What’s up everyone my name is Steve Anderson. I am the Chief Engineer at Private Stock.
How was life growing up?
Life growing up was good. I grew up in the suburbs, so it was what you would expect. It was a blue-collar neighborhood.
At what age do you begin to witness you have creative talents?
I’ve always been around creative talent. My grandfather played piano and the organ, my older brother played the piano, and my dad had instruments as well. Music was something that was in my family. In fifth grade though our school brought all of the instruments to our music class. I remember I just wanted to play some instrument. Originally I wanted to play the drums, but realized everybody else did as well. The band director at the time suggested that I should play the trombone.
When do you begin to fall in love with music and look to pursue it as a career?
I grew up in the 90’s and at this time Ska was big, it was mainstream. It was awesome being a trombone player during this time, because you were then able to turn that into rock-n-roll. I was in a ska band for years and we started going to the studio around 14-15. That’s when I began to fall in love with the studio. I was a science nerd and a musician.
How do you go from making music to engineering?
I got into engineering a few years later. We were making albums and that was dope, but I hadn’t accumulated any equipment. I started applying for colleges and they were looking for recordings of me playing. I end up investing in a small setup and that was 1999. After High School I attend USC to major in Audio Engineering and the reason I chose that program was because it was through the school of music. It was a full on music degree plus all the extra classes in engineering so it was damn near a double major. USC had a ton of dope facilities for us to use 24 hours a day, which really helped me.
After college, do you end up making your way back to Chicago right away?
Right away. From what I gathered out there, everyone told me I would have to assist someone for 10 years out there. Which may or may not have been true, but I didn’t vibe well with LA. I had a feeling living there wouldn’t be for me. I picked up a job doing custodial work for one more summer. Amidst that, I got connected with this guy named Alex Gross who ran Studio 11. Alex’s mom worked with my mom. I started going over to Studio 11 and he told me he didn’t really have any work for me, so I asked if I could just come stick around and oversee how he ran it. For two months I was doing that and he offered me a job there as the engineer.
How was your overall Studio 11 experience
It was intimidating at first. I’m just some white kid from the burbs and we were doing some real gangster shit. Those dudes are paying good money and they want quality work quickly. It was a blessing and a curse because I was terrified in the beginning. Every little mistake I made I would worry about, but it inspired me to want to stay late and figure things out so it wouldn’t happen again. It got to a point where I realized I could do this foreal and the tables start turning once you master your craft. You then have the authority to stand up for yourself a little bit more and you gain respect.
Talk to us about being able to work with Bump j
I met Bump J mid-2005, this was amidst all of his big bidding wars. Being around Bump J was crazy. All of the stories you hear about them rolling deep as fuck, was all true. They would bring around 20-30 people to studio sessions. Bump J was huge during this time, he was doing commercials for Mcdonalds, not only did he have the big mainstream work, he had the most respect in the streets. Everybody looked up to him.
Who were you able to work with after Bump J?
Once Bump J got locked up, my work led to so much more. The introduction of the drill scene begun and I was working with King Louie, YP, Lil Reese and others. Chris Barnett and I were the two engineers that were really apart of the early drill scene. Working with King Louie was always a ton of fun, they were very cool and respectable people. Following King Louie, I started to work with Rockie Fresh in his early years.
When do you make the transition to LPZ Studios?
I really had to work long days at Studio 11. When Rockie got signed, that ended up being around the end of my time there. The music around that time was also in a weird phase and I wasn’t enjoying the direction of the music I was working. I had to take anybody that walked through the door because we had to keep the lights on.
I end up telling this exact same story to Peezy (owner of LPZ) and he told me he could possibly offer me a position. I took a month off after Studio 11 and set up shop in LPZ in 2014. LPZ was cool because we got to build that place from the ground up, it had no walls or nothing in there. It was cool to flex those muscles again, creating the studio, equipment, and wiring. That gave me a new found love for engineering again because I was able to start with a clean slate. What was dope about LPZ was that Peezy was very good at recruiting talent. He got really close with the Savemoney guys and that was huge for my career because I was coming out of the drill/street shit and into the more artful and conscious clients.
You’ve now been able to work with Jason for three years now.
It’s been awesome. Jason is dope at managing people. He knows how to talk to people and get things done, he’s very responsive. I feel comfortable working under Jason because he has never steered me wrong. Jason is super motivated and is always thinking way ahead of us. He has an end game in mind and we are all a part of it, he has places for all of us. Jason gives us space to do our thing while he oversees things from a distance.
Throughout the years, what has been your favorite studio session?
An individual studio session is hard to pick. I really had a fun time when I had Rhymefest in here with Xzibit. We were working on a song for a film and what made it dope was the session was paid for by the film company. In Chicago you don’t get too much opportunities to work on big budgets. They bought the studio for a day for one song. It was cool for me because I didn’t have to work at such a fast pace. I could take my time and focus in on every detail like how they do it in the big leagues. They wrote the song here and I got to oversee the whole process. Not too many times I get to see that because by the time most people come to the studio the concept of the song is already done.
When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a major player in the Chicago music scene. I’m from here and a huge chunk of my heart is for the city, it’s a big part of why I came back. I like knowing that I’ve been able to help people’s careers. The legacy of music is forever. These songs are going to be floating around forever and knowing that my name is on them is dope.
Written By: Nico Rud