REGIONAL STUDIO SPOTLIGHT: GRAVITY STUDIOS: CHICAGO FACILITY BUILDS A B ROOM FOR ALT-ROCK CLIENTELE

Nov 1, 1999 12:00 PM, Kimberly Chun

Polls


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

The down-to-earth vibe and vintage gear at Gravity Studios in Chicago draw demo work from local alternative rockers such as Smashing Pumpkins. But how does a studio keep a band-and their major-label project-grounded in the Windy City when Los Angeles or New York City beckon?

A second room might do the trick, according to Gravity owner Doug McBride. The six-year-old Wicker Park facility (www.gravitystudios.com) is adding a Pro Tools-driven B Room designed by Luis Martinez and Associates. McBride says it will be devoted to editing and overdubbing and completed this winter.

Primarily, McBride says, "we do demos that help bands get signed to major labels, and when they get signed we'll be in the position, because of reputation and their need, to get the record and produce it, rather than always being the bridesmaid and never the bride."

By the looks of their schedule, it might work. Veruca Salt recently were in, tracking their new CD with producer Brian Liesegang and engineer Chad Adams. Nash Kato of Urge Overkill recorded with producer Eric Rosse. Producer Brad Wood mixed a new Sony/5055 record for Verbow.

A major Gravity attraction is the 1976 Neve 8058 console, which, McBride says, is the only one in Chicago. L.A. Neve technician Pat Schneider installed and modified the 28-channel in-line console, which has 60 inputs and 32 channels of Uptown 990 moving fader automation. The board spent the late '70s at Automated Sound in New York, recording Steely Dan's Aja, among other classic albums.

McBride also attributes Gravity's rise to the studio's ability to stay in touch with recording trends and the Chicago alt-rock scene. "The day I finished building the studio, I saw Veruca Salt's first show," McBride says. "And the first song we recorded was the demo of 'Seether,' which got them signed and became a big hit. Through that involvement with Veruca, the studio got booked."

Media attention was also turning to Chicago. "Two months after we started, Billboard proclaimed Chicago 'cutting edge's capital.' Urge Overkill, Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and Ministry were breaking out of Chicago, and they ordained Chicago the successor to Seattle," McBride recalls. "We did demos for eight bands [including Smashing Pumpkins] that got signed in major label deals in what they called the 'Chicago signing frenzy of 1994 and 1995.'

The studio acquired Chicago's first Mackie 32x8 console when it began, McBride says, and later an Amek desk. He records on a Studer A800 24-track 2-inch recorder, Sony 2600 and Panasonic 3700 DATs and an HHB CD recorder. Monitors include a Genelec 1031a, Yamaha NS-10Ms and Auratones. As a result, producers like Peter Mokran have worked on records for Sinead O'Connor and Angelique Kidjo at the studio, and McBride has a chance to produce Columbia/C2 band Frogpond, who first came to the studio to do their demos. "I hope that's a trend that continues." he says.






Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95

Newsletters

MixLine

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.