Creating his own studio was never on Justin Meyer’s agenda, but that didn’t stop the creation of his New York Drum Studio. We swung by for a chat…
Interviewee: Justin Meyer
Position at studio: Owner and Engineer
Contact email: NewYorkDrumStudio@gmail.com
1. Tell us a little about the studio, where you are, how long you have been there?
The New York Drum Studio is a full service recording studio located in Kingston, NY, which is about two hours north of New York City. This is my third year of operation. NYDS started while I was making a record with my band Graffiti Souls.
We were in another recording studio and I was having a hard time explaining an edit I wanted to make to one of our songs. After that I came to the conclusion that I should finally learn how to use a DAW because of the creative freedom it would give us as songwriters.
Next thing I knew I was tracking MIDI to our album at my house and soon after I was building my first recording studio.
2. Send us a kit list of the main components in your studio?
Here are the main pieces of gear that I use on almost every recording that comes out of NYDS:
- 1983 Soundcraft 400b Taxi Briell’s “CBGB” Console
- Great River ME-1NV
- Antelope Orion Studio Interface
- Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitors with HS8 Sub
3. Which DAW do you use and why?
I use Pro Tools 12 because for as long as I could remember every studio I’ve ever recorded in used Pro Tools.
4. What is your favourite piece of gear and why?
My favourite piece of gear is my Antelope Orion Studio. To have 12 great sounding mic preamps along with the ability to switch between two sets of monitors as well as all of its additional connectivity is just outstanding. It allows me to keep my set up simple yet effective. You don’t need to have an extensive amount of gear to produce extremely competitive recordings.
5. How often would you say do you spend in your studio per week?
Thankfully since last July it has been nonstop. I’ve had multiple releases come out this year already.
Here are some samples:
6. How do you use your studio?
I use my studio for a variety of purposes. The first is recording other artists and bands. Sometimes I will only have to record vocals and mix the accompanying programmed music. Other times it’s a full band that needs everything recorded.
The second use is to allow me to track drums to other people’s songs without having to go to another studio. A lot of times I will receive a song from someone in a different state and the artist will just need me to play drums on it. This allows me to work with people that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to because of distance.
7. What is next on your shopping list studio wise and why?
Currently, I am looking to expand my vocal preamp options. The Great River is a great 1073-style mic pre but I’d also like to have an Avalon 737, Manley Voxbox, UA 6176 and of course an actual Neve 1073.
8. Anything annoy you about your set-up and why?
As much as I love the simplicity of my set up I know sometimes when musicians go to a studio that doesn’t have a tremendous amount of gear they might question whether or not the studio can delivery quality results. I was always told its better to have a few higher quality pieces of gear than having racks full of lower quality outboard.
9. What is your dream piece of gear and why?
Even though I mix mostly ITB now I’d love to have an SSL 4000 G Plus console. So many of my favorite mixers use an SSL console. Recently, I mixed a song on my board and I noticed how fast the balance came together working with faders and being able to EQ multiple tracks at once. Until that day I will be content mixing on my laptop!
10. What is your top piece of production advice?
My best advice is to make every song into an experience. Every song I work on (especially if I’m mixing) I try to give the listener something they can get lost in. I love huge productions. That’s probably why I have a copy of Queen “A Night at the Opera” hanging up in my studio.
Basically, don’t be afraid to try out an idea regardless of what it is. I’m always trying out new ideas and often times the first mix I send out to a client will be too over the top for them but if you don’t try you never know.
Most of the time I just have to dial back some of the things I added but usually a lot gets to stay. Paying attention to detail and adding elements that help enhance the track lets your clients know that you are taking what you do seriously.
11. What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
My best advice is to be patient when buying gear or building your studio. I never buy a piece of gear for more than what I can sell it for. That usually means I have to wait a little longer but every piece of gear I own I bought for a price I know I could get my money back out of it if I wanted to. That’s extremely helpful when you want to upgrade your studio and may want to sell a piece of gear you don’t use anymore.
Shop around on eBay, Reverb, Sweetwater demos/returns, etc. to get the best prices you can. Also, don’t forget that Black Friday is for more than just buying a new TV. I saved a ton of money by waiting to buy building materials around Black Friday.
Contractors will also cut you deals on construction if you can wait until the winter months because it is their slow season. Building a studio can be stressful but saving money wherever you can helps!