Joe Barresi

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – BAD RELIGION – THE MELVINS – SOUNDGARDEN

 

Joe Barresi is one of the studio world’s leading proponents of the alt-rock, metal and punk music genres. During his 25-year career he’s 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, Chevelle, Tomahawk, Skunk Anansie, L7, The Jesus Lizard, Parkway Drive, New Model Army, Weezer, Wolfmother, Biffy Clyro, and Bad Religion. In so doing, Barresi has made an indelible mark on many classic albums in said genres with a massive-sounding, hard-hitting approach that has been described as a “wall of rock.”

There are three sensibilities that have contributed to Barresi becoming an outstanding and highly successful studio professional. The first are his origins as a musician, the second that he is a gear fanatic obsessed with exploring different pieces of kit and working methods in order to perfect his engineering, mixing and production skills, and finally there’s his penchant for sonic innovation, with Barresi always going the extra mile in efforts to create something unique and outstanding.

Joe Barresi began playing guitar at the tender age of 7, and was a member of local bands in New York and Florida during his teenage years. Following this he studied classical guitar and music theory at the University of South Florida, and piano and music engineering at the University of Miami. During this time he also spent many hours recording and developing local bands in Miami. After graduating Barresi moved to Los Angeles, where he began assisting in studios and gradually worked his way up, while picking up tricks from well-known producers like GGGarth Richardson, David Kahne, Michael Beinhorn, Rob Cavello and Sylvia Massey.

Barresi’s first major milestone came in 1992, when he engineered and mixed Kyuss’ breakthrough second album, Blues For The Red Sun (1992). It marked the beginning of a close working relationship with Kyuss and Queens of The Stone Age band leader Josh Homme which continues to this day. Barresi has worked on three Kyuss and all six QOTSA albums to date, including …Like Clockwork (2013) which was nominated for Best Rock Album. It’s sign of how highly Barresi is valued by his customers that he has long-standing relationships with many bands and artists, having worked on multiple albums by Melvins, Chevelle, Bad Religion, Weezer, Audrey Horne, and many others.

Barresi owns his own studio in Los Angeles, called Joe’s House of Compression, where he has, in addition to the ubiquitous Pro Tools rig, an SSL 4000G+ desk that originally came from The Town House Studios in London, and an extravagant collection of assorted boxes, guitars, amplifiers, and countless pieces of outboard gear. In his quest for new sounds he tries not to use the same piece of equipment twice, and if he does re-use it, not in exactly the same way.

Barresi has conducted a Mix With The Masters seminar in October 2 to 8, 2013, and is likely to return for more seminars in the future.

Text by Paul Tingen.

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Q&A with Joe Barresi