With over 30 years playing guitar and 15 years producing and engineering I can help create, complete and/or polish songs ranging from EDM & hip-hop to funk, rock and pop. I’ve worked with producer Richard Perry, Gavin Rossdale (Bush), Steven Adler (Guns N Roses), Joe Sample, Morris Hayes (Prince musical director for 20 yrs) to name a few.
My journey began playing guitar at nine years. This passion led me to move to Hollywood after university where I met producer Richard Perry. After two years spent engineering and playing studio guitar for him I moved on and focused on my solo career. During this period I started engineering/producing local artists and honing skills learned while assisting Richard Perry produce classic artists (ie Rod Stewart) and upcoming stars. I also had my first LA session for jazz legend Joe Sample during this time.
After my gigs with Gavin Rossdale (Bush) and helping Steven Adler (GnR) I started a company called The Guitarmy with Stig Mathisen (Head of GIT @ Musicians Institute, Joe Satriani co-instructor at Joe’s G4 Guitar Experience) and Ryan Singer (manager and label executive who’s worked with Richard Gibbs (Oingo Boingo), Jonathon Davis/Korn, and Jane’s Addiction to name a few. We work with the greatest guitarists on the planet from Richard Smith (head of music USC) to Stu Hamm and Steve Vai.
***Currently I'm working with producer Ralph Sall mixing a tribute album with artists like Steve Miller, Toots, Eric Rose, Mike Campbell, Ron Wood and many others.***
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
10 ReviewsEndorse King Hellman Studio
This is one of my initial experiences on Sound Better and I couldn't be happier. Joel delivered exactly what I was looking for. He nailed the tempos and the feel of the tracks I specified. In addition he was communicative and kept me informed of the process. I will definitely work with Joel again and look forward to more tracks in the near future!
Such a professional!
Really great work....gave me the mix I wanted, pretty much the first go-around. He’s got great musicality, a great ear for things, and is very talented. Highly recommend!!
From the moment I met Joel it was very easy to work with him. He makes working in the studio comfortable and feel very natural. With all of the studios available it’s more important than ever to master your gear and have an environment that allows creativity to happen easily.
Joel has a unique approach to the Sunset Strip rock sound. Hi understanding of music allows him to play guitar that is relatable and still done how only Joel can do it.
There’s no doubt your project will benefit greatly from having Joel involved and/or mixing what you’ve already tracked!
I've watched Joel develop into a truly original and characteristic player. He's always paid attention to crafting and refining parts that create a synergy with the song while adding a one-of-a-kind dimension all his own. Joel's studio work and mixing are no exception to his pursuit of proficiency. I have referred people to Joel in the past and I highly recommend you work with him when in the LA area. He goes above and beyond to form an empathetic connection that not only benefits the creative environment but the song and the client as well.
I met Joel years ago while playing some live shows. More recently I've been assisting The Guitarmy as an instructor and have gotten to know Joel as a producer and mix engineer. Just like his guitar playing his studio skill are well-honed and professional. The studio has a cool atmosphere and Joel makes you feel as comfortable as possible whether you're recording or just hanging out figuring out the next plan of action. He has a great working knowledge combining old school techniques with modern tools and vocabulary. I highly recommend utilizing Joel as a resource for your project!
Joel and I first worked on a project to honor one of the world's best pianists and artists in jazz/R&B. From there we worked on some independent projects and helped build a live show for a prominent actor. Joel combines blues and rock in his playing and executes with a refined edge. He's a very solid engineer as well with a big picture understanding of production. Joel has been mixing for a talented artist-friend and he has been killing it for her. He's also a great dude and makes everyone he works with feel very creatively comfortable and supported.
Many years of demoing products for large and boutique guitar companies has taken me through a lot of studios. The Guitarmy Studio is an excellent mix of vibe, experience, professionalism and inspiring energy. Joel’s playing and writing are great and compliment the song they sit within very well. Aside from guitar Joel is also very experienced in production and mixing. His mixes are clean and organic and contain great liveliness and energy. Anytime I am working on something that aligns stylistically with Joel he is my first choice!
Numerous things led to me taking a short break from music. As I decided I was ready to start creating music again I knew I needed a creatively safe, supportive and pro environment. My vocals sound soooo good with Joel and he’s a production master!!! Book him!
When I first met Joel, I was brought on by the artist for a project he was producing. I knew instantly he was the complete package. Not only was he genuine and professional, but Joel also instilled fun and positivity in the sessions.
Joel has a ear and ability to hone music into a beautiful piece of work. I've heard him time and time again make a song into something awesome and unique.
And if you're really lucky, you can also get Joel to play guitar on your music. Joel knows what to play for any musical situation and has the perfect guitar, amp and tone for it. Few can duplicate his results
I have known and worked with The Guitarmy Studio for years....it’s the real deal. So professional, so talented, and easy to work with. It’s hard to find people in the biz that check all of the boxes. Whether you need co-writing, producing, mixing, or amazing guitar tracks...this is the place. I would highly recommend!!!
Can’t say enough good things.
