For decades, Detroit has been an epicenter for musical creation. Starting with Motown and continuing through the ages of rock, the evolution of hip-hop and the birth of electronic music, Detroit is as significant musically as any city in the world and it all starts with music studios.
In an era when Billie Eilish can record a Grammy-winning album from her bedroom, many are quick to assume that the music studio is an antiquated entity. It is true that – thanks to modern technology – artists have unprecedented access to the tools necessary to create music wherever, whenever.
But perhaps it is this phenomenon that makes the studio an even more sacred space; a respite from the chaos all around us. A temple to focus on the craft and hone art in its truest form. For lifelong audio engineers to do what they do best. Despite the recent shift away from the studio setting, these Detroit establishments are out to prove that music studios remain at the forefront of sonic quality and innovation.
In Royal Oak, Rustbelt Studios is cranking out some of Detroit’s freshest sounds. From up-and-coming rock bands like Mac Saturn to rising pop/soul vocalist Madelyn Grant, local acts are turning to Rustbelt for their production needs. Behind the board, Al Sutton continues to foster the city’s new talent. Known for his four multi-platinum albums with Kid Rock, Sutton has also worked among the likes of Hank Williams Jr., Lynard Skynard, Billy Gibbons and Paolo Nutini. He has received several nominations and awards for “Best Producer” by the Detroit Music Awards Foundation.
Their website boasts, “No one has made more records in Detroit since Motown. And they might be right. Over the years, this Ferndale sonic temple has produced countless major label and indie records. Tempermill Studios combines digital technology with high-fidelity analog sound equipment to create a product that is air-tight by modern production standards, yet maintains that old-school Detroit feel. Musicians love the live-end/dead-end recording space and enjoy the amenities included in the mixing room. NHL ‘94, anyone?
If you’re looking to not only record your album but learn how to excel in a studio setting, Soundscape is for you. Soundscape offers high-end production at reasonable rates, including a full-band, six-song EP special. Founded by Tim Smith in 2008, the studio provides in-depth courses in Creative Studio Recording, Advanced Master Mixing, and Complete Studio Engineering. Each program includes state-verified certifications allowing recipients to pursue their own careers in studio work. Soundscape is an ideal option for musicians who are eager to bring their production skills to the next level.
While Assemble Sound functions differently than other commercial studios, their residency program has made a serious impact on the local music scene. Each year, Assemble Sound accepts 20 artists into their program, providing full access to their studio space along with mentorship and sync-licensing/distribution opportunities every step of the way. Currently, they represent Jax Anderson (formerly known as Flint Eastwood), Nydge, Sienna Liggins and whiterosemoxie. Assemble Sound continues to redefine the role studios play in the development of artists’ careers in the industry and exemplify the importance of community in creation.