Boneyard Sound

Music Production

8 Reviews
Boneyard Sound on SoundBetter

We are a completely vertical operation offering services throughout the entire production chain from tracking to mixing to mastering, delivering a finished product ready for reproduction or replication, as well as digital distribution.

Boneyard Sound is a branch of independent music label Boneyard Records, we leverage our group purchasing strength to get better rates for our artists for all production services. In addition to the production services mentioned above, we also offer clients we work with free orientation on topics such as copyright protection, music licensing, performance contracting and other commercial and contractual topics.

In addition to the standard rates offered here, we can design a special package tailored to your needs at a not to exceed cost, so you know exactly how much your project will cost you.

Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

8 Reviews

Endorse Boneyard Sound
  1. Review by Sands Hall
    by Sands Hall

    Pepe is a terrific engineer and a superb producer. In my own case, he revived a flagging dream; in addition to remixing and in some cases re-recording tracks, he supported me in ways large and small. I am a novice in regards to music production and distribution, and Pepe was not only kind but savvy as we got my new album, STURDY BOOTS, into the world. Pepe’s a deeply good man, whose desire is to make this planet a better place, and he knows that his way of doing that is through music. That shows in every aspect of his work.

  2. Review by Wes Fleming
    by Wes Fleming

    Finding an engineer that will collaborate with you to the point of really being a co-producer is a rare and special thing in the world of music, and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to work with Pepe. His work helped me create an identifiable sound in a wider genre in which many acts tend to blend together. Thanks to his production, mixing and mastering skills, my material stands out in the sea of available music, and I couldn't be happier with the entire process and especially the end results.

  3. Review by Giorgi Khokhobashvili
    by Giorgi Khokhobashvili

    I've been fortunate enough to work with Pepe for a few years now. His professionalism, musical tastes and great ear make working with him an absolute pleasure! He always gets the best tone out of my violin! I would highly recommend Boneyard Production Services to anyone!

  4. Review by Ron Smit
    by Ron Smit

    I have recorded at some of the best studios in Los Angeles and Southwest Florida during the 1980s and 90s. Advances in technology have allowed many talented individuals to produce high-quality music without an expensive recording studio. However, it still requires an individual who is capable of capturing musical talent to produce an outstanding song. As an accomplished songwriter and musician, Pepe has a good vision for the final product and a supportive way of drawing what is required from the musicians he works with. Making music with Pepe has been an enjoyable and enriching experience.

  5. Review by Joseph Ybarra
    by Joseph Ybarra

    I've been to a few studios over the years to add pedal steel or lap steels tracks and was impressed by Pepe and his skills at producing the tone and fluid ideas that a player would want from his instrument and doing a recording. I was happy to be asked to also play on the Lucifer's Hand CD and would highly recommend this professional studio and the very comfortable atmosphere there. My last recording at Boneyard Recording was done for a Texas musician and was sent to him with Pepe taking care of everything I was asked to do to complete this project with ease.

  6. Review by Stacy James
    by Stacy James

    I've worked with numerous recording studios in SoCal for years, and Pepe Espada and his Boneyard Recording And Production Services have outdone all of those past experiences. Pepe provided me with professional level production while still being available personally and assisting in helping me realize my vision in the studio. He has both the production knowledge and expertise I need for my project and yet still happily offers the personal assistance, problem solving and help I could have used at other studios. I couldn't be more satisfied. 5 Stars

  7. Review by Hannah Judson
    by Hannah Judson

    Pepe Espada has produced my last two records, which has been an incredible journey. He brought creativity and artistry to the projects while listening to my vision, and working through technical possibilities, always communicating options and discoveries along the way. He partners with his clients, and brings clarity to the process. He is organized, thoughtful and ready to work.

  8. Review by Peter C Mundy
    by Peter C Mundy

    I've worked with several good studios in Miami and Sacramento, but Pepe's Boneyard Recording and Production Services is the best I've ever experienced. I'm a reasonably good song-writer but only a modest musician and singer, but Pepe brings the music I hear in my head alive. He's also truly enjoyable to work with, a multi instrument musician and song writer, and has assembled high quality recording equipment in his comfortable. Highly recommended!

