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Billy Gerhardt

**Morgan:** My guest today is Billy Gerhardt, owner of the Sauce Pot Studios in San Luis Obispo, California. If our audio sounds super amazing, incredible today, that is because we are recording here in his studio. Hi Billy, how are you? Hey, how's it going? Good, good. So this is super fun for me. Can you describe, I know this is a podcast, but can you describe for our listeners where we are and what we're

**Billy:** doing?

Yes. So we are, we're in the control room right now of the saw spot studios. Yeah. And this used to be an empty warehouse, so we basically built all the walls you see, and all the sound absorption panels and all that. It's

**Morgan:** really cool cuz it's like, it looks like the cross between like a spaceship and like, Like a nineties, like, I dunno, some cool nineties

**Billy:** jam.

We did that, we did that on purpose. We, we spent a lot of time on like the woodwork of this place cuz we wanted it to have that vibe. Yeah. And a lot of that was done by Wes my business partner who just went hard on all the trim here. And to this day people come in and they see it and they're just, Amazed.


**Morgan:** Yeah, no, this is, this is super duper fun. So I'd love to, can you just kind of tell people like who are you and what do you do?

**Billy:** Yeah, so at the Sauce Pot we are, we started as a rehearsal space for bands. So we have 13 rooms that are 24 7 rehearsal spaces for bands in San Luis Obispo. They can come here anytime of day or night and practice and not have to worry about noise complaints or just anything like that.

So it's a workspace for musicians. And that's how we started with our first warehouse.

**Morgan:** I gotta know is that cuz you got complaints. About your band all the time. Why did you see the value in that? Yeah, that

**Billy:** is 100% the reason figured that figured we started this. Yeah, it's funny. So we, Wes and I, my business partner, we were, we were going through the Questa jazz program and we already had a band on the side, but we were going through the jazz program and we were rehearsing in our living room.

And at this point, this was like 12 years ago, and we live, we lived on Tasara, which is in slow, over off of Foothill. And it was like 3:00 PM and we're like practicing jazz. I'm like playing like a jazz, like a ride symbol, like, and and the cops show up to our house and I think it happened a couple times, like two or three times.

And by the third time they were just like, Okay guys, we're gonna start just writing you huge tickets and you know, you're probably gonna, we're gonna tell your landlord this and that. What are you supposed to do?

**Morgan:** That's so messed up.

**Billy:** And it is really, it really came down to we had just one bad neighbor who was right next to us.

Yeah, everyone else was fine with it, but we had one bad neighbor. And So thanks to him. We,

**Morgan:** I guess thanks, bad neighbor. That worked out well for you. Thanks, Greg.

**Billy:** Yeah. So so we, we just got frustrated with that situation and we, we like, well let's, what can we do? Let's take it into our own hands. And it's not like what we're doing is original.

Yeah. If you go to, if you go to la they've got this, if you go to sf, they've got this Portland, you know, whatever. They, they got this, but they didn't really have a good place in SLO for it. So I, we just decided to take it in our, into our own hands. We were like 20, I was like 23 at the time. And I think we like used like our student loans and like maxed out our credit cards and just built this place.

Oh my gosh. And Then it worked out so well that we got the next warehouse, built some more rooms, got the next one, built some more, and just kind of continued

**Morgan:** that. Yeah, it's pretty funny coming here. Like you on, on the tour you were showing me around last time I was here and it was like, and we have this part and we have this part and we have this just like row and rows and rows and rows and rows.

It just keeps going and it, and it's, it's kind of it's morphed so far beyond. Rehearsal space too.

**Billy:** Yeah. Yeah. It started as rehearsal spaces. And that was primarily so we could rehearse, but then after building two warehouses out like that, we were, and we had, we had been recording in our room but we were like, oh, we need a proper studio.

Yeah. So after two spaces, we built like the actual studio And that's where we're at today. And when was that? That was in 2018. Okay. I think, I think that was 2018. So there was, we started, the first one got built in 2012. I think the next one was like 2014.

**Morgan:** Wow. So you had a lot of years of just practice space like that is, yeah,

**Billy:** and, and there was like seven of us in like a tiny little room practicing just sweating and just like, you know, but we were extremely grateful to have that.

But then eventually we were just like, okay, let's build an actual studio. Yeah. So we like planned this whole place out and and just built it. That's so

**Morgan:** cool. So, Do you have a, like what's your training as far as record? Like how do you, how did you learn, how do you know? Like there's everything when I look around, not just this control room, but also the studio itself, like in where the, the artist would typically be.

It all looks very intentional and that I, I know that's a lot of work. How, like, is that what you've trained in or how did you figure out how to do all this?

**Billy:** No, so, well, so before we started this, like Wes and I, we had zero construction experience pretty much. I remember the first, the first spot we did, we were, I was on the floor.

Like on my knees, like with like YouTube on my phone reading about how to center walls. 16 on center. Yeah. Like, I had no idea, but, but I already had like $4,000 of lumber that we already bought, like sitting in the parking lot and we're like, yo, we gotta get this up. Like, we gotta start putting this together.

So like YouTube helped us

**Morgan:** out a lot. Yeah, thanks Greg and YouTube.

**Billy:** But, but then when it came to time to do the studio, we actually, like, we read a lot of books about mm-hmm. Sound absorption and just how to treat sound. And you know, we did, we put a lot of studying into that about all the angles that you want, the dimensions, this and that.

And yeah, we just kind of nerded out on it and it was fun and And it worked out, you know? Yeah. And, and we really do think that, like our live room in there, it, it, it sounds really, really good. You know? It sounds really good. It's like great room for drums, great room for having a whole band in you know, so we're proud of

**Morgan:** it.

What was the first project you did in here? The first, oh man. Probably yourself, but do you remember, what was the first thing you recorded in this room?

**Billy:** You know, it was it was a, I think it was a band. Local awesome band. I don't, they're, they're not together anymore, but Captain Nasty. Captain Nasty. Yeah.

Shout out Captain. Nasty. They were badass. I think they might have been the first. Commercial project we did in here. We, we may have done ourselves first, but I don't, I'm not sure. I don't think so, honestly.

**Morgan:** Okay. Nice. Yeah. And then, I don't know how many bands do you, would you say come through here on a, on a

**Billy:** base, on a regular basis?

Well, I mean just in like the 13 rehearsal rooms we have, there's probably like, 18 bands or so, cuz some, some bands share rooms. And so they've all been through the studio, they've all brought their friends and stuff. But then we have tons of bands that, that don't run a room from us that have came in here and recorded too.

Hundreds probably. Yeah. It's, it's really hard to say, but we've had like hundreds of bands come through here from, from all over. From, you know, San Diego and anywhere in California and even Seattle and just all over. So. Nice.

**Morgan:** That is so cool. Do you still play

**Billy:** drums? Yeah. In a band? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So yeah, I play drums in word sauce. We just played a show last weekend at Live Oak. It was awesome. Nice. And and yeah, we're working on the album. Sweet. So,

**Morgan:** So where did the name Sauce plot come

**Billy:** from? So Sauce Pot, it, it came from we already had the band Word sauce. Yeah. So we had this band called Word Sauce.

We were like a funk, hip hop band. We were all young. And then when we built this place, we wanted. To incorporate that, the name, sauce in it. So we were like, well, how can we, you know, and I think we just sat around for a few hours and then we just came up with Sauce Pot because it's like a, we're like a melting pot of, of all these different bands.

That make up the music scene here in slow, you know, we've got reggae bands, folk bands, indie bands, metal bands funk bands. We got like all these, you know, so we're like just this big sauce pot of all these genres mixed up. And and that's kind of what makes us up. So you had

**Morgan:** that name even before the studio was built?

**Billy:** We had word sauce before the studio was built, but Okay. But Sauce Pot was like, we were like actively looking for a name and that's when we. We came up with sauce pot. I

**Morgan:** love it too, cuz like that's where mixing happens. Yeah. You know,

**Billy:** there's, there's honestly like the more you dive into it and, and then think about it, there's like all these other like meanings that you can make from it and stuff.

And we do that all the time. But it really just came because it had the word sauce in it. Yeah. And and it's summed up that we're just like this conglomerate like mix of all these bands and stuff. And, and that's one thing we've always said about this place was Like the sauce pot is built by musicians.

For musicians. Yes. Like, we're not, like, we weren't construction guys at the time. Like, oh, let's make some money and do this. Like we're, we were musicians looking to give musicians what we knew they needed. Yeah. Which was a place they could come day or night and practice and refine their prayer. And just be loud.

Yeah. And be loud. Yeah. Yep.

**Morgan:** Yeah. Oh, that's so cool. So I had, when I was in Portland, I, I was running a school, a music school, and we had a studio in there. It was a very basic studio. It was a school for kids. And, you know, we'd have like summer camps come through. We'd do like birthday parties. It was super, like all my audio engineers would.

Hate their lives because I'm like, no, just like literally just the track. No mixing, don't do anything. Don't touch it. And they're like, but it sounds so, and I'm like, I don't care. They're six. It's their birthday. Just burn the cd. Anyway so I developed their, a super basic idea of like, it expanded my horizons a lot to the possibilities and kind of the recording scene.

And I don't know, can you, can you take people through so. Like what are some basic expectations that you would wanna set with someone if they're thinking, oh, I've had this band for a while. I've been, you know, kind of jamming with my friends. We're we wrote a song or two. Then

**Billy:** what? Yeah. So, so if you're a band and you're thinking that the studio's the next step for you, you've played some live shows, you have a couple songs and you think it's time to track them.

I think number one is just like rehearse them, like get 'em super tight. Yes. Come into the studio like with all the kinks already worked out Decide whether or not you're gonna be playing to a metronome art from the get go. And just like work out all the kinks because then when you come in here, it's just like smooth sailing, you know?

Mm-hmm. But also think about like the tracking process. Do, do you guys all wanna track live? Do you want to track the rhythm section, live drums and bass, and then overdub everything else? Think about what's gonna be best for the song. And

**Morgan:** how, if you've never done that, how would you even start to think like, okay, actually that seems like a good idea.

