“Vanderslice, the musician and producer, helped put out groundbreaking records from indie bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon and The Mountain Goats.” –KQED Forum
“As a community of engineers and musicians cohered, Tiny Telephone became an important hub for a strain of ambitious American music. Deerhoof, Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Sleater-Kinney, and the Mountain Goats have all done interesting and influential work there.” – New Yorker
“John Vanderslice, owner of Tiny Telephone in SF, has hosted Mike Watt, Deerhoof and Death Cab for Cutie… and he’s renowned for his shaman-like knowledge of tone.” – Wired
“The casual vibe has translated into remarkable recordings, including the high-water marks in several bands’ oeuvres.” – SF Weekly
“Sleater-Kinney recorded in secret at John Vanderslice’s legendary Tiny Telephone.” New Yorker
“An eclectic roster of engineers ensure constant traffic from some of the hippest bands around.” – Mix Magazine
Tiny Telephone was opened in September of 1997 to provide affordable hi-fi recording to San Francisco’s independent music community. We have two (and soon three!) wonderful studios to work in. My name is John Vanderslice, I’m a songwriter, touring musician, and producer. I own and manage the studios and am happy to help guide anyone through the confusing (and thrilling) process of record making.
– Our 1700 sq. ft. A room has 3 main recording rooms, a classic discrete Neve 5316, and tons of keyboards, including a Hammond B3, a Yamaha C5 grand piano, and an Eller Harpsichord. The A room is a fantastic mix room. ($375 a day)
– Our 1200 sq. ft. B room, built in 2011 to accommodate demand, has an excellent sounding main room, plenty of isolation, and a restored 1904 Story & Clark piano. I love this room for tracking. ($275 a day)
– Our forthcoming C room, currently under construction and opening in Oakland in 2015, will be our largest recording space (45′ X 60′ with 23′ wood ceilings), anchored by a rebuilt 64-channel 1976 Neve 8068. ($300 a day) Oakland Magazine just wrote about the new studio!
Both the A and B rooms have Studer 827 2″, Ampex ATR 102 1/2″, Pro Tools HD, and Bob Hodas-tuned control rooms. There are two beautiful pianos (a restored 1904 Steinway grand and a restored 1904 Story & Clark upright) and tons of shared instruments available, including a vast collection of guitars, basses, amps, and mono/poly synths. The studios also share a patchable echo chamber, an acoustic environment so useful it can be heard on 100s of records.
We provide free 2″ 24-track tape to help bands to discover to magic of analog recording. Our Studer and Ampex tape machines are not for show, they are expertly teched, well-maintained, and precisely calibrated.
We offer top-notch session musicians at a fixed price, these are excellent players and great people to spend a day with.
Since I am painfully addicted to buying audio gear, our gear list will only improve. We’re right in the Mission in a gated, private compound with easy parking and Ritual Coffee and Five Mountains Tea. Tiny Telephone is stridently democratic, we encourage bands from all genres and experience levels to record here. Go to our FAQ to get detailed information about rates, directions and deposit info.
Tiny Telephone A room is $375 a day, the B room is $275. Engineers are $200-$250 a day. Please email or call me to get more information or book days. We are booked at least one month in advance so please plan ahead. Our pricing is clear and transparent and we are happy to help you accurately budget a record or project.
Magik*Magik Orchestra is the official house orchestra of Tiny Telephone. M*MO is a modular group of symphonic players that can ordered up as needed, from a single bass clarinet, to an 60-piece ensemble. Magik has worked with Walkmen, Explosions In The Sky, Jonny Greenwood, and Death Cab For Cutie (video). Videos of Magik are here, here, and here. Magik changed my life, I highly recommend you email Minna if you’re interested in orchestral arrangements and players.
Please email me if you’d like a studio tour, I usually schedule a few every week. I’m happy to give anyone a tour, I don’t care if you’re booking the studio or just visiting the Mission. Often late mornings and weekends work best.