Minneapolis recording/music scene queries...

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Studio Steve
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Minneapolis recording/music scene queries...

Post by Studio Steve » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:44 pm

So...my girlfriend just got a really good job in Minneapolis which means she's going to be moving there in August. I've got a lease on my place in Oregon for the next year, but after that, if things work out, I am considering moving there to be with her. I've been trying to cultivate a recording studio here for the past year and a half which may or may not really take off, but seems to pay for itself, and I'm currently in about 4 bands that are more or less active as a singer and guitarist.

It seems from some of the other posts like there's a pretty strong recording community there, and I've enjoyed Minneapolis the few times I've been there, but I'm curious about what the job market is like there? I have a decent amount of live sound experience, so I'm wondering if between that, recording, performing, and maybe doing some roadie work, does it seem possible to make enough money to survive on there? Or would I need to be looking for a day job too? Also, what's the scene like for obtaining solid recording spaces?

Thanks for any input!

kslight
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Post by kslight » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:14 am

I lived there 2004-2005, and moved because I couldn't find a paying studio gig among other reasons. I like Minneapolis a lot but it's expensive compared to most of the Midwest, and there are (were?) lots of studios of various sizes there. Not saying you couldn't try to carve out your nitch, but there are a lot of engineers of varying skill levels there due to the two big recording schools. Not to mention cost to lease a space would be high.

I also know from friends/in laws that live there that the job market is pretty tough there right now...I know people who've been unemployed all year...college educated people, who aren't even picky about jobs. But yes, I would assume unless you're independently wealthy that you'll need a day job at least until you find your niche there. Your best bet with a decent paying live sound gig is to try to get into one of the mega churches. Otherwise there are lots of bars to try to get in to.

YMMV, but that was my assessment when I left, and it hasn't changed in the times I have visited because I do check (was just there in late May).

Studio Steve
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Thanks

Post by Studio Steve » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:49 am

Thanks for the info, that's discouraging that the job market sucks there, I guess it's like that just about anywhere you go. I do have Bachelor's Degrees in Sociology and Psychology so finding a day job isn't out of the question but those are not the most thriving fields right now either. Your reply does pique my interest in recording school though...

Any other experiences or opinions?

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suppositron
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Post by suppositron » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:50 am

There are a shit load of bands out here so if you set up a good place and charge decent rates there's no reason why you wouldn't get any business.

Eek. My ex had a degree in psychology and she ended up going to a temp agency. Probably not the best degree to have out here unless you have experience.

As long as you have the right degree you can get jobs out here. I was going to school for electronics and got hired as a technician when I was only half way done with school.

kslight
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Re: Thanks

Post by kslight » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:23 am

Studio Steve wrote:Thanks for the info, that's discouraging that the job market sucks there, I guess it's like that just about anywhere you go. I do have Bachelor's Degrees in Sociology and Psychology so finding a day job isn't out of the question but those are not the most thriving fields right now either. Your reply does pique my interest in recording school though...

Any other experiences or opinions?
One school there is McNally Smith College of Music, where I went. The program seemed good (the only basis of comparison I have is community college rec programs though), at least you get out what you put in, like any college. You have the opportunity to book studios there after hours and bring in bands, which is pretty cool and in addition to your lab
time. Though when I went most people didn't book the studios, so I booked them and spent as much time there as possible. They cover analog and digital recording, and you get to play with all kinds of gear from prosumer (003, Reason, Studio Projects, dbx) to pro (PT HD, SSL, Trident, UA, Neumann, etc). The program is hella expensive though...I went for the associates
program and that was around $40k... Unless you want to spend money and work with their teachers (actually most of the teachers were great), you could probably get a similar education off a good internship. I know at least one teacher contribute to Tape Op...Tom Day (wrote the back page a couple issues back). Good studios I remember off the top of my head were Fuzzy Slippers and A440...no idea if they are around anymore, but there are many others if you look.

kslight
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Post by kslight » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:29 am

suppositron wrote:There are a shit load of bands out here so if you set up a good place and charge decent rates there's no reason why you wouldn't get any business.
.

This is true, if you have chops, decent equipment, can afford a decent space, and charge a reasonable rate there are lots of bands to record. Given the amount of studios and engineers there you might have to work pretty hard on getting bands at your door until you have a name there, but that's true just about any big city. I may have mistakenly judged that the OP did not have all of the above in place.

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suppositron
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Post by suppositron » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:45 pm

kslight wrote:
suppositron wrote:There are a shit load of bands out here so if you set up a good place and charge decent rates there's no reason why you wouldn't get any business.
.

