Studio name: Thud Studios
Location: 11320 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
Key players: Jeff Abercrombie, Michael Currey, Peter Grannett, Jim Roach, Stephen Short, Rick Silva
Latest projects: The Chase, Crazy Town, Eric Knight, Megan McCauley, The Yelling
Computer, DAW, recording hardware: Alesis HD24XR hard-disk recorder; Digidesign Digi 002, MIXplus system with (2) 888 I/Os, Pro Tools|HD; Cakewalk Sonar 6 Producer Edition; analog 2-inch tape
More software/plug-ins: Antares Auto-Tune 4; Celemony Melodyne Uno; EastWest Symphonic Orchestra; FXpansion BFD 2; IK Multimedia Ampeg SVX Classic, AmpliTube, Sonik Synth 2; Propellerhead Reason 2.5; TASCAM GigaStudio 3.0; Waves Diamond
Console, interfaces: Sony MXP-3036; Trident 70 series; Mackie Control, Control XT
Synth, drum machines: Akai S3000XL, Alesis SR-16, Roland Fantom
Guitars, basses: Dan Electro; Fender Telecaster; PRS McCarty; Schecter fretless bass; Warwick 4-string, 5-string basses
Amps: (2) Ampeg SVTs, Bugara 333, Fender Vibrolux, (3) Gallien-Krueger 2001 RBs, Laney GH100L, Marshall JCM 100
Drums: Gretsch kit, Pearl Chad Smith signature snare, Sabian and Zildjian cymbals
Mics: AKG C 414, D 112; Blue Baby Bottle, Dragonfly; CAD Trion 8000; Neumann U 87; Røde NT4; Sennheiser (3) MD421s, e602, (3) e604s, (2) e608s, e609; Shure Beta 57, 58, (3) SM57s; Oktava MK-012
Mic preamps: Avalon AD2022, (3) U5s; Manley Dual Mono; Universal Audio 2-610, LA-610
EQs: Meyer Sound CP-10, White EQ
Compressors: dbx 160x, 165A, (2) 166XLs, 266XL; Teletronix LA-2A
Effects: Eventide Ultra Harmonizer H3000 D/SX, Fullerton distortion pedal, Korg Kaoss Pad, Line 6 Pod, Roland Phase Five, Yamaha SPX90
Monitors: Event Tuned Reference 8s, KRK K-Roks, Tannoy System 800s
Headphones: AKG K240, Sony MDR 900
When did you launch Thud Studios and why?
Jeff Abercrombie: It will be three years this October. I was working with some artists in my home studio and realized that if I wanted to take this to the next level and be more legitimate, I needed to get into a bigger space. During this time I had been working with an artist named Deanna Johnston who had scored a slot in the Rock Star INXS show. She asked me and my writing partner if we’d like to do live shows with her. She had lined up several rehearsals in a few rehearsal places around town. In doing these rehearsals I found most of these places to be kind of slung-together facilities. That’s when I got the idea to start a rehearsal business and incorporate a recording studio. The rehearsal business would pad the cost of having a recording studio.
How did your experience as a recording/touring musician help you make the transformation to studio owner?
It was a pretty natural transition for the most part. With Fuel we had pretty much taken business duties early on before we signed with Epic in 1997. My job was merchandise and the band mailing list. After being signed, we learned there was so much more involved with making a band successful that it’s a bit overwhelming. This is where the manager, business manager, booking agent, and publicist come into play. Each entity has a specific job, but all play key roles in the success of an artist. A lot of these ideas I’ve started to incorporate into Thud Studios. I’m finding that having a good studio manager as well as friendly staff, talented engineers, and qualified techs makes for a successful studio business.
What was the philosophy behind Thud Studios?
It really came down to a cup of coffee, literally. I basically would ask myself the question, “What are the more popular businesses out there, and what are they doing that sets them apart?” One business that came to mind was Starbucks. Here’s a company that said, “We’re going to open a coffee shop.” Boy that’s a new one. “Oh, and by the way, we’re gonna charge you $4 for a cup of coffee.” Other coffee shop owners must have laughed and thought they were nuts to sell a cup of coffee for four bucks. It’s what they offered around the cup of coffee that makes all the difference.
What piece of gear could you not live without in the studio?
My lava lamp: It just sets the tone for every session.