Music Studios Specialize in Recording Dreams
Music industry veteran Brad Davis produces the big-town sounds and sophistication of a Nashville or L.A. record label in his Commerce studio. With his new company, Beat Boss Studio, Tyler-based Orlando Williams gives artists personal attention and guidance as they record their music. A musician himself, Travis Maxey is developing his recording business in Tyler and says he focuses most on the rhythm section and an artist’s raw talent.
For musicians and songwriters, the idea of recording soundtracks or albums to share their music is a quintessential goal — but it often seems a financial burden or logistical nightmare. Fortunately, newer technologies are opening up fresh horizons for artists, and the Upper East Side of Texas has several studios devoted to helping them pursue their dreams and create the digital tools they need to market their talents.
Travis Maxey, owner of Tyler’s Travis Maxey Music, says aspiring recording artists can record a song for as little as $100, assuming they own a computer, a microphone and a guitar.
“Get an interface, USB it to your computer,” he says. “It will come with a light version of a digital audio work station, and you can just start from there.”
But for non do-it-yourselfers with a little extra money and a vision of making something amazing, Maxey and other local studio owners are available to guide musicians through the recording process. They favor different methods and have different tastes, styles and levels of experience. Here’s a quick look at the possibilities.
Brad Davis Recording Studio
A major surprise found in the small college town of Commerce, the Brad Davis Recording Studio has the branded approval of Sony Red Distribution and is modeled after The Cave — the Beverly Hills studio built by Slash, lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. After that facility was purchased by actor Billy Bob Thornton, Davis worked as a music engineer there for seven years. Today, he’s a spring semester professor at Texas A&M Commerce for Audio Production RTV-360, and he also administers an internship program with A&M for students interested in pursuing audio production as a career.
Davis says he fell in love with The Cave’s design years ago, so he built his replication of it in Commerce in 2009.
Creating a master audio production is time-consuming, Davis says, but it’s necessary for radio industry broadcast results. And for industry label projects, Davis has to comply with music industry union rates, which get costly because every item — studio, engineer, musicians, gear rental and producer — requires separate expenses.
For local indie artist projects, however, he charges a flat hourly rate of $65 an hour. That fee buys the use of the studio along with an engineer, drums, piano, keys, vintage amps and mics, plus Davis’ skills arranging, producing, playing instruments or singing session vocals.
“We track full band sessions, overdub sessions, (do) voiceovers, film scores, radio and television jingles, edit, mix and master — seven days a week,” he explains.
According to Davis, a fully mastered 10- to 12-song album will run around $6,500 to $8,000 — as compared to Nashville rates that might range from $15,000 to $150,000 per album.
For more information contact Brad Davis Recording Studio at 903.886.6027 and visit braddavisrecordingstudio.com.
Beat Boss Studio
Situated in Tyler, Orlando Williams owns and operates Beat Boss Studio out of his home. With about seven years of recording experience, he’s relatively new to the recording scene but brings an obvious passion to his work. He’s studying audio engineering at Full Sail University and says he used to call his business No Greater Love and focused mostly on Christian-based music, but he’s expanded to other genres now.
“I started out with a cell phone and a computer,” he says, noting that his recording process is a personal one.
“I bring the person in, ask them what their vision is, what they expect out of me, (and share) what I expect out of them,” he explains. “They usually bring in their own music and then they’ll just record their vocals.”
After the artist leaves, Williams says he gets busy on the project, taking three to five days to mix and master the work.
Williams charges a modest fee of $35 per hour, and estimates that, on average, recording one song runs about $145.
Contact Williams at 903.316.8709.
Travis Maxey Music
A newer addition to Tyler’s music scene, Travis Maxey has an old-school recording style reminiscent of Nirvana/Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl.
“Creating music is an opportunity for me to express myself and who God created me to be,” Maxey says.
When presented with a recording project, he says the rhythm section is a priority. “The first and most important thing I am going to want to record is the guitar, drums, and bass,” he says.
Recently earning his bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University with a double minor in music and music business, Maxey is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed with a variety of bands since 2008. His own band, the Travis Maxey Trio, is temporarily on hiatus while he develops his recording business, and Maxey says his recording rates average around $80 an hour, although he often develops a “package price” for clients based on the size and scale of their project needs.
Operating on the belief that if you spend a lot of time in post-production trying to fix a song, you didn’t record it right, Maxey says he relies less on the computer and more on the raw talent of the artist.
For more information, contact Maxey at 409.429.4802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.