Cityview Recording studio is a custom-built, half-a-million-dollar studio.
“It was built from the ground up to be a recording studio, with state-of-the-art equipment, nine-inch-thick walls, one-inch-thick glass panels, high ceilings, a $15,000 microphone collection … it’s gorgeous,” said owner Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy, a veteran singer songwriter and performer, toured the country in the early 80s with the AC/DC Tribute band High Voltage and recently released the album Breakers Boulevard, featuring the drumming of Journey’s Deen Castronovo.
Recording at Cityview comprises a tentative cost of $50 per hour, but the final price depends on the overall involvement (some bands may require another player). Package prices are available.
A nameless band (previously called Shift) is recording its first full-length album at Cityview, at a cost of $300 per song. Drummer Wes Fisher says this is the best option for a rock band with five players because it may take long hours to get an instrument to sound just right.
“You might settle for not perfect [if you’re worrying about an hourly rate]. And we’re not made out of money,” said Fisher.
“When we walked in we were overwhelmed, especially by the drum room. I don’t think that sound can be achieved in any other studio. It blows them out of the water,” he said.
Cityview doesn’t offer video production or mastering, but Fisher feels confident that McCarthy’s mixing will be enough.
“Kevin wants us to be part of the mixing process. Some bands want the vocals or the bass to be louder and he is trying to achieve what everybody in the band wants,” he said.
Indeed, McCarthy’s goal is to produce a radio-ready product.
Cityview caters to all types of music. “Rap to country, and even jingles for television and radio, advertising, high schools, church groups … We do it all,” said McCarthy.
Marigold Studio is a fairly new production studio located on the basement of the IKE Box in downtown Salem.
The studio is small, but it offers many services, including recording, mixing, mastering and putting together press kits and videos.
At twenty-five, Daniel Jones has over seven years of experience using the Logic program with which he ‘photoshops’ the audio. He has a degree in audio engineering and is constantly keeping up with the cutting edge of sound technology.
“It’s all digital mixing. I never use tapes or analog devices,” said Jones, adding that his young age is a plus for those looking to produce pop music because he understands the latest trends.
He said indie rock is currently gravitating towards “a folk pop mix, the art of lyrics and a raw sound, heavy but poppy; and hooks are really important.”
Jones’ partner, Brock Bowers, is in charge of the video aspect of the studio ($75).
Marigold Studio charges $30/hour but it offers package prices and flexible pay options.
“We’re moderately priced because the goal is to help bands. We wanted to give the community something they can call their own,” said Jones.
In only a year, Marigold Studio has produced records for Bottle Rockets (Blueberry Hill records), Jack Ruby Presents, Find Your Smile, The Vicious Kisses and Symmetry/Symmetry (Jones’ band), and many more. Their genre experience includes hip hop, violin, choir, folk, pop, rock and others, but they have yet to work with heavy metal bands.
Bomb Shelter Recording was originally built as a bomb shelter, according to co-owner Cory Knowland. The upscale studio offers audio production, mixing, editing and mastering, as well as soundtrack and video production. They’ve produced hundreds of albums of every genre, all over the world. They also partner with a few record labels, notably Luckydog, which signed the band Holly Pollock.
Knowland said the labels are generally looking for bands with great potential but without the necessary funds to produce their music.
The studio looks for quality and a willingness to be produced and directed.
“Producing records is like producing a movie,” he said. “Taking a song out of the artists’ head into the speakers.”
Bomb Shelter negotiates the price of every project. “It’s hard to have a flat rate in this economy,” said Knowland. Instead, they turn the clock off and charge “a reasonable price,” per album for example. “We love music. We’d do it for free if we could,” added Knowland.
Bobby Chance, a country rock street ministry musician from L.A., was recording at Bomb Shelter when SW arrived.
“I’d come up here rather than record in L.A. any day because Cory is a genius,” he said. “These guys know what they’re doing. If money wasn’t an issue and I could go to any studio in L.A., I’d still come here.”
Spread Label is not a normal record label. They set up a 50-50 partnership with the artist, splitting the music rights and promotion responsibilities.
“The risks are spread out so that both parties are invested in the success of the album,” said Bruke Getachew, co-owner. “We figure out a budget and work with them. The portion of rights depends on the situation and the artist,” he said.
The studio usually produces demo tracks and then partners with producers, offers advice on mixing and mastering and takes charge of the P.R., contacting papers, zines, weeklies, blogs and radio stations.
They typically work with hip hop, dance and techno but are open to all genres.
“We work with artists that we admire and they admire us. We tend to gravitate to well-connected artists, with a strong entrepreneurial aspect. Base talent can only take you so far,” said Getachew.