Music Dorkery

Producer Joey Sturgis Opens Up About Selling the Born of Osiris Axe FX II Patch for $20

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Back in November Born of Osiris guitarist Lee McKinney pretty much broke the Internet when he announced he’d be selling an Axe FX II patch for $20. Highway robbery or absolute genius? Of all the editorials and comments I saw, opinions were split pretty evenly. Though it definitely felt a bit gimmicky, I think I ultimately landed on the “Good for him, may as well make money” side. In the age of programmable everything, it feels inevitable that presets and tones are going to be marketed and sold this way.

Producer Joey Sturgis was closely involved with the Lee McKinney patch; he was partially responsible for the tone vis-a-vis producing the record on which it appeared and the patch was sold through his own webstore, not McKinney’s. He’s also produced a buttload of big metal records over the past few years, most of which you probably hate (Asking Alexandria, Emmure, Attila, etc) but you’ve got to acknowledge are a pretty big deal. So Gear Gods recently caught up with Sturgis to ask him not only about the Born of Osiris patch, but the idea of selling and marketing patches and tone in general, current production trends and his own experience behind the boards (in this case, the keyboards). There’s plenty of stuff about vocal compression and the like for all you tech nerds out there, but the part I found most interesting was when, in a roundabout way, he opined on the homogeny of the records he regularly produces:

Have you ever had a band come in where you said “I know you’re looking for this sound, and I know I’m famous for making this sound, but why don’t we break the mold on this a little bit here and do this or this instead?”

I would love to do that, but it’s just not in the cards because most of the time a band will get off a tour and they didn’t have any time to write the album, so they’re scrambling for a week before the studio to write a whole record.  Then they come into the studio and they only have 1 month to finish it.  You can’t really get comfortable and experiment with anything when you’re on a schedule like that.  I don’t think booking agents and managers are ever going to let that happen because they make less money when the band plays less shows.  That’s just the real side of it.  If bands had more time to write and experiment, then I think you would hear more interesting records.  The more interesting records don’t necessarily make more money for the band or for the management.  It seems like the fans don’t really care if it’s experimental or not.  The ones that do care about experimental records will just go look for the bands that do those kinds of things, and that’s a completely different market in comparison to modern metal records that are churned out every year.

Yeah.  I imagine those are the bands that have the biggest budgets and so forth for the producer and stuff.  Do you ever say “to hell with it, I want to record a band for less money because I just really like their music and want to have fun with it” or something like that?

Yeah, I actually do do that.  I don’t think a lot of people know about it because those bands aren’t very popular.  I work with unsigned artists all the time.  I actually send them to record labels and stuff and say “hey, check out this band I just produced a song with.  It’s really cool”.  Sometimes they’ll listen and sometimes they don’t.  I just kind of do it for fun and of course, the people are interested in working with me.  It’s actually really fun.  I just do that on the side in addition to doing label work.

It’d be super interesting to see what Sturgis could do with a truly inspiring band like, say, Opeth, instead of the “churned out” (his words) mainstream metal bands he usually works with. It’ll never happen, but, ya know, it’s a cool thought experiment to ponder because Sturgis surely has chops up the wazoo that he just doesn’t get to use with the bands that are his bread and butter.

Read the rest of the interview here, including the stuff about the Born of Osiris patch.

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