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If we trace his roots back to the beginning, it’s easy to see why Stephen Hudson is an interesting dichotomy. His mother, a classical musician from Illinois, taught him Brahms and Mahler while his Mississippi father shamelessly sang The Beach Boys and Motown. It was North vs. South, high brow and workingman, all rolled into one. So it’s not surprising that his own musical journey has included everything from dive bars to megachurches, live sound to the studio, and recording other artists to being a one-man band.
Stephen brings a unique perspective and approach to his work at Vintage King. Not married to any one way of doing things, he sifts the options as a detached scientist. His engineer friends describe him as “meritocratic”, “pragmatic” and “ridiculously thorough in his research to reach the most reliable solution for a specific scenario”. He’s not satisfied with simply knowing what a piece of gear does but understands the nuances of when and why to reach for it during a session. And he brings that same knowledge to his customers.
As a musician and a mix engineer, he tends to focus on the beginning and the end of the recording chain - the source/mics/preamps and the monitoring. It’s the initial quality and the quality control, being aware to not damage the audio along the way (unless that’s the goal!).
As technical as he is, music has really always been about emotion. When Stephen was 12 years old, his brother started taking him to concerts in smoky pizza pubs. He soon began to see music as a place where people could have emotions that weren’t socially acceptable or easily expressed. Ever since then, he’s been driven by cultivating these experiences for himself and others.
When it comes to Stephen’s favorite music, it’s more about how the parts fit together than virtuoso playing. When the sound captures a familiar feeling, he’s captured.
Practically speaking, he’s owned and operated The Note Base Recording Studio for over 15 years, worked with 20+ churches of all kinds and sizes, as well as played drums, guitar and bass in bands. He can get a bit esoteric on occasion, but it’s from time-tested experience, not the latest hype.
Who are some of your favorite musicians/bands/albums?
11 great albums in no particular order: American Football American Football (LP1), Andy Shauf The Party, Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bahamas Earthtones, Copeland Ixora, Efterklang Piramida, Jimmy Eat World Clarity, Mew And the Glasshanded Kites, Mini Trees Always in Motion, The National High Violet, Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
Outside of music, skating (inline) ramps and ledges are my favorite. Others include hiking, poetry, psychology, and philosophy.
What are you most excited about when it comes to working at Vintage King?
Listening. I mean to gear, to clients, and then synergizing with what I've heard. It's really the center of music, relationships, and cheesy as it sounds, life itself.