Josh Kaufman has steered Local Legend’s work with a growing number of high-profile regional acts, from Hannah Rose Graves to Nathan Walton. The Local Spins on WYCE podcast and feature.
SCROLL DOWN FOR RADIO SHOW PODCAST, PHOTO GALLERY
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After serving as tour manager for acclaimed rockabilly and swing revival guitarist Brian Setzer, interning at the studio known for producing Nirvana’s “In Utero,” and working with the late Glen Campbell, Josh Kaufman has settled on the secret to running a prized recording studio.
“I just want to be a collaborator in a creative environment with people that want to make great things and beautiful things,” said Kaufman, who started Grand Rapids’ Local Legend Recording in 2021 after a year-long renovation of a building on Alpine Avenue NW.
“I built the studio to be as adaptable to any genre that was wanting to come into a studio like this.”
Professing its mission to be “nimble” in supporting and recording regional artists, Local Legend has quickly attracted an impressive roster of diverse clients, including Hannah Rose Graves, Jack Droppers, Brie Stoner, Cameron Blake, Remnose, The American Hotel System, Nathan Walton & The Remedy, Pink Sky, Matt Lenny & The Breakdown, Chain of Lakes and many more.
“I love working with people that have a vision and love to collaborate in crafting something unique and beautiful,” said Kaufman, adding that it’s important “to understand their process” in shaping music.
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Kaufman spotlighted new tracks by three artists who’ve recorded music at the studio in 2023: Hannah Rose Graves, Nathan Walton & The Remedy, and Matt Lenny & The Breakdown. Scroll down to listen to the tracks, the Local Spins interview and full radio show podcast.
TOURING WITH BRIAN SETZER, WORKING AT STONE HOUSE RECORDING
Growing up in Ada where he’d record music on a four-track recorder in his bedroom, Kaufman attended Calvin College and later graduated from the music production program at the IPR College of Creative Arts in Minneapolis.
He then interned at Minneapolis’ Pachyderm Studios, which has worked with the likes of Nirvana, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks, Mudvayne, NEEDTOBREATHE and PJ Harvey.
He later served as personal assistant and tour manager for Setzer – working with his management team and record label – before returning to Michigan to work for five years with Peter Fox at Stone House Recording in Grand Rapids and eventually opening his own studio.
Local Legend not only boasts ample space and separate rooms for recording and relaxing, but is chock full of keyboards and other vintage gear to enhance clients’ recording projects – whether they enlist his services or use their own engineers and producers.
“I wanted a studio that was big enough to record bands live, but still have the one-room feel of studios I revered growing up,” he said, noting he also purchased two consoles and “a slew of outboard gear to go along with all the instruments, reverbs and other gear I accumulated over the last 15 years.”
It all provides users with tools for “creative freedom and expression,” he added. “It’s a different creative environment.”
In addition to tracks laid down at Local Legend, this week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE — which spotlights local and regional music at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org — featured new music from Megan Dooley, PARALLELZ, Jon Hayes, Daniel Richardson, Chris DuPont, Kylee Phillips and Free Hat. Listen to the radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (11/10/23)
PHOTO GALLERY: Local Legend Recording