**Billy:** So I think like just listening to listen to some music from other people and. Go off of what they did off for, for what you like for your style. So usually when you listen to a, a group or an artist, you can tell if the drums are live tracked or if they're programmed by a computer. And, and so get your production, like base your production off of the music that you're, that you wanna sound


**Morgan:** Yeah, that's good. Really good advice. And then drums, I mean, they're, they're all, can you, can you describe the setup for drums? I, that was always the, one of the biggest things, like, okay, are you gonna have a drummer? Okay. Yeah.

**Billy:** So like you know, as a drummer. Yeah. And like, I love recording drums. When we first built this place, you know, we, we would put 20 microphones on the drums.

Yeah. You know, every individual drum you know, overheads rooms, and and honestly, and that is important, but what I've learned like over the years too, is that, It is really more about the placement of the mics. And I mean, you can get an amazing drum sound with just a couple room mics if you put 'em in the right spot.

Sure. And it also depends on like the sound you want to go for. A lot of times we'll close mic everything so that if we want, we can sample, replace it easily. But then we'll rely on the, the room mics for the mix as well. So it, it just depends. But. Yeah, it's, you can go either way. We definitely have some, some tips and tricks of like where we like to put mics and stuff like that.

Like one thing we've been doing is we've been putting an SM seven B right in front of the kit, just above the kick drum. And that, that's been like a killer sound for us. We've done stuff like taping, like a SM 57 on the floor, a couple feet in front of the kit. There's all sorts of little things that you can do that That we've picked up along the way from other engineers and this and that, that can really make a cool drum sound.

And depending on if you want to have that more of like roomy feel like almost like live like hip hoppy lo-fi sound, or if you want like a super polished metal sound, you know, there's, there's all sorts of different things you can do, you know?

**Morgan:** Yeah. Yeah. And drums are, they're just so loud on the Billy, they're so loud.

Yeah. But you know,

**Billy:** we like that.

**Morgan:** Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then as far as time goes, I know that one thing in, again, we were kind of, I kind of, the way I described it to people is we're like your starter studio. Like where the, the school, it's like, this is where, you know, we teach people how to play instruments.

We teach people how to sing. We teach people how to be in a band, not just kids, but adults too, and. And I kind of was like, we teach you what to expect from a studio. Our rates were not studio rates, but also you're not get like, and one thing that people would kept coming in and running into was time.

And they always seriously underestimated how long it would take. Yeah. I mean, we'd spend an hour and not finish a song. And we hadn't even started on the mixing.

**Billy:** Oh yeah, yeah. You can go into a, like a black hole of time in the studio. Yeah. And So that's why number one, it's just best to be prepared. Yes.

But it is important to, to set realistic expectations. Like I've seen a lot of drummers come in and let's say they're doing nine songs on an album. I would say like most drummers that I've seen, Top out, at least for performance. Like if you want to get the best performance outta someone doing like four or five songs a day.

Sure. I mean, you could do a little more, you know, but like, that's a good average of like, if you're a drummer coming in and you're well rehearsed and you want to do nine songs, I'd say split it up, have that, have that take two days, you know? Yeah. But yeah, and, and there's no set like formula for how long things take.

But it's best to when you're get in the studio, to, if you can just not be concerned about the time and really just think about yeah. The product that you're making. Cuz we've seen it before, we've seen bands have to rush things at the end of a session. It happens, but it's just not ideal. Mm-hmm. But that being said, there was like there was one time when we had a, just recently we had a band in here from San Diego, they're called Cath awesome band.

And they came up from San Diego and stayed in SLO for five days. Nice to make an album. Nice. And it was like, you know, day five and they. Wes. Wes was running that session and crushing it, doing his thing. I was next door in our video editing room, just like in like a video editing hole. Yeah. And all of a sudden he like bangs on my door and he is like, dude, he's like, they gotta go like kind of soon.

He's like, but we got all this stuff to track. He's like, can you track the percussion for these songs in the studio? And I'm gonna go next door to our hourly room and I'm gonna track the organ for this song. Oh my gosh. So it was really cool. So at the end of this project, I was in here tracking congas on one of their songs and some percussion.

He was next door tracking organ, and we We just like crushed it and we got it done. You know, like half the band was doing their thing. I had the drummer over here and they were, we were doing our thing and we got the work done twice as fast and we got it done. And that album's out now. It, it's called Living Room and it's amazing.

And But yeah, it was just like a really fun session. So like, even though we were pressed for time, we made the best of it. And that's kind of like what Wes and I try and do here is like we're, we're, we're about the, the music and the product, you know? Yeah. It's like we're, we're gonna be lenient on our time because we just want this to sound good.

**Morgan:** And that goes, I mean, that is like, like the perfect example of what you said earlier by musicians. For musicians like, yeah, yeah, yeah. You have to be a musician in order to. Like click in to like, oh, they need this. I'll just step in and do that. Like, there's, you can't fake that.

**Billy:** Yeah, no. Like that's but, but that's how it should be, you know?

Yeah. It's like that's, that's what makes a good studio, I feel like,

**Morgan:** so, yeah. Yeah. Okay. So that was a great segue. You mentioned video editing. Can you talk about that?

**Billy:** Yeah, so I would say it was around like 2020. Around like the Covid era was when we got into making music videos. Yeah. Before that we had just, we'd just been audio engineers.

