If you’re opening a recording studio there are two things you should know:
- Location is everything.
- Great drum sounds are also everything.
Dan Joeright’s Gatos Trail Recording Studio in beautiful Yucca Valley, CA has both. Housed within an antique barn surrounded by spellbinding desert wilderness, Gatos Trail is a destination for artists like synth-pop phenomenon Twin Shadow, bass-and-drums bashers Big Business, noise rock brutalists Unsane, and nebulous post-punk group The Mekons.
Unlike other studios in the high desert, the floorplan at Gatos Trail follows the traditional live room / control room / iso booth pattern, and the spacious live room with reclaimed timber from an old barn has a vibrant natural decay which makes the studio a drummer’s oasis among the Joshua Trees and gives the space a cozy, lived-in vibe perfect for long sessions.
But there’s more to Gatos Trail’s story than old barn wood. Dan, a Berklee-trained drummer who plays in the band Earth Moon Earth, still has the first snare drum he ever owned, a 60s Ludwig Super Sensitive snare passed on to him from his father which still sees plenty of use in the studio.
Joeright’s control room workflow revolves around a Neotek Elite console with fast-acting transformerless preamps ideal for capturing the sharp transient attack of a rock ‘n roll drummer. Beside it, outboard racks are stacked with gear - 1073s, 312s, LA-2A, 1176 - it’s all here. Don’t be deceived into thinking this is some kind of analog purist museum, though. Twenty-four channels of Pro Tools HD I/O sit next to the Studer A2827, and Gatos Trail’s gear list has too many “world class plugins” to name.
Speaking of world class gear, the kitchen comes equipped with tequila, triple sec, lemon, lime, orange, crushed ice, and salt - everything you need for the perfect margarita. “It’s all in the proportions,” says Joeright.