Scott Lehman left Canada a year ago when his wife got a plum job as a cancer researcher at Salk Institute. The guitarist/keyboardist had spent three years in Acronycal, a Foo Fighter-ish band that had released albums and toured North America.
The band mattered in the Edmonton, Alberta, rock scene, “but at the end of a tour it was clear we just weren’t that good.” He helped his friend build Edmonton recording studio Velveteen Audio and in exchange he learned audio recording.
"Cigarettes" by The Most of August
...video production by Scott Lehman's Blowhole Sound
“We had toured San Diego, but I didn’t know that much about it. It’s big but it doesn’t seem like a big city. It seems like everyone knows everybody.”
Because Lehman wanted to keep involved in music, he sent out social-media blasts saying he would produce one song for free for any band that was interested, hoping that the band would like his work and then hire him to produce the rest of the album. “I searched venues for band names and started emailing them, telling them I had the gear and I would go to their jam spaces.”
South Bay surf/punk band Los Shadows took him up on his offer. They ended up using him for the album. He says that was the last time he had to use the first-one’s-free offer.
“They were on [start-up label] Chuck Records.” That Chuck Records hook-up led to recording projects with Fake Tides and Pueblo. Lehman says his word-of-mouth then led to sessions with local bands Low Points, Splavender, Boychick, Oh Spirit, rap artist Cali Cam, and Temecula’s Funk Shui Planet. Lehman is currently working with “indie-soul” artist Aquile.
He says he would one day like to have a home studio for his Blowhole Sound company but is now pleased to have access to Rarified Recording in North Park.
Lehman admits his $10/hour fee is what keeps his calendar full. “I went on a tour pricing studios in Hollywood. I went to a studio called East West. It was beautiful, but it was $2000 a day. I realized most people don’t have a budget for that and I had to start smaller. Because my wife has a real good job, I can do it this way.”
But doesn’t he worry that he will piss off producers who make their living from studio recording?
“There’s a thousand bands in San Diego. If bands really like you, they will work with you, no matter what it costs. With the economy the way it is, I think bands respond to a good deal. But I don’t want to be undercutting forever.”