Interview with Boneyard Sound

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: Last year's Banjo Bones release titled Lucifer's Hand is a release I am particularly proud of. It was completely vertical for me: I wrote all the songs, performed the majority of the instruments, sang all the vocals, tracked the whole album, mixed and mastered it. Sonically it meets all my checkboxes in that is both gritty and extremely high quality. I love the instrument separation and definition I was able to achieve, the warmth of the acoustic guitars and the fatness of the electric ones. The album covers a lot of ground stylistically, so I had to dig deep in order to make sure it was sonically cohesive and sounded like one artist in one record, and not a collection of independent recordings.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: Alison over at Heartsongs is an amazing cellist, arranger and composer. If you need string parts arranged, or cello performed, I highly recommend her.

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: Frankly, as great as analog is, it is simply impractical. In today's music environment, where the vast majority of the listening is done through compressed streaming services on an iphone or iPad, through earbuds or worse, any sonic benefits of analog are completely lost. Additionally, digital has come a long way in the last years, significantly closing the gap in sonic quality. As such, I have focused all my operations on the in-the-box, digital environment. I do, however, prefer actual guitar amps mic'd over digital amp simulators, but that is for the most part influenced by the physical experience of the feedback a real speaker provides over the simulated sound (i.e. the thump on the chest of a cranked up amp).

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: I have a satisfaction guaranteed policy, if you are not happy with the end product you don't pay a dime. I also promise transparency throughout the process, honesty in the feedback I provide and fomenting a safe, fun and creative environment for the artist.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: There is nothing more satisficing to me than creating impactful music in the studio and seeing the artist's smile in satisfaction when they hear the finished product.

  11. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  12. A: What will the project cost? that depends on orchestration of the songs, quantity of the songs, how many external resources (i.e. session musicians) are needed, etc. I have done projects for as little as an average of $50/song for a 7-song EP. One thing I will do for you is that after we discuss your project I will give you a project budget and once we agree on it, we will not exceed that cost. That is my guarantee. How much creative input will I exert on the process? I never impose, I will have as much or as little input creatively as you want me to have. I have worked with artist with which I have co-written songs, played several instruments, programmed drums, etc., and have worked with others who only wanted me to manage the studio equipment to meet what they were looking for. Can I help with other aspects of post-production? yes, I provide artist I work with orientation on many apsects of the post-production process, including graphic art, replication/duplication, copyright protection, licensing opportunities, digital distribution, physical distribution, etc.

  13. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  14. A: Music production is often perceived as black magic. It is not. It is a matter of understanding what the sonic goal of a project is, and having the technical knowledge to manipulate studio tools to achieve it. The biggest asset to a producer is not the tool set, it is his or her ability to to use the tools they have to maximum potential and efficiently. One of my favorite albums of all time is Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, which was recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder in his dad's house, with two mic's and one guitar. You don't need a team of 20 producers and 10 songwriters to make great music, you just need good songs and a solid sonic vision.

  15. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  16. A: Give me three examples of recordings that impress you from a sound quality perspective. What is your realistic and achievable goal for the recording? How much creative input to you need/want/expect from me as a producer?

  17. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  18. A: Listen to what they have done and decide if it meets the sonic signature you are aiming for. How they get that done is not important as long as they can get it done. Don't be fooled with gear and brands and size of a studio, just focus on the results.

  19. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  20. A: Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar, Marshall amplifier, Taylor acoustic guitar, U47 microphone and laptop loaded with DAW, Drum VSTs, etc.

  21. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  22. A: I have been a musician for 44 years, since I was 11 years old. I was part of a touring contemporary punk rock band between 1991 and 1994, and have been a music producer since 2008. I started out as a vertical operation for my main project, Banjo Bones, and progressed beyond that on demand from other artists that asked me to make their recordings sound like my Banjo Bones records in sound quality.

  23. Q: How would you describe your style?

  24. A: Non-intrusive, no non-sense, hands-on, meat and potato approach to music production. I like it rough but also high quality. I like my recordings to sound spontaneous, genuine and NOT over-produced or generic, the opposite of Top 40.

