All New Yorkers struggle with tight spaces, but more than anyone, musicians with home recording studios feel the city’s limitations everyday. Last week we had the opportunity to visit NYU senior Danny Rose’s home recording studio, and Danny was kind enough to speak with us about what it’s like to make records in New York City in 2014.
Danny lives in a loft space in Bushwick with fellow producer Xander Knight. Both Danny and Xander use their bedrooms as home studios. While Xander focuses on hip-hop and mainly records in his bedroom, Danny prefers to work with live bands, so he uses the entire apartment for recording sessions.
The Bushwick space is the third incarnation of Danny’s Rose Studios. He assembled his first studio as a sophomore in his dorm room at NYU’s Coral Tower on Union Square. From there, Danny moved to Williamsburg with a group of friends. They set up a basement studio in what Danny describes as an “artists’ collective” where musicians and artists were constantly cycling through.
It was there that Danny established himself as a serious producer; “After that experience I had two albums, and a few EP’s that I had worked on, and that kind of formed a really strong bedrock,” he explained. During this time Rose mixed and mastered the latest Hypnotic Brass Ensemble album. (The band is probably best known for its work as the horn section on the final Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach.)
“I met them through doing drum sessions and then they came back to me some months later; they said ‘Hey, we need a mix really quick,’ and it was nuts. I did that in a marathon of like three days. It was unrealistic; like twelve tracks in three days. It was a no sleep deal, but that experience really solidified things for me… I felt like, ‘I can do this.’ I had attracted an act with some pull — Hypnotic Brass Ensemble does world tours and stuff.”
In the fall of 2013, Danny moved to his current space in Bushwick, which is larger than the basement studio in Williamsburg, but because of constant noise from his downstairs neighbors, Danny is currently in the process of relocating Rose Studios into its first commercial space in Greenpoint. “As far as I’m concerned, this will be the first official version of Rose Studios,” he told us.
Reflecting on what it takes to run a home studio in New York, Rose commented that organization is the key; “I try to keep cables and everything in one drawer; that’s a really big thing: cables. You need to coil cables and all that. The biggest mess you leave in a studio are cables. I try to keep strict about keeping them out of the way and off the floor. I have a drawer that I keep them in. Microphones are the same thing; they all go into cases and then into a drawer, where they all fit perfectly. I keep reels on the bookshelf and label all of them.”
Even with all of the time he spends organizing, Danny’s space is tight. He told us, “Studios consume space. That’s just what they do. You’ll always end up with less raw space. I had to build this ceiling panel, which lowers my ceiling a few feet, and we had to build out Xander’s walls for sound insulation, so he’s lost about six inches from the back and sides. Now he’s squeezed in even more.”
Xander joked that he and Danny are only able to do what they do because they use their third roommate’s bedroom as a storage unit. The roommate spends most nights at his girlfriend’s penthouse in Soho, so they’ve resorted to tossing anything they don’t need into his bedroom. We tried to take a picture but couldn’t even get the door all the way open!
For all the home producers in New York City who don’t have the luxury of a bedroom storage space, MakeSpace can help! We’ll bring sturdy green, plastic bins to your apartment. You fill them up with anything you don’t need, and then we take them back to our storage facility until you want them again.
This summer you’ll be able to find more info about Rose Studios on Danny’s forthcoming website.