North Texas Daily

Area recording studios bring bands to the top

Area recording studios bring bands to the top

September 03
23:04 2009

By Graciela Razo / Senior Staff Writer –

With Denton being a town full of musicians and bands of every genre and experience level, two area recording studios are lending their services to local bands wanting to take the next step in their careers.

From recording to promotion, the Panhandle House and Gutterth Productions are doing what it takes to get Denton’s finest the support they need.

The Panhandle House, which opened in 1997, was born out of an overgrown bedroom studio. Erik Herbst, who started producing as a hobby in his house, founded Panhandle House at 313 N. Locust St. (Photo by Kristen Bradley / Photographer)

The Panhandle House, which opened in 1997, was born out of an overgrown bedroom studio. Erik Herbst, who started producing as a hobby in his house, founded Panhandle House at 313 N. Locust St. (Photo by Kristen Bradley / Photographer)

Gutterth Productions: Adding promotion to the mix

Erik Herbst, music engineer of The Panhandle House, shows how to use the music board in his studio. He has spent 13 years working and building his studio. (Photo by Kristen Bradley / Photographer)

Erik Herbst, music engineer of The Panhandle House, shows how to use the music board in his studio. He has spent 13 years working and building his studio. (Photo by Kristen Bradley / Photographer)

Business partners Brent Frishman and Michael Briggs began Gutterth Productions in January 2006 when the two wanted to put on a show of their favorite local bands.

They started naming their music showcases “Gutterth Presents,” numbering each show in episodes as they went on.

“We are just big fans of music. There are a lot of local bands we like a lot,” Briggs said. “At the time, there were not very many shows they played together though.”

Then came the idea to have a recording studio space where these musicians could put together their own albums while Gutterth was promoting them for shows.

Even if the band decides to record elsewhere, Briggs and Frishman organize CD release shows, submit albums for review and give the bands online promotion.

Briggs said Gutterth will support a band of any genre as long as the music they are playing is worth listening to.

“The genres we promote vary, but we do a lot of stuff that is folkish,” Briggs said. “Then again, we do have some pretty loud rock metal and experimental shows.”

Local band Sleep Whale member Bruce Blay said his band played in Gutterth’s eighth episode in 2007.

Although the band works with several promoters in Denton, Blay said it works with Gutterth the most.

“They put on these really good showcases, and they treat the bands really cool,” Blay said.

Sleep Whale doesn’t record at Gutterth’s studios but goes there for booking shows and “moral support.”

The band will also be featured in one of the production company’s podcasts next month to promote the November release of its latest album.

“They just love what they do, and they share that with people, and that is amazing,” Blay said.

Gutterth is now in the process of including artist promotion through including art shows with their showcases.

The studio has done 38 episodes since 2006 and will be doing another for Free Week tonight at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios with Sleep Whale, Dust Congress, New Science Projects, Geistheistler and Emil Rapstine. Rubber Gloves is at 411 E. Sycamore St.

Panhandle House: Using old equipment to make a new sound

The Panhandle House recording studio is run by music engineer and owner Erik Herbst. He has recorded artists such as country group the Eli Young Band, Midlake and Snarky Puppy. (Photo by Kristen Bradley / Photographer)

The Panhandle House recording studio is run by music engineer and owner Erik Herbst. He has recorded artists such as country group the Eli Young Band, Midlake and Snarky Puppy. (Photo by Kristen Bradley / Photographer)

The Panhandle House has gone from recording bands in a bedroom studio in a house on Panhandle Street to having musicians like Norah Jones in its studios.

Panhandle House music producer and main engineer Erik Herbst had recorded music in an “overgrown” bedroom studio for about three years before he decided to upgrade to a larger facility in 1997.

He opened the larger studio located at 313 N. Locust St., where his brother, Marc, partnered with him in 2001.

But the brothers wanted to keep the recordings intimate, so they refer to the business as a “boutique studio.”

“The idea was to sort of take a really well-equipped studio room and build that here, but to have one that was really dedicated to personal service,” Herbst said. “We wanted a studio where you work on one project and one musician at a time.”

Herbst said about one-third of Panhandle’s clients are from the Denton area, while the rest come from Austin and Fort Worth.

Panhandle records many regional country productions and jazz musicians of the area.

“I like bands that play well live, have an energetic live show, sound good and kind of more traditional-type bands,” Herbst said.

One aspect of the Panhandle House that Herbst said he prides himself in is the use of analog equipment instead of digital.

“We live in an age where we are told digital is better, faster and more convenient,” Herbst said. “Analog just has a fantastically warm, rich, big sound that you just can’t really replicate any other way.”

The recording console Panhandle House uses is a vintage Neve 8058 built in 1976, which does not contain a single computer chip.

Herbst said he believes the old equipment has been a big factor in the recording studio’s success.

“Musicians come here to record because they have access to stuff that’s rare. I’m just kind of a fanatic about analog sound,” Herbst said.

Panhandle’s equipment was one of the reasons the Kyle Bennett Band recorded at the studio. Frontman Kyle Bennett said it made the sound quality better.

“All of their equipment is top-notch. They don’t use anything that is cheap,” Bennett said.

The Kyle Bennett Band recorded its first album at Panhandle in June 2005 and has recorded its second album there as well, both which Herbst produced.

Erik “is very particular about his sounds,” Bennett said. “He doesn’t accept anything but the best.”

Phases of Recording

  1. Pre-Production: A time when the producer meets the musician to discuss the project ahead. They go over material and decide if there are any changes that need to be made in terms of song flow, key and arrangement. They will also discuss what they want the end product to sound like.
  2. Recording: Physically setting up microphones and getting instruments together to create a certain sound. The musicians play their music in the recording studio.
  3. Mixing: Blending tracks together, manipulating sound and adding any effects if needed.

Depending on project, these phases could last a few days or a few months.

Source: Erik Herbst of Panhandle House

Free music tonight:

Rubber Gloves Free Week
Featuring Sleep Whale, Dust Congress, Geistheisther, NSP and Emil Rapstine.

8 p.m. – All ages

411 E. Sycamore St.
Denton

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1 Comment

  1. Mark Miles
    Mark Miles October 10, 02:01

    Local Recording studios play a a major role in bringing a band to the top. With the right tools and post production services the music turns out to be really great! I found this article to be really interesting and informative. Give my website a visit if your are looking for video production, post production or recording studio services. Log on to: http://www.day6entertainment.com/

    Reply to this comment

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