We'd always kind of messed around with cameras, but never, never commercial and never like that serious. But we met an amazing photographer and videographer named Xander who started coming around. Taught us like everything we know. And he's just like a g nice. And so yeah, he started coming around, taught us a bunch of stuff, got us up to speed.

And then we started making music videos. It started actually with like live performance videos. Yeah. So we would do like in the studio videos. So we'd have a band come in and set up mics. Set up cameras, and track them live. And like I mean, that's

**Morgan:** huge for promoting your, your albums is is like Exactly, yeah.

Little clips of you in the studio doing certain songs. Like, that's,

**Billy:** that's huge. I think. Yeah, like one of the one we did, we did The Strawberry Girls, which is a touring like math rock band that they might've been one of the first ones we did. And two their awesome guys and they came in, it was funny because they were about to leave on tour that.

The day we did it. So they were like, yeah, we're down to do it, but we can only do it at 8:00 AM So like we all

**Morgan:** showed, which for dirty musicians is really, really early. Yes.


**Billy:** So, yeah, so we all showed up at like seven 30 to set up and they did like two songs back to back and we did like, like three takes of it or so, and, but it, and it got hot. It was like in the middle of July or something too, kinda like it is now. Yeah. And we're all just like sweating. But it was like a, it was beautiful, to be honest.

Like all of us there at eight in the morning, just like jamming out super loud. And that, that video's on our YouTube soft Spot studio's, YouTube channel. Nice. Along with some others too. So I'll link

**Morgan:** to that in the show notes. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. So, so just here. Or do you like, cuz you have another

**Billy:** space too, right?

Yeah. So we have a a video studio Yeah. That we built and that has a stage with a complete light show. We've got like a couple vinyl dropdown panels like like for green screen or like a white or black or whatever kind of effect you want. We've got some furniture and props in there. And Just, you know, like a hazer, all sorts of things to, to make a music video in a controlled environment.

Mm-hmm. And to also get that live look in a controlled environment. So, and we've done some shoots in there doing the same concept. And usually we'll let the band decide like, yeah, you wanna do it in the studio, you wanna do it in there. It just depends. Yeah,

**Morgan:** it's just a different look. So this one, this I have zero experience with.

So how, what would you say, like, who should do a music video and how in the world would you prepare for that? Like,

**Billy:** okay, so everyone should do a music video. Okay. Because like, Today's day and age, everything is so visual. Sure. You know, you make one music video, you can cut, you know, 20 clips up from that and, and post that on social media.

Yeah. So like, everyone should do a music video. The, the way to do a music video though, like an actual music video is usually done kind of milli Vanilli style. So the song's already recorded. Yeah. Then you would just play to the song and you can add it. Like, at first we just did live performances, but then we started doing like storylines and stuff in the music videos.

So, so that's up to you how you wanna do it. But I do recommend having a storyline and a plot in your music videos along with live performance shots. Yeah. Just because that's what people wanna see. Yeah. You know, they wanna see a different side of you. They wanna see. The band acting goofy or doing whatever, but do people

**Morgan:** come in like crazy costumes?

Like Yeah, a hundred percent. What have you. What are some things you've seen in there?

**Billy:** Well, okay, so. Okay, well we had a, we did a proximal parata music video in there for the song Hannah. Hannah. And for that one it was, they were all like in like a satanic cult type thing. And it was like, we released it around Halloween and so we had like a baby goat in there.

And like the premise of the music video, fake videos are really

**Morgan:** cute. He was,

**Billy:** his name was Oreo Oreo and he was extremely cute, but I heard he grew up to be, Kind of a I don't know. Well, he

**Morgan:** has an ego man. Yeah. He was in a music video. He's a celebrity. Yeah, he's a rockstar now.


**Billy:** you know, I can't hate on him for

**Morgan:** that.

No, don't hate Oreo

**Billy:** Oreo. So, yeah. So yeah, we had a baby goat in there. Wes and I just did a, a music video recently where The actor was dressed in a full werewolf. Costume. Costume. Oh, nice. It was over the top. That's, it Hasn't been released yet. It'll be coming out soon, but but yeah, we've seen a lot of stuff in there.

A lot of weird stuff happens in there, you know, like it really does. Like, well,

**Morgan:** music videos are, I mean, they're, they're just weird. Yeah. They're, they're just weird. They're extravagant. I'm, I'm always like, how do people come up with this stuff like, It's a, it's, I guess it's a different part of my brain.

My brain doesn't think that way.


**Billy:** people are like, like Wes is really good at coming up with music video ideas. Like some people just hear music and then it makes them picture images. Sure. And a lot of times, like that's how people will, will come up with ideas for their music video. They're just like, well, what is this making me think or feel?

Or whatever. Yeah. But sometimes it's just like, Hey, I wanna do this funny thing and incorporate it into a video. And it's like, okay, cool. Yeah.

**Morgan:** Yeah. So then would you mix the entire thing together? You'd take the video, you'd do the editing, you'd tie it to the track and give the whole file?

**Billy:** Yes. Well, so yeah.

So the song would already be recorded and edited and like you'd have the final song ideally already. Okay. So basically we would, we would just take that and as we're. Shooting the video, we would just be playing it over speakers, playing it back so the band can play along to it and like reference it and stuff like that, and have something to go off of.

