The sound of Los Angeles’s current spiritual jazz and beat scene is shaped by many hearts and minds, as well as the ears and creativity of Benjamin Tierney. Beginning as an in-house engineer at Bomb Shelter Studios in downtown Los Angeles, the Minnesota native immersed himself in LA’s beat and jazz underground in 2007 following a chance encounter with Carlos Niño. In 2009, Tierney was brought on to record, mix and co-produce the project Suite for Ma Dukes, an orchestral EP by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson in tribute to the late James “J Dilla” Yancey. From there, Tierney expanded on his relationship with Atwood-Ferguson, recording and co-mixing his orchestral arrangements for such artists as Seu Jorge, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bebel Gilberto and Flying Lotus. In 2015, Tierney mixed The Epic, Kamasi Washington’s highly celebrated album for Brainfeeder.
For this episode of Studio Science, filmed on location at United Recordings in Hollywood as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival Los Angeles 2017, Tierney sat down with Carlos Niño to discuss his career and approach before bringing on pianist Kris Bowers and drummer Jamire Williams to detail how to get the best out of a live session.