Pearl Studios to Silent Green


"The Hardy Heart" monthly blog - January 2018

In the beginning of 2010 I moved into a home with one of one of my best friends Ian Lonsdale. I had found the home on the local classified website KSL with no pictures, but a great price tag and the right location - close to the corner of 900 east and 1300 south in the Liberty Park area of Salt Lake City, Utah. The first time I went to check it out, I wondered if I had been given the wrong address because the home I was standing in front of I knew as Gonzo's Guitars shop. When the landlord opened the door and we started chatting, he explained to me that Gonzo had passed away a few months before. Gonzo was a super chill guy who lived and ran his business from this home. He had helped me out with my guitar needs on a number of occasions and although he didn’t know me on a first name basis, I felt an affinity to him as a music icon in the Salt Lake scene and was honored to be taking over the home after his passing.

Before Ian and I began our search for a place to rent, we had made a list of a few things we really wanted in a home: a gas stove, lots of natural lighting, ample parking and room for a music jam/recording space. Gonzo’s house had a classic Salt Lake City unfinished basement with part dirt/part concrete floors and just tall enough ceilings that two guys below 5’ 10” had a relatively easy time moving around - except for that one low hanging pipe that about once a month someone would forget about and smack their head into! It took Ian and I the better part of a month to deep clean the basement, lay down some huge rugs and carpets, paint the walls, clear the cobwebs between the beams and move a bunch of Gonzo’s old things out. Every now and then we would come across a box of guitar strings or some other random gear, show it to the landlord and split the booty.

Once the basement was ready, we strung up an exorbitant amount of christmas lights, placed a couple of couches, tables and chairs and then moved in our music gear - the most exciting of which was a brand new, two speaker, Yamaha PA system and mixing board. We dubbed the basement Pearl Studios Music Lounge and when the weekends rolled around began to host other music friends over for jam sessions that would run into the wee hours. The picture at the top of this blog is of my friend and old boss Quinn McDonough (owner of Coffee Noir) on drums, our friend and musical genius Skyler Arbon on guitar and mic, Ian leaning back strumming guitar and myself on the bass.

Pearl Studios was the space in which our music recording began to flourish. Ian had been working for Apple and had been recording for a couple of years using his macbook pro, the Apple program Logic Pro and a beautiful two channel audio interface “Duet” from Apogee. With the creation of Pearl Studios, I really wanted to take our recording abilities to the next level so I enrolled in a semester long class at the University of Utah on how to record music using Logic Pro from Dr. Michael Cottle (one of the coolest professors ever). Halfway during the semester I swiped my credit card on an eight channel audio interface from Presonus called "Firestudio Project". This new piece of equipment was one of those turning points for the recording process.

Our home went through some changes in 2011. Ian found a beautiful spot up in the Avenues to move into and my little brother Zach returned from his sophomore year of college in Hilo, Hawaii and moved into the home. Zach is an incredible musician and I began showing him everything I knew about recording. He picked it up so fast and we were able to start getting solid, demo recordings of our band at the time The Brumbies with our friends Joe Plummer (drums), John Avila (MC Afro) and Conor Papineau (guitar). I’ve got a link to these recordings on our old Reverb Nation page (www.reverbnation.com/thebrumbies). The only song not recorded at Pearl Studios was Surviving and Rising, which we paid Bruce Kirby of Boho Digitalia to record as a legit single.

Eventually my little brother Zach would create his own, much more professional version of Pearl Studios out of his home called Silent Green Records

(www.silentgreenrecords.com). Zach has invested countless hours into the art of recording music and last year he released the first EP from Silent Green, Beneath the Rocks. This EP includes four of his original songs and was released under Zach’s artist moniker Red Rock Rhythm. It is available on Spotify, ITunes and other major online music streaming services. This EP truly showcases the maturity of this evolution of jam spaces and recording set ups. Obviously I’m biased being his brother, but it is a beautiful work and we have had a lot of fun getting to play some of the songs live with our current band The Hardy Brothers (Live at the Depot). The music from Silent Green is just starting to get out. I have a five track EP The Fire that is still in production, but we are hoping to release later this year. Zach is in a band with our brother Skip and friends Adam Lenkowski and Andrew Cole called Herban Empire that will also be releasing a five track EP later this year.

Last Sunday, Zach and I spent the afternoon rearranging the home theater that my old roommate Jared Hewlett and I had built in the basement of my current home. From the work that Jared and I had completed there was already black cloth covering the unfinished walls, rugs over the concrete floor, and christmas lights giving off their beautiful, mellow glow. Zach and I pushed the couches to the edges of the room, gave everything a good vacuuming and dusting and then loaded in some extra band gear he had been storing. After we had finished running all the cables to the guitar amps, microphones and sound board there was one last piece to put into place, nailing up the old Pearl Studios Music Lounge sign to the wall. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have Pearl Studios back up and running. Here’s to the future jam sessions, hang outs and creative inspiration that will continue to flow.

Much Love,

James

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