And then we'll film all that. But then we, and then we just take all that footage and We just edit a video over the, over the music that's already done. Sure. If it were a live, like recording, kind of like the Strawberry Girls one that we did, like live in the studio, then in that case, yeah, we would, we would edit the video and the audio.

Like all, all, you have

**Morgan:** to have 'em the same. Yeah, we, we'd,

**Billy:** we'd edit 'em all at once and like and then just like, so it'd be like twice as much work at the end, but I mean, it's not that bad. It's not that

**Morgan:** bad. Like Yeah. But you're not having to piece together stories and stuff.

**Billy:** Yeah, yeah. A lot of times too, it, it does help to like already have when you're making a music video to have like all your scenes written out and you know, some kind of treatment and like, so that you can, so that you know what shots are gonna go where already before you even start to edit.


**Morgan:** yeah. That makes sense, man, that's so cool.

So I'm loving hearing about some of the different projects. So the goal of this podcast is to help people feel like they can do stuff, right? Like, like, like the world of music is like, oh, I didn't, I never thought about that. Let's go try it. Or, I never thought or like, you know, I've, and so, so what I love about all these stories is there's people, people in kind of all different areas you mentioned, like folk bands and metal bands and jazz bands, and, you know, doing laying down tracks, making videos like I don't know.

What are some other, I'd love to hear a coup, a couple other stories that you have from, from either recording or doing the videos or both.

**Billy:** Yeah. So let's see. Like, let's think about some fun projects that we've done. Yeah.

**Morgan:** Any amateur-ish stuff, like people getting into it that you just felt like was so cool to be part

**Billy:** of?

Yeah, like I mean that's most of our clientele. Okay. To be honest. Yeah. Are our amateurs and. There's nothing to be ashamed in, in that, you know, and I think Wes and I are both good at like guiding people who may be less experienced Yeah. Through the process so that they can get the best end product and the best song.

So that's, yeah. I would say that's like, that's most of our clientele is people that don't have a lot of experience. But then we, you know, we have. We have people that have been in the studio a hundred times come to us too, you know? Yeah. And, and, and they know what they want and they know where things want to, they want to place mics and this and that, and that's really cool too.

It's just, it's cool to do everything because doing everything will just kind of make you. Better at everything. Yeah. Yeah. So it's like, we're just down to do whatever, you know? Didn't you

**Morgan:** tell me last time I was here that you did a vocal track for like Disney or something? Yeah. So what was that?

That was, are you allowed to talk about it? I think I, I think so. Okay.

**Billy:** I guess we'll find out. No, it's, I mean, everything's already been released. Yeah. So, yeah. I think we're good. But that was that was funny. So yeah, Disney hit us up and they were like, Hey, we're gonna send you a talent. And, and it was funny, and that's how we know we're gonna get a celebrity into the sauce pot, is anytime a production company hits us up and they're like, the talent can only be there from blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Like, are you available? And so anytime they say The talent, the talent, that's how we know like, ooh, we're getting a celebrity. So so yeah, Disney did that to us and they like wouldn't tell us at all who it was or what it was for. But they, we booked off the time and they had all these like requirements which actually weren't unreasonable, but just a lot of tech specs that that we had to meet, which, you know, we did.

And we set everything up for them. And then we ended up doing we recorded, it was, we did a voiceover and we recorded some of the lyrics for, it was the movie Encanto, which came such a good movie which came out. Yeah. Out. Yeah, it was a good movie. It was really good. Yeah. And so they sent this actor, he is a younger kid named Renzi Felise, super cool kid.

And they sent him, he played Camillo in the movie. I believe so, yeah. They sent him and the day, yeah, he showed up and They sent us the tracks like that day. And it's funny, when they sent us the, the music, it like, they wouldn't even give us the whole song. They like gave us like parts of the song.

I'm not sure if it's cuz they weren't finished it or they just like, were afraid of people leaking it. Yeah. But like, so we, we had this track and he was like, okay, we want him to sing over like minute two to minute two and a half. And he has his lyrics and then we need to do some some voiceover stuff for the movie.

And he had to be on a Zoom call for that with Uhlin Manuel Miranda? Yes, please. Yeah. Who, who like Yeah. Wrote that movie. Yeah. And so we had him in, in our vocal booth on a Zoom call with Lynn Manuel. And and it was really cool. Like what was it like for that? I just remember him Lin Manuel being like, You know, Hey, art Renzi, that was really cool, but now I want you to say that same line as if you're in a room full of 30 people and no one's listening to you.

So like really scream it. Okay, cool. Renzi. Now, now say that same line again. But, but, but kind of like whisper it into someone's ear. And, and so he had all these like techniques of different ways he wanted it and we didn't know which he was gonna keep or not, but Yeah. But I guess, you know, he had something in mind.

So he would, he was coaching renzi. And then and it was just, it was cool to sees. Cool. And then he ended up doing some lyrics for we don't talk about Bruno,

**Morgan:** the, the biggest earworm in the whole freaking movie,

**Billy:** which, which like blew up like all over like social media. Yeah. And so he recorded a couple lines for that song.

It was just like part of the chorus and like some backup stuff. It wasn't anything anything major, but but yeah, it was in there.

