The group came together in the summer of 2010. When Sigma Sound, the studio my father founded in 1968 began, there were only three recording studios in the Philadelphia area. I had noticed from word of mouth and Internet searches that there are now ten times that just within a few miles of me. I decided to hold a meeting in the back of a small local bar/restaurant on a Monday morning when I knew most traditional studios were slow and find more out about the phenomenon and how we could work together.
2. What is your group’s mission?
Our mission is cooperation, education and dynamic interface. Studios come in many sizes, shapes and abilities today. Some have more ability in certain areas, such as tracking of drums, cutting vocals or mixing. Many are musician or band project rooms. To meet, see each others facilities, discuss ways we can work together using the best elements of each studio, have the group opportunity to see the latest hardware and software from manufacturers while seeking out new revenue streams and marketing concepts, drives our mission.
3. How many members do you currently have and can you describe the makeup of your group?
It’s really a loose dynamic group. At most meetings there are between 40 and 50 people, plus the guest speakers. On Facebook there are over 250 people who joined the page. We have colleges who are members (as well as) larger professional studios, mid and small sized facilities and independent producers.
4. Do you meet regularly and where?
We meet once a month and we go to different facilities in our area. It gives us a chance to see who has what to offer and where.
The meetings usually start out with people filtering in and getting into informal discussions. It’s surprising how many studio people just want to talk to their peers and mentors. Then we have a formal discussion of issues concerning the community; I usually lead that part of the meeting. Finally a manufacturer demonstrates its wares and engages the group. George Hajioannou from Studio Logic Sound is the person who invites the manufacturers to the meetings.
6. How would you describe the Philadelphia recording scene?
It’s very active but faces the same issues as most recording scenes in tertiary markets.
7. What do you think are some key issues your members are facing or grappling with?
Well ever since the advent of low cost DAW based recording systems. The line between “home hobbyist” recording and professional recording has blurred. Novice people seeing out a place to record need to be educated about what it takes to make a great sounding record. Conversely studios need to know when it’s best to pass off parts of their projects to more capable facilities and how to best utilizing their place for things like tracking if they have a hot sounding room for that.
8. How do you think your group can address some of these issues?
By face-to-face interactions at changing venues. It’s great to see people who are in essence “competitors” so open and candid about their concerns and feelings. Also there is power in numbers so on issues with manufacturers and such, a group has more influence.
9. Can you share with us any info regarding upcoming events?
Our next event is Febuary 23rd at “The Studio.” Telefunken is bringing down their microphone arsenal and recording a one-man band, layered instrument by instrument. We’ll also be discussing Converse’s “FREE” recording studio Rubber Tracks.
10. Where can people in your area find out more about your organization?
11. How can SPARS and PRC work together and/or help each other?
As you know, my father was a founding member and the first president of SPARS. Years later I became president of SPARS also. So there is some history there. I see a relationship where SPARS acts as a national conduit for the common concerns of the community based recording groups like the PRC, which are cropping up in cities around the nation.