January 14, 2009

No place like home

For independent recording engineers, uncommon spaces yield uncommon results

There’s nothing like a recording studio: Magic is caught; records are born; amorphous concepts come to life. But for some independent recording engineers, there’s no place like home, either, and they’ve turned their homes into temples of sound. Here’s a snapshot:

JORDAN FORST
The guitarist/bassist for Adventure has a studio in his home off Preston Street, where he’s recorded rock, Latin, country and Flamenco groups.

“I got that bug when I was in college,” Forst says. “While I was recording as a teenager, I kept expanding my equipment and experimenting with different sounds.”

Having a studio at home has its pros and cons: Forst can work on a project any time, day or night, which occasionally infringes on his day-to-day life. “It can get kind of disruptive when you have a punk-rock drummer in your living room playing away,” he says.

Forst uses the computer program Pro Tools, but he recently acquired two Otari tape machines. The sound is less harsh than that created by digital equipment. “I like the limitations in it; it forces people to think, plus it’s less expensive,” he says.

BRIAN CRONIN

Cronin, a 2003 alumnus of Long Island Recording Co. in Lexington, started Cornerstone Studios last year in the Highlands. The studio doubles as a rehearsal space for his band, Dr. Knox.

He records in Pro Tools and has a portable Presonus Fire Studio with Cubase software to record live. Former tour manager for the Villebillies, Cronin has recorded VB MC Demi Demaree, Andrea Davidson, The Pass and Big Diggity, among others.

A home studio makes the artist more comfortable, he says, and therefore more likely to perform better.

“Recording can put people on the spot at times, and I try to focus on getting their comfort levels up.”

Lately, Cronin says he has found himself more dependent on microphones, and he is working on expanding his collection. myspace.com/cornerstonetribald

CHRIS OWENS

Like many independent artists, Owens couldn’t afford to pay someone else to record his music, so he started doing it himself. “I liked the way I did it better, and then I eventually started recording my friends’ bands,” he says.

Owens works in Headbangin’ Kill Your Mama Music in Germantown, where in addition to Lords, he’s recorded Dead Child, The Stonecutters and Akimbo.

“I used to rent a really shitty space, with holes in the roof and no glass in the windows, but this warehouse is a huge improvement,” he says. Owens records louder indie, punk rock and metal bands, and the warehouse is great for getting “a good, live kind of sound.”

Like all engineers, Owens takes pride in his equipment, using Samplitude recording software and a range of microphones.

“I am the only person in the city that I know of who uses Josephson microphones,” he says. “They help capture the sound that is really there instead of manufacturing one.”
myspace.com/headbanginkillyourmamamusic

Additional reporting by Brittany Tracy