|Chocolate-covered almonds, fresh fruit, bottled water, |
and hot coffee and tea waiting for an incoming client at
That's one of my standard jokes to studio clients when they comment on how my staff and I go out of our way to provide them with beverages, snacks, and other services. And although I don't really want to be an innkeeper (who wants to do that much extra laundry?!), I have always felt that hospitality is one of the things that sets an okay recording studio apart from a great one.
A studio should be more than just a set of rooms and equipment where recording takes place. It also needs to be a comfortable creative retreat where the outside world melts away and the client's needs are met without a second thought. Like a great hotel, a well-run studio provides guests with exactly what they need when they need it--and sometimes before they even know they need it!
Here's a great example:
As a producer, I've been fortunate to establish a working relationship with one of the greatest recording studios in the country, if not the world: Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California. I could spend the rest of this entry listing the superstar household names who have recorded there. Suffice it to say that, on any given day, you can walk down the hallway at Fantasy and run into musicians like Dave Matthews and Santana or actors like Patrick Stewart or Rashida Jones. Big time showbiz folks, right?
Well here's one of the things that Fantasy does so well: they treat every client who comes through the door just as well as the "A" listers who come there to work. From the moment you enter the lobby, everyone from the studio manager to the engineers to the techs and interns go out of their way to make you comfortable, allow you to concentrate on your work and simply enjoy being there without having to worry about the little things. For instance:
- Everyone who comes through the door is greeted warmly and made to know that they are the reason the studio exists. A client at Fantasy feels appreciated.
- There's always coffee in the coffee pot, clean cups and plates, and tea ready to brew.
- Every studio's lounge has bottles of water and a bowl of fresh fruit that magically replenish themselves throughout the day. (Okay, so it's not magic, it's interns. The best interns (and there are many) hover just out of sight, waiting for the right moment to refill that drink, place a fresh apple or two in the bowl, and sweep away the lunch plates).
- Business needs like WIFI, copies, and everyday office supplies are readily available and brought in at a moment's notice.
- As much as possible, they work around your schedule. Need to start at 8:00am? The lights will be on and the console will be warmed up. Can't come in until 11:00 at night? Wanna stay til 3am? You got it!
These are the kinds of things that make me want to keep returning to Fantasy and other studios like it (there are several in Nashville with the same work/hospitality ethic as well). It's not just the great gear and talented people--it's the service!
I've worked in other studios that aren't nearly as hospitable. Instead of ready-to-go coffee and fresh fruit, there's just a beat-up vending machine with stale chips. There are dirty mugs in the sink (if there's even a kitchen) and/or the bathroom looks and smells like something you'd find at a truck stop instead of a place you're spending a good chunk of change to work in. There's a nickel-and-dime mentality for services and everyday supplies. The studio staff acts as if they're doing you a favor by taking your session, not like you're the one helping to pay their bills. I could go on, but you get the idea.
In the end, I choose to believe that studio recording shouldn't just be a task to finish--it should be an experience to be enjoyed. Going into the recording studio should feel like taking a mini-vacation from the outside world, not like being forced to endure a couple of days in a cheap motel.
And that, friends, is the long explanation for why you'll always find my staff and I doing our best to keep you comfortable, happy, and well-hydrated. At Perfect Mix, there will always be coffee, tea, and snacks waiting when you get here. We'll always try our best to get you what you need, whether that's guitar stings or an expert guitar player. Most importantly, we'll always try to make you feel appreciated. After all, without you, we couldn't be here.