Interview with King Hellman Studio
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I worked with tv star Dash Mihok on his Diz and the Fam project. I brought in musical director Morris Hayes from Prince as well as American Idols Elliott Yamin and Mikalah Gordon. I proceeded to work with Morris Hayes on a few productions that to this day are my most memorable moments. What a legend!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently I'm finishing my own instrumental EP and working with an artist on remixes and new productions in the groove, rock, funk, soul world with some R&B/pop sprinkled in.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Shaley Scott is a phenomenal singer and writer. She has been working in the industry for over a decade and is a true professional. Shaley also happens to be very easy to work with, is extremely talented and has humor for days.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Analog for true grit and warmth. Digital for further synergy and sound destruction. Morphing sounds and creating a unique vibe that represents who you are uniquely as an artist is the goal. Analog and digital together give the most creative possibilities.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will not be unhappy. We may take a different journey than we initially envisioned but we will not stop until you're happy.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Starting with complete silence and finishing with a completed song/production.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "I wanna sound like so and so, can you do that?" The answer is "we'll do our best"! I'm open to anything and I believe most artists are capable of more than they think they are - they just need to be in the right environment to thrive beyond their own expectations. However, there are so many intangibles that go into a sound, especially a vocal, so my real answer is "let's figure out what YOUR unique voice is and let's unleash it!" The only true way to stand out is to be uniquely YOU and original.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: "Fix it in the mix". Most issues people think can just be taken care of in the mix stage are production issues that have to be revisiting in the production stage FIRST, then brought back to the mix stage once they have been addressed.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you need? What do you WANT? If you don't know these answers then what is it that you like? What moves you, what is your passion? How do you envision your process? What excites you what makes you not be able to wait to get back to singing/writing/playing?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Our job as creators is to make you happy! Don't waste time with someone who puts themselves above the client and above music, making it all about them. Some people have hits and major credentials under their belt yet even these talented individuals have one purpose - to create the best music possible and make the client happy.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A guitar, a ipad, a mic, a synth and a speaker!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I began playing studio guitar professionally in Los Angeles seventeen years ago. My first session was for jazz legend Joe Sample and really set the stage for my focus and approach. Roughly fifteen years ago I began recording/engineering and mixing as a way to create my own music and help friends as studio time was very expensive. After a few years my skills had improved and I started producing and mixing music for local artists. As my skills expanded and were honed I continued to work on different styles and with numerous types of artists.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I'm a very polished and precise rock/pop musician. I love huge impactful nasty sounds that conjure feelings of attitude and energy. There's a fine line between energy and aggression so I'm living right in the gray area. Even clean beautiful music can be huge and impactful. This is a paradigm and not just an approach.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Christina Aguilera. She has so much power and potential but I feel no producer has pushed the rock edge within her. I'd love to get her right on the edge of her vocal comfort zone (if that even exists!) and push her right through it. Would be incredible for all of us to hear what would result!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Start simple and fill all the sonic spaces. Sound is not just one or two dimensional. A production and a mix need to be seen and heard with height, depth, width and are living organisms that change over the course of a song.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, funk, Hip Hop, EDM, metal, Pop, indie and soundtrack music are the styles I work with most but am open to creating in other styles as well.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Hands down guitar is my focus and prominent talent with mixing a close second. I have been studying music and playing guitar since I was nine years old.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: When creating music or designing a mix strategy I focus on bringing an organic yet slightly futuristic aspect to the sound, part or production. By this I mean something people haven't heard but doesn't necessarily stand out as trying to be obvious. Subtlety is key and balancing classic techniques with modern tools and approaches is my comfort zone. In terms of guitar I bring a true Sunset Strip rock approach similar how Slash affects the musical parts and song around him. Today many players are focused on tapping, fusion and elevating the shred techniques of the 80s. I am focused on melody and moving the listener. Goosebumps are the ultimate proof I'm doing my job!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: While developing my work flow I specifically worked in many different ways so that I could adapt to whoever I'm working with. Some people enjoy being completely rehearsed and prepared before entering the studio and some people need the spontaneity of being in the moment. No matter your approach I am comfortable and can thrive as a producer this way because my strength is finding positivity and creativity in the moment, especially when there's a block.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Great tracks and songs start with high-quality, clean tracking. Microphones ranging from the Manley Reference Mic and AKG 414 to the Slate VMS System give vocalists endless frequency response options to be as comfortable as possible when tracking vocals. In the guitar department I use numerous different amps and speaker cabinet Impulse Responses to tailor precise guitar tones that make any virtual amp or plugin obsolete. Lastly, artists and musicians can document their process with professional LED photography/video lights and a 4K video/HD photo area. Whether you want a high-quality shot or BTS video for social media both are easily done. The vibe of the studio is changed and controlled by colorful LED lighting that sets the stage for any mood and character.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Electronic production and sound design really blow me away! For all the years I've been doing this my jaw still drops when I watch the really good engineers work their magic. Conversely but also jaw-dropping are the old-school engineers truly manipulating analog gear to shape the sound they desire.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Studio guitar work (acoustic and electric) is my forte as well as mixing. Therefore I find myself doing these two most followed by production and songwriting close behind.