Studio Unknown's Confessions of a Small Working Studio—What Artists Are Really Looking for In a Studio

Jun 30, 2010 4:23 PM, By Lisa Horan and Kevin Hill

Airtime Studio

Airtime Studio


While a studio owner’s personality plays an important part in helping to draw in would-be clients, there’s nothing that can make up for good old-fashioned skill. We’re not just talking about the ability to push buttons; we’re talking about everything from knowing when to take a backseat and let an artist do his/her thing, to having an incredible gift for hearing things that may go unnoticed to others, to putting just the right touches on a project to help it shine.

Singer/songwriter Bob Sima

Singer/songwriter Bob Sima

“I had worked with another producer before Adams, and he pushed me to play things a certain way, and he wanted to arrange the songs the way he saw fit, and I didn’t want that," Sheldon says. "Craig allows me to be me and do it my way, which makes it a much more enjoyable experience because it allows me to express myself the way I want to.”

Artists also want to be able to rely on their producer to hear what they never could have on their own. Sima, for instance, was shocked at just how much Weber was able to hear without him even realizing it. “At the end of the week, I said to David, ‘We’ve got a pretty good-sounding scratch track, but when am I going to go in and do vocals?’ I was shocked when he turned to me, and said, ‘Vocals are done. There are only about 10 things we need to change.'” Sima then took a CD of the mixes, listened to it in the car and was astounded at what he heard. “I couldn’t believe he was able to capture my voice in such a great way without me even knowing it.”

Another key ingredient is pure and simple talent. They want to work with people who bring just as much, if not more, to a recording session as they do. Artists who record at Omni Studios have accessibility to a large variety of instrumentalists and vocalists who can create music on the fly and cut songs quickly and effectively. Says Tveit, “We can handle a 10- to 12-song project in about eight days without compromising on quality simply because we have guys who know what they’re doing.”

While Gardyne has only recently begun his recording experience, after just three songs he’s already achieved some success. Not only have his songs received press coverage and radio airtime, but he’s been interviewed on local television. He gives part of the credit to Haldane. But perhaps most important is the fact that the experience has boosted Gardyne’s self belief. “If I had had a negative response, I would have been less likely to move forward. The fact that Haldane and I have been able to create songs that are getting some attention just makes me want to continue to go back and do more.”

It was reassurances that Sheldon received from Adams that sweetened his experience even more. “I knew that Craig wanted to see me succeed, and he always made me feel like an artist who had something important to offer,” explains Sheldon. “That was huge for me and really changed the way I look at myself and my music.” That validation wasn’t lost on Sima: “It was an amazing experience to watch the songs I wrote go from my creation to real gems. At the end of the week, we had the first mix and I drove out of there—totally in tears—because what we had created left me speechless.”

And that’s really the whole point, isn’t it? A studio’s purpose, in many ways, is to make an artist’s dreams come true—at least to some extent. “After about 30 seconds in the studio, clients get it,” says Tveit. “When they hear all the guys making their songs come to life, you can see them transform. It’s an experience of a lifetime for them.”

That’s precisely what it’s been for Sima. “Before my time with David, I had no career whatsoever. The record completely put me on the map,” the artist says. “To be able to come to a place where my songs could be recorded and take on a whole new life has honestly been the biggest change agent in my career.”

Studio Unknown is full-service audio post production facility and recording studio that specializes in helping clients discover creative sound for film, video, web, gaming, and artist projects. For more information, visit

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