The Mile High Makeout: UI Sound nurtures the next generation of Colorado musicBy | September 3rd, 2010 | 2 comments
A fertile, thriving local music scene like ours — one that can feed our aural hunger for tasty tunes on nightly basis — needs more than just a bongload of passionate, talented musicians. It needs accommodating venues, eager and adventurous fans and publicity engines.
One necessary ingredient that is all-but-invisible to the average music fan, however, is affordable, professional recording studios, like Boulder’s United Interests Sound Studios — or simply UI Sound. Engineers Evan Reeves and Patrick Tracy have spent years doing their homework, but will finally open UI’s doors to the public on Wednesday.
When it comes to recording studios, Colorado is blessed with an embarrassment of riches. From the Blasting Room in Fort Collins to Evergroove Studio in Evergreen to Immersive Studios, Rocky Mountain Recorders, Colorado Sound, Coupe Studios and many more, musicians on the Front Range will never want for padded cells and tasty sliders. UI Sound, however, is on a special mission — to discover, explore and nurture the current and next generations of Colorado’s musical talent.
“In the last year, it’s been our goal to just get to know a bunch of the bands out there,” says Reeves, who has lived in recording studios since interning at San Francisco’s Hyde Street Studios in 1996. To accomplish this, UI Sound has offered emerging artist free studio time to record singles. This allows the artists a chance to get to know the studio and cut a high-quality recording, but it also gives Reeves and Tracy — along with technical wizard Chuck Nehring (“He can fix anything!”) and intern Ben Romsdahl — the chance to work with some great local talent.
After UI — which operates under the umbrella of Kyle Wofford’s United Interests and Rob Gordon’s What Are Records? — works with an artist on a free session, they give that artist the opportunity to record something lengthier — an EP or an album — at a reduced rate. Several artists have taken UI up on the offer, including School Knights and Crump, both of whom will release UI-recorded projects before the end of the year.
“Those guys were really specific about the sound and vibe they wanted,” says Reeves of School Knights, “and that makes my job a lot easier. And they’re so young!”
Reeves is equally enthusiastic about Crump: “I think he’s one of the best things we’ve got going on right now. The first track we did with him isn’t really rock and roll, but it’s got this Paul Simon or Beach Boys stuff going on.”
As Reeves describes the various artists he’s met while exploring the Colorado music scene, he doesn’t sound like a recording engineer, the owner and operator of a studio or a businessman. He sounds like a fan — a giddy, obsessive, nerdy fan. And it’s that passion and enthusiasm for music — for its own sake — that fuels Reeves drive to make UI Sound an integral part of Colorado’s musical ecosystem.
“My fondest hope is to put out recordings that the artists love,” he says. “I love when someone records a track with us and says, ‘I didn’t see that coming.”
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track every Tuesday for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout every Friday. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.