Creating a New Music Capital: In the Studio with JJ Corirossi

There is a thriving music scene across the barren desert of Arizona, and with many different artists uniting the Valley, one local audio engineer is looking to build on that creativity.

JJ Corirossi, who owns Catalyst Studio, has been recording, mixing and mastering for local musicians for several years. He has recorded a plethora of different styles and genres over the years, ranging from the grunge-inspired Sunshower to the hardcore act No Altars and local rapper SCVBS, effectively bridging the gap between the many music scenes Arizona has to offer.

Corirossi initially acquired the name for Catalyst Studio in January 2014, first operating out of his home before moving the company to its current commercial location in April 2014; however, he had been building up a name for himself for several years prior to the inception of Catalyst Studio.

This began after he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in March 2012. After moving to Chicago, Illinois for an internship with Groovemaster Recording Studio, he received valuable knowledge about operating a studio from owner Johnny K, who has produced for artists such as Disturbed, Machine Head and Finger Eleven. He also got the opportunity to work with Alien Ant Farm, who was recording at Groovemaster during this time.

“It was something I was interested in half-way through high school,” Corirossi explained of his studio work. He added, “I had tried to start a lot of bands and none of them actually ended up doing anything, so I gave up on that idea and decided I’d do the next best thing, which was studio work.”

After completing his internship and returning to Phoenix, Corirossi quickly began working with local talent, eventually opening Catalyst Studio and building a long roster of notable clientele such as Goldengoat, SCVBS, 7Serpents, Jvdas and Riot.

While he records a variety of artists, Corirossi most frequently works with metal musicians. Despite his background in metal, he has noted that pop is his strong suit; however, he also acknowledges that the process of recording these styles can be different.

“With a metal band I’m more just acting as just the engineer,” he said. “They come in, they already have their songs written, and I just set up microphones and really that’s it…I can give influence, but it’s generally just that…With pop I’m more involved, and I have I guess more say in what goes into making the music.”

Up until late 2015, Catalyst Studio also doubled as a live music venue. While its shows became increasingly popular, reaching up to 275 attendees within its tight confines, Catalyst Studio reverted to its status strictly as studio following one final performance on Dec. 6, 2015. The performance also served as the final show for Redeemer, 7Serpents and Ill Breed, three bands who were all breaking up.

“The main reason was I always saw this as more of a studio…as I acquired more and more equipment, I didn’t want anyone messing with it, and it just became more of a liability,” Corirossi said. He added, “More and more people started showing up.”

While Corirossi’s primary focus is his studio work, he joined the Chicago-based band No Zodiac in October 2015, eventually embarking on his first tour at the start of the 2016. With the band having recently relocated to Phoenix and signed with Siege Music, they are readying the release of their third album, which is their first with Corirossi.

“It’s not like the other No Zodiac albums,” Corirossi said. “It’s not as hardcore or beatdown-influenced. It’s more towards the metal side…it’s more based around riffs and intricacy than it is just hard breakdowns and slam riffs.”

While Corirossi is currently on a US tour with No Zodiac, he is planning a major project for Catalyst Studio in early 2017.

The project, which is in collaboration with Josh Foster, who operates Small Box Productions under the same roof as Catalyst Studio, began by compiling a massive list of musicians from all over the Valley. Once the list is complete, they will pair musicians with different musical backgrounds at random to spark creativity.

With approximately 75 drummers, 150 guitarists and 150 vocalists from different musical backgrounds currently lined up to take part, Corirossi hopes for the results to be as crazy as the idea.

“No one has said that they don’t wanna be a part of it,” Corirossi said. “Everyone is really excited.”

The end result will be a 12-track compilation titled “The Catalyst Files,” which he described as “a full album with different genres from musicians all over Arizona that don’t know each other.” He added, “The only way they’re connecting is through music.”

Corirossi plans to release the compilation in installments every six months, and while this idea may be a large undertaking, he hopes it will unite Arizona’s diverse and unique array of styles.

“We want everyone to be working together, because there’s a lot of talent here, and we want to start being recognized for it,” he said. “So who knows–maybe Arizona will be a music capital one day.”

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