Sound Lab: Interview with CEO and Virtual Tour


NYC_Sound_Lab_Sound_BoardThe new NYC Sound Lab, a subscription membership-based Soundnasium with digital workstations, recording studio, and Beat School, launched in May. Imagine a production center with amazing software and gear you can use any time, and a Beat School that teaches you the ropes… Welcome to the next creation revolution — a synthesis of professional audio production and home recording.

I recently had the chance to interview CEO Sean Anderson (aka DJ Johnny Qwest), as well as snap a few pics of the pad in May. Both interview and pics follow — first things first:

DJ JOHNNY QWEST LAYS DOWN A FEW BEATS

What originally made you think of the Sound Lab concept?
SEAN: It basically evolved from me and my friends always wishing all of our gear was in one spot. I thought it would be really cool if there was a place to make music without having to try and buy all the gear on your wish list. It kinda sucks that so many companies are putting out really good stuff, hardware and software. It leads to some tuff decisions ..Lol. The problem is, most stores only let you try something out for a limited amount of time using their sounds. It’s hard to tell if the gear will be good for you when you get home. To be honest, I want Sound Lab to be the testing grounds for new equipment. (Hint,hint to all you manufactures out there).

The school aspect came about ‘cause I was pissed when I attended a NYC “audio” school. After a few weeks, I realized that I was not going to learn what I thought. I didn’t want to be an engineer — I wanted to hone my production skills! After talking to some people, I saw the void. The big audio schools teach you the whys, our school teaches the hows. If you want to know how to chop up a sample in pro tools, that’s us. If you want to know in the ins and outs of every type of microphone, that’s them.

How do you think your experiences as a DJ and producer have helped you to make the NYC Sound Lab concept a reality?
SEAN: Being in music for so long has taught me some valuable lessons. The biggest reason it helps, pertaining to Sound Lab, is I look at things as an artist first, then as a businessman! I feel that since I have been a consumer for many years, I have a pretty good idea of what’s good and not so good.

How has the music production industry reacted to NYC Sound Lab so far?
SEAN: Really well! I am amazed at how many people like you have shown an interest. The biggest shocker was Mix Magazine (thanks Michelle) & Remix Magazine. The best is all the freelance guys that show me love via their site or blog. When my peers show da love, that’s what really matters to me.

How would you describe the typical NYC Sound Lab customer?
SEAN: A music crazy gear slut that doesn’t have a big ass bank account that wants to be in a creative environment. Haha!

What equipment at the NYC Sound Lab do you think producers will drool over most?
SEAN: That’s a tuff one! I guess it depends on if you are old school or new school. Old schoolers—the MPC or MV-8000. The mouse-clickin new schoolers—Reason 3.0…or… damn this is a hard question. I’ll say everything! It’s the room, the vibe, the gear, the staff, and yes, that is my final answer.

Do you have any creative projects you’re currently working on?
SEAN: Songs for Mr. Jessica Simpson, aka Nick Lachey, R&B group Soul 4 Real, a sick MC “Cortes”—look out for this dude! Plus a few other things.

What are NYC Sound Lab’s next steps? Any plans to franchise or expand?
SEAN: The next big thing is a Sound Lab version of “itunes”, and an artist development company called “NYC Artist Lab.” Down the road—a label! There are so many talented people coming in here, all the A&R stuff is already done! It’s a no-brainer. I would love to open a “Lab” in other cities. Have an IPO, and one day ring the bell at the stock exchange.

Any other thoughts about the industry you’re spinning in? Any other wisdom for aspiring DJs and music producers?
SEAN: Well, I am on a hiatus from spinning ‘cause this is taking up all of my time. As far as wisdom for the new guys…For DJs, don’t get pimped by promoters! Using software to mix DOES NOT MAKE YOU A DJ! Learn to read a crowd and just have fun. For producers, “midrange is money”; “it’s all about the hook!” For anyone in music, learn the history and praise the pioneers!

Sean, thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions, and best of luck with the Lab!

A MINI-VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE NYC SOUND LAB
(Click on a thumbnail to see the entire series in Flickr)

NYC_Sound_Lab_Building2Found it, 29 West 17th St, NY, NY…

NYC_Sound_Lab_AdA Pre-Launch Ad…

NYC_Sound_Lab_CouchA place to chill…

NYC_Sound_Lab_WorkstationsA place to create…

NYC_Sound_Lab_Workstation_ArtWorkstation and inspiration…

NYC_Sound_Lab_Turntable2A place to spin… (DJ Johnny Qwest’s actual turntables!)

NYC_Sound_Lab_Sound_BoardThe Sound Lab’s money studio…

NYC_Sound_Lab_TeamThe NYC Sound Lab Team. (Click to see who’s who…)

PRICE INFO
As a member, you get access to the numerous workstations. Beat School courses and Studio time cost extra. The bling breakdown:
Soundnasium Membership: One time registration fee = $25, Monthly Fee = $75 ($65 for students)
Beat School: 5 Courses = $85 each, or $365 for all
Studio Time: $65 per Hour

An incredible deal, for the firepower at your fingertips.

Posted to Interviews by Mike on
June 20, 2005
      Musicians: Distribute Your Music to Millions      

Comments

Mike, this interview is great – you should definitely post more stuff like this!!! It seems to me that Sean has started something great here that will fuel a new generation of creative talent. I’m also wondering if this same subscription model will apply to other types of creative studios. Perhaps a photo studio or a fine art studio could do something similar.

Sound Lab

Mike Bouteneff from the awesome blog Garage Spin has posted an excellent virtual tour of Soundlab. Sound Lab, which launched in May, is the first membership-based Soundnasium, where DJ/Producer wannabes pay a monthly fee to get access to incredible produ

This site ROCKS!

Awesome interview! Sean sounds cool! And working with Mr. Jessica Simpson…ask him what’s up with his show!
~Jenny

Thanks, everyone, for you comments!

Brent, I completely agree. I would think this business model is applicable anywhere. You’re basically providing a service by distributing the cost of expensive, professional gear, over a number of subscribed, users. I can see this being used in any medium — photography, film, music, etc.

Eric, …thanks!! ;)

Jenny, great point, I’m not sure why I didn’t ask more questions about Mr. Lachey’s project. Our loss. Heh.

Hey cool article, I was hoping to see a virtual tour of the Sound Lab, you know with 360 panoramas so you can look around. If you have any photos of the place, I use some gear to join them together 360 panorama professional, would be happy to help out!

Great stuff!

“The school aspect came about ‘cause I was pissed when I attended a NYC “audio” school. After a few weeks, I realized that I was not going to learn what I thought”

Unfortunately that is about typical. It’s not the same Hands-0n type of learning that you would expect…expecially when considering the cost.

I also thought it was going to be a panoramic VT but that’s cool it’s not. Most of those VT software’s give the picture such a flat look…I think they should just use regular video with VT’s…with broadband and compression capabilities it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Sweet post :)

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