There’s never been a better time to record your music in the neighborhood. With an array of recording studios for every musical taste, genre, and budget across the Bushwick, Ridgewood and East Williamsburg, this part of NYC offers a recording studio for every musician.
One standout is SpeakerSonic, which boasts an origin story born out of a need.
Local recording studio SpeakerSonic grew from longtime resident Brian Speaker’s experiences as a musician back in 2004, when he was unable to find the right sound offered by other studios. SpeakerSonic grew from those days in the early aughts.
“I’ve been running SpeakerSonic at a high level since 2008,” said Speaker, who is 43.
Speaker said that he was blessed with parents who encouraged music in his household when he was growing up, crediting an older brother with influencing him in his musical tastes and on guitars. By the age of 11 or 12, he had joined a band.
By high school, he had formed his own band, called Sabaretto.
“I’m always out to look for great new bands to work with, watching my artists grow and grow and grow,” Speaker said.
Speaker has had to move his studio four times in the past five years due to the rising rents.
SpeakerSonic is on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood.
Speaker has recently recorded Brooklyn-based, hardcore acoustic doowop band The Pinc Louds, and Crazy and the Brains, dubbed “Jersey’s finest xylophone-themed punk band” by Vice Magazine. Speaker has also recorded, produced, mixed, mastered both Jeffrey Lewis—“a true New York artist,” Speaker said, with pride— and American fiddle player and singer-songwriter Peter Stampfel.
“It’s amazing. I get to work with so many incredible artists on a very intimate level…, and I put my heart into it.”
There are two engineers at SpeakerSonic, each handling distinct musical genres. Brian Speaker specializes in recording the entire gamut of rock music, including indie rock, folk, punk rock and metal.
Speaker’s colleague, Brian Forbes, is a producer, mixer, engineer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who specializes in recording ambient noise “with a little pop and Latin [music] thrown in.” Forbes has produced Grammy award-winning albums and artists in the genres of pop, electronic/soul, R&B, hip hop, Latin and jazz. They include AABARAKI, ÅMBE, Emily King, and We Are Augustines.
Forbes has also produced Grammy award winning artist Fernando Otero of Nonesuch Records.
Not only is music itself constantly evolving and devolving, says Speaker, but so is the recording industry, itself.
“I’ve seen nothing but change. It went from being, a recording studio was the only place to make music, to now, where everybody’s recording in their apartment with their laptop, and you don’t even need a microphone.”
Although business has changed, don’t count recording studios out.
Speaker said, “The one thing that we can do and other studios can do, is record live bands. That’s why a lot of people come to me; it’s because of my drum sound.”
“It takes a lot,” he said.
“This studio is not like every studio, in that’s it’s where artists go, and put their heads down, and gets their work down. It’s a place to go and kick ass.”
Cover photo courtesy of SpeakerSonic