WATCH: “2000 microphones, 800 tube mics. If John wanted it, we got it.” – Vance Powell | #WhereIWork

In this episode of #WhereIWork, seven-time Grammy Award-winning producer, engineer and mixer Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Elle King, The White Stripes) talks about his role in helping build two of the most well-equipped and storied studios in the world – John McBride’s Blackbird and Vance’s own Sputnik.

#WhereIWork is where we flash our VIP passes and gain access to the sacred spaces, the hallowed grounds where some of the best  producers, songwriters, engineers and artists call home, and explore some of the amazing projects that took shape there.


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Blackbird is a kind of a, it’s a, it’s a unicorn in the business.

I was sort of basically hired onto Blackbird because I had just built a studio for this band for Jars of Clay that we’d won this Grammy award for.

It’s a studio that didn’t, uh, I mean it had a budget. It’s just nobody paid attention to it. If John wanted it, it got done. 2000 microphones, you know, 800 tube mics, you know, I mean, just craziness.

There are things that Blackbird has that I don’t think anyone’s ever used. There are MIDI tie-lines between buildings. I don’t think anybody’s ever used that.

So all these different things, what you kinda learn is what works and what doesn’t work. So we moved over here to Sputnik. This is my studio, my half of the studio that I share with my partner, Mitch Dane.

I came after Mitch did. Mitch’s side got done first. I knew what I needed. I knew where it needed to go, and I knew that we needed it fast.

They put the console in here, then they painted, and then we put these tiles up on the day before the session, and then a band came in the next day and we started recording.

And it’s evolved tremendously since.