John Vanderslice is the music producer and owner of Tiny Telephone, a recording studio in SF that’s worked with some great indie artists such as Spoon, The Mountain Goats, The Magnetic Fields, Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, Explosions in the Sky and many more. The studio is analog, recording on tape instead of recording digitally. Most studios opt for digital audio workstations to mix music.

John Vanderslice recently spoke with Mina Kim on KQED’s Forum to talk  about his studio, recording albums, and recording on analog. He also talked about the role of studios in an era when it’s so easy for new bands to record digitally at home.

During the interview he mentioned Oakland a few times. Firstly, Tiny Telephone will soon be opening a third studio in Oakland (the first two are located in the Mission).  The reason for expanding into Oakland, in part, seems to stem from viewing Oakland as the current savior of the Bay Area’s music and arts scene.

At minute 31:45, Mina Kim asks John Vanderslice how he would characterize the health of the Bay Area local music scene. Here’s his response:

In San Francisco it’s kind of a massacre, because there’s just so much money. Just the economics of living here — it’s just completely crackerjacks. It doesn’t make any sense. But I think that Oakland, you know, thank god we have Oakland. Oakland is an amazing city and it has the infrastructure. There’s a lot of unused warehouses and there’s space in Oakland. Now that’s changing quickly, but Oakland is where it’s all going to happen. And I think that if we didn’t have Oakland it would be easy to write off San Francisco as an arts hub, because it’s just too expensive.

Hear, hear.

Listen to the whole thing and  learn about the new studio that he’s building in Oakland, how there is so much construction going on in Oakland that it’s taking longer to get workers into the new space than expected, and how his favorite venues in Oakland may just be warehouses.

About The Author

Katie is the Music Editor at OL. She's a music geek, culture junkie, massive A's fan, and Oakland native. When she was six, she stood for five minutes with a felt pennant stuck under Chris Mullin’s armpit. Check out her Oakland music listings at, follow on twitter/instagram as @craziesthawk, or contact at

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