Behind the music: Provo studio owner's passion is helping musicians 'blossom'

Published: Thursday, June 5 2014 11:19 p.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, June 5 2014 11:19 p.m. MDT

Music engineer and producer Scott Wiley owns June Audio Recording Studios in Provo.

Jed Wells

PROVO — June Audio Recording Studios feels like a place where art happens.

It's decorated with strings of white lights, intricately designed rugs and wall coverings. There are band stickers on speakers and a bobblehead collection. There’s an entire wall of colorful guitars from every era. It looks like the kind of place where songs are crafted.

On a Tuesday evening, studio owner Scott Wiley is walking a young Draper band, the Blue Wavers, through recording bass tracks. The musicians repeat lines over and over as a patient and laid-back Wiley coaches them on what will sound best. At a few points, he just hands the bass player a different bass:

“Try this one,” he says.

After playing around with a few different instruments, one of the band members smiles and says, “Too bad we don’t have this many basses.” All of the boys laugh. They’re new to the professional studio scene, and Wiley does his best to help them achieve the sound they are hoping for.

That is essentially what a music engineer does.

“My job is to help the musician to get their dream, their vision or whatever it is across in the best manner,” Wiley said. “It’s not my album. ... I want to take what you bring in and just make it blossom.”

June Audio's credits include working with The Moth and the Flame, Fictionist, Mindy Gledhill, Neon Trees, Joshua James, Sarah Sample, Ryan Innes, Cherie Call, the LDS Especially for Youth albums and local group collaborations such as the Lower Lights. The list goes on.

Wiley grew up in the Los Angeles area and says he has loved music for as long as he can remember. In fact, he distinctly remembers listening to The Beatles as a kid, unplugging different speakers to dissect the layers of the song. He asked for a four-track recorder for his eighth-grade graduation present and has been recording ever since.

Wiley has a degree in music recording from the University of Southern California. However, he doesn’t think the degree itself helped him nearly as much as work experience has. He worked at two or three studios at a time all through college, including Henson Recording Studios, The Sound Kitchen and the Warner Brothers film stage. It's safe to say he knows the big-label recording scene.

After graduation, Wiley moved to Utah. He married his wife, Sarah, and they moved back to Los Angeles in 1999.

Hollywood studio recording started to take its toll, and the Wileys had a decision to make. They had started a family — something that was important to the couple. The job was just too demanding.

“Even though careerwise I was really happy with where things were, I was kind of miserable and I was never home,” Wiley said.

It boiled down to two choices: stay in L.A. and find a different job, or pursue music engineering and producing in Utah.

“It’s a weird move to go from literally living in Hollywood to living in Provo — to having a recording studio,” Wiley said, smiling. “But it’s worked out.”

June Audio has been in full operation since 2007. Scott and Sarah Wiley now have five kids, ranging in age from 2 to 14. Wiley says he’s lucky to have enough clients with similar priorities and lifestyles, assuring him better hours and more weekend time for his family and church obligations.

He explained that his client base is built primarily through word of mouth.

Local singer-songwriter Stephanie Mabey has been collaborating with Wiley on most of her recent projects.

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