Recording a new scene

Kyle Solberg

Ames is filled to the brim with musical talent – people just don’t know it yet. There are many aspiring local bands that go unheard as the city’s music scene takes a back seat to, well, everything.

But a couple of local recording studios want to change that image.

Campustown Recordings and Revolution Records, both located at 207 Stanton Ave., hope to tap into the Ames music scene and show people what there is to offer.

Campustown Recordings is a recording studio owned by Bryan Shipley of Velvet Tone Recordings. Shipley is an ISU alumnus who wanted to bring recording studios to Ames to flare up the music scene at an affordable price.

Revolution Records is owned by local band Thoughts of Crossing.

The studios are split somewhat, with Campustown appealing more to acoustic songwriters and Revolution specializing in full-band recordings.

“There’s a lot of talent out there people need to see,” said Mike Bal, producer for both studios and drummer of local band Thoughts of Crossing.

Several local bands have been discouraged by the lack of interest from students and break up thinking people aren’t interested and just don’t care.

“People see Iowa as [a state consisting of] hicks and country music, but it’s not like that at all,” said Ryan Martin, an audio engineer for both studios.

Campustown and Revolution’s goals are to help local bands be heard and put their music out there for everyone to hear. With opportunities like this, hopefully bands will be able to snag the attention of students and present to them something that is very important to the campus environment.

Both studios, owned and run by the same handful of producers, are providing opportunities to anyone interested.

“We’re supporting an open mic night at the Bali Satay House, along with giving one free hour of recording to everyone,” Bal said.

One of the studio’s main focuses is to make the artists feel completely comfortable and offer stress-free recording, as well as providing them with the ideal atmosphere.

The producers have no problem setting up the bands’ equipment while they relax so they can be completely ready when it comes time to record.

“People love this place because we’re so excited they’re here,” said Patrick Hummer, producer and guitarist and vocalist for Thoughts of Crossing.

“Out of the 20 or so artists that have been through here, we haven’t had a bad seed yet. Everyone has sounded real good.”

Along with their list of good deeds, the studio also offers to assist bands in setting up a MySpace page and getting in contact with a photographer; they want to make the word studio seem less scary.

“You can’t do a whole lot without a good recording,” Bal said. “When you say you’re going to have a show, people don’t know what to expect.”

Location is another of the many perks. With the studios being within walking distance of campus, bands will save money by not driving out of town.

The guys from the studios encourage everyone to come see for themselves.

“If people want to record for an hour for free, or just come and check it out, they can,” Hummer said. “We’re not gonna charge you from the second you walk in.”

For more information on the studios, see

So how do you actually

record a song?

1. Practice your part. You need to be able to play the entire song with your instrument in one go so that when it’s time to rock, you’re ready.

2. Record instruments. Record all instrumental parts first, starting with the drums to keep the tempo for the rest of the band.

3. Record vocals. After all the instrumental parts have been polished, it’s time to insert some vocals. You can sing, scream, chant or whatever floats your boat.

4. Make it sound different from a live performance. You can throw in some extra effects to shake it up a bit and be more creative.

5. Produce. Work with the producer to get your ideal sound.