Two music producers to open recording studio Downtown


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After spending years in a band recording across the country, Vince Rizzo started his own recording studio in his apartment.

But that wasn't enough. He wanted his own facility.

He quit his job as a warehouse manager for a commercial construction company and spent most of his savings on equipment for SG Productions, his studio in New Kensington. He had enough money to pay bills for three months.

"That was in 2008, and I'm still at it. I haven't sunk yet, and I'm not going to."

At 29, Mr. Rizzo of West Deer is taking another leap with recording producer Wade Friend, 43, who also started a studio in his basement, and named it after his home address "41." Studio 41 will move from Connellsville, Fayette County, to the Diamond Building on Fifth Avenue, just a stroll from Market Square. The opening is tentatively planned for the beginning of September.

"We are doing everything from the demolition, to the construction, to the production," Mr. Rizzo said.

The recording studio will charge about $45 an hour for full recording services, mixing and mastering for bands, singers and songwriters. It is one of more than 20 recording studios in the greater Pittsburgh area.

The two have the most experience working with local artists, such as the Steve Smith Band and the Stickers, but moving to Pittsburgh meant they could begin to expand their work to include voice-overs along with commercials for radio, video and TV.

Mr. Rizzo and Mr. Friend pride themselves on a state-of-the-art digital soundboard, Pro Tools HD3 system, 50-inch TVs for computer monitors as well as a 300-pound analog board from 1983.

"Everyone wants that analog warmth," Mr. Rizzo said.

Along with his drum set and guitar amps, he plans to bring his Hammond organ from 1972 for blues and indie rock.

"We would like to offer clients things like that as far as instruments that they don't get anywhere else because people are leaving some stuff behind as we move forward with technology," Mr. Rizzo said. "In the music industry, a lot of old vintage gear is what's desired."

The two come from humble beginnings, learning effects and compression from production engineers in the field while playing in bands and traveling to different parts of the country, including LA.

Between the two of them, they have more than 20 years of experience in alternative rock, hard rock, punk rock and pop bands with talents in guitar, bass, drums, piano and singing.

"When you get into it, you want to learn as much as you can on this stuff," Mr. Friend said. "There's no exact science to it, so you have to kind of learn as you go."

With confidence in what they say is a rising local artist market, the two reserved another space for future growth, but the current focus is on the first studio construction.

Analog isn't the only thing that's bringing warmth to the studio. Mr. Rizzo said the atmosphere will be comfortable, and customers will feel like they are walking into a "five-star restaurant."

And marketing for the studio? Mr. Rizzo said he would rather get customers by word of mouth. When a customer's time is up, the producers won't kick him or her out -- they will finish the job.

"It might cost me a little bit of money, but I would much rather have somebody come out of there happy and [having] enjoyed the session," Mr. Rizzo said.

"People could walk in here with drumsticks and a guitar pick and leave with an album."

For more information: www.facebook.com/Studio41Ent.

music

Marina Weis: 412-263-1889 or mweis@post-gazette.com.


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