Bro2 Studios

Posted: July 19, 2013 in Storytime
Tags: , , , , , ,

In the early 2000s, my brother (the venerable Suspicious Chihuahua) and I started tossing around the idea of opening a recording studio. I had been amassing a nice pile of recording equipment to keep Epiphora going and improving, and Kevin, who had been working at various radio stations in Washington and Oregon, had come into some nice vintage equipment every time the stations needed to clean house. Besides the obvious obstacles that stand in the way of anyone starting a business, usually centered around capital, we had a bigger issue – we were 3000 miles apart.

We spent the better part of two years hatching our plan entirely over IM. Kevin was happily planted in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, so if we were to make it happen, I needed to move west. I knew that the only way that would happen is if three things lined up: I was willing to leave my job, I was willing to leave my band, and my lease was up. Fortunately, those things did in fact align in August of 2004. Kevin flew east, we packed the truck, and off we went.

The rest of 2004 was spent working on the business plan. We needed a name, a place, more gear, and especially … clients. It would all fall into place over the next 16 months, but brainstorming the business plan was a really fun part of the process. We projected where we wanted to be at the beginning of 2005, 2006, and 2007. It was interesting to think that far ahead.

Once we had the name, we got to toy around with logos. Once we had the logo, we got to toy around with business card designs. All that stuff is awesome. It leads to advertising, which we did a fair share of – we had the benefit of Kevin working in the industry. I was new to the area, so I just worked behind the scenes. I think the name came quickly – Bro2 Studios (though in hindsight, 2 Bros Studios might have been catchier … maybe I’m just hungry for a 5 Guys cheeseburger). Our original logo looked like Bro Squared – the 2 was floating above and to the right of the “o” in Bro. We eventually lowered and enlarged it to be what you see at the bottom of this post.

For a location, we considered the costs of renting a facility versus building one of our own. Ideally, the latter scenario would best be played out if one of us owned a house, but since that wasn’t going to happen too soon, we opted to find a rental. After seeing a pricey place in Corvallis, which was simply office space in a building containing other businesses, we found a tiny stand-alone business space in Albany. It was 400 square feet total, but it was split up into four rooms, plus a bathroom and a kitchen area, so it was nearly ideal for us. You can see pictures by taking the “studio tour” on the website. The rent was cheap enough, and after some paint and sound-prepping, we were officially open for business on April 1, 2005. And you better believe we used that bathroom for unique recording opportunities.

Conveniently, Albany country station KRKT was hosting the local chapter of the Colgate Country Showdown, and they accepted karaoke recordings as submissions. We had a full blown karaoke setup, and we recorded maybe a couple dozen people who submitted their materials. Some went fairly far in the competition, and our list of clients began to grow. Word of mouth turned out to be our friend, and we ended up with 75+ clients in the two years we were open, including repeat business. Among the repeat business was a jazz improv band called The Tasty Trio – they recorded two full albums with us.

By the time we closed our doors, we had recorded rock, metal, country, blues, jazz, rap, worship, opera, karaoke, electronic, and psycho-billy. We had recorded one-man bands and 7-piece acts. We saw little girls sing karaoke under pressure from their parents, and we saw others’ music careers launch before our eyes. We even benefited from studio ownership by recording our own band’s album – the wonderful Quo Vadimus from 49 Fingers. Oh yeah, and it was a nifty place for us to rehearse 😉

This is pretty much what the website looked like at the peak of our business, in early 2007, before the recession started creeping in. You can see the variety of services we offered, and the business gave me an opportunity to sharpen my website design skills – it looks OK for 2007. Some of the links are broken now, of course, but many of them are intact. It’s interesting to see which client links still work and to see kids who were 10 when we recorded them still singing at age 18. Check out the Audio demos to hear some of the stuff we recorded.

We shut down in mid-2007 because the recession started and clients stopped calling, but for 2 1/2 years, we had a good thing going, and we’re never going to forget what we did.



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