As many of you may know, we have been planning to record a full length album this spring. Now that all of our songs are in order we decided that we needed to pick a studio. We spent an entire day driving around and looking at spaces, only to find that this was a whole lot more complicated than we thought it would be…
We started off with bagels and hummus, courtesy of Nick Passey, at my house. I already know what you are thinking: Bagels? For breakfast? I thought they had whiskey for breakfast? Well, this is a rather important day and we have to drive a lot, so we made an exception.
1st stop- Matt Winegar
Those of you who know who Matt is, or are familiar with his work with MANY top-notch local and national acts, know why this was our first stop. Box was at work, so it was just us guys that showed up at his space. Matt is an incredibly personable guy; he has been recording a lot lately and apologized for his space being dirty before we were in. Of course, it was pretty much clean save a few cables here and there. His space is really comfortable, I immediately felt right at home when we walked into the live room, and we started gawking instantly. There was an awesome vibe there which only got better when we went in to the relaxing area and GTA4 was on the screen. He played some music he had recently recorded and we were blown away by the clarity, the perfect mix, and the overall quality of the recording. Then he pulled out an accordion from nowhere and let Canyon get his fill.
2nd stop-Counterpoint Studios
(or as we started calling it: The Deathstar)
Counterpoint has a reputation in the valley as a “real” studio. It has some of the best (and most expensive) gear a studio could ever want. Rupert Neave consoles, a whole room full of drums sets, some of the most high quality boutique guitar and bass amps, really expensive guitars & basses, a beautiful grand piano, and a live room like no other in town. Of course a space like this comes with a heavy price tag, this is no exception. Certainly worth it though. The one complaint that we had: Its almost too nice. In a studio filled with a million dollars worth of gear, it’s really hard to feel comfortable. Being comfortable is a huge part of recording, if you aren’t comfortable chances are you won’t play with the feeling you usually play with. That said, we could be comfortable there!
3rd stop-Kitefishing Studios
Some of you may know of Kitefishing studios, or you may have heard the local band The Suicycles, or you may remember the band Cavedoll, or you may know Camden Chamberlain personally.
He is responsible for his studio, which has recorded enough local acts that you have probably heard many of his recordings without even knowing it. Camden not only is the frontman of The Suicycles, but he writes and records all the time. He is a machine of music in a mans body. It’s pretty amazing how often I have heard his name in the last few years. He had been up all night recording & writing songs for The Suicycles when we got there, something that he frequently does. He played some very well mixed tracks, and we were on our way out.
4th stop- Salt Lake Recording Services
We picked up Box and headed to SLRC having pretty much no knowledge of it. Box plays drums in another band called Handicapitalist, and they played at SLRC when it was a venue and Box had formed a friendship with the engineer, Brad. As it turned out, Jared also knew Jared from a job they had worked together in the past. As soon as we walked in to the live room this thought went through my head: THIS is where our album should be recorded. However, there are six people in the band and every ones viewpoint is taken into consideration when we make any decision. It is a pretty decently sized place with three rooms for recording. Canyon spotted a piano and went for it instantly, playing some tunes from our old bands and filling the live room with beautiful sounds.
We asked Brad to play some music he had recorded and Canyon specified a song with 60 tracks. Brad was able to compromise and played us a song by The Chickens that had 46 or so. You know, for having 46 tracks it was one of the best mixes I heard all day. There were so many instruments playing and yet it didn’t feel cluttered. It was crisp and clean not noisy at all. Then Brad played some music from his band Tupelo Moan so we could hear some heavy, thick rock and roll. I was quite impressed.
5th stop- Mark Williams Studio
We had to drive 50 miles, to Canyon and I’s hometown of Midway for this one. I have had the pleasure of recording with Mark several times, and I wasn’t about to have a day of looking at recording studios without going to my favorite one! Sure, Mark has great credentials: Drummer for more world famous acts than you can count, he has decades of serious recording under his belt, he is the son of famous composer Jon Williams, he is the father of Lionel Williams of Vinyl Williams, he has some of the most sought after gear out there (think 60’s fender amps, three Leslie speakers, and a Hammond C3 to name a few), and he has recorded ME in the past (perhaps his greatest achievement, definitely not the platinum albums on the wall). Mark has more enthusiasm and experience than anyone else I have had the pleasure of recording with, and he is capable of making anyone sound like they want. Not to mention that two other studios we went to mentioned him in a glowingly positive light. He plugged in his C3 to his Leslie in the next room and Canyon ripped on it for a while, and it shook the walls!
Then we took a much needed break to stop by Canyons parents house and relax for a minute.
6th stop-Andy Patterson
Chances are, if you have listened to a local band, that it was recorded with Andy Patterson. He has been the go to guy for a long time in Salt Lake, and has recorded so many bands that all the cases for every album he has recorded covers a whole wall. Many of our friends have recorded with Andy in the past, and when Box’s band Hanicapitalist needed to record, Andy is where they went. The live room in his studio is the best we saw. BIG! Which for a band with six people in it, is a huge selling point. It was obvious in some peoples eyes, they had a new favorite studio. Awesome space, awesome lounge, great vibe, and most importantly: longest beard we saw all day!
7th stop- Annex Studios
Annex is nice. REALLY nice. Super high quality equipment, really knowledgeable staff and some super nice rooms. Nate Brown showed us around, and played some un-mixed tracks that already sounded pretty fantastic. I spotted one of my favorite Gretsch guitars and played for a while. It was a pretty comfortable environment, and there was an isolation room with an incredibly nice grand piano. All in all a great, very clean, comfortable studio.
Last Stop- Woodshar Studio
It is one thing to have a studio that is treated well… but Woodshar takes it a step way up. Doug sent a layout of his studio to Auralex, the company that manufactures all of the sound absorbing foam and has just about the most knowledge about sound diffusion of any company out there, and they sent him a map of where to put all of their products. Basically, what I am saying is that it is one of the greatest studios in town. Add that to with Dougs extensive knowledge of recording and mixing, his years of experience with incredibly talented musicians, and his specialized gear that he has accumulated over years of searching, made this an excellent end to our day.
What have we decided?
That it is the hardest decision we have had to make yet, and we don’t know where to go.
So, we drank some whiskey, played some songs, and decided to think about it for a while.