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February 2024
Vol. 23, No. 5


Studio Spotlight: D Fab Studios

October 2012

So far, our newborn baby blog has served to expose our local musicians to the San Diego community. But we also want to use this platform to provide resources to musicians since they make up a large portion of our readers.

Our latest blog feature is called Studio Spotlight.  We will be highlighting different studios around town in hopes of helping local musicians find the best fit for potential recording projects.

First up is DFAB Studios! We spoke with  founder Brian DiFabio, who provided a closer look:

Name of Studio: DFAB Studios
Neighborhood: El Cajon

Price Range: My rates start at $45 an hour for most studio use. $30-$35 an hour for mix downs. If you utilize my block rates, my rates for studio use go down quite a bit. I have a pretty extensive list of my services and the rates that apply on my website.

The Backstory – When did it all begin?
Spring of 2011. Though that is the date I officially opened my studio doors to the public, I had been running a small project studio in a small transformed garage space behind my house for 7 years before moving. When I did set up the new studio in El Cajon, I left this small space open for a year (named the two locations Studio A and Studio B). Since this time, I have closed Studio B and moved all my equipment and instruments to my main studio in El Cajon.

What are your specialties as a studio and/or as an engineer?
I am a DJ, Producer and a Keyboardist. With that being my focus as a musician, I get a lot of requests to write music/beats for singer/songwriters and hip hop artists. Also, another big part of my business is mixing down projects that have been recorded at other locations.

Give us a general idea of the equipment and/or software programs you use:
I use a lot of MOTU gear (My recording program/DAW is Digital Performer with MOTU interfaces and converters). For software effects I rely heavily on my Universal Audio Plugins. I have a fairly large collection of microphone pre amps, and about 30 different microphones I choose from. There is a complete list of all the gear and instruments on my website as well.

Name some projects you’ve recorded in your studio that you are most proud to have your name on?
One of my all time favorite projects was Guy Elkayam – Ani Mashich. Guy came into my studio with his guitar, and sung all his vocals in Hebrew. I then wrote all the backing music for the songs. It came out sounding great and we had a blast making it.  I have also worked on a lot of singles (album coming soon) for hip hop group “StylesStinch”. The songs have been coming out great, and they have also used a decent amount of my instrumentals for their album.

What is your ideal client/artist? What do you look for in an artist that makes you want to work with them?
I love all styles of music, so I will record/mix/work with anyone who is passionate about what they do. I like to think of myself as not only someone pushing buttons and flipping switches, but as collaborator with the artists that come in. With that said, it helps to come into the studio with an open mind, and a willingness to try different things musically that the artist (or myself) may not have thought of before. I have noticed this produces some of the best songs, and the best times!

What do you love about working in San Diego & with San Diego artists? What do you envision for the SD Music Community?
Going back to what I said in the previous question, I find that a lot of the artist I work with out here DO have an open mind. The community is very diverse, and a lot of musicians I work with are often down to attempt a style of music outside their comfort zone. I see the SD Music community growing everyday, and only see it getting better. I moved here about 8 years ago, and each year I see a new weekly/monthly pop up with a focus on a style or genre or music that did not have such before. This is great, and I hope it continues to bring positive attention (local, national, or international) to all of the great artists we have here in San Diego.

What is one of the most memorable/funny/awesome/magical moments you’ve witnessed in the studio?
I would have to say meeting/recording with the Legendary MC Silver Fox while making local hip hop artist Jeff Fenton (Jayton the Mac)’s mixtape. I actually had no idea he was coming, but when Jeff arrived, he had Silver Fox with him. He hosted to the whole mix tape. To watch him do his thing was pretty amazing!

Who’s in your studio now? Any cool projects coming up?
I mentioned StylesStinch before, and they have some singles out. Their album should be coming out soon. I am pretty excited for this one to drop. Two of the members (Micamistone and Talksikk) have already started their solo work with me. I am expecting this to come out as good, if not better, then what we did with the group. I am always working with local singer/songwriter Chad Cavanaugh. We have a bunch of songs in the works and started tracking. We are hoping to have some new tunes out soon. Lastly, I have started work with a talented Neo Soul singer, who has asked me to write the music for her songs. This will be my first time attempting this style, so I am very excited to see how it all turns out.

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