We had the good fortune of connecting with Timothy Joseph and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Timothy, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Integrity. I believe there’s no other factor that is more important with any brand or service. In business, if you don’t deliver as advertised or as promised, word gets around pretty quickly. I witnessed this ethos in action for years before I opened the studio. My mentor and business partner, Jim Austin who is an inspirational figure not only to me, but countless others, operates his businesses, his relationships and basically his entire life upon his unwavering principals of integrity. His philosophy is that any job you do, you should do it to the absolute best of your ability and always take pride in what you put forth. Your work is a public reflection of yourself, so don’t ever compromise quality for profit or time. Your word should be your bond so if you take the time to do every job right, and treat people as individuals, honestly and respectfully, success will come. Piling up customers and constantly trying to maximize output tends to leave holes in the quality and inevitably, the legacy of your work. Paying attention to each client individually to be sure they’re satisfied always works in favor of growing your business. It may be incremental growth, but every positive interaction creates a possible advocate for your brand and business. I was very fortunate to learn this all-important life/business principle from Jim. I strive everyday at the studio to hold his ethos up as high as I possibly can and I live my life with the success of his as an example. I can attribute the studio’s reputation and longevity directly to these all-important principals.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve got a lot on my mind, I have for as long as I’ve been cognizant of my ability to express it. That realization happened very early on in my life, and it instinctively came out as music. As I grew, the sounds in my head expanded. Songs were always the soundtrack to everything I did. Whether I heard a particular song I connected with or the melody took shape inside me, music has been the brick and mortar of everything I’ve done. It has also been the catalyst and invisible force behind my drive to continue pursuing working with music as a career. In my early years as a musician, it never occurred to me that all the time and effort I was putting in to hone my chops and learn the in’s and out’s of working with other musicians was laying the foundation of my life’s eventuality. I was just committed to doing it because music was the one thing that consistently made me feel good. No matter where I was or what my situation looked like, the musical sounds I heard and felt, always made sense to me. Being from a military family, my parents were definitely not cut from the rock and roll cloth. More or less they were squares. Having straight-laced conservative parents who didn’t see playing music as a viable life choice meant that I was on my own in my quest to learn about music. I don’t blame them for holding me back, actually, I think their indifference to it only spurred me to work harder at figuring things out. So my incessant drive persisted and led to me seeking out other kids who dug music. That led to untold variants of musical experiments, punk rock bands and bedroom recordings and practices that more or less taught me that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Being able to work with others seemed to have the biggest learning curve for me. People, especially creative ones, tend to have a pretty strong opinion about any project they’re involved in. Learning a skill as advanced and varied as creating music without any formal training or direction is basically an ongoing series of trial and error. Shit, I still live in that perpetual cycle to this day. To tell the truth, there were many more failures than successes. Especially in the beginning. But determination and persistence and the idea that music was what made me who I am, eventually saw things start to coalesce for me and I learned how to collaborate with others while leading a band in the direction I felt it should go. Once in a while, I’ll listen back to my early bands or solo stuff and realize how naive I was at those stages. Even though that stuff is now pretty much unlistenable for me, at the time it meant everything because I created it. That feeling of accomplishment was all I needed to have the motivation to do it better the next time. It’s always been those very small, incremental successes that count for me and spur me onward. I suppose that’s the key to it all; if you love something and you don’t know how it works, make it your mission to find out. The small goals you reach with each lesson will build your abilities along with your confidence. Patience and determination are invaluable in the long run. My bands and projects evolved and got better (at least I think they did ). And through all the continuing writing, recording, shows, lengthy touring and collaborating, my skill set grew in ways I hadn’t foreseen. Parlaying my cumulative experience into opening and running my own music business was much the same process as learning the curves, being in a band. The idea came to me out of necessity really. It occurred to me that I and every other musician I knew had to have a place to practice with their band. This was an absolute necessity as practicing was a noisy undertaking, so usually, our places of residence wouldn’t suffice.. At the time, there were very few dedicated rehearsal facilities in San Diego. In the early days, making the rehearsal room rent was a struggle, especially when we’d leave for tour for any length of time. Usually we wouldn’t come back with any money and not having worked our day jobs in weeks, would get in hot water with the landlord of the rehearsal place. It was a vicious cycle. So the idea sprang into action when our room contract was cancelled one month for non-payment: Wouldn’t it make sense to build my own rehearsal space? Wouldn’t it be cool if I could build a few of them and rent them out to all my friends’ bands so I could leave and be able to make rent when I came back? It made sense. So after a bit of searching and a few thousand dollars in wood, insulation and drywall at home depot, the original Studio 350 was cobbled together and willed into existence. Nine very crudely assembled rehearsal rooms in a 1500 square foot office space in the Allied Gardens area of Mission Valley. But for 9 years, the rooms stayed rented. I was at full capacity from day 1. At that time, the business required little upkeep and the landlord/tenant relationship I formed with bands always came from a point of understanding what bands/artists required and appreciated. Mutual respect was always the foundation of any business agreement for the studio. The opportunity to expand came in my 10th year of business when the business park Studio 350 was located in was sold to a new owner. It was obvious to me that I was in possession of a viable business and that if I had more rooms, I could expand my operations and possibly make a living. It just so happened that there was another, much bigger building within the park that became vacant during the new owners transition. