Joe Trohman’s 2015 has admittedly been crazy.
As a member of the band Fall Out Boy, he saw the release of their sixth album, “American Beauty/American Psycho”, debut at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200. As the record made its ascent, Trohman took time out of the usual promotional frenzy to handle a family emergency. Then, just as the band kicked off its international concert tour May 3rd, Trohman once again found himself headed home, this time to undergo emergency back surgery. He now finally gets to rejoin his bandmates and (hopefully) enjoy an entirely uneventful rest of the tour as they celebrate another album gone platinum. If all goes to plan, he will be on the road through October as the band brings new hits and old favorites to fans world-wide.
Like all of the band’s previous efforts, “American Beauty/American Psycho” reached gold status early on. But unlike the others, much of this record was cut on Trohman’s personal API 1608 console, purchased last year through salesman Jeff Leibovich at API dealer Vintage King. The tracking was done at “The Rat Cave”—which is what Trohman calls his new home studio, based in Los Angeles. It’s the perfect place for Trohman to apply his considerable skill-set to Fall Out Boy projects, but it’s also where he also puts time into his heavy metal band The Damned Things and “other projects no one cares about except me.” It’s exactly this humility, coming from a man with hundreds of thousands of followers on a variety of social media sites that is so appealing about Trohman. He talks about his music and reveals his knowledge about audio gear with a kind of natural warmth and passion that makes it easy to see why he selected an API console in the first place.
The first Fall Out Boy album was released in 2003, which is also when Trohman says he first became familiar with the API brand. “I remember when I was 17 or 18, working on the first proper Fall Out Boy record, using the API 550b. Great for shaping guitar and bass.” Familiarity with the API sound later led him to consider the 1608 after deciding to create a studio in his L.A. home. “Originally, I wanted to have a few EQ’s, limiters/compressors, and maybe eight mic pres. However, I felt I was only going halfway and that I could get a little more out of a console. Every time I looked at consoles, it kept coming back to the 1608.” In the end, Trohman loaded his 1608 with twelve 550As and four 560s. “Having those at my disposal in line with 16 killer mic pres is a dream come true,” he states, adding, “The 500 processors and mic pres are amazing. Everything sounds incredible tracked through the console, and the EQs take everything to the next level. No matter how incredible plugins sound, great analog gear still sounds the most three-dimensional to me.”
Typical of a working studio, productivity is every bit as important as sonic integrity. “I love the aesthetic, as most of us do. My work flow has sped up. Everything happens faster and it’s way easier for me to dial what I want when I’m actually turning knobs, versus running it in the box entirely.” Trohman also notes that he’s “pleased with how easy it is to integrate my DAW with the 1608. I like having a hybrid of in and out of the box going on, so it’s nice that it was very easy to achieve that.”
When asked what he’s been working on with his console, he says 90% of studio time still goes towards Fall Out Boy, but alongside work with The Damned Things and the Danish band New Politics, Trohman also does some work for television spots. “I’m very happy that I own this console. It has completely changed my workflow and the quality of what I make” he says. But there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, and that’s Trohman’s tendency towards unpredictability, and keeping things under wraps until the very last moment. “I have a few bands making their way through soon”, he teases. “I don’t want to spoil the surprise though.”