Aircraft? The Tins? These names ring a bell? These two bands have been at the forefront of the Buffalo music scene for years. Now their two front men have come together to take on a new project, Mammoth Recording Studio.
The studio sits humbly at 1689 Main Street, and from the outside one might question entry. But on the third floor lies an elegant and cozy recording studio. The kind of place where anyone looking to lay down some tracks would feel right at home. The studio offers all the amenities one could ask for, professional soundboard, high quality mics, sound booth, in-house instruments, the works. But the key elements that sets this place apart are the knowledge and intricate, yet comfortable workings of Justin John Smith and Mike Santillo.
For a lot of artists it is difficult and sometimes embarrassing to try to express their musical ambitions to others, especially in the case of recording. It is different than just practicing at home, or even performing on stage. The process can be grueling, and trying to transfer ideas of what you want and how to make it work can be frustrating.
However, this seems to be Justin and Mike’s forte.
When I stepped into the studio two months ago to record a few songs the first thing they did was offer me a cup of coffee. Then I sat on the couch in the control room as Justin brought out a notebook and we started throwing around ideas. Not just about songs, but about how the album should feel, what was the course of the style, what would be the best way to attack the process in a way that would both highlight strengths and make good use of time spent. I explained that I am not a fantastic musician, so I would be bringing in friends to do all of the leads… would that be a problem? Justin smiled and said, “Bring ’em all.”
This comfortable “go with the flow” environment carried on throughout the entire process. The two were steady and focused the whole time while offering suggestions, and equally important, productive criticisms. Their resources seemed endless. When I needed percussion, they brought a fantastic drummer in, at a more than fair price. When I suggested putting a banjo on the track, they were quick to list a handful of friends that could come by. Not only is it useful to have their vast list of personal acquaintances within your reach, the building itself is home to multiple local bands’ practicing studios. So at any point there were musicians around willing to come have a listen and give input. The building was a resource in itself, as well as a source of inspiration.
At the end of the day, what any musician is looking for is a quality product. These guys were able to deliver that, along with a fun and comfortable experience at the heart of the Buffalo music scene. And it’s something that cannot be produced on an iPhone.
Whatever your talents might be, if you’re looking to lay them down in a fun and professional way, “bring everything you got” down to Main Street, and let the recording pros at Mammoth give you the treatment.
In case you were wondering, here’s a sample from my/our recording session:
For more info: Mammoth Recording Studio
Lead image: (L-R) Mike Santillo and Justin John Smith