We had the good fortune of connecting with Roy Silverstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was working a Corporate job and was getting a bit burned out after 10 or so years. I couldn’t really see myself just going on in that environment forever. Recording music was my true passion and I spent most of my spare time and idle thoughts on it. So I guess it just seemed like the only other direction to go for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My recording studio, Rarefied Recording, is a place I call home, but also a place many other engineers and recording artists feel at home. I really tried to create a space that blended technical excellence, with an inspiring vibe, and an affordable price. It’s essentially a boutique studio; small in stature, but large in impact. But I’ve always wanted the studio to be accessible to everyone. So it has been important to me to keep my overhead low so I can keep the price reasonable and realistic for today’s music business where the value of the recordings themselves are negligible and artists really struggle to eek out a living. I am proud to host a cross-section of our areas’ musical talent both in front of the mics and behind the glass. Rarefied is not a single genre studio. Artists of all types have recorded here. Rock, rap, hip-hop, jazz, blues, reggae, folk, metal, you name it. It’s all been done here. Being welcoming and encouraging to guest engineers, even one’s just starting their career, is something that sets me apart. I was once just figuring all this stuff out too. So I know what it’s like to be a little in over your head, but excited to give it a go. The only way you can get better at recording music is to do it over and over again. So I give a lot of support to young engineers to make sure their first sessions here are successful. I’m also, of course, excited about my personal growth as a tracking engineer, mixer, and mastering engineer. I am the Chief Engineer here so if you call up or email the studio you’ll be speaking with me and probably working with me. I can see my progress pretty clearly as time has gone on and I don’t intend to ever stop attempting to beat my previous best work. Getting to this point was certainly not easy. There was a lot of planning and delayed gratification. Building the studio was a three year process! And getting to the point where I could afford to do it at the level that I did took over a decade of grinding. Every challenge along the way just had to be dealt with as intentionally as possible. I prefer, when possible, to solve solutions the right way instead of doing things halfway. I think in the long term that sets you up for success. Whenever I’ve strayed from that ideal, I have paid for it one way or another.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, I live and work in North Park so I’m partial to that area. Right in my neighborhood we’d have to hit up Grand Ole BBQ y Asado for some of the best, if not the best, BBQ you’ll have in San Diego. And then you could just skip over to Thorn Street Brewery for some very excellent local beer. There’s another strip of restaurants near Upas and 30th St. that is solid. You’ve got The Taco Stand for your taco’s (Panchita’s is also another go-to in the ‘hood), you’ve got Underbelly for Ramen, Trattoria Cori Pastificio for amazing Italian, Influx Cafe for coffee/sandwiches/pastries, Lefties Pizzeria for Chicago-style pizza and other fare (Tribute Pizza is also high on the list), SOI on 30th for incredible Thai, Atypical Waffle Co. for killer waffles, and The Smoking Goat for a fancy French-inspired meal. It’s really an incredible little stretch of eateries. And then if you were looking for something to do you might head a little further into North Park and catch a show at Bar Pink or take a short drive down to Soda Bar for some solid musical entertainment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely need to give a shoutout to my wife, Linsey. I made my transition from working a steady Corporate job to running my own business after only being married for one year. It was a big change and her support with it definitely made me feel like there was a big net ready to catch me if I fell. I really needed that insurance to have the confidence to jump. I also feel indebted to the studio designer that I chose, Wes Lachot, because he had the wisdom to know what I needed out of the studio more than I did. I might have done something way less ambitious without his guidance. And then I’d also like to give a shoutout to Tape Op magazine for reflecting back to me the myriad of ways that people operate in the world of recording music. Reading the stories of various different engineers, many of whom are very far from well known, really made me feel like there was a community of people like me out there before social media was a thing.