Ames recording studio finds new home

Courtesy photo by Josh Tenney of the Alexander Recording Kompany

Maggie Mcginity

Alexander Recording Kompany, a recording studio based in Ames, celebrated the opening of their new location with an open house on Saturday, June 1.

The company, abbreviated to A.R.K, moved from its previous location at 327 Main Street, the lower part of the building under Rieman Music, to a house at 622 Douglas Avenue. Dennis Haislip, founder of and proprietor/CEO/engineer at A.R.K, said the previous location of the studio caused problems because of its nearness to Rieman Music.

“Our daytime hours were limited because if somebody came in and started playing drums or a guitar amplifier upstairs, and we were downstairs recording a violin or an acoustic piano, it would bleed into our room,” Haislip said.

Haislip found a new location just a few blocks away from A.R.K’s old location, and began construction of the new studio there in October of 2012.

The new A.R.K studio was ready in late May 2013 and officially opened on Friday, May 31, with a ribbon cutting ceremony held by the Ames Chamber of Commerce. The studio’s front lawn was full of supporters and friends attending the ceremony, said Kris Stow, a junior in business and management at Iowa State and the CFO/Executive Business Administrator at A.R.K.

Stow first worked with A.R.K recording his own hip-hop music. Stow said he became a part of the company after becoming friends with founder Haislip and realizing that this experience and love of music made him a natural fit for the music business.

“It’s putting two loves together as one, so it’s really more of a passion than a job,” Stow said.

Haislip had similar motivations for founding A.R.K.

“I love music, and I feel like people should be able to record music and get a professional quality without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money to do it,” Haislip said.

For Haislip, A.R.K has been a labor of love, going all the way back to when it receieved its unusual name.

“I named Alexander Recording Kompany after my son, Alexander. Looking at it, it was going to be A-R-C, and that’s how people were going to abbreviate it, and I decided that if I had to be known as the A.R.K, I wanted to be known as the kind of ark I dig,” Haislip said.

Haislip found this home in the studio’s new location, putting careful thought into finding and constructing the new studio as he did into selecting his company’s name. In addition to picking out the bright, warm, homey paints which now cover the studio’s walls, Haislip loaded the studio with new equipment, including new microphones and a new Avid C24 mixing board.

“The biggest thing that we’ve upgraded is the sound of the room itself,” Haislip said. “We have gone through great pains to make sure that it is an acoustically beautiful room, that it has a warm, natural sound to it, and it does.”

Haislip “couldn’t be happier” with the way the new studio turned out, and his crew of co-workers share the sentiment.

“The studio used to be in a basement under Rieman Music and now we’re in a house, so it’s incredible. We can do basically anything here that a studio in Nashville can do,” Stow said.

Stow also shared the new A.R.K studio has an “open door policy” for fans, strangers and recording artists alike.

“We invite anybody in a band to come record with us,” Stow said. “Whether you’re serious, you do music for a living or you just want to hear yourself get recorded, you’re welcome to come through and we will help you get the best quality sounding music you can have.”