When it comes to recording, +LIVE+ guitarist Chad Taylor feels that whatever works to make great music suits him just fine. And lately, he’s been working a lot at Think Loud Studios in the band’s hometown of York, Pennsylvania.
Co-owned by Taylor and two of his bandmates, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey, Think Loud began about four years ago as a private facility and has been used by +LIVE+ and select others, among them Everclear and Candlebox. This month, Taylor and company announced they were making Think Loud available for booking by the general public.
“Our goal was to make this place affordable, so even musicians with limited funds can have access to top-of-the-line equipment and the peace of mind that comes with spending a few bucks,” explains Taylor, who had more to say about Think Loud’s features as well as what this year holds for +LIVE+, which reunited in 2017 with original singer Ed Kowalczyk.
Medleyville.us: What specifically triggered the decision to make Think Loud Studios a commercial facility?
Chad Taylor: “I’ve been predominately using the studio to work on artists I produce or mix, and there was no time available for outside clients. With +LIVE+ reforming, I’m making more of a commitment to be on the road and away from the studio, so there was more time when the rooms weren’t working. It’s such an amazing facility, and I also enjoy hearing what other artists produce there.
“Additionally, I wanted to make the studio budget friendly for independent artists, not just ones with major-label backing. I wanted students and young faces to have access to affordable rates that can allow them to foster their creativity. The studio really is an asset to the artistic community at large.”
What are Think Loud Studios’ greatest attributes in terms of equipment?
Taylor: “I’m an old-school analog guy, but I also embrace new technologies. I think we struck a great balance when selecting our recording equipment. Obviously, the SSL Duality [48-channel desk] is the centerpiece of Studio A, and where I prefer to mix, but the Neve and API outboard gear allows for punchy drums, guitars and bass with little effort.”
In your opinion, why are proper studio facilities such as yours still relevant at a time when home computers and other affordable pieces of equipment can be used to record music?
Taylor: “[This week] I shared a mix with the studio staff that I did for an indie artist, using a remote Bose speaker system in my home office, while the studio was being built! I love that artists are utilizing smaller home-recording rigs to track and demo their material, but at some point, if you want to record an orchestra, a real piano or super-phat drums, you’re going to want a proper recording/listening environment. It’s also nice to escape the interruptions of recording or writing at home. When you get inside the walls of Think Loud, all of those distractions fade away.”
What is your day-to-day involvement with Think Loud Studios?
Taylor: “I’m the studio’s best client as a producer/engineer. For example, I’ve had both Studio A and Studio B on lockout since Dec. 19 working on multiple albums simultaneously. During that window, I’ve had several mix clients through A, and I’m working on producing a multiplatinum artist in B. It’s funny, because every time I post a photo of me working in the studio, fans assume I’m working on +LIVE+, and that’s just not the case. Most artists require some discretion, and we make sure they have their privacy when they are our in-house guests.”
What does 2018 hold for +LIVE+?
Taylor: “Ed and I have been devoting ourselves to extended woodshedding sessions to generate some new songs for the band. We’re really in a good zone! And just recently, Patrick and I had a jam session to see if anything could come from just being spontaneous. We’re taking our time to make sure that we’re pleased with the material, and I’m super-encouraged by our progress. Without a record deal, there’s no pressure to release on any timeline other than our own. I will say that new material will come out soon — I just don’t know exactly when.
“In early March, I head down under to join the boys in +LIVE+ for the second leg of the Australian tour, then there will be a long list of shows announced for this summer. I guarantee we’ll be playing new songs on the road. The fans have waited long enough — we’re eager to share.”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior