Do you think you are the next Aimee Mann, Christian McBride or James Taylor but need some help to showcase your sound to your future fans?
For the past six months, Brian Brodeur, owner of ACIEM Studios, has been expanding his video and media production business by acquiring recording equipment for a new recording studio/mixing room scheduled to officially open on June 1. In the meantime, he’s invited local artists to test-drive his audio equipment.
“We’re paying the rent with the existing business we have—DVD/videos and some web stuff,” says Brodeur, who earned a music technology degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston and toured as a professional drummer. “I don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on by charging someone a hundred bucks an hour. So, it’s easy for us to say ‘Hey XYZ artist, come in; sit on the mike. You don’t like it, we’re fine.’ We’re not out anything—maybe I’ll throw some money at my engineers.”
Along with his Neve 1081 Preamp/EQs, LaChapell 992EG Stereo preamp, Manley Massive Passive EQ, TG-2 Stereo preamp and Thermionic Culture Phoenix Master compressor, Brodeur’s 450 square-foot underground soundproof studio feature a Telefunken AR51 tube microphone (“An incredible sounding microphone in the style of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra”) and “very natural-sounding” ProAc Studio 100 near-field speakers.
He also has an Amek Angela analog console he acquired from friends who work at Dubway Studios, a New York City audio facility. “Consoles are becoming more and more rare in the music business. A lot of people work ‘in the box’—in the computer system. But we have a bit of a hybrid here, where we work with the latest and greatest computer stuff—ProTools and that equipment—but we’re also able to bring out the audio and still mix on a console. Some would say I’m old-fashioned, but I’m an old-fashioned guy,” says Brodeur.
While his 7 North Mountain Avenue location (he moved to this site from a facility in his home about four years ago), will accommodate artists with no or smaller bands, his relationship with bass guitarist and producer Bill Laswell gives him access to Laswell’s private 2,500-plus square-foot West Orange recording studio (Frankie Valli’s old studio) for larger bands.
Brodeur, 42, who also plays the keyboards and bass, will share his engineering expertise with folks this fall when he will conduct a sound mixing class in his studio through the Adult School of Montclair and will dedicate two full nights to the Beatles (“I’m a giant Beatles fan.”)
The Montclair resident started working at recording facilities outside of Boston after he graduated from Berklee in 1991. In 1997, he joined Digi-Rom, recording industry pioneer’s Harry Hirsch’s company, where he started one of New York City’s first DVD studios and helped double sales.
Realizing he had the “DNA” for running a small business, the technical skills to build a DVD/video production company and potentially more opportunity as his own boss, Brodeur struck out on his own and started New YorkDVD (based in New York City and now a subsidiary of ACIEM Studios), and worked on DVD projects for Frank Zappa, Grammy Award-winning bassist Victor Wooten, guitarist Mike Keneally, drummers Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta, Phish, and other artists. In 2006, his team received the DVD Association’s Excellence in Music DVD Award for its work on drummer Neil Peart’s Anatomy of a Drum Solo DVD.
Brodeur and his ACIEM Studios team have also done DVD work for the Caucus Educational Corporation, McLaren Automotive, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Barnes & Noble, the United Nations, SONY and NBC/Universal.
With Penny Potenz Winship, ACIEM’s part-time community relations liaison-slash-business development person, who is also a theatre director and producer and jazz lover, Matt and Dave, his two full-time employees, and about $25,000 of audio equipment, Brodeur looks forward to connecting with members of the community and introducing them to his audio offerings. “We do good work and that’s what speaks for us.”