Arsenal Studios officially wrapped construction earlier this week with a focus on green building practices and positive artist relations. Over the past few months, amidst the chaos of constructing the multi-level studio in Wheat Ridge, the staff has already started working with some major artists — including 3OH!3, Clown of Slipknot and My Darling Murder (Andy Gerold of Marilyn Manson, Tim Kelleher of 30 Seconds to Mars, Elias Mallin of Kill Hanna/current drummer for Ke$ha). They’ve even done work for the Denver Zoo.
Owner Dan Barnhart, a seasoned Denver musician and producer, brought the studio from concept to reality along with senior engineer/producer Greg Allan Norris, former lead singer of Arizona’s 32 Leaves. The two started working together as members of the now-disbanded local band, the Frequent Sea.
“When 32 Leaves broke up Greg moved to Colorado and joined the band [I] had started with my childhood friend, Nerf from KTCL,” said Barnhart. “Nerf got insanely busy so we found some new members and changed our name to Codec. We recorded a few songs and they came out pretty well, so we decided to start recording other people, too, and suddenly we were working with some great names.
“We’ve been clients of studios and also worked in them but we always felt something was missing. We have a different approach and methodology. At base, we are all about respect—deep respect for the artist and for their hard earned money, for sound, for art and respect for our planet. We are probably the greenest studio in the region with two large solar arrays that power the studio and the control room was built with sustainable materials, like bamboo. We have a huge live room with 18-foot ceilings, top shelf outboard gear, guitars and amps as well as ProTools HD. Most importantly, however, we work with the artist at a higher level—we listen hard to their dreams and then amplify what makes them unique. We don’t cookie-cut them into our way of doing things. We’ve been in those situations before and didn’t love the outcome.”
But going green isn’t necessarily what is attracting big name musicians to this Denver studio.
“Every studio experience is unique and every engineer or producer hears music differently,” said Norris. “The way we hear it has been sought after by major artists and major labels alike, but it’s our method of capturing the best performances and our tones that set us apart—and of course our unique passion for what we do.”
You can find more information on Arsenal Studio; hear samples and video from their sessions at thearsenalstudios.com.
Paige Montgomery is a Denver-based freelance writer. Check out more of her work on MySpace.