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A cave-like room with electric red walls and blue light fixtures is the new home to the $100 million podcast of new Austin resident Joe Rogan. And who would Rogan trust to construct this room? None other than his fellow Austinites.
Rogan, a mixed martial arts enthusiast and comedian, entrusted two local businesses—Sound Shed Studios and Wrightsmith Studios—to construct his new podcast studio after recently moving to Austin from Los Angeles. In just under three weeks, the two Austin companies scrambled to complete the project of their most high-profile client yet.
Timeline of Joe Rogan moving to Texas:
Sound Shed Studios, a local audio and visual business, was a side project Matthew Alvarez started 10 years ago, transforming a storage unit into a recording studio. Getting laid off from his full-time audio engineering job due to the pandemic and seeing the outcome of the Rogan studio, Alvarez has since decided to run Sound Shed Studios full time.
Alvarez began working with Rogan after getting a call from an old friend he had done some work for who said he wanted Alavarez to meet the person who had hired him for private security—Rogan. Alvarez met Rogan the next day, and the two had a thorough discussion about the studio design.
In an interview with Austonia, Alvarez said when he saw the room, he knew he had to make some major changes for it to be podcast ready, and when he told Rogan, Rogan responded with, "Hey, I trust you, I like you, build this out as if it were your own studio."
Alvarez, who usually works alone, gathered some friends—Jacob Rangel, Nate Laningham, Richard Castro, Nick Fette, Justin Contreras and Christopher Spikes—to jump on the project with him on a tight two-and-a-half-week deadline. Together, they sound proofed the inner walls with open core polyurethane foam, adding double doors and treating the finished room with sound dampening panels.
Rogan gave Alvarez the creative freedom—and budget—to make a stunning studio with input mostly on the color scheme.
At the completion of Sound Shed's part of the studio creation, Alvarez said he sent Rogan a photo of the studio, to which Rogan replied, "Fucking sick."
But it wasn't until Rogan saw it in person that Alvarez received the validation that the project was a success.
"He didn't really say much. I could tell that he was really absorbing everything, and he gave me a knuckle bump and [said], 'Matt, you killed it.' To hear that from him in person … I knew that we had something to be proud of," Alvarez said.
And what's a podcast room without the right table? For that, Rogan brought in a recommendation from another famous podcaster in Austin, Adam Curry—the first guest on Rogan's Austin podcast.
Drew Teague, founder of Wrightsmith Studios, is a friend of Curry's and was in the process of designing a podcast table for him when he was asked to put that project on hold by Curry to complete Rogan's Austin studio table.
While Wrightsmith Studios is only officially about a year old, Teague has had lots of experience building and fabricating unique furniture pieces, especially for studios.
After speaking with Rogan on what he wanted, Teague came up with a design. Usually clients will request tweaks to the design Teague said, but at first glance, Rogan said, "That's the one, build it."
On the same schedule as Sound Shed Studios, Teague also brought in outside help to complete the project on time, as he usually works all on his own.
Teague and his team made a 500 pound white oak discussion table with a specific frame for enough leg room for podcast guests.
When Rogan saw the table for the first time in person, he reached out to Teague and told him how much he loved it.
"[Rogan] is outstanding in every way," Teague said. "From the first meeting, he was friendly and down to earth; he was very encouraging."
When Rogan posted the almost-complete podcast room to Instagram, tagging both Sound Shed and Wrightsmith studios, the two accounts were all of a sudden in the public eye. Both accounts gained over a thousand new followers with direct messages asking questions about the studio and requests for their work.
Rogan is up and rolling in the new studio, and the two businesses behind it know their work payed off.
He could literally have anybody come in to [complete the studio] from anywhere, but he decided to find local guys who were already doing it in town at relatively small businesses," Teague said. "It says a lot about Joe's character."
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
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