**Morgan:** That's so cool. So you're in, you're technically in. We don't talk about Bruno.

**Billy:** Yeah, we actually, if you do, if you look at the credits in the end of the movie, you're in there, sets

**Morgan:** Sauce pot studios, man.

What does that feel

**Billy:** like? That's cool. Sam Luis Obispo. Yeah. No, it was, it was awesome.

**Morgan:** I mean, so can you, can you sort of technically say you've had Lin Manuel. Miranda in your studio? In the studio. Well,

**Billy:** in your studio. Yeah. I, I dunno, he wasn't, he was on the screen right there. He was in a, he was in a Zoom.

He was, he was, he was telling us what to do, you know, he was like, yeah. You know, he was he was running the session,

**Morgan:** honestly. Oh, that's pretty cool. So,

**Billy:** and yeah, and he's a G man. Like, he was cool to see him. Just to see him work. Yeah. He was very concise. He knew what he wanted. He had a lot of good ideas to try out and like it was just he, you can, watching him, I immediately understood like why he's so successful.

**Morgan:** Sure. So, Very, very high standards. Very exacting. Yeah. Yeah. But also, I mean, cuz cuz he was coaching a kid, right?

**Billy:** Like, well, yeah, Renzi was, he's like 22. I say kid, he

**Morgan:** is like 22. Oh, okay, okay. It's, I'm never sure, like, I think that that character is pretty young in the movie. Right? I

**Billy:** think he the one, I think he's, yeah.

Yeah. He is younger in the movie, but I think he was like 20 in his twenties.

**Morgan:** Okay. Okay. So, yeah. Oh man. That's awesome. The talent. Huh? The talent, yeah. Okay. The talent.

**Billy:** And he was cool. So we've also had we've had Josh Lin in here Nice. Who is also just an amazing guy came through toward the studio and then he did like a voiceover for like some Comcast thing.

But he was just like the most down to earth, like chill, just like making jokes, cracking jokes. Like he was hilarious, you know? And so we've had him, we've had lorenzi back a couple of times. He, he did some other work for like American Horror Story here. And Oh, there's probably a couple others Yeah.

That I'm forgetting. But yeah, we

**Morgan:** What would you say, like, looking at all these different stories, what, why do you think like, separates, like the people who really know the talent like what do they do differently? You

**Billy:** know, I think, I don't, I don't exactly know. I think they stuck with it long enough to make it work.

Yeah. I think they, they all, everyone has talent. In some way, shape, or form. And I, I really just think these, these guys just stuck with it long enough to make a career out of it, which is like way harder than it sounds.

**Morgan:** Yeah. Well, I, one of my other guests that I had several episodes ago was a friend of mine who's a.

A composer in New York City like, like her goal is to be on Broadway eventually. And that was a really cool interview. But the timeline you picture like you know, writing musicals and having a career. Lin Mal Lin Manuel Miranda is actually very rare because of how young he is. Like that doesn't normally happen.

Yeah, I I mean like, she's got like a 40 year plan. I'm like, I don't even know what I'm doing next year. She's got like, literally it's like that long that they teach you in school. Like, this is what you need to be prepared to do.

**Billy:** Yeah. And you know, it, it makes sense like to, because to perfect a craft, I mean, it, it, it takes that, that dedication.

You know, people talk about the 10,000 hours Yeah. And like, I really think that is true. Yeah. And some people reach that 10,000 hours sooner than others because I mean, you, to reach it quickly, you gotta go full time. You know? And some people do put in eight to 10 hours a day in their craft. Mm-hmm.

And they do that for three, four years straight. And it shows And you know, they couple that with just raw talent and being a, a phenom and that's also like a thing. And there's also that. Yeah. And there's also just being in the right space at the right time. I mean, there's so much that goes into it.

It's like, it's tough to say what exactly makes those people who they are. But but I do think one, one thing about it is just having the confi, having confidence in themselves and just like doing it. Putting the work in long enough mm-hmm. To, and, and being smart and, and changing and pivoting. Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm. When things don't work, being able to pivot into what does work. Just things like that.

**Morgan:** Yeah, totally. I know that this is a bit of a rant, but rejection is always a big you know, a big issue with people, and it does not matter if you're. You know, super famous or if you are, you know, just trying out for your little community choir and you don't get in, like rejection can hit you really bad.

And I think a big part of just being a healthy musician is just letting that not get to you and understanding like your place and, and how it's really just not all about you. Right? If you get rejected, it's probably has nothing to do with. You and your abilities versus like just what they are looking for at that particular point in time.

So just getting back up and putting your, continuing to put yourself out there and keep doing your auditions and keep, you know, trying out for stuff and understanding it's, it's, it's so much bigger than just you.

**Billy:** Yeah. And you know, I, I'm a firm believer that you will learn more from your failures Yeah.

Than from your successes. So, I mean, it's, it's important as a growing musician to go out there and fail. 20, 30, 50, a hundred times because like, you're gonna, you're gonna learn more from that failure than if you were to just go out and everything was perfect and you crushed it and this and that, and then you're just on to the next.

