Close Up: Stagg Street Studio


Carrying on the Legacy: Thirty years after becoming a staff engineer at Stagg Street Studios in Van Nuys, CA, under the tutelage of original owners Gary Denton and Melody Carpenter, Trent Slatton (pictured) recently became the sole owner upon Carpenter’s passing. Both Slatton and the room he proudly calls “a true mom and pop studio” have fascinating histories. After years of helming the boards there and traveling the world as producer Gavin MacKillop’s assistant, Slatton—who has worked with everyone from The Ramones to Rod Stewart—left the business for over 10 years and sold real estate in San Diego. When he returned to L.A. in 2017, his love for “my true calling” was rekindled and he launched his current stint there. This time, he invested in the business, and when Carpenter fell ill, her fondest wish was that Slatton take over and continue to build Stagg Street’s legacy. While The Rembrandt’s Friends theme “I’ll Be There For You” is probably the most famous track recorded there, over the years the studio has been the out-of-the-limelight choice for a wide array of superstars and legends—including Johnny Cash, John Mayer, Chaka Khan, Tori Amos, Little Richard, Queens of the Stone Age and Smokey Robinson—and numerous jazz musicians, including Keiko Matsui, Dean Parks and Tigran Hamasyan. 

Quote from Trent Slatton: “Gary and Melody developed an amazing workspace out of their love and passion for music,” Slatton says. “Whether we’re working with big names or upstart indie artists, what’s great about it to this day is that we’re not genre-specific. We’ve done rock, jazz, country, bluegrass, film music—even circus music. Stagg Street offers a combination of privacy, a conducive creative environment and overqualified staff, which is dedicated to upkeep and excellent service to our clients. We may not have the history of some of the larger studios in L.A., but we have an incredible array of equipment and a lot of heart. From Gary and Melody to myself, Stagg Street has been run by people who care about the music. It’s like an alchemy lab to create magic and amazing performances.” 

Vintage Console and Mics: Stagg Street Studios is home to a rare, white, Brent Averil modified mid-'70s vintage API console (originally housed in A&M Studios) consisting of two sections. The original 32 channels section has 554 semi-parametric EQs and the 16 channel fully integrated sidecar is equipped with 550 stepped EQs. Both offer the mega-headroom 312 mic preamps. Clients get a legendary API sound with 32 inputs to Pro Tools. The studio is designed with three isolated areas surrounding the main room, offering an ideal setting for live ensemble tracking. Each room has windows for maximum visual contact—and with 16 channel personal headphone mixers, clients can cue mixes just right. In addition to a ‘70s Yamaha G7 grand piano, the room also has an extensive mic locker with vintage mics from the '40s through the '80s, in addition to vintage outboard gear.

 Contact Stagg Street Studios, 213-949-7957