The Jock of Rock Presents: Julian McBrowne's Hidden Drive Studio
Cider Magazine Bellows Falls, Vt. May, 2012
BRATTLEBORO, VT. - Julian McBrowne is a man who wears many hats; recording producer and engineer, sound mixer, production manager, musician and college professor. With over 20 years experience in the field, McBrowne has toured around the world as a live sound mixer and has produced shows in any size venue and festival imaginable. Julian has now lived in Brattleboro for a decade and launched his own recording studio dubbed Hidden Drive Studio, five years ago. He is also the Program Manager for the Next Stage Arts Project based in Putney.
Photo couresy of Julian McBrowne
I am originally from New York City where I grew up, lived and worked," McBrowne said in an exclusive, Cider Magazine interview. "My first studio job was in New York City at a large music publishing house called Chappell Music. Back in the day, they still had recording studios in publishing houses and I recorded and produced demos. That’s how I learned how to do all this… back before everyone became a recording engineer.
"I did spend two years in Virginia Beach working for producer Teddy Riley, mostly doing R&B including Blackstreet, Mya, Janet Jackson . . . but for most of my career I have worked in New York City as a freelance recording/mix engineer and front-of-house (FOH) sound mixer."
So, how did McBrowne find his way to Brattleboro?
I originally came to Vermont to produce an album with Lisa McCormick titled "Mystery Girl." Since then, I have worked mainly with singer songwriters like Clayton Sabine, Rose Gerber, Steve West, and also record live concerts locally for the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, Friends of Music at Guilford and Yellow Barn in Putney."
Julian has also mixed FOH at the Hooker -Dunham theater for Barry Stockwell’s "Twilight" music shows, and has also toured with Kid Creole & the Coconuts, Nona Hendryx, Toots & the Maytalls, Arrow (who wrote ‘Hot, Hot, Hot’) & Jean-Paul Bourelly. Julian has also taught Audio Engineering at The New School in New York City. "I taught "beginning, advanced and intern prep classes' which prepared students to go out and get a real job in the recording industry. In fact, some of the people I trained are still out there and I see their names in film & TV credits - which is really nice to see."
The Hidden Drive Studio is warm and inviting space which creates a wonderful recording atmosphere for musicians. "My room is small - there's room for maybe three or four musicians and myself - and I get an intimate, warm sound that I feel especially works well for singer/songwriters. It’s also a great place to do vocal or instrumental overdubs. Often, I’ll start a band recording at one of the larger studios in the region - then come back here to do overdubs and vocals,
where we can concentrate with no distractions.
Some of Julian's recording services include "quick-start" and "deluxe" demos, full-length CDs or Eps, on-site home recording instruction, concert recording, web site audio samples and downloads, and more. McBrowne also emphasizes the importance of his mixing services. "There are plenty of musical situations that respond well to chance, such as stumbling upon a great guitar tone or a catchy riff, but not when it comes to your mix," McBrowne added.
"Your chances of stumbling onto a great mix are extremely slim and hardly worth the energy and time you'll spend on it. The best thing you can do for your music is to hire a professional to mix your recording." A few artists for which Julian has done recording and mixing include the aforementioned Lisa McCormick and Kid Creole, Lionel Hampton, Peter Tosh, Russell Crow, April Smith, the Clayton Sabine Band, Rose Gerber, Politicks and Samirah Evans & Her Handsome Devils.
Julian states that his main goal when recording, is to make musicians comfortable enough to perform at their best. "I’ve been doing this for a long time and believe me, that’s what makes the difference. Face it - recording can be an unnatural situation. Microphones, headphones, people hanging around, it can all get in the way of making a great recording.
My job is to make sure you feel good, sound great and help make music that the musician will still want to listen to years from now!" 'Nuff said. To learn more about Julian McBrowne and his Hidden Drive Studio, visit www.julianmcbrowne.com or visit his Facebook page.