Have I told you about my brother-in-law Joel?

He plays bass on all my projects, which is awesome. But there’s something even cooler you should know about Joel.

Lemme explain.

A few years ago, while I was working up at Sweetwater selling gear, Joel decided he wanted to release an album.

He’s a teacher, so he was planning to record the album over his summer break.

Here’s the catch.

Joel had never owned Pro Tools or Reason. He had dabbled in recording in the past, but most of his recording experience had been from working in studios as a musician.

So did he take a few years to read a bunch of articles and books, watch a bunch of tutorial videos, and “prepare” himself to make an album?


He called me up at Sweetwater, bought an Mbox 2 Mini with Pro Tools and made an album in a matter of a few months.

That’s not a typo.


Like, in the amount of time it takes people to decide what fancy new piece gear to buy, he had learned Pro Tools well enough to record and mix an album.

So this begs the question…what’s your excuse?

What’s my excuse?

Do we get so caught up in technique and gear that we forget that it’s ALL about recording and sharing music?

I know I’m guilty of that at times (which is why I’m stoked that we’re tracking drums for MY next record this week).

What about you?

Stories like Joel’s shouldn’t make you feel bad or guilty. They should INSPIRE you to get crackin’ on your next project.

Life’s too short to sit around and “plan” things.

Go get ’em, tiger.

And if you need some help along the way, that’s why I’m here. I can’t record the songs for you, but I can help you avoid a bunch of mistakes when it comes time to mix those songs.

And for me it all starts with EQ.

Learn more here:


Joe Gilder

  • Michael

    Sometimes I think I’m the least educated person with regard to knowing the software/gear I use for recording and mixing. A couple of years ago I switched from using a Roland VS unit to the computer based mode and found REAPER to be my choice of DAW software. And I just never sat down with the manual to really get into the program and it’s features; I simply started mixing an album was in progress at the time, using whatever plugins I found that helped me do the job.

    I still have never fully learned the program, I only look up something when necessary. Maybe it’s because I’m older, and having started on a Tascam 4-track cassette, my perception of recording [an album] is a straight-ahead process. Plug in instruments and record; unplug instruments and mix. Yes, there are plugins and/or outboard gear that you should know well enough to make good use of; but knowing every intricate detail of everything you use – before getting down to recording – IMHO just isn’t necessary. You’ll learn much more by doing than by reading all about doing.

    So, as Joe says, get in there and start recording! Finish that album and learn along the way.

    • Great stuff, Michael. It’s like I wrote a week or so ago. You can read about swimming all you want, but you won’t learn until you jump in the pool.

  • Absolutely Joe. Just do it. My band has released 23 CDs (including 6 full length albums) since Dec 2004 and I have recorded them all. 🙂

    • That’s incredible, Xan. Very impressive.

  • Mkai Audio

    Maybe Joel is just immensely talented! Lol. It’s so true what your saying. I know you and Graham talk about it all the time and I try to talk about it on the MKai Audio blog as well as much as possible as well. When I started I was workin with the standard sound card in my laptop to get recordings. It meant a lot of editing when I had the sounds but I always got there in the end. It was also great practice in using my DAW.

    • EXACTLY. You nailed it. Working on (and finishing) a project is the best practice you can get. Hands down.

  • Joshua Wentz

    My current excuse is that I’ve spent the majority of my 15-year-long recording history throwing caution to the wind, with varying results. I want my next release to be my best, so for me that means curtailing my tendency to be prolific in order to learn, practice, and polish my skills. Sometimes it is both right and difficult to CHOOSE to not just churn out an album, depending on your personal goals.

    • You’re totally right, Josh. There’s no “wrong” way to do this.

  • Ben

    The LEAST you could do is link his album. Give the man some publicity and leave us wanting for more, whydoncha? :p

  • Jlird808

    Being a teacher, was his whole summer schedule free? That would be great…and a luxury almost NONE of us home enthusiasts have. And as inspiring as this story is, I have to inquire into the quality of this album, how many songs, how complex the compositions, etc. Did he already know about basic -> advanced mixing/tracking techniques before he even got started? If so…thats great too.

    Tupac recorded a #1 album in ONE WEEK and hadn’t penned a verse before stepping in the studio!! Of course, he only had to rap and left the pro instrumentalists and engineers to do the rest.

    • I get your questions, but I think you’re missing the point. He finished something he’s proud of in far less time than most people…because he didn’t get bogged down in the details.
      The take-away point here is that it’s possible to finish something without knowing everything. 🙂

    •  I did much of this work during the summer, but had to finish up the details in Aug/Sept/Oct.  I didn’t know much of anything about recording.  Just tinkered until it worked or (more commonly) bugged Joe to death about it 🙂

      Here are the songs you can check out yourself for free:  https://www.noisetrade.com/thesinaialliance

      • I helped occasionally. You did all the work.