What’s your history? When were you founded, who was involved, and why did you choose that specific location?
I (Patrick), got interested in recording almost 15 years ago. I have a degree in it, and did lots of recording, mostly of my bands and my friends bands. None of it was great, but I learned a ton. When I moved to Philly 5 years ago, I really didn't have much intention of getting back into making records, but I was doing a year of AmeriCorps and very broke and started learning how to fix and resell broken gear - mics and pedals mostly. My friend and I started looking for an apartment - he was a drummer and in a few bands- where we could live and play music without bothering anyone. Through a series of happy accidents we ended up in a loft above Boot & Saddle. I started recording his bands at practice and getting more of a studio set up in the space. After he bought a house and moved, one of my new housemates was starting a band with friends and I ended up being the bass player (Rasan in the Heyday). I met Hayden through that band and my housemate Dave. We started throwing shows at our house (Pleasure Mountain Ballroom RIP), I started fixing gear working on projects for the new people I was meeting through all that. Hayden got really good at setting up and repairing instruments and took an interest in recording, and we figured it made sense as we started to do more work to operate under the same name and make it a bit more formal. We began operating under the name Evergreen Audio, which is a name I'd used for years.
What was your mission in starting a studio?
I bought a house in early 2019 in West Philly, with the intention of building a dedicated studio space. I loved the massive rooms in the loft apartment, but I didn't want to invest more energy and resources into something I didn't own long term. We built the studio out from June to December or so last year. Matty (Klauser) told me the space feels comfortable like a basement but professional like a studio, and that's exactly what we were going for. Studio time is expensive, and the pressure of the clock running during sessions can really tough on a DIY band. I wanted this space to feel different. We don't have high overhead but we still have a solid mic & preamp collection and lots of experience both as musicians and making records. I think we recognize that making a record is collaborative, and we can help cover the areas that tend to be hardest for DIY artists. Everyone can do recording at home now, but most Philly bands can't realistically record a full drumkit in a rowhouse basement. We do a lot of drums, but we also have piles of amps, guitars, pedals and other odds and ends folks can use. Sometimes Hayden will go work with someone at their house and bring one of his 50 guitars that is just the right sound. It's about figuring out what we can do to support the creative vision of the artist.
Who is your ideal clientele? What artists are you best equipped to work with?
It really helps us when musicians know what they want and know their music. We have the ability to get great sounds from live instruments and have lots of really great gear in house, so we can help folks who may not have access to that. Hayden and I both have day jobs, so we can't work 24/7 on a project, but we both love to help artists get their creative ideas on tape and out in the world in a form they are proud of. We love working with people who are passionate and love music and people who are willing to experiment and be creative with the recording process. It's always so much fun to mess around til you find the perfect sound.
4. How do you find artists to work with?
It's all been word of mouth. Both of us are busy people in general, so we tend to focus on the artists we know and feel we can best support. We won't take on something if we know we can't give it the attention it deserves.
3 artists you’re proud to have worked with:
- I worked with Trash Boy on their first full length (The World is Trash). I didn't know them too well when we started, but they are now great friends and I'm so proud of how much they've grown as a band.
- The first band Hayden and I really collaborated on was Broke Body's first EP. We met them through our old band, and some how or another ended up recording half the record in Hayden's bedroom and half at my old place. We were literally finishing mixing the day I moved into my house. We started their new LP just before the COVID-19 outbreak, and all of us were so much more prepared. I'm very excited to get back to that.
- I worked with Secret Nudist Friends on their upcoming LP. They were the first recordings in the new studio. They came in so prepared, which made life really easy for me. We just jelled really well and banged out drums and bass in one weekend. That album is also very collaborative - Matty is doing a lot of the guitars and vocals at their studio.
What are your rates for a day? Or what kind of budget do you expect artists to have for an LP recording?
Our ball-park number is $125/day for a full day of studio recording. We are very much into sliding scales, trades, and other ways of making it work for everyone. If it's just a few hours of tracking or mixing, we generally say $25 an hour. Same goes for gear repair (plus parts). I fix tube amps and occasionally other audio gear, and Hayden repairs guitars and does setups. We'll do mastering occasionally, that just depends on how involved it is.