This is true, if you have chops, decent equipment, can afford a decent space, and charge a reasonable rate there are lots of bands to record. Given the amount of studios and engineers there you might have to work pretty hard on getting bands at your door until you have a name there, but that's true just about any big city. I may have mistakenly judged that the OP did not have all of the above in place.
Right on. I didn't think that's what you were trying to say anyway. Just that it might not be that easy, which is the case for a lot of the smaller studios around here- and there are a lot of them. But the ones with good engineers are making it by.

kslight
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Post by kslight » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:05 pm

suppositron wrote:
kslight wrote:
suppositron wrote:There are a shit load of bands out here so if you set up a good place and charge decent rates there's no reason why you wouldn't get any business.
.

This is true, if you have chops, decent equipment, can afford a decent space, and charge a reasonable rate there are lots of bands to record. Given the amount of studios and engineers there you might have to work pretty hard on getting bands at your door until you have a name there, but that's true just about any big city. I may have mistakenly judged that the OP did not have all of the above in place.
Right on. I didn't think that's what you were trying to say anyway. Just that it might not be that easy, which is the case for a lot of the smaller studios around
here- and there are a lot of them. But the ones with good engineers are making it by.

Yeah I meant earlier just in regards to working at a studio...opening a studio well it's gonna be hard wherever so that's a given I guess.

Studio Steve
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Post by Studio Steve » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:09 pm

Thanks for the continued feedback. To clear up a few issues, I have enough equipment to record a full rock band live with everything mic'd or DI'd without using anything worse than an sm58. Allen & Heath system 8 mixing console, apple logic pro, motu 828 mk2, plenty of cabling and headphones and mic stands. I think my recordings can go toe to toe with any comparably priced studios in my current location but minneapolis is probably much more competitive than Corvallis. I do have 6 years of work experience in psychology and really good references as far as that goes.

Anyone have an opinion on or experience with the institute of sound production? Their program looks intriguing but I haven't seen the cost

TicTacShutUp
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Post by TicTacShutUp » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:07 pm

Well I live in Minneapolis so I might be able to fill you in a bit.

This city has one of the best/most supportive music scenes you could ever hope to find. It's an amazing place.

There are a lot of local studios. Flowers Studio is a great place with insanely awesome gear that is run by a bunch of great people. They have a huge Trident 70 series board. http://www.susstones.com/flowers/

If you're looking for a simpler space, there's one in northeast Minneapolis called Humans Win. They allow outside engineers to record there. They have an ATB http://humanswin.com/2010/html/index.html

Other famous/awesome studios in the area are 3rd Ear, Pachyderm (In Utero anyone?) and the Terrarium.

The job market is pretty rough here. There are a bunch of clubs and a bunch of bands, though. If you get here and start networking, you should be able to find something reasonably quickly. Some good places to hang out and meet musicians are the 331 Club, the 501 Club, Cause (formerly known as Sauce) and The Hexagon Club. Among many others.

I lived in Seattle for a year and I missed this place like crazy. If you love music, you'll love it here. It gets oppressively hot in the summer (for about a month) and oppressively cold in the winter (for about a month) so be ready for that.

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Neil Weir
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Post by Neil Weir » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:10 am

I'll add The Turf Club in St Paul to the good bars with good music list. It's probably the best in terms of atmosphere and treating everyone well. The 7th Street Entry has historically been the place and I love it but unfortunately, I've found it's hard to get people to go to shows downtown anymore. Parking sucks and there's no patio... Oh, there's the Triple Rock, too...

The underground non-official venue side of things is very healthy here, too... often with great bands and better attendance than bar shows.

As far as studios go, the Third Ear building was unfortunately demolished a couple years ago. Tom Herbers still seems busy working at other studios. He recently did a great job on the Dark Dark Dark EP Bright Bright Bright. The Devil's Workshop and Fur Seal have both recently closed... A440 may have re-emerged by now but I know they haven't been in their old space for quite awhile. They always seemed to be more on the mainstream and hip-hop side of things though...

I'd say you'd be able to find work here and there doing what you do but I'd be shocked if you found a job and it would probably take awhile to build up your reputation.
Neil Weir

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megajoe
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Post by megajoe » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:55 am

I'm in nearly the same boat as the OP. Seeing a girl who lives in St. Paul and I'm strongly considering relocating there next August. I was an in-house engineer and did production & post-production for a TV network for 3 years before leaving to take care of my grandma out in the country. There are virtually no prospective clients out here, this is turning out to be my sabbatical.

A lot of my work has been writing beats and mixing rap. How's that scene in the twin cities?

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