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity as the location of the studio was central to the success of my business. This is where my partner Jim Austin stepped in to help me build the existing Studio 350 which consists of 17 monthly rehearsal rooms and also, Phaser Control Recording which is a state of the art recording studio designed by renowned studio builder Rod Gervais. The building of the whole facility from the rooms to the studio was a gargantuan undertaking. The entire facility was designed upon Rod’s principals. The rehearsal rooms were completed in the summer of 2011 and Phaser Control was completed a year later. The connections and reputation I had built running a rehearsal business made the expansion smooth as I had a waiting list of bands looking for rooms. My main goal was to take everything I’d learned from previous spaces I had rented and what I’d gleaned from running my own spaces for 9 years, and design and build the ideal creative facility for San Diego artists and musicians. Cleanliness, security, 24/7 access, comfortable aesthetics and ease of load in/out were paramount. Also, maintaining the close relationships with my tenants both old and new. Being able to relate to my clientele as a working professional musician has helped me understand their needs on an intimate level and has been the key to the success and longevity of my business as I see it. The recording studio side of the business took time and care to grow as your reputation is only as good as the work you put out. Since I was known mostly as a songwriter and performer and not as a record producer or engineer at the time, I understood that my reputation would have to grow in this area as well. So slowly and meticulously I began to take on recording projects and work with varying bands, engineers and producers. It was a heavy learning curve for me. As I had quite a bit of experience recording in professional studios, I founds that there was a massive technical and operational side that I had very little experience in. Luckily I’ve had the help and advice of quite a few talented studio aficionados. On that note, I have to give a big shout out here to my main studio engineer and dear friend, Patrick Heaney. Pat has been the head in-house engineer with me for the last 7 years and is an integral component to the success of Phaser Control. He has taught me more than I could list here and is an incredibly talented artist and producer as well. I suppose what makes me so excited to have the studio is being able to be a part of the growth and evolution of bands, art and artists. I put an emphasis on respect and community within the facility and I feel that the clientele understand and participate in that ethos as a whole. Whether rehearsing or recording an album, the idea of being productive creatively is a motivating concept to most artists. That’s why I believe both the rooms and the recording studio feel comfortable to those who spend time in them. I’m proud and honored to be a part of such a vibrant community and am always excited about being a part of new music. The community vibe and given respect in the building creates a positive atmosphere for musicians. These conditions contribute to a better working atmosphere for everyone. I suppose being able to do what you love everyday is what it’s all about. My goal is to make and contribute to as much music and art as I possibly can during my time here. As music is one of the humanity’s greatest gifts, getting to be a part of it in even the smallest way, gives me a sense of incredible gratitude. I’m looking forward to what’s next.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Obviously, given the current virus situation, my friend from out of town wouldn’t be visiting at all. So I’ll imagine a future world where the pandemic is nothing but a horrible memory, the economy is open and thriving and live shows are happening in full regalia. So in this future utopian San Diego, the first place I would plan to take my friend would be to The Casbah to take in a show. It wouldn’t matter what night of the week it was or who was playing as you can usually count on having a memorable time in SD’s most cherished and essential music venue. If we had time beforehand, we might roll by Blue Water on India for a couple of the city’s best fish tacos. Since I’m a North County coastal resident, I would definitely also take them to Bestawan Pizza house for breakfast, lunch or dinner (any and all are excellent) and to the Shanty for a cocktail in the wee hours. Both establishments are in my hometown of Cardiff by the Sea and are stumbling distance from my place and also, near and dear to my heart. While we were in the Cardiff/Encinitas area, the beaches are a must as are the meditation gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship overlooking Swami’s Beach in Encinitas. I go as often as I can. For San Diego proper, you can’t have a visit to our fair city without seeing The museums at Balboa Park and our incredible Zoo & The Wild Animal Park. Those are big tourist spots but their sheer magnificence shouldn’t ever be understated. The rest of the time would most likely be split hanging out with all the incredible people I’ve come to admire, love and respect here in our fair city. The music and art community here is filled with human beings whom I hold in very high regard and I am always excited to introduce newcomers into the fold. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe everything to my hero, mentor and dear friend, Jim Austin. He has supported, taught and encouraged me every step of the way through not only business, but life. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t know him, but I do know that had I not met Jim, what has become an incredible reality in my everyday life, would still be a distant dream. His ethos, temperament, incredible depth of knowledge and intensive creative output stands as a beacon not only for me, but for many others who have had the privilege to know him in the creative and music world. If I can be half as cool as Jim Austin some day, I’ll die a happy man. You rule Jim, thank you for always being there, always knowing just what to say, and for believing in me all this time. Much love and endless respect.
Other: www.miniaturized.online That’s my new music project – Expect the first single in the spring of 2021 🙂