Boxmasters Go Barefoot

The Boxmasters recently recorded tracks for their forthcoming album at Barefoot Recording studios in Hollywood. Founded by Billy Bob Thornton and J.D. Andrew in 2007, the band booked Barefoot when their longtime studio of choice was unavailable.

"Tim Davis, of UnderToneAudio, got in touch with me when Barefoot opened to the public last year," recalls Boxmasters' J.D. Andrew. "We knew Tim from his days at Recorded Media Supply when he took care of our tape and hard drive needs. So, we booked Barefoot and discovered a really cool, vibey studio that sounds great and has a collection of equipment and recording gear that is pretty much unmatched."

Before he formed The Boxmasters, frontman Thornton had played in bands since middle school, worked as a roadie, and in the 2000s, released four solo albums. After forming The Boxmasters, the group embarked on many tours across North America and opened shows for ZZ Top, Steve Miller, and Willie Nelson. The band has released eight albums, with 2019's Speck on KeenTone Records/Thirty Tigers being the most recent.

A musician his entire life, J.D. Andrew is also a graduate of Full Sail University and worked as an engineer at Record Plant in LA with artists such as Kanye West, Keyshia Cole and the Pussycat Dolls. He won a Grammy on West's 2004 The College Dropout and has worked as a music editor on many film projects, including The King of Luck, an unreleased documentary about Willie Nelson directed by pal and bandmate Thornton.

Pictured in Studio A (l-r): Tim O'Sullivan, studio mgr.; J.D. Andrew, recording engineer and multi-instrumentalist; Billy Bob Thornton, vocalist and drummer; Justin Long and Jacob Johnston, staff engineers.
Photo by David Goggin.

Barefoot's hand-built UTA console is one of only eight in the world. J.D. Andrew explains, "The console sounded real good and the EQ is overwhelming. There are four knobs in each band that you're turning, and you get a completely different sound out of each little knob twist. It's super powerful. You can really, really get a lot of sounds out of it, but at the core of it, that console is mean sounding; it's tough, it's big. At the same time though, it has tons of headroom and everything sounds clear and open."

For Thornton's vocals, the microphone was a Telefunken ELA M 251 through a Neve 1064 mic-pre and UTA's UnFairchild 670M II compressor/limiter.

For the bass on the new Boxmasters tracks, a DI feed went through the UnderTone console EQ strip, while the mic on the Ampeg B15 amp went through the UTA MPEQ-1 mic-pre.