DEVOTED TO DIY
Last Updated on Sunday, 03 November 2013 23:57
A homegrown recording studio right here in Long BeachTucked away in a crowded neighborhood next to 2nd street is a little gem of a studio crowded into a converted garage and a master of DIY who goes by the name of Sammy Rothman. When most people think of DIY, they think of some kid making their own Misfits patches and Black Flag shirts in their room, trying to express themselves through fashion and trying to save a couple bucks on overpriced band merch. But it is simply so much more than that; it is about being a craftsman, working on every part of a creative endeavor yourself, so that you have ultimate control over the final product. While it has been around for ages, its popularization by the punk movement has taken music away from the big studios and promoters and put it back in the hands of, you know, actual musicians. Sammy, a member of Tubby Boots and CSULB alumnus, has worked for years on perfecting his own studio. Originally it was merely a practice pad for him and his friends who shared the same musical inclination. “I used to just come home from school every day with my friends and then jam for hours with them,” Sammy said, “have some dinner, and then jam again. It became a sort of routine even before I started work on the studio.” From soundproofing the walls so as to avoid complaints from the neighbors to his digital setup to the grand centerpiece of the studio, a large reel to reel tape recorder, bought secondhand from NBC, it was all done by Sammy and his friends, who, in the process had to learn stuff you never thought a musician would need to know, like electrical engineering. Complete with a used tape reel containing the audio tracks to an episode of Seinfeld, the reel-to-reel tape recorder centerpiece gives his tracks and all of the tracks recorded in Sammy’s studio a unique warmness that simply can’t be achieved through the use of digital recording alone. However, digital recording does allow the producer a lot more freedom to alter the sound as they see fit, so Sammy runs a hybrid setup with the initial take stored on his reel to reel recorder, which is hooked up to his computer for processing and editing. Nowadays, it’s exceedingly rare to see musicians go the whole nine yards and truly devote themselves to everything associated with their music. I remember fondly being in a garage band in high school and recording our work with a microphone hung from the rafters, which was connected to my laptop. It’s very easy to take the easy way out a lot of the time; that’s what makes a true DIY craftsman like Sammy admirable and a golden example for other musicians out there looking to make their mark.