Scott Jacoby was halfway through medical school before he was able to accept that choosing to make music his career was not a selfish decision. Not to be confused with the actor of the same name, Jacoby has been an established songwriter, producer, engineer, mixer, musician and composer for more than 15 years. The philosophy behind what Jacoby does is the same as when he was pursuing a career in medicine: to do it in the most unselfish way possible.
This ethos is partially why the Grammy Award winner doesn’t limit himself, playing multiple roles in his New York City-based Eusonia Studios. It is also why there are no restrictions on the mediums through which his Scojac Music Productions expresses itself, from Jacoby as a recording artist to scoring films and commercials. Most importantly, there is no style of music that Jacoby won’t work with, showing a knowledge and aptitude for a wide range of genres, from pop and R&B to soundtracks and electronica.
Eusonia Studios, which opened its doors in 2000 on Park Avenue, is a reflection of Jacoby’s open attitude, with the convenience of modern amenities and a cache of vintage equipment. The roughly 800-square-foot studio has two rooms, both fitted with Pro Tools and Logic rigs. Packed with gear, everything is laid out so it is within arm’s reach, with easy patching and hooking up capabilities. The main room is all-in-one and headphone-driven. There is no opportunity to tweak, EQ, and compress while playing; it’s all about listening back and working from that point.
Jacoby’s talents and setup have attracted the likes of Vampire Weekend, for whom he mixed “Unbelievers” from Modern Vampires of the City; Vanessa Hudgens, for whom he wrote, produced and mixed “Last Night” from Identified; Hamilton Leithauser, for whom he mixed “Alexandra” from Black Hours; and Jose James, for whom he wrote “Trouble” for his Blue Note album, No Beginning No End, just to give an idea of the breadth of his musical inclinations.
“The goal of the studio is to embody modern and vintage vibes,” Jacoby says. “I lean toward analog, sounds-wise, but I realize that we live in an age where you have to do things like recalls immediately, so I’ve devised a system where I can be entirely hybrid with digital and analog that works really well. Live half inside the box and half out, but with the quickness of someone who is straight out of the box.”
While Jacoby’s formal education has primarily been in health careers—first with an undergraduate degree in psychology and then medical school—he started playing drums and piano around 10 years of age. All through his college years he was writing songs and making recordings. Self-taught, Jacoby explored the technological advancements of the mid- and late-’90s in a makeshift home studio in his parents’ basement with a Tascam DA-88 digital tape machine and a Mackie 1604 mixer.
Jacoby has guitar credits on a number of records he’s produced, but he confesses, “I’m terrible at guitar. I basically play one string at a time, that’s my guitar credit. Anything that involves chords or solos, I bring guys in. As a producer in this day and age, I feel that combination of piano and drums is particularly useful. You can make your way around most anything with a background in those two. If your beat is good, you’re 80 percent done with the track.”
With Jacoby’s mixed bag of credits and talents, there is a signature stamp on his work that is the main draw for the artists who work with him. He calls it musicality, explaining: “My goal for mixing is to make it so you can turn the volume up and it would never get harsh and abrasive, even if it’s with programmed sounds. With songwriting, if you’re writing a song that’s the most basic pop song and is not very interesting, there’s some twist, something that’s different, pushing the envelope in different ways. On the Vanessa Hudgens track, for example, I did it in 5/4 and she loved it.”
A sister endeavor to the studio, the wholly independent Eusonia Records, started in 2007, follows Jacoby’s unrestrictive approach. The label took off with a bang with the Jacoby-produced Maiysha album being nominated for a Grammy and scoring the soundtrack to the film My Last Day Without You. Eusonia Records has been dormant for the last couple of years, but now the label is reinvigorated and ready to reemerge with James McKinney as a partner. And with Eusonia Records’ latest signing, Jacoby is entering unchartered territory working with the exotic twin sister DJ duo Me2Me2, who come to music after successful endeavors as restaurateurs, party throwers and club owners—plus, one of them is a best-selling author.
“My labor of love in the music business was to start a label,” Jacoby says. “We’ve gone very deep into that phase where everyone is, or can be, a record label unto themselves. That’s great in so many respects—for creative control, for business purposes. But then, when you think about it, there’s a reason why labels exist. In essence, it’s to let artists be artists and focus on the things they do best.”