Gremlintone Studio, created and operated by local musician and all around badass John Courage, is making big waves. Recording some of Santa Rosa’s favorite music, and creating a vibe that only Courage could produce.
The studio started as an experiment, recording a hard rock side project in 2014, with a 4 track mixer that Courage borrowed from Steve Shirrel, of Stanroy Music Center. The project was a blast, and that’s all it took; Courage was hooked on analog. In his opinion, the industry’s eagerness to dive into digital recording has bypassed a lot of great sounding affordable equipment. Chances are, many of your favorite albums were recorded analog. Older gear may not be lightweight and compact, but it still delivers.
With the 4 track, (eventually purchased from Shirrel) Gremlintone recorded The Crux, Oddjob Ensemble, Sharkmouth, Yerba Buena Brothers, Frankie Boots, Freddy Parish and others. The cost of recording an album in a traditional studio varies, but averages around $4-$6,000. But, in his home studio, Courage has created a comfortable, collaborative, affordable recording experience for his friends to, as he put it, “hit the gym” without breaking the bank.
The days of the 4 track have passed, and the studio was recently upgraded to a Tascam 388 eight track recorder at the beginning of their newest project, “The Out There Tapes: A Compilation by Gremlintone” set to release in June.
This project, in partnership with The City of Santa Rosa and Josh Windmiller of The Crux; is a compilation of 13 tracks, from 13 bands, all from Sonoma County, recorded and mixed by John Courage. The tapes were recorded on the Tascam 388 as well as a Tascam 38 1/2″ eight track. Courage says, “Most of the bands were tracked completely live to achieve the essence of their performance. The project was mixed in analog before being transferred to digital for mastering”. Culture Pop Films , our local media guru, came to capture some of the sessions live, making music videos to be released alongside the compilation.
An unprecedented insight into our excellent, eclectic local music scene, “The Out There Tapes” will document a splay of Santa Rosa’s finest musicians, a kind of a time capsule, for music lovers.
In the mean time, support local music and keep rock ‘n’ roll alive!