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Sound Lounge Becomes Hot Spot for Indies

Audio house gives junior staff freedom to mix personal projects. (May 24, 2004)

Monday through Friday from 9 to 6, the mixing suites at Sound Lounge host the elite of the advertising world as the companys award-winning engineers prepare audio tracks for commercials promoting Budweiser, Pepsi, FedEx, Mercedes, AT&T, American Express and other leading brands. But on weekends and in the wee hours of the night after the ad men and women have all gone home, the studio is abuzz with a very different group of clients - independent filmmakers, video artists, documentarians and fledgling rock bands who come to work on their projects with the companys assistant mixers, getting the legendary Sound Lounge treatment at a bargain basement price.

Its all part of an informal initiative begun by Sound Lounge partners Tom Jucarone, Peter Holcomb and Marshall Grupp to encourage underground and low-budget filmmaking while giving up-and-coming engineers a chance to develop their skills on challenging, real world projects. ?We turn the studio over to our assistants so that they can do their personal projects, explains Grupp. ?We see it as an opportunity for them to gain valuable experience. For the filmmakers, its a chance to get first-rate audio services that they otherwise could not afford. In many cases, our guys are doing the work for free.


Over the past year, Sound Lounge assistant engineers have helmed dozens of after-hours mixing sessions for off beat projects. Recent examples include a 12-minute short called Ladies Room by writer/director Kate Bernstein, a DVD for video artist Marco Brambilla, the documentary A Womans Work is Never Done about large-scale artists Merry Conway and Noni Pratt, and a live album by the underground band Rebel Gentlemen. Handling such tasks as sound editing, sound design, audio mixing, voice-over recording and record producing are Sound Lounge assistants Paul Weiss, Cory Melious, and Dan Flosdorf, as well as mixers Keith Reynaud and Eric Warzecha.

?The goal for each of us is to become a Sound Lounge mixer and the best way to do that is to get as much experience on as many different kinds of projects as we can, explained Weiss. ?So we work all day assisting senior mixers with advertising work, then hang out at night until midnight or one a.m. doing our own thing. Its really cool to have the citys best mixing facility at our fingertips and bosses who encourage us to do it.

The studios senior staff, too, occasionally put in late night sessions for personal projects. Senior mixer Philip Loeb, for example, recently did some mixing work for the documentary feature Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, currently on the art house circuit.

For Reynaud, Sound Lounges largesse is more than a chance to hone his mixing skills, its an opportunity to pursue his passion. He is currently using his free time to mix a documentary short that he is also writing, producing and directing about his aunt, a New Orleans musician and wiccan priestess. ?I take an interesting approach to creating a documentary, he said. ?I edit the whole piece sonically first, then add picture to it. Ive been doing projects like this for years, but until I came to Sound Lounge, I was doing it mainly at home. Now, I have access to world class gear and recording facilities.

For Flosdorf, who recently mixed the documentary Hip Hop Hope about the effect of 9/11 on New York hip hop artists, one of the key benefits of the after hours work has been the spirit of camaraderie it has stirred up among Sound Lounges junior staff. ?It works better when you know the people you work with, he said. ?A big part of our job is getting along with each other. A lot of people know the technical side of the job, but you also need to know how to collaborate. The better we get along, the better the work goes.

Grupp points out that Sound Lounge derives great benefit by making its resources available to young staff, saying that it is part of the companys commitment to developing in house talent. He noted that several senior mixers on the Sound Lounge staff began their careers there as assistants. ?Sound Lounge is a firm believer in promoting from within and in teaching from within, he said. ?We believe in our young talent.

Sound Lounge is located at 149 5th Ave. New York, N.Y., 10010. For additional information or sales, call (212) 388-1212 or visit www.soundlounge.com.

 


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Related Keywords:Sound Lounge, Tom Jucarone, Peter Holcomb, Marshall Grupp, Paul Weiss, Cory Melious, Dan Flosdorf, Keith Reynaud, Eric Warzecha, Philip Loeb,

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