Spotlight: Sunset Sound Recording Studios

GPS | News

Sunset Sound (originally Sunset Sound Recorders) was originally founded in 1958 by Salvador “Tutti” Camarata. Before being hired as Walt Disney’s director of recording, Camarata had been working as an arranger for Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. At first he suggested Disney build his own recording studio, but Disney declined and instead encouraged Camarata to build his own. Camarata found an old auto repair shop on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood that became the location of Sunset Sound. Its sloping floors and slanted walls were ideal for setting up a recording studio, where parallel walls often cause acoustic problems. In his 16 year association with Disney, over three hundred albums were recorded there including Mary Poppins and 101 Dalmations.

In 1962 the studio opened its doors to other clients. The studio became so busy that Camarata purchased the neighbouring restaurant to expand to a three-studio complex. Sunset Sound became a defining recording space in modern music history with recordings being made there by the Doors, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Prince, Bee Gees, Bob Dylan and Elton John. As one of the few independent recording studios that has remained open for over 50 years, it continues its heritage with a contemporary client-list including The Black Keys, Sheryl Crow, Beck, Paramore, Ryan Adams, Maroon 5 and the Frozen sountrack.

The studio became a favorite for many GPS clients, notably Ethan Johns and Billy Bush.Ethan Johns (the son of Glyn Johns, who was involved in many of The Rolling Stones’ records at Sunset) was attracted to the space, often working in Studio 3 which houses a 32-track API/DeMedio/Sunset custom console. He has produced, recorded and mixed multiple albums there including Joe Cocker’s “Hymn for My Soul” (EMI), Tom Jones “Praise & Blame” (Island), and Ray LaMontagne’s debut album “Trouble” (RCA). Billy Bush also produced, engineered and mixed multiple songs for Grizfolk’s “Waking The Giants” (Virgin), as well as The Boxer Rebellion’s album “Ocean by Ocean” (Amplify).

Above: Studio 2’s live room. Below: Studio 3 control room, a favorite of GPS client Ethan Johns.

Above: Studio 1 live room, originally a car repair shop. Below: Studio 2’s Neve 8088 console.

Above: Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” was produced, engineered & mixed by GPS client Ethan Johns at Sunset Sound in 2004.

Above: Grizfolk’s “Troublemaker”, was produced & recorded by Billy Bush at Sunset Sound in 2016.