Jamie Woolford | by Chris Fafalios, 2011
"Influential" is an easy word to throw around when it comes to music. The term in itself has become a cliche, and it is often overused by everyone from music fans to music critics. When it comes to producer Jamie Woolford, however, the word "influential" easily regains its meaning. Jamie's inspiration to other artists started long before he was mixing their records at Room Sound, his Tempe, Arizona recording studio. Having played in several successful, internationally-touring bands before producing became his main focus, Jamie took to the recording world a vast knowledge of songwriting and a wealth of musical ability. Just ask Fall Out Boy lead singer Patrick Stump, who proclaims, "Jamie Woolford’s unpretentious pop music has yielded 5 albums without 1 bad song!". You could also ask Fueled By Ramen co-founder and Elektra Records president John Janick, who notes, "Jamie was one of the first artists we signed and was very influential in setting the tone for the label. He is an amazing musician, producer and artist.". If that's not enough, you can cite Alternative Press magazine, who named "Three Hundred" by Jamie's former band, The Stereo, one of the 10 albums of 1999 that shaped the next 10 years of punk rock to come.
Fans of punk rock may have first taken notice of Jamie in 1996, when his band, Animal Chin, released their debut album, "The Ins and Outs of Terrorism" (which was later repackaged into the "20 Minutes From Right Now" anthology record), on Fueled By Ramen records. This raw and powerful album, coupled with years of relentless touring, left an impression on anyone who took the time to listen. After the disbanding of Animal Chin in 1999, Jamie started The Stereo with Rory Phillips of The Impossibles. It was in The Stereo that Jamie's distinct and instantly recognizable vocals first began to shine. Less Than Jake drummer and Fueled By Ramen co-founder Vinnie Fiorello speaks highly of The Stereo, saying "..in the midst of a mid 90's pop punk revolution, Jamie wrote and released the first Stereo record. In the months to follow, the record resonated through the suburbs of young songwriters. Fingerprints and fragments of that record pop up from young upstarts to top forty mainstays." The band broke up in 2004, but not before 5 straight years of worldwide tours and 3 full-length album releases (including Jamie's personal favorite "Rewind + Record"). It didn't take long after the breakup of The Stereo for Jamie to start the band Let Go, which released their self-titled debut album on The Militia Group in 2005. While continuing to play shows locally in Arizona with Let Go, Jamie has made a name for himself in the producing world, as well as the performing world.
In recent years, Jamie's producing and engineering career has really taken hold. Do not be fooled - he did not all of a sudden give up playing music and start producing because it was "the next step" or what he was expected to do. It was quite the contrary, as Jamie had been producing all the while. Even before his attention shifted toward producing other bands, Jamie had plenty of practice engineering and producing his own bands' records. From the time he was 17 years old, he began learning how to make records - long before computers took over. The result of this analog upbringing is an old-school technique which greatly compliments modern recording tools. Meticulous nearly to the point of obsession, Jamie constantly reevaluates his methods and consistently brings his best to every record he makes. "I'm a true believer in preparation and performance" claims Jamie, whose clients include Gin Blossoms, Punchline, The Format, Man Alive, Vanilla Sky, The AKAs, and The Story Changes. Jamie even co-wrote the song "Something Real" off of Gin Blossoms' latest album "No Chocolate Cake", which is truly a testament to his songwriting expertise.
In between his busy producing schedule, Jamie is currently working on his long-awaited solo album at Room Sound. He hopes to finish the album in 2011, even as his demand grows with each album he completes. Jamie's past clients often rave about their recording experience. Steve Soboslai of Punchline notes, "Jamie has an incredible knack for bringing out the best in a song. He is a musical scientist." In a world that's becoming increasingly dependent on auto-tune and Protools, Jamie focuses on making something "real" every time he steps into the studio. "Yeah, I see the computer too, but let's be good instead!" declares Jamie, "We need to make it cool to be really, REALLY GOOD at your instrument again!". The world can only hope that Jamie's influential ways can inspire musicians to share his sentiment. As his producing career continues and listeners hear for themselves what can be done with real instruments and talent, there is little doubt that people will continue to take notice.
- Chris Fafalios, 2011