Gatos Trail Recording Studio Where Big Music Finds Its Home in the Desert

By Lisa Lynn Morgan

Nestled within the captivating expanse of the Mojave desert landscape, Gatos Trail Recording Studio stands as a testament to the fusion of rustic charm and cutting-edge musical innovation. Housed in a cozy 1,200 square foot barn, this studio offers more than just a space for recording—it provides an immersive experience marinated in Mojave vibes. The studio’s interior boasts huge windows that frame breathtaking views of the arid landscape, creating an inspiring backdrop for creativity to flourish. With a live room, control room, two isolation booths, and an impressive array of vintage and modern gear— including a 24-track 2” tape machine—Gatos Trail offers everything artists need to bring their musical visions to life.

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At the helm is Daniel Joeright, a seasoned musician and engineer. “I’ve been playing the drums since I was 5,” shared Joeright, “following in the footsteps of my dad, who was a drummer back in the day.” Joeright went on to study at Berklee College of Music and has performed with a diverse range of bands and artists over the years, including The Rentals, Terry Hall, Sasquatch, El Vez, and Jim White, among many others. “Currently, I play in and produce my own musical collective, Earth Moon Earth, which features an eclectic lineup, including vocalist Skye Edwards from Morcheeba and 29 Palms resident Rich Good (guitar) from the Psychedelic Furs. Recently, I teamed up with guitarist Gary Arce of Yawning Man and Norwegian vocalist/bassist Pia Isa to form a new band called SoftSun. Our debut album is set to be released on Ripple Music later this year.”

Mekons at Gatos Trail. Photo © Dan Joeright

Chris Goss & Dan Joeright, Gatos Trail. Photo © Hannah Malott

Gatos Trail’s allure lies in many things but most uniquely, the commitment to capturing exceptional live drum sounds. Joeright has meticulously designed the live room to accentuate the warmth and resonance of each beat.

“Being a drummer,” shared Joeright, “I naturally designed the live room with a focus on drum sounds. To that end, I incorporated lots of reclaimed barn wood interspersed with absorption materials which, together, add a live warm tone without any unwanted sound reflection. I also spend a lot of time experimenting with tuning and micing techniques, paired with different preamps, eq and compression, on different drum kits – many of them available for sessions here. I always have my preferred drum sound ready to go, but if a session comes in with a different sound in mind, we can easily achieve it.”

In addition, Joeright brought in former Drum Doctor tech, Aaron Farinelli, as a second engineer. “He’s a great asset,” boasts Joeright. “While working for Drum Doctors in Glendale, Aaron would get called in for recording sessions with legendary artists like Paul McCartney and Jim Keltner to make sure the drums were tuned correctly, and everything was sounding just right. We definitely have fun dialing in the drums here, and it shows. I was honored by the compliment given to us by desert rock legend Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality) saying that Gatos Trail had “the best drum room in the desert.”

Lodging is another aspect that draws artists to Los Gatos. The studio’s on-site lodging – a meticulously appointed ranch house and vintage travel trailers – provide a sanctuary for relaxation and inspiration. Guests can unwind in the 8-person hot tub under the stars or gather around the outdoor BBQ grill and fire pit, forging connections and memories that transcend the recording process. “Guests tell me how comfortable it is to walk in and immediately feel the spirit of the desert which inspires calmness and creativity,” Joeright shared. “There are amazing vista views from every corner of the property, and I’ve kept a classic desert feel throughout the hang out areas, living spaces, and the studio itself. I love to host and share this special place with others. I go out of my way to make sure our guests experience the special things that I love about the desert and the Gatos Trail property.”

Over the years, Gatos Trail Recording Studio has played host to a diverse roster of artists, both local and national. From Grammy-nominated sensations like SZA and Sharon Van Etten to indie darlings such as Young The Giant and Twin Shadow, the studio has earned a reputation as a destination for top-tier talent seeking to capture their creative vision.

As a testament to its commitment to fostering community, Gatos Trail hosts an annual Summer Solstice event known as the Yucca Man Shakedown. This festive gathering, set against the backdrop of the studio’s picturesque surroundings, features live music, DJ sets, and delectable cuisine courtesy of local vendors. “It’s a semi-private party, but Joshua Tree Voice readers are welcome. Just don’t tell anyone,” winks Joeright. “The details are still being worked out, but there will be bands, DJ’s, tacos by the fine folks at La Caguama, and other fun stuff.” Yucca Man Shakedown is scheduled for Saturday, June 22 at 5 pm.

Joining the desert’s musical legacy, Gatos Trail Recording Studio stands as a beacon of musical excellence and artistic expression. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a burgeoning talent, this vibey desert farmhouse offers an unexpectedly spacey sanctuary where big music finds its home amidst the majesty of the Mojave.

For more information and booking inquiries visit the website: gatostrail.com or email them at gatostrail@gmail.com

Follow them on Instagram: @gatostrail and Facebook at Gatos Trail – Recording Studio

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