Back in February of 2015 I received an email from Langston Masingale at JJ Audio to see if I would be interested in trying out one of their microphones. I was familiar with them because I had a couple of microphones I wanted to modify and JJ Audio came up at the top of many lists in my research. Langston sent me a JJ Audio U77 which he said I would love. As promised, he was right.

Since that initial conversation, Langston has become a very close friend and mentor. In that time, Langston started a new company Handsome Audio and invented an amazing audio recording / processing device called Zulu. It’s a passive analog tape simulator and anyone who has heard me talk about my studio knows I describe it as THE sound of Iron Wax Studios. But this post isn’t meant to be just an advertisement for Handsome Audio (though I highly suggest you check out support my brother), this is a post about gratitude.

Since wiring up my Zulu units in the studio, Langston and I have and countless and lengthy conversations with suggestions on how to incorporate Zulu into my recordings. There have been hundreds of files sent to him of recordings and mixes in progress and then finished sent his way. From that, more conversations spark about music history, recording technologies past, present and future. Langston has hipped me to gear that I never would have thought of incorporating into my scene and he is 100% on the mark every time!!

I’ve been listening to a lot of music I’ve been recording and mixing lately. At home, in the car driving around, 30,000 feet in the air on my way to a show. The thing that has been blowing me away is that I’m finally entering this point in my career where I can sit back and not only listen to what I’ve worked on with total enjoyment but also FEEL it. I’m able to appreciate the music as if I were just another listener hearing something new for the first time. I don’t hear myself playing, or hear what microphone I used for the guitar amp. Obviously I know all of these things but when the music starts and the first thing that happens is your head just starts boppin back & forth and you can’t help but put that tune or album on repeat… Mannnnnnn, I’ve been trying to get to this point for a long time and I must give credit where credit is due.

True I’ve been doing the studio thing for a long time, almost as long as I’ve been playing I’ve been playing music but I did not get to this point alone. It’s almost impossible for me to quantify the gratitude I have for my brother Langston as a friend, mentor, studio engineer / producer, artist, entrepreneur, inventor, educator and human being. He has helped me reach levels as an artist I could only dream about before and my journey is only really beginning but I’m glad I have such a great friend to help me along the way!!

Phillip Birks Gillespie, Tod Levine, Langston Masingale and of course me hanging in Brooklyn during Bowlive.

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