On the Cover: Blade Studios

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz


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The 500-square-foot control room

The 500-square-foot control room

The week that we telephoned Blade Studios (Shreveport, La.), co-owner, producer and drummer Brady Blade and chief engineer Chris Bell were in Studio A with videogame developers Rob Atkins and Adrian Carmack (Doom and Quake Series) scoring the Fallen Shadows II videogame. Action in the second Fallen Shadows game takes place in New Orleans, and Blade says the score is generally “creepy.” Over the phone, Bell played back some music from the “All Saints Morgue” scene; it’s an eerie sequence of tones and percussive sounds, built around the ominous thump of a heartbeat.

“The heartbeat is a [music] library sound,” Blade explains. “Everything else we did in the studio with real instruments. The whole groove centers around that heartbeat.”

Blade knows a thing or two about laying down a steady beat. He’s perhaps best known as the touring drummer for Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Jewel, Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews and others. But a few years ago, he decided to spend more time close to his family and less on the road. He began focusing more on session work and producing, and re-settled in his hometown of Shreveport, which is where he met Scott Crompton, a marketing exec and guitarist, and now co-owner of Blade Studios.

“I had just moved to Shreveport; I got invited here to work in the film business, writing business plans for a Shreveport-based production company looking to expand their services,” Crompton explains. “Louisiana has the Number Three filmmaking market in the country. The state offers incentives here; if you make your film in Louisiana, you can earn up to a 35-percent tax credit [which includes scoring], and that’s one reason so many film productions come here.

From left: engineer Chris Bell, co-owner Scott Crompton and Brady Blade

From left: engineer Chris Bell, co-owner Scott Crompton and Brady Blade

“In August of 2005, they passed a similar incentive in Louisiana for sound recording,” Crompton continues. “And then, of course in September, Katrina came and wiped out almost every one of the meaningful studios in the state.”

Many of the beloved studios of New Orleans and beyond have rebuilt or relocated since then, but Crompton says he could see that with those incentives in place—a 25-percent rebate on every expense, including airfare and lodging, as well as studio, equipment, producer and musician fees—there would be plenty of room for a new, high-end commercial studio in Louisiana.

“I said, ‘I think we’ve got an opportunity here,’” Crompton says, “because not only is Brady very well-connected in the business, but people love him. He’s a shining soul and a great guy, and I thought that with his connections and a solid business plan, if we built the right kind of studio here, people would come.”

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