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Robby Takac and a Tour Through Buffalo’s Premier Recording Studio

Walk to the corner of North and Franklin, and you’ll see a lot of things; a playground, a church, sub shop, apartment building, etc.  What you won’t be seeing is GCR Audio.  It’s inconspicuously protected by iron bars and a tinted window with a doorbell.  Get inside, and you’ll understand why.  These measures protect the invaluable recording equipment and recording space carefully designed by the Goo Goo Dolls and built with a meticulous hand in the search for perfect acoustics.

The result is a breathtaking studio.

Sometimes we try to be tactful in our behavior.  I think it’s called “playing it cool”.  For example, I didn’t want to act like an excited child today, but the place is just…so cool.  

GCRstudiolounge.jpg

(Visitors are greeted by a lounge, complete with large leather couch and flat-screen TV, touches that add to the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere at GCR.)

I was shown around by Justin Rose, one of the head sound engineers at GCR, he also keeps the place clean and books talent for the studio.  “I have to make sure everyone is happy,” he joked.  And he definitely knew his stuff.

After a quick tour of the fully-stocked kitchen and storage closets, we went upstairs to the central piece of GCR Audio: the “Big Room,” which is where the majority of music recording takes place.  The strange wood ceiling and wall-paneling gave the room a definite “Winchester Mystery House” feeling, but instead of being built by a crazy person for no reason, the unique design has a purpose.  Justin explains:

Justin at GCR Discusses Isomorphic Panels from Dan Fisher on Vimeo.

He also told me that there are no parallel walls in the big room, allowing for the best possible acoustics; essential for recording music with the highest possible quality.  The picture below is what you see from ground level. 

GCRStudioDrums.jpg

While a great deal of recording occurs in the “Big Room,” there are additional sites for recording music.  Located directly off of the main studio is a small guitar amp isolation room.  Step inside, and you’ll feel the perfectly designed silence.  It’s almost like being in a cave.  (Be sure to look at the ceilings and walls inside!)

Going From An Isolation Room To The Big Room from Dan Fisher on Vimeo.

And like many well-oiled machines, none of this high-quality recording could take place without the proper equipment.  Perhaps you’ve seen the inside of recording studios’ technical rooms on TV or in movies.  They’re not the type of place you’d want to spill a cup of coffee.  And as I’d learned through the rest of my tour at GCR, no corners were cut, no expenses spared.  The recording equipment is a wall of seemingly infinite choices, complete with guitars and amps provided for customer use.  And not the cheap kind either.  There’s not too much dialogue in this video, but I just thought seeing the inside of the recording room and wide array of technical equipment was really cool. 

The Electronics Room from Dan Fisher on Vimeo.

Did you hear that?  $400 for 10 hours of recording time.  That’s an incredible price to pay for top-quality recording.  Go to a music mecca, and that kind of time will run you $1500-2000 or more.  The great price and high quality have put GCR in demand.  They’re booked solid until July, at which point, I’m sure they’ll be booked solid for a few more months.

I also got to talk to Jay Zubricky, a business adminstration major whose passion for music led him to pursue his interest in music engineering.  Jay’s a freelance engineer, and despite not being a GCR employee, feels completely welcome there.  He was in-studio helping record an EP for Buffalo’s Brand New Genius, an original band with a sort of hiphop/pop rock infusion sound. 

“The staff is great; everyone is really helpful,” he told me.  “It honestly seems like you’re in LA or New York or Nashville.  It’s an amazing place.” 

After seeing the Big Room and tech room, Justin took me downstairs, where he put me on the phone with Robby Takac, Goo Goo Doll vocalist and bassist, and Music is Art founder.  Despite all of his projects, he wanted to take the time to discuss the studio he helped build, and how it will be used for the future.

“We were fortunate enough to come with Goo Goo Dolls and make a record there.  It was nice to come back and really deck the place out.  Of course, it’s a place where I learned how to record music – I started there.  It was nice to be able to leave behind something pretty awesome for the local music community to use,” he told me.  “I think as much as it’s a recording studio, it’s important to have a beehive of activity in town at the same time.  The old Chameleon West was a beehive of activity, and it’s time to get that beehive a-buzzin’ again.  We’re really excited to be a part of that.  We have some ideas for mixers we’re gonna start doing with the music and entertainment community.  We’re gonna bring people together and make something happen.”

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