Like, you, you kind of need those failures to shape who you are. As a musician Yeah. Or as a creator. So it, it's important to fail and fail a lot. Fail

**Morgan:** a lot, and get to where it just doesn't bother you anymore. Yeah. Yeah. If you don't get it, that's, it just doesn't bother you. Yeah. And that's, and then the beginning, that's really hard to do.

It's like when you're a kid and you watch a kid having a mental meltdown again at the school, you know, it was all ages and kids would come in and they're just like, Screaming over something, melting down over something, and you gotta, you, you look at 'em and you're like, man, I feel that. Like I still have that moment.

I just don't scream in public anymore. You know, like, like it's kind of this, it, it like it because we've experienced a lot as adults, you know, if we, like, if our ice cream falls off of our cone, We'll be like, ah, dang it. But we're not gonna like, lose our mind over it.

**Billy:** But that's only because it's that, and we, and we'll learn from it.

Yeah. Oh, if my ice cream fell off my cone, well, maybe I was holding it in a bad way. Well, it's like in that same way we learn from our failures. Yeah. You know, oh, if, if this didn't work out, they didn't like this, well maybe my course wasn't catchy enough. Yeah. And how can I improve it? You know? And you, it's, it's good to, to self-reflect and That just helps people grow.

Yeah. So yeah, I'm like, all for failing. Yeah. You know, and, and it shouldn't scare people, you know, like it shouldn't scare people to fail. Like if you fail at something, like, so what? Just go do something else. Like it's fuck, it's

**Morgan:** fine. You know? Yeah. It's fine. Yeah. Yeah. I bet you see a lot of people come in here with angsty.

Do you have to talk a lot of people down?

**Billy:** Yeah. I, you know, I guess so. Yeah. It, it's easy to see musicians. Get worked up and get in their head cuz they feel the pressure of a time clock on 'em. They they, they messed up their take, they messed up their take. They feel like they're not performing as well.

It's, that's easy to happen. And as an engineer, part of the engineer's job is to coach that musician into getting the best takes that you can out of them. Mm-hmm. And sometimes you gotta know your limits and you don't, you don't wanna push them to do a 30th take. When it's really not necessary. So there is, there is like a, an aspect of that too.

**Morgan:** Yeah. You're like a therapist as well as a coach. Oh yeah, definitely coach as well as a professional, you know, the engineer. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Just going back to the 10,000 hours, one of my engineers, well this, this phenomenal musician. Shout out to Sam's actually Stepped up. I think he got promoted since I left.

Well deserved. But he he, I hired him as, I believe as a, a guitar teacher, and then he could, and a drum teacher and he could work in the studio too. So he was kind of like checking a lot of boxes of like, things that, that like. Finding drum teachers could be a challenge. Finding engineers was definitely a challenge and, and Sam could just kind of do everything, do it all.

He could lead bands. He was just always kept as cool. Still, still is like that. And he decided one day he walks in and he is like, Hey, I've been trying to pick up piano and I teach piano. He is like, Hey, could I couple pointers? You know, do I do this or that? And he'd just go practice. And every day he'd come in early, like hours before his shift and just find an empty practice room and just play.

And he started asking me more and more complex questions to where I'm like, whoa, dude. Like, because he had the basis in theory from all the other stuff he played. He's freaking good now. He's like an. Excellent piano.

**Billy:** Well, you know that, it's funny because, you know, I've seen the same thing here where Yeah.

Like we've had a couple drummers that rent out. Either we have like a drum room just for drummers or just like in, in a band room. But we have some drummers that have came in here and they, they, they'll rent the spot and I'll hear him practicing every day. Or almost every day for like months.

Yeah. And then like a, a couple months later, that same drummer is just so much better. It's wild. Yeah. And it's like, it, it, it makes me happy cuz it's like, man, like because of this place some, someone came in here and, you know, refine their craft a little and now they're gonna go out into the world and like show.

Their skill. Yes. And it's like, and it's just a beautiful thing. That is

**Morgan:** pretty cool. I love that. I love that. That is pretty cool. Do you, like, every time you go out, like San Luis Obispo has a ton of music, live music, can you just, do you just see people you know absolutely everywhere? Yeah. I mean,

**Billy:** we're pretty embedded in the music scene.

Yeah. And and that's, you know, we love

**Morgan:** that. Yeah. Yeah. Have you ever done a live event?

**Billy:** Like like, like outside

**Morgan:** here

**Billy:** as the sauce pod or just like

**Morgan:** yeah, like have you ever recorded or videoed a live

**Billy:** event? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We've done that a lot. Like we've done we've taken video of like live.

Live performances from bands like we've shot, like concerts in the plaza, couple of the bands for that. We've done some other stuff like that. We've we've put on our own little productions as word sauce as our band too. Yeah, we've had some stuff like that too. But I will say like running Live sounds we, we do that and we have all the gear to do that.

And We don't mind it, but it's, it is a little bit of a different workflow than mm-hmm. Like the studio hustle. That's, that I prefer more. But and a lot of times we'll just lend our gear out to bands and they can just like run a live set themselves like

**Morgan:** Nice. You know, and that, that's amazing.

Yeah. Yeah. So like, that's

**Billy:** huge. We're down to do that, you know? Yeah. And we're down for whatever, so.

**Morgan:** Yeah. Yeah. Equipment, gear, I mean, it's. Endless if you're a band.

**Billy:** Yeah. I mean, that's like, as a musician, we'll we'll probably just be buying gear the rest of our lives. It's kind of crazy to think about.


