Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hit the studio, cause I'm paid in full...

"Your horoscope is telling you to invest in something small and absurd. Like a recording studio."

- Advice from Chrispy to Misanthrope -

Absurd indeed. Count it amongst the few things we can all agree on, nothing is more absurd than owning a recording studio.

Since my humble beginnings in Munich Germany back in 1964, I have had the pleasure of being a partner in four multi-track recording studios. The first one was an analog eight track room called The Coal Mine, so named on account of the control room being located in the old coal room of my parents basement in West Point, NY.

Once I made the move to Georgia, I re-partnered up with my old friend Brain and couple of other guys in their rented house. We operated a 16 track (Tascam 38 locked to a Fostex Model 80) room called The Mountain Home. With four guys worth of gear, this place was slammin'. What we didn't have we impulsively went out and maxed a credit card to get. Ah, those were the days.

The third was the unnamed studio that was never to be. It was the one we were constructing in Brian's basement before he died. That sucked.

When my wife and I decided to build a house, she'd bring home many drawings of the models the company she worked for at the time were building in the area. While she weighed the finer aspects of square footage and the need (or not) for a formal living room, all I really cared about was what the basement was going to look like. It was there that I was going to build my own studio.

Work began almost as soon as we moved in. I finished out the basement entirely on my own with the help of only Mrs. Alva and my six foot tall sister whose height came in handy while hanging 12' sheets of drywall on the ceiling. (Lesson one: Like cockroaches when the lights are flicked on in your kitchen, so goes your friends when it comes to help on a project like this. Make sure you're prepared to do it all on your own). Alas the results gave birth to Grey Cat Sound, co-named for me (my hair had gone this sexy color by my mid twenties), and my beloved gray tom cat that used to hangout many a late night at the Coal Mine critiquing mixes and eating Doritos that would get dropped on the floor. Mrs. Alva suggested the "Grey" spelling since it sounded snootier.

Grey Cat was indeed a labor of love, but by it's completion my life had already begun to change. Same was true for my many music friends who went on to get degrees, get married, have kids, take on careers, etc... Not much more than some of my own tinkering got recorded, some remixing of some historically recorded stuff perhaps. Good fortune came my way with runaway market speculation during the dot com boom and I was able to make some pretty nice upgrades since first unpacking the old gear. I've added some nice pieces from time to time up to it's current outfit.

Since the re-outfitting, I've really only had three or four big projects: a Christian Rock record that Jackson and Chrispy helped with, another in similar vain, and some work I've done with a local singer song writer. With all that I have going on in my life, the place is severely under utilized and I'm determined to change that. I love recording music and don't get to do it enough. I’ve got some spare time available to take on some projects with my center closing at the end of this year. As you can tell with the whole blogging thing, time is not in short supply.

Any ideas on how to get some spec work in the door? I am opening Grey Cat up to anybody who'd like to do a project. Anyone you know who might want to try their hand at putting together a recording of some sort send them my way. Can put up guests if required.

Vital stats on the studio are:

Tascam 32x8x2 3500 series console, Alesis HD24 Harddisc recorder, 24 track ADAT Blackface, Tascam MS-16 1” analog tape machine w/Dbx NR, Tannoy and NS-10M monitors, Focusrite ISA preamp, Neumann mic, and Studio Projects C1’s, and much more.

May add a DAW if project warrants it.

It’s a pretty big recording space too, with a hardwood floor for drums (have an in-house kit), and multiple rooms for isolation.

If you know of anyone who’d be interested by all means pass my info to them and have them contact me. I loved to do a project in which we tracked to the 16 track analog machine. That would just simply be da bomb.


At 4:40 PM, April 17, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

Maybe you'd get more work if you properly credited the folks you work with.....still quitting band unil I get a retraction.....

At 6:00 PM, April 17, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

Okay - retraction in place, I re-join the band.

Somebody's gotta be a pain in the ass...

At 9:14 PM, April 17, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

See commets in above post with all apologies submitted.

At 10:07 AM, April 18, 2006, Blogger Hue B. Mooksuki said...

I want to do a record.

Blue grass remakes of UFO songs... I want to call the project, "HUE-F-O"


punk rock versions of Prince songs...

Call it "Blew Purple Chunks"

At 1:04 PM, April 18, 2006, Blogger Chrispy said...

I like Hue's ideas.

Here are some suggestions:

- Is there a Craigslist in Atlanta? Place one ad offering "free studio time", figure out how your spec deal would work, and you should get a lot of replies

- There are a number of websites that list recording studios sorted by location. Find a few of these and place a few ads (we did this a few years ago - I can't remember the names of any of them, though). Again, the biggest selling point will be that it's free...

- Old Reliable - some simple signs at the Guitar Centers and the place you bring your guitars for setups. Find the little music stores downtown and get ads up there. Record stores are good too. So are rehearsal spaces (check in the local alternative papers if you've got any, or even in the yellow pages or search online).

- Head into town (or over by the University) and go to a couple of open mics. You'll see a lot of musicians and get to check them out before offering them your services. Likewise, find a few rock clubs where up and coming bands play. Bring business cards.

- Is there a "Village Voice" kind of rag down there? Again, a simple ad will do.

If you're gonna do this stuff for free, I'd think you'll have no problem finding people. They just have to know you're there.

At 2:50 PM, April 18, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

Man, I'll do Hue-F-O anytime you're ready my man.

Thanks for the advice Chris. All good stuff. We do have a Village Voice type thing here called the Creative Loafing that I'd forgotten about until you reminded me.

In all seriousness, it would be awesome to get you NYC guys down here with the man from the land of 10,000 rinks and drink Bud's (smoke them as well if you like) and track a couple of tunes. Sounds like the perfect vacation to me.

At 4:39 PM, April 18, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

I'm almost afraid of an Alva - Hue - Jackson convergence - not since the early eighties have three UFO fans been in the same room. Ithink - initially at least - the Pavillion would be th ebest setting - who knows what might happen.

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