UTG Exclusive: Producer Joey Sturgis Picks His 10 Favorite Projects

Full Portrait in front of Plaques (Joey Sturgis Home, by Michael Pelaez)

I am almost certain there has not been a single day in the last few years of this website where we have not discussed at least one artist who has producer Joey Sturgis to thank (at least in part) for their success. His work on The Devil Wears Prada’s first releases ushered in a new era for hard rock production, and to this day he continues to push the limits of music production whenever possible. He’s also expanded his horizons, including the launch of a plugin series based on his own work, but at the end of the day it all comes back to music.

Recently, we noticed Joey was nearing his 100th project in less than a decade. While reflecting on all the bands he has helped along the way, we thought it would be fun to learn which releases the man behind the boards thought were his best to date. A request was made, weeks of what we can only assume were deliberation (and likely lots of actual hard work on paying projects), and earlier a today a well-written top 10 landed in our inbox.

The list below was written and pulled together entirely by Joey Sturgis. Several picks are likely quite obvious to fans of heavy alternative music, but there may one or two that catch you off guard (Famous Last Words, anyone?). Scan the selections, read Joey’s reasoning, and then head over to iTunes and pick up any records your collection may be missing. After that, head here and learn more about Joey’s new product line.

10 Essential Joey Sturgis Productions


1. Asking Alexandria – Reckless & Relentless

This record was a huge breakthrough for me. It was the first opportunity where I got to do everything I really wanted, and got to experiment and really explore the full potential of the band’s sound. I am most proud of this one not only because of how it sounds, but because of what we accomplished with it.

2. We Came As Romans – To Plant A Seed

I love this album and it is special to me not only because of its meaning, but because of the bond I had with the band when we created it. I also achieved a lot of very interesting production techniques and elements on this record and I feel like it was setting the bar much higher than anything else at the time.

3. The Devil Wears Prada – Zombie EP

The Zombie EP was innovative and ahead of the curve. The band wrote great songs, and I was just the right person to guide them into the beasts they became. One of the coolest aspects of this is since its a concept album, we had a lot of foley and sound design intertwined with the songs and the record as a whole, which is almost reason enough to check it out.

4. I See Stars – New Demons

When I See Stars started talking to me about New Demons, I discovered we were going to be breaking the mold and going for something really groundbreaking which is what initially caught my interest. As the process unfolded, and the songs came to life, I was not only impressed with what the band had accomplished with their song writing, but also impressed with myself as a producer to have helped guide and build such a fresh collection of songs.

5. Of Mice & Men – The Flood

This album helped set the trend to follow, and we did it through blood, sweat, and tears. When we put this record together, there were all sorts of dramas happening in everyone’s lives, and we were dealing with extremely hot temperatures and no air conditioning at times [laughs]. It really represents the trials we had all overcome during that time, and at the same time came across as passionate and unstoppable.

6. Emmure – Speaker of the Dead

The band came to me with this record at a time when they realized they had to make a giant leap to take things to the next level with the band. Being in the right place at the right time, I was able to help twist the band’s sound into something more modern and appealing in the scene which helped them to grow and forge a new path of success. I could not be more glad to have given the band what they needed and also exceed their expectations.

7. Miss May I – Monument

After the first record was a great success with the band, I was happy to have them return to do something bigger and better than before. We spent a lot of time with the vocals on this record to make sure both Levi and Ryan sounded their best, and I think the outcome of the songs really speak for themselves.

8. Crown The Empire – The Fallout

Working with Crown the Empire was great and the concept for their record was really unmatched at the time. The band had managed to set their story in a place and time that was interesting enough to be its own feature film! I look forward to the band’s future and I am glad to have helped them achieve greater success.

9. The Color Morale – My Devil In Your Eyes

This record means a lot to me and will always speak to me in a special way, and I think that same perspective carries over to many of their fans. This is a band that is extremely passionate about what they are doing and their message, and that is why I helped them get signed to Rise and produced their records to sound more honest and open.

10. Famous Last Words – Two-faced Charade

This project really felt like the next big thing to me when I was working on it, and I am still baffled as to why it has not been able to break through like some of my other records. This record from beginning to end is one of the most exciting concept and storytelling records I’ve ever heard. The amount of foley sound design and production elements are interesting and cohesive and play right into the lyricist’s lap!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Zach Perry

    I’m so happy Famous Last Words made this list. Hopefully they get some more fans from this. They deserve more.

  • Sarah

    Famous Last Words <3

  • Davonn

    great list. I wish FLW got more buzz too

  • Kriston McConnell

    Totally agree. That was such an enjoyable album.

  • Maury Burned Histeric

    famous …. M&M wowwww!!!!!

  • dan

    I thought Emarosa This Is Your Way Out EP might make the cut. What gives?