For the aspiring student musician, getting real in a recording studio can be daunting. Fortunately, CoMo is home to several studios that offer relaxed environments and professional experience to help newer musicians.
The three recording studios we surveyed represent a variety of price ranges, genres and skill levels. Each has worked with professional musicians as well as those going through the process of recording for the first time.
“Coming into a recording studio is a great first step,” says Tim Hanson, owner of Heezers Palace. “It’s easy for me to be open and honest with the artists and try to get them to give their best. I’m very used to working through that process with the artist.”
Centro Cellar Studio owner Wil Reeves agrees. He says working with a studio helps new artists learn how a typical recording session works.
“I always encourage people to come by and hang out for just half an hour so they can see the studio and talk to me,” he says. “They can let me know what they are looking for and I can answer questions.”
Location: Norwalk Drive
Contact: Tim Hanson Heezers Palace Studio opened in Columbia in 2008, but owner Tim Hanson has been an active music producer in the area for over a decade. Hanson says he was part of a musical family growing up, and his experiences led him to producing. “I would give my input to my school friends who were musicians and was inclined to continue working with people as I got older,” he says. “It came naturally to me.” Hanson gradually turned his personal production room in his home into a business. He works primarily with hip-hop artists but also sees quite a bit of indie rock, he says. Hanson says a comfortable atmosphere and raising-the-bar mentality are what makes his studio unique.
“The environment of my studio is very cozy,” he says. “When people come into the control room of my studio, the setting is there to inspire creativity. When people come to sit down, they feel like they’re ready to put their best into their project.”
Location: 15 Austin Ave.
Contact: Wil Reeves
Centro Cellar Studio owner Wil Reeves says he began recording music 11 years ago for bands that he and his friends were a part of. With Centro Cellar, he has commercially recorded everything from old-timey country to indie rock for the past seven years, he says.
Reeves says his studio has been custom-built to fit his and others’ needs perfectly. As a result, he has a great environment to create just the sound a musician is looking for.
“I know the studio really well and am able to get the sound I want from it,” he says. “My studio is also built for a casual environment.”
Location: 2800 Pepper Tree Lane
Contact: Bruce Barkelew Mansion Studio was initially built for the personal use of owner and musician Bruce Barkelew. However, many artists expressed interest in using the studio, which is nestled in an old colonial mansion, and Barkelew opened it for commercial use about seven years ago.
Barkelew records a variety of music ranging from the MU Concert Band to hard rock and hip-hop. He says his studio serves mostly professional musicians, but the experience can still be useful for all artists.
Mansion Studio, also known by many musicians as “The Mansion,” offers a unique recording experience, as musicians can record in the large rooms of the 10,000 square-foot colonial home. Barkelew says the size of the home allows recordings to be of a higher quality than they would be in smaller studios.
“The hardest thing to get in a recording is a good drum set,” he says. “You need a big room to get a good drum sound.”