Sound Lab: Interview with CEO and Virtual Tour
The 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What originally made you think of the Sound Lab concept?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)
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.