Playback Studio Leaves Artists Always Wanting More
By Chelsea Abate
Santa Barbara is home to Playback Studios, a destination designed to allow an artist’s imagination run wild and where owner and founder Tucker Bodine has built an environment where any musician may comfortably record. A remarkable space with an artistic vibe, this hidden gem doesn’t disappoint.
Bodine teamed with internationally acclaimed studio acoustics designer, Chris Pelonis, to bring his vision to life. Pelonis has worked with artists like 3rd Eye Blind and companies like Disney and Sony Playstation, and his knack for designing one-of-a-kind studios (he’s also a musician so he knows what he likes), has led to his success. Having been a proud fanboy of the savvy designer, Bodine’s now proud of the masterpiece he and Pelonis have created together.
“The goal was to give the artist many different options for recording, so they could have different palettes to choose from when they are in a creative state of mind,” says Bodine.
Playback Studios earned a TEC award— for “technical excellence and creativity,” for all of us normal folk—in 2009. The foundation that hands out the award is known for acknowledging companies that are creating new and innovative ways of producing sounds and recordings.
Some of the studio’s amenities go above and beyond what most would consider impressive. “I wanted to create a studio where I could have an incredible vibe, as well as an amazing sound in the tuned rooms. The rooms had to have a relaxing atmosphere that would sing back to you,” says Bodine.
Where some other studios can lack in customer service, Playback provides an innovative team of highly trained staff ready to help in any way. “When mixing the project, we always include the artist and producer on sonic decisions so the end result is a client who helped craft the sound of [their] genre of music, so their vision of the project will translate to their fans,” says Bodine. And with connections to local hotels and luxury vacation rentals, something as simple as comfort is never an issue for the artist.
Bodine’s musical palace is designed to cater to artists at all levels, and with varying needs. Whether an artist needs beat production or musicians, these things are at their disposal. Beat Producer and Chief Engineer “DJ Overtone” Austin Sexton has created a daresay unbeaten in-house production team trained to perfection.
“At Playback Recording Studio, we never settle on good,” says Sexton. “It has to be groundbreaking. We go to great lengths to make sure the project sounds perfect, from timing of the instruments to all the correct pitch inflections while tracking vocals.”
State-of-the-art equipment isn’t the only necessity for maintaining Playback’s award-winning rep. A great booking manager, excellent engineers, a clean and beautiful space in which to work, a good vibe, and creating and maintaining an excellent reputation are all factors Bodine credits for the studio’s success. And at Playback, that dedication to excellence starts the moment an artist walks in with an unlikely accolade: its cleanliness.
According to Playback, one of its top compliments is how clean the company keeps its studio. Guests aren’t just greeted to colorful, eccentric booths that are dimly lit…they are wowed by the well-maintained equipment the studio houses. “We also make sure that all the gear is functional, and that the engineers have a deep knowledge base of our analog and digital equipment,” Bodine says. Some of the talent Playback Studio has recently worked with includes Rebelution, Dylan Ortega and Erisy Watt.
Committed to participating in its local community music scene, Playback has staged a variety of private shows and was the first studio in the United States to stage an event where 24 DJs performed in 24 hours. Playback also enjoys working with local radio stations to promote smaller shows (Pepper, The Kongos) with on-air ticket giveaways, and promoting local artists in the local newspaper,
This diverse dream team doesn’t cap its sites on the music industry, but also swims with big fish—corporate ones, at that—taking on clients such as Geico, EA Sports and Burger King by helping to ensure the quality of their recording and sound production. The project variety should only give the company more cred.
What’s ahead for the studio? A publishing catalogue, for starters, as well as working with post-production clients (Disney’s The Lion Guard with Rob Lowe and the feature film The Giver with Jeff Bridges, to name two). Playback offers projects like those a professional environment where acoustics can come to life, and has created a name for itself not only in Santa Barbara, but also in the music world. […] Continue reading on Page 36-37