**Morgan:** Awesome. Let me have my,

all right. So what are some of the. When you were first starting out here, back before the studio, when you were doing just like the rehearsal, just the packed rehearsal spaces obviously it was serving a personal need that you guys had. So you, you were rehearsing here. Are any of the bands that, that any of like your first people that you brought in, are they still around Still here?

**Billy:** Yeah. Yeah. So our longest running tenants ever are Proxima, parata. And their drummer is still in the same room. He was in 2012, 13, well, over 10 years ago or something like that. Oh man. Yeah. And and so, so like technically then, that's what I tell everyone. It's like technically they're like our longest running tenant.

And I mean, we have. Quite a few people who have been here over 10 years. Yeah, so, and it's, it's cool to see like proxima like they're like blowing up right now. They're like on huge tours. They they went viral on like TikTok and stuff and like, it's cool to see that, you know? Yeah. We're just like super, like stoked for, and just, I mean, just supportive in any way

**Morgan:** possible.

You know, one thing I just love about. The music community generally is, you know, despite what you might see on, you know, Hollywood TV or whatever, like overall musicians like are constantly cheering for each other. Like it's so supportive no matter where you are. Amateur choir all the way up to like, this is a exceedingly professional.

**Billy:** I mean, you Yeah. Musicians just get each other. Yeah. I feel like you're like, oh, oh, you play. Oh, you too.

**Morgan:** Okay. Yeah. Yeah. That's so cool. So I have one last question for you. D so this is zeitgeist radio. Do you know what zeitgeist means?

**Billy:** Kind of a weird word. It, yeah, yeah. Kind of. But I don't wanna, I don't wanna define it cause I don't wanna no problem.

**Morgan:** So, so zeitgeist means like spirit of the times. Yes. And it's kind of like the feel of like, what it's like to be alive at any, at any point in time. You know, the zeitgeist of, of here and now in San Luis Obispo or of like 17th century opera or like wherever. And Part of what I'm trying to do is help people just find, like I said, find a niche, find a place, find stuff that lights them up.

And I, that comes from personal, like enthusiasm from when like I was, I've been able in the past to like, like plug into something. And if you can, if you can kind of plug into the zeitgeist, to me that makes the music just. All the more are like, wow. Because it just makes sense. Like all music. I firmly believe that all music is relevant and all music, if someone made it, it's relevant.

Yeah, yeah. If nothing else is relevant to them and they were trying to tell you a story, something so if you can figure out where that came from, you can kind of feel that and feel alive. So, so there's this moment I call a zeitgeist moment, which is when you just. It just all kind of flows in, you know, it's just like you get it and you're plugged in.

What was a recent zeitgeist moment for

**Billy:** you? So, I mean, it's funny because like recording in the studio basically, like that's the moment you're trying to capture. Totally. So many bands like that that I listened to, like, that I listened to growing up and, and when I listen to 'em now, it's like, it's cool because they captured that specific moment in time in the studio and you know, had they came and done it the next day, it would've sounded a little bit different, you know?

But there's something just about all those people being in that room together, making that music for that single day that I mean, you're capturing magic, you know? Yes. And you don't know when, man,

**Morgan:** I would've never thought of that. But you're so right.

**Billy:** Well, it's like you don't know when or how the magic is gonna happen.

All you can do is, is try and give yourself everything possible to. To make it happen. And then after that, you really just gotta clear that thought from your head and just be super present in the moment and, and just do what you do and like, and record. And I think some of the greatest songs, some of the biggest hits out there were moments like that where everyone was just vibing off each other in the energy of the room and it was this and that.

And it was just something about that particular time and place where these. Beings got together and made something and we were able to just capture it and be able to replay that. It, I mean, it's, it's like a, it's, it's magical and you, you can't replicate it on purpose. It's one of those things that just happens and that's why I love the recording studio so much.

**Morgan:** And I mean,

man, that is, again, I would never have thought of that, but you're so right, like watching other people have their moments, like that's, that's what you do. And it is

**Billy:** cool. It's cool to have those moments working with with people on their projects. You know, like we've had lots of projects in here where it did, it just felt like, Dang.

Like, we're all in this moment together, guys, and this is just working. This is flowing like that take you just did was amazing. And it's like, and there's there's moments like that where it makes you forget about like, everything else in the world. And, and it kind of, it's like, it makes you realize, man, we're just all these like little like energy balls like buzzing around and we're just like vibing off each other.

I know. And And like recording studios capture that. And that's what's so cool about 'em. I think that's what, like what makes me love being in a recording studio is capturing those zeitgeist moments.

**Morgan:** Awesome. Oh, well, Billy, thank you so much for being on my podcast.

**Billy:** Yeah, definitely. Dude, I, we, we should do it again too.

I'm, this was like

**Morgan:** super

**Billy:** duper fun. Yeah. Yeah. Anytime. You know, we can have more people. Do some more guests. Dude, I'm down. Yeah? Yeah. Sounds awesome. So cool. Cool. Thank you. Yeah, thank you.

We come in around,

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