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Meet Chris Hesse of The Lighthouse Recording in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Hesse.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I moved to southern California in ’94 to pursue a career in music. I answered ads in The Recycler for “drummer wanted” until I fell in with the group that would become Hoobastank. We got signed after 5+ years and put out our first major label release in 2001. We toured so much in the first 3-4 years that we were never home to write new music. We all got portable recording rigs and I used mine as much as I could.

I went from recording my own ideas to recording friends bands and eventually recording others. I upgraded to a “professional” Pro Tools rig and started collecting gear. Somewhere along the way, I got enough confidence to start charging for my work and it became a business.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been really fortunate in that the studio is not my main source of income. I’ve been afforded the luxury of having a hobby become a business, without the stress of making ends meet while I learn my craft. The studio business is increasingly tough and competitive, it would be hard to get to this place without really slummin’ it for a while!

Please tell us about The Lighthouse Recording.
The Lighthouse Recording is a full-service recording, mixing and mastering studio. I can see a song through, from start to finish and produce a “radio ready” product, whether that includes writing or just plain pushing buttons and turning knobs.

I work in all genres of music and have a pretty broad taste (especially now that I have kids!). The difference between myself and most engineers is that I’m a perfectionist and I will do whatever it takes to make sure the song sounds good. I don’t want my name associated with something that is not excellent, so I will work until I achieve perfection. I get a lot of “rescue” work from clients who’ve worked with someone that cut a lot of corners. I don’t know how those operations stay in business!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have started sooner!


  • Mixes are $400 per song with mastering included (tuning and editing is extra if needed)
  • Mastering is $70 per track for digital release, $100 per track for DDP (CD layout)
  • Recording is $50 per hour

Contact Info:

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