  25. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  26. A: I would love to work with Tom Waits because of his unpredictable and unique approach to sound and composition. I would have also loved to work with the late Chris Whitley because be brought and incredible progressive edge to Americana music and gave it a much needed kick in the ass.

  27. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  28. A: Whenever possible, mix as you track. I am a firm believer that mixing as you go will inform the composition by revealing parts that are needed or that can be eliminated, which makes the work from more efficient and allows a quicker and more precise mixing period when the time comes.

  29. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  30. A: The majority of my projects have been in two very different genres: Americana singer-songwriter and Hard Rock. The reason I have specialized in these two niches is that that is where my interests lie as a performer, so it comes to my as second nature.

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. A: I have a special gift of hearing and adding unique quirks to any material to make it different from everything else in the market. If your intention is to sound like somebody else, I may not be the producer for you; if on the other hand, you want to stand out as unique in the market, I can definitely help you fulfill that vision.

  33. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  34. A: I have 40 years of experience as a musician in a variety of genres and as such I have a solid grasp of what makes each genre unique and sonically appealing. I am versed enough in the studio equipment to be able to manipulate recordings to meet these sound expectations, and as a musician and songwriter I can also provide as different perspective for creative input into the material for the artist. I will NOT impose my vision on an artist, I will only advise on what I think will work best, but ultimately it will be an artist decision as it is their product.

  35. Q: What's your typical work process?

  36. A: The first studio appointment, for which I don't charge, is designed to get a better grasp of the artist's vision, likes and dislikes, preferred working methods, etc. My approach is to make the artist as comfortable as possible so that they allow themselves to be vulnerable in my presence and take chances they may not otherwise take. I like to set up a rough reference track with just a guitar and vocals to get a sense of teh feel of the songs, establish a target tempo, etc. After that, depending on the song's orchestration, I may program basic rhytym tracks (drums, bass and guitar), and build from there. If the band wants to lay down full band live tracks as a basis, I will take them to J Street recording studio in Sacramento, where we can record live, and then I take the tracks to my studio and work them up from there. I like to mix as I record so by the time the trakcing is done, there is a pretty good rough mix of the material, which reduces the mixing time significantly later down the chain. Once I am satisfied I have a solid first mix, I share it with the artist and preferrably meet with them for a lsitening session to get feedback. This happens at least once more in the process as I don't like to go to mastering until the artist is really happy with the mix. The final step of the process is the mastering, during which I prepare the material for the ultimate format it will be released in (MP3, CD, Vinyl or a combination of these), and make sure the material meets the sonic aesthetics discussed with the artist, whether that be lo-fi, garage, or high fidelity or anything in between.

  37. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  38. A: I have a small studio designed for mixing and mastering in which I can also do limited tracking activities (except for live drums or full band). I have worked out preferential rates with a proper studio owned by the guys from the band Tesla, where I can send my clients for full band live tracking or drums tracking if necessary. I can work in either Pro Tools or Cubase and do all of my mixing "in the box," just like my mentor Andrew Scheps.

  39. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  40. A: I am a huge fan of Andrew Scheps and of Rick Rubin.

  41. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  42. A: As a producer for most of my clients I serve as a defacto Project Manager for the recording project. I set up a project plan, schedule and budget that considers all necessary resources to complete the artist's vision, and then I manage it to ensure the project does not overrun the budget or the schedule. I also provide creative input and often serve as recording, mixing and mastering engineer for the project or any combination of those services needed.

The Way I Live by Banjo Bones

I was the Producer, Mixing and Mastering Engineer in this production

Terms Of Service

Terms are dependent on the service package. Reach out to us and we can tailor a special package for your needs that includes a not to exceed price so you know exactly what your project will cost you.

GenresSounds Like
  • Chris Whitley
  • Tom Waits
  • AC/DC
Gear Highlights
  • U47 microphone
  • 1073 mic preamp
  • RME Fireface 802
  • Roland Fantom G8
  • Gibson LP Custom
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