How has the move up to Weed changed your work, both from a quality of life perspective as well as access to clients. I have this assumption that you would need to travel a lot to maintain such an impressive resume. Thank you!
How long have you been out in Weed, CA? It looks absolutely beautiful there.
It's been a long time dream of mine to settle into the scenery of a small town and ultimately have a studio there where I can be inspired by natural beauty and not be distracted by hustle and bustle and smog and industry. I've had spaces in LA (at Sound City) and in Nashville, and while its really great to be in proximity to opportunities, the thought of breaking off from the herd is a bit scary when you get most of your work thru them.
My question, really, is, at what point did you realize this was feasible for you, and what does it take to keep it going?
I started a pro recording studio in a little lumber town of 3000 people, way out in the middle of no-where at the base of Mount Shasta in the California Cascades. What was I thinking?
Haha! As it has turned out, it has been extremely successful. During it's history, RadioStar Studios grew from one room to five rooms in various downtown properties, with apartments, guest houses, dance-halls, rehearsal rooms. At its peak we had a Neve 8038, an SSL J-9080, a Trident 80-Series, a TAC Matchless with a Neve BCM-10 sidecar, a Digi ProControl, with Studer and Otari multitrack recorders and seven ProTools rigs. Because of divorce and other reasons I've brought the studio back down to the one big room with the Neve 8038. I've retired the RadioStar name. Sold off a ton of equipment but have saved my core studio set-up. Still contemplating whether to stay in Weed or move the studio to a new location. Who knows what the next year will bring?
Why did it work? Well, I was blessed with having had commercial success before leaving Los Angeles to move up to the woods. I have not been dependent on local business in the Weed area. In fact 98% of my business has come from outside of the area. Clients traveled from Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, England, Columbia, France, Australia, and just about every state in the U.S.. Guess we got a good reputation and we stayed booked with me running between sessions, recording vocals in one room, checking a mix in another, approving guitar performances in another... For several years my life was an exhilarating blur. And I had a kick-ass staff to back me up.
So my secret to running a studio in a little town has been to bring in clients from elsewhere. I'm not sure I could have done this without the luxury of a solid reputation that came before the Internet swept away the old business model. I think it's still possible to start and run studio in a little town without the credentials I have, but like I've repeated several times in this Q&A, do it for love, not money. If you don't have a traveling client base, try to plant yourself in a town with a thriving local scene and you might do alright. I recently visited an amazing studio just up the road in the college town of Ashland, Oregon. Jim Abdo went all-out on his home studio, hiring studio designer Chris Pelonis to build his room. He's created a nice little business for himself with just local clients, so I know it can be done. BrokenWorks Productions -- For Artists And Their Craft