1. In a world of do it yourself technology, what was your ideology for building a recording studio in Asbury Park?
I’d been making records in my home recording studio for 8 years on a commercial level. I had taken it as far as it could go in that type of environment. One of the biggest lessons I learned was how important it is to have the right tools and space to record in. There’s a reason that the best sounding records are recorded in properly designed studios. I grew up in this area and this city (Asbury Park) is rich when it comes to music, art and creativity. Asbury Park absolutely needed world-class recording studios. Now we have the tools for artists, engineers and producers to take the limitations away. I’m hoping that many will come and take tours of the building and the studios.
2. You gave me the tour and it was quite amazing to see the detail. Tell us about some of the love that went into picking out materials and gear?
When the decision was made to move forward with the studios we hired John Storyk. He’s known to be the best and most prolific studio designer in the world. It was so important to me to get this right and make sure that we would have the best sounding spaces. There’s so much science that is involved with this level of recording studios. We also wanted to make sure that this would be a place that everyone was comfortable and excited to work in. The quality had to be the best. The fit-out and design is tremendous. Nothing was spared in construction. We went on the hunt to find the very best recording gear as well. Items like the 1972 class A Neve 8024, the Ampex MM1200 2″ class A tape machine and in Studio North and the SSL and the top shelf outboard gear in Studio South. Both with the large variety of microphones and vintage amp and instrument collection. We even have a guitar museum that the clients can use for recordings. Check out our gear list.
3. Would you consider Lakehouse a major label stopover, or is this available to local musicians and budgets from all walks of life as well?
We’ve always worked with every level of artist. From major label to young artists, this studio is available to all who want to work and take their vision to the next level.
4. I loved the fact that you built an actual apartment that is located in the same building right next to the studio, are you the ultimate creature of comforts?
I started out in garage bands trying to make great sounding records on a small budget. Every dollar was important to us. The apartment really helps out. Asbury Park is on the shore and lodging can be expensive. Having a place to stay and feel comfortable makes the experience even better. The apartment is sweet.
5. Explain what you mean when you say of, “When you set foot in Lakehouse, you’re in the music industry.”
There are many individuals and businesses that have space in this building that do work in the music industry every day. There are big artist managers, record producers, music attorneys, graphic design artists, indie concert promoters, amazing successful songwriters and one of the country’s best independent music stores right here. When you come here you have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with these talented professionals.
6. It seems like this is a family setting. Not just in the way you run the Lakehouse umbrella, but in that you pick your people and the fact that everyone is encouraged to shine as an individual. Do you honestly trust people with your livelihood to that extent?
We are trying to develop community here. The Lakehouse building is simply infrastructure designed for creative people. It’s the ideas and individuals that make the space special. We really want to see people who have the desire to grow in the these industries to come be part of what’s going on here. Yes, there’s a family vibe here. It’s important that we have encouraging types who are supportive.
7. I know that the Lakehouse encompasses more than a studio, but a room that is this intricate has to be the main focus right?
Making records is one of my favorite things in the world to do. These rooms are a blast. You have to do some work in here!
8. Who are your main engineers and why would we know them?
We have a lot of different producers and engineers that work here. All different genres and experiences. Some with platinum album credits and some strictly indie. Erik Romero and Tim Pannella are our main guys and are here about 1000 hours a week keeping it all together!
9. What other Lakehouse components go hand in hand with the building?
The music academy (Lakehouse Music Academy) has been the blood. So many people come in and out each day. The enrollment has been very strong. Students of all ages. And the teachers are all pros “doing it” out there. Teachers with amazing backgrounds and some big credits. We’re very fortunate to be in an area where so many successful musicians live. Albie Monterrosa (deSol, The Neighborhood) is the music director and Juan O’ Grady is the general manager. These guys are so dynamic and encouraging. They have a very powerful program. They’re committed to educating and they love their students. It’s a special place. You need to check it out.
10. I noticed many young people stepping up and playing their talents at the space, what would you tell a budding teacher or engineer that might want to get involved with Lakehouse?
Please come visit. Set up a tour of the space and meet us. This place was built for you.
11. I also loved your rehearsal rooms and teaching office spaces. I would say that the only thing missing here is food, or do you have that covered?
The rehearsal rooms are killer. There is a vintage room with all cool gear from the 1960′s, a stage room with all modern high end gear and a boutique room with some really great unique lines. All the rooms are acoustically tuned, have their own individual climate control and are cleaned after each use. It’s important that the musicians that rehearse here get the best possible conditions when they work. And yes, we actually do have Mumford’s Cafe here. You know the young and prolific “Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why”. It’s his family. They’ve had a culinary school in Tinton Falls for years. Unbelievable food, deserts and coffee.
12. So, ok, you’re a studio. Guys (and girls) need guitars, strings, amps, stands, picks, etc… What is your relationship like with Russo’s downstairs?
It is one of the coolest things about the building. They are the music store of music stores. You can see it the moment you step foot in their space. They have all of the best equipment, hand picked gear, highest quality repair and I can truly say the best service. Wait until you see their guitar repair menu book. Everyone that works there gives a shit about the customers. Super nice and knowledgeable guys. They also do very unique things to show good will to their customers. They have $7 Sundays every week where they put a new head on your snare drum and tune it with you- only $7 including the drumhead! They do a lot of events like clinics, concerts and how-to’s. It’s a one of a kind place.
13. Tell me about some of your other vendors at Lakehouse.
CoWerks is one of the tenants on the third floor. They have large shared office space workstations, a private conference room and small private offices for rent. You can even rent by the day. It’s a gorgeous space with a big outdoor deck overlooking Wesley Lake. They have great business meet ups, conferences, web events and live music and art shows. These guys are super smart and are great collaborators. Brett does the Asbury Agile Conference. There’s always something interesting going on in their space.
14. Bands on a Budget does all sorts of promotional products for musicians like custom t-shirts and apparel, stickers, print products, indie cards, etc. You know Danny Croak and the gang, right?
Holtz on the third floor does photography, video and design. This is a great service for musicians. He takes outstanding photos and video and can do the design for the artwork. Super helpful and efficient.
Brian Nelson the music manager (Joss Stone) also has an office on the third floor. He’s a very accessible guy.
And we have an FM and AM terrestrial radio station coming this fall. No kidding. How cool is that? I’m trying to keep that under the radar until they make the announcement.
15. What is the most important thing that people need to know about who you are and why you’re here?
It’s important to us for people to know that this space is here for a purpose. We are trying to support creativity here in this area. We are hoping that like minded people will come here to make great art and be part of our community.