It’s time for another Studio Spotlight. This week, we feature Studio Studios, owned and operated by Alex Zander. Take a closer look:
Name of Studio: Studio Studios
Neighborhood: North Park – Previously Golden Hill
Price Range: Rates are negotiable depending on the project and the amount of additional instrumentation required by me. In many cases, I end up playing the majority of the instruments, so there would be a lower rate if I were simply recording and not writing or performing any parts (which I LOVE to do!).
Year Your Studio Was Established? Studio Studios was established in 2008 in my first San Diego studio apartment in Ocean Beach. I had a laptop, an SM-58 and a 2 channel interface. It has since grown, thanks to projects like Allegra Barley’s “Keep it Simple” into quite a professional home set-up. It basically follows me to wherever I live and I surround myself with all my gear and instruments. I have high hopes that it will graduate into its own space within a year or two.
What are your specialties as a studio and/or as an engineer? My specialties include being a multi-instrumentalist (including guitar, bass, keys, drums, percussion and some others as well), having an ear for how to produce a given song and always trying to implement some dirt when it is appropriate. Things that are too clean have less character. Give me grit verses cleanliness any day.
Give us a general idea of the equipment and/or software programs you use: I operate on a Windows 7 platform, running Sonar X1 as my main Digital Audio Workstation (or DAW). I also you FL Studio for sequencing when applicable, and a number of software instruments when needed. For the most part I like to record audio, so I don’t use a ton of MIDI instruments, although I have a ton of them. For conversion I use a MOTU HD 192 converter and I have several preamps, including a Peavey VMP-2 and a Focusrite Octopre. I also use a few outboard compressors. One is a DBX 165A from the late 70’s and the other is a more modern DBX 160A. I have built up a decent microphone collection which consists mostly of dynamic and ribbon mics. I am a big fan Cascade microphones and SE Electronics. They have great sounding mics at prices that don’t require payment with whole limbs. I also have a lot of fun instruments, including a Baldwin Fun Machine, an Atari Synthcart, a few circuit bent synths, and some awesome vintage guitars.
Name some projects you’ve recorded in your studio that you are most proud to have your name on? I am most proud of my work on Allegra Barley’s ” Keep it Simple” album and both EP’s I recorded for H.A. Perkins. I think all of these projects turned out exceptionally well and were all done with great energy, attitudes and while making the most out of what we had to work with at the time. I also was privileged to be asked to play some of the instruments on those projects, which is a ton of fun for me.
What is your ideal client/artist? What do you look for in an artist that makes you want to work with them? I love working with people who have a collaborative spirit and are open to trying things that are a little more unique. I also view each collaboration as a friendship, which requires a good deal of trust. So, I like working with clients who are fun and friendly.
What do you love about working in San Diego & with San Diego artists? What do you envision for the SD Music Community? San Diego is a pretty laid back community with a lot of talented and lovely people. It has a great community of artists and musicians who seem to all be pretty friendly with each other, which is great. I can see the local scene here growing into something with a unique identity and with a lot of diversity.
Who’s in your studio now? Any cool projects coming up? I am currently recording an EP for Emily Dyke, a San Diego local musician. It’s a cool pop project and has unfortunately not been finished yet because of my pending move. I am liking the way the tunes are turning out though, and I look forward to wrapping the project up in the next month or two. I am also writing and recording as a member of a new band, which I am excited about. It is unnamed as of yet, but will be a very fun project with many different musical styles. I am also looking forward to having some time for my own music, which has taken a back seat to other projects for the last few years. The songs are piling up and I need to get them onto some wax!