Eric Valentine’s “Little Playground”: From 2000-2018, veteran producer Eric Valentine was the primary occupant of Barefoot Recording in Hollywood, using what he called “my little playground” to produce and engineer rock greats like Queens of the Stone Age, Slash, Good Charlotte (including their breakout album Young and Hopeless), The All-American Rejects and Americana powerhouse Nickel Creek. The small but elite studio was launched as Crystal Industries Studio in 1967 by Andrew Berliner, whose innovative acoustic and electrical design made it one of SoCal’s premier recording facilities.
Its extensive “back in the day” clientele included Barbra Streisand, Jimi Hendrix, Supertramp, Jackson 5, The Doors, James Taylor, Marvin Gaye and Eric Clapton. The creation and recording of Stevie Wonder’s legendary Songs in the Key of Life took shape there. In the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the facility was leased to producer Matt Hyde (Deftones, Slayer) and was frequented by Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros and Monster Magnet. During the nearly two decades Valentine used Studio A as his private room, Studio B hosted producers such as Jon Brion, Matt Radsovich and Cian Riordan.
Recent Opening to Outside Bookings: Since last summer, Valentine and studio manager and longtime friend of the studio Tim O’Sullivan re-opened Barefoot in its full capacity to outside bookings. Barefoot Recording combines the tradition, service and professionalism of big LA commercial studio with the vibe and creativity of a world-class producer’s private studio. Barefoot is a truly inspirational and special place to make music. Valentine shifted gears due to his desire for the fresh creative environment a new home studio offered and an opportunity to work closer to his family (wife Grace Potter and year-old son).
He is excited that others may now enjoy the fruits of his labor, including two custom-built consoles by his company Undertone Audio and incredible equipment he has accumulated over the past 30 years, including a drumbrella, a Marxophone and an original Telefunken 251 mic. “The studio also has one incredible feature that’s uncommon these days,” he adds. “It’s a big sound room, a large open space where you can record a full band, string section, big band, etcetera. You can have all kinds of instruments playing at once, but you can still iso them if you want. Count Basie once recorded there!”
The Rooms: Studio A, the one most available to outside clients, has an expansive tracking room and a large control room with a 60-channel custom-built console, two iso booths, and a reverb chamber. It was used for two rounds of Gwen Stefani’s Christmas album, which made use of the space to create a full Phil Spector-esque vibe. Studio B has a 48 channel Undertone console. Valentine describes it as “an amazing mixing space with a 12x20’ overdub room attached to it, for a tighter, more intimate sound.” Studio B is designed for the long-term user who specializes in music and film. Studio C is a new space currently being put together, and producer Mike Pepe is scheduled to lease it.