Bio

Sylvia started in the San Francisco alt-punk scene in the eighties fronting her own all-girl band. That band, “Revolver”, played the Mabuhay, On Broadway, the Stone, the Chi-Chi Club and other notorious North Beach nightclubs. Their self-produced demos caused a stir in the underground scene. So much so, that other bands asked for Sylvia;’s help in the studio. This led to her working with a number of notable Bay Area bands including Tuxedomoon, Exodus, MDC, Verbal Abuse, Christian Death, the Beatnigs, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper, Raw Power, Doggy Style and the Adolescents.

In 1986 Sylvia co-produced an album for the Sea Hags with young up-and-coming guitarist Kirk Hammett, who had just joined the band Metallica for their “Master Of Puppets” album. The collaboration was so good that the Sea Hags penned a deal with major label Chrysalis Records and left for Los Angeles. Determined to not be left behind, Sylvia packed up and moved to Los Angeles and found a serious career in the music business.

Within two years Sylvia landed at Larrabee Sound working with Prince, Paula Abdul, Big Daddy Kane, Julio Iglesias, Seal and Aerosmith. Her big break came in producing comedy-rockers Green Jello’s debut album featuring the radio hit “Three Little Pigs”. This led to her recording the first two Tool records for Zoo/BMG Records.

Sylvia’s next big projects came through her association with Rick Rubin, including System Of A Down’s debut album, Danzig “Lucifuge II”, Geto Boys debut, Johnny Cash’s “Unchained” album, Donovan “Sutras, Red Hot Chili Peppers “Love Rollercoaster”, Smashing Pumpkins and Tom Petty “She’s The One”.

During the nineties, Sylvia worked mostly out of her room in Sound City Studios, on the Neve 8038 recording console that became an important ingredient to her signature sound. As the century ended, Sylvia left Los Angeles, finding the perfect creative environment to continue her career in the small town of Weed, California. Here she built RadioStar Studios – a sprawling multi-room facility featuring five studios, apartments, a theater, a rehearsal hall, retail shop and community kitchen. RadioStar operated for 15 years, drawing hundreds of musicians from everywhere in the world. Sylvia had several international hits including Spiderbait’s “Black Betty”, Cog’s “New Normal” and Animal Alpha’s “Pheremones”.

In 2012 Sylvia moved to the university town of Ashland, Oregon. It is here that she disconnected from a fixed place of work and began traveling around the world, producing, recording, teaching and researching for writing projects. Sylvia connected with long-time manager and comrade Chris Johnson in writing “Recording Unhinged”, a book about unconventional recording techniques. The book has been wildly popular with adventurous engineers.

In 2018 she and Chris began writing “The Great Vintage Microphone Book”, in which Sylvia traveled extensively for research. During her research she visited the Paquette Microphone Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Through a series of fateful events, the Paquette Museum was moved to Sylvia and Chris’ new commercial studio facility in Ashland, where it has been set up as the world’s largest and greatest collection of vintage microphones. The collection has over 2,000 vintage microphones ranging from the very earliest liquid transmitters through the development of tube condensers, dynamics, ribbons, crystals and FET microphones. In 2019 and 2020 Sylvia worked with Taylor Hawkins, Life Of Agony, and CHAII and many others. She currently works on select recording and other creative projects, based out of her Museum Studio in Ashland, Oregon. Sylvia travels widely and does gigs and seminars all over the world. Known for her playful style and fearless approach to recording, she is a popular invite to conferences and universities, often using stage-time to demonstrate unusual techniques for manipulating sound.

SELECT DISCOGRAPHY

DateArtistProjectTitleCredits
2019Taylor HawkinsLPGet The MoneyMix
1993ToolLPUndertowProduce, Engineer
1992ToolLPOpiateProduce, Engineer, Mix
2017The MelvinsSingle"With Your Heart Not Your Leech"Produce, Engineer, Mix
1998System of a DownLP(debut)Engineer
1996Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersSingleClimb That Hill - She's The OneEngineer, Mix
2018MolotovLPEl DesconecteProduce, Mix
2017TurbonegroLPRock-N-Roll MachineMix
1991PrinceLPDiamonds And PearlsEng., Asst. Eng.
1996Red Hot Chili PeppersSingleLove Rollercoaster - Beavis and ButtheadProduce, Engineer, Mix
1996Johnny CashLPUnchainedEngineer, Mix
2014Cage The ElephantSingle"The Wire"Mix
2019Life Of AgonyLPSound Of ScarsProduce, Engineer, Mix
2017ThunderpussyLPGreatest TitsProduce, Engineer
2016AvatarLPFeathers and FleshProduce, Engineer
1995Skunk AnansieLPParanoid and SunburntProduce, Eng.
2016Red Sun RisingSingle"Uninvited"Produce, Engineer, Mix
2008Johnny CashSongs FromThe Legend OfEngineer, Mix
1998Powerman 5000LPTonight The Stars RevoltProduce, Engineer
2000SevendustSingleFall - Scream 3Produce, Engineer, Mix
1996Oingo BoingoLPFarewellMix
2004SpiderbaitLPAlright TonightProduce, Engineer, Mix
2004COGLPThe New NormalProduce, Engineer, Mix
2007COGLPSharing SpaceProduce, Engineer, Mix
1996R.E.M.VideoRoad MovieMix
1990PrinceEPNew Power GenerationEng., Asst. Eng.
1990AerosmithRemixThe Other SideEng., Co-Mix
1995SlayerVideoDivine InterventionEngineer
1997DeftonesSingleCan't Even Breathe - Escape From L.A.Mix
2010Sublime with RomeEPYours TrulyProduce, Engineer
1997BjorkLPTibetan Freedom ConcertCo-Prod., Eng., Mix
1997Foo FightersLPTibetan Freedom ConcertCo-Prod., Eng., Mix
1997BlurLPTibetan Freedom ConcertCo-Prod., Eng., Mix
2017DishwallaLPCo-Prod., Eng.
2004DishwallaLP(self titled)Produce, Eng., Mix
1998ReefLPRidesEngineer
1997Econoline CrushLPThe Devil You KnowProduce, Eng., Mix
2008Econoline CrushLPIgniteProduce, Eng., Mix
1990The TimeRemixChocolate (remix)Engineer
1991Green JelloLPCereal KillerProduce, Engineer, Mix