Dreams", Journey – "Raised On Radio", Stevie Ray Vaughan, Huey Lewis – "Sports", were all done on this desk. I think it's circa 1976. It has an amazing sound, unique unto itself. I dragged it all the way from California in a Ryder truck with Brent Jeffers, my keyboard tech, looking for a new home. And it sits here, and we can't wait to fire it up and make some music.

QSC: So please tell us about the "pool"?

Jonathan: Yes, the pool. Basically, it's sort of an empty swimming pool underneath the parking lot, as I eluded to earlier. We wanted to have a live chamber, being 'old school' meets 'new school', we felt like it was an easy thing to do. We found out it wasn't that easy. We had to dig 4 days – we hit bedrock at the end – and they has these back hoes. They had a ram hoe. That's right...it's called a ram hoe. And they had to get rid of the bedrock. We went, I think 8 ½ ft, 9ft down. We went online and found it's similar proportions to to Abbey Road Studio B. I believe Phil Spector's Gold Star had a similar-sized room. It's all treated with this keen cement – this sort of mysterious hardening material. We've got some really vintage speakers and mics down there, and fired it up the other day and were amazed. So, you know you listen to those old records… I was listening to the Righteous Brothers, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and I thought,  'that's a chamber!' You can hear them now, and they are distinctly cool. So, that's what the pool is.

QSC: Please tell us about your QSC products. Which ones are you using and how?

Jonathan: In the main cutting room - we use them as PA speakers. We have 4 K10's along the border of the studio. We want to have sort of live rehearsal feel in case you wanted to play live and you know, sing in there.  You can use it as rehearsal space as well as a recording facility. We like the sound of QSC speakers because of their ability to reproduce vocals in such a great way. They're lightweight, perfect size for what we wanted for the studio. We have a subwoofer, as well, that we can use in tandem.  As well as the QSC speakers and monitors for the live PA in the cutting room, we're using the PLX2 reference amplifiers for monitors A and B, as well as in the chamber, so well feel that, you know, it's a lot of power, a lot of clean power, the kind that you want to listen to, in critical situations. In critical situations, QSC always comes through.

QSC: So what's next for you and Journey?

Jonathan: Journey is going to hit the road in July. We're doing the secondary city market, starting in San Bernardino at the San Manuel Ampitheater, and working our way East, then South. Heading to Canada in early December, and finally ending the tour in Hawaii for three shows in Blaisdell Arena.

QSC: What's your stage rig consist of while you're on the road?

Jonathan: My stage rig, on the road, is really paired down this year. We're using a Roland V-Piano in the show. We have a Roland JP8 0, a Korg Studio Triton, a CX3, or an X3 Hammond Organ with a 122 Leslie. That's really about it. So, there's not really much stuff up there. It's a little rack with a Mackie mixer. We've kinda got rid of the big grand piano due to the fact that the line array speakers are so close to the stage, and we had so much feedback. It's lean and mean, and we can take it/fly it anywhere we want to fly it. I'm pretty happy with it.

QSC: You play keyboards and guitars very well. Any hidden talents that you'd like to share?

Jonathan: Well, I've been known to whip out a harmonica on stage on a couple of songs, and recently I've been digging into Dobro guitar. I certainly love photography. I've been taking a lot of pictures. I get on the golf course when I can and I love to ski. Mostly, I just love being a dad to my kids. It's one of my favorite pastimes.