BROOKSVILLE — Patria Dye remembers the first time she appeared in a newspaper.
She got in trouble.
She was growing up in California in the 1980s and came from a family of musicians. Her father was a gospel singer and pastor.
Her family was known for gospel music, she said, and was always told, “‘You can’t sing gospel and ‘boogie-joogie,'” she recalled with a laugh. “It was forbidden. Anything that wasn’t gospel was called ‘boogie-joogie’.
In high school, the head of the music department was into jazz and he had a jazz concert. Patria snuck out to attend the school concert.
“I was on the front page of the San Ramon Valley Times,” she said. “And my dad – and it was black and white – my dad looked down and he was drinking his coffee, and I’ll never forget he thought I was my sister because it was black and white, but then he read and said, ‘You were singing the boogie-joogie!’ “
She was in trouble, she said, and needed to apologize.
Eventually, she had her own band called “Off the Hook”, until it broke up and someone else took on the name.
It must have been 1981, she says, when she was asked to sing at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Count Basie was going to be there, had heard something Patria was singing and wanted her to come, but she couldn’t go.
“I was really sad,” she said.
“I had seen the Ramones at least 10 times by then,” her husband and business partner Tom said, and they both laughed at the memory.
In a building on East Jefferson Street, Brooksville’s music scene gathers around a recording studio operated by Tom and Patria Dye.
It’s the real deal, with comfy couches and seating, plenty of musical instruments, and an ambience that says, “Make some music!”
They’ve had the deal since October. People come all the time, Tom said.
“One thing that I will say I was really, really surprised about is that there’s more extreme talent around Brooksville than I’ve ever seen,” he said.
His wife agrees.
“There’s really good talent here, like coming out of carpentry,” Patria said.
Tom Dye toured the recording studio, which features all kinds of guitars, drums behind a plastic barrier, keyboards, giant old-fashioned amplifiers and microphones.
In the back is a soundboard, which Tom says is the only instrument he plays, and a small room for recording vocals. It’s often used by local podcasters, Patria said.
The card is 100% analog and can send audio to tapes or computers.
“We’re pretty much equipped to do whatever we want to do,” Tom Dye said.
There are many things, some old and restored.
“If you own a recording studio, you have to be able to fix things,” he said.
The reel to reel is a 1984 Teac four-track that he rebuilt, Tom said. It can make 32 tracks on the board. They can also save to laptops
“We’re what you would call a ’boutique’ studio,” he said.
It may not be a “modern” studio, but Patria said people are going back to the old ways of recording.
All the dials, switches and faders on the sound card are awesome, Tom said, but it’s all repeated 32 times. “If you learn one,” he said, “you’ve learned them all.”
Tom said he’s been working with high-end audio since he was a teenager. He’s 64 and 65 and works a day job, but it’s clear that he and Patria, 55, who works in the medical field, see music as something special for themselves and for the community.
Much of this promotes Brooksville’s music scene with events at the studio and jam sessions by local musicians who come to sit in comfy chairs, talk about the music industry, and just want to sound great.
The Dyes charge for use of their studio at a rate of $30 an hour for a minimum of two hours, but you can go over a little and that’s fine, Tom said.
Patria insists everyone play something before they leave, so you might find yourself holding a locally made three-string electric guitar and being told to play a few notes or use a slider to bend the notes on the handle.
Tom was born and raised in Southern California, lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts for about 30 years, and in 2001 moved to Florida.
“I came here in 2001,” Patria said. “I also came from California and met him here.”
She was born in Michigan and came to the West Coast when she was 4 years old.
Patria is 55 years old and has four children. one of whom, a son, is a rapper in the music industry.
Her favorite instrument is the drums, she said, and she sat down to deliver a hard rock beat.
Musicians bring their own instruments, they said, but there are always enough instruments for someone to have fun with something.
capture the soul
The art of recording isn’t just about capturing “perfection”, Tom said, but about capturing a performance, even if there are mistakes or misplayed notes in a track. It’s about capturing the spontaneity of creation. An error simply means that it was humans and not computers that created the music, he said.
They have an assistant who studies music, and she has worked hard. The woman was looking for an “internship” and they brought her in when someone else was playing.
She didn’t say much, but when the other band left, they gave her a guitar and she started playing like she was Jimi Hendrix.
“She blew my mind,” Patria said.
Now she’s more of an “associate,” Tom said.
And there are a lot of people like that around, he said. People come to the studio and they’ve never played together, and they find unity.
Dyes continue to buy more stuff and grow.
The most famous person to have played in their space is “Motown” Johnson, they said.
“He played drums for Alicia Keys, Smokey Robinson and a bunch of people, Bob Dylan, I think,” Tom said, and Patria agreed.
“He’s one of my favorite writers,” Patria said of Dylan.
Back to old
While digital, CDs and streaming are very big, analogue LPs and vinyl are making a comeback, Tom said, and that’s a good thing. The musicians used to make music together and feed off each other’s energy, not just write songs on their own that would be mixed later.
“They’re complaining about that one false note,” Tom said. “I tell them, ‘If you ever listen to anything Led Zeppelin did, Jimmy Page made a lot of mistakes, but that’s beside the point. The fact is your soul knows that humans have done this. It’s not perfect and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Often, he says, you hear about something that’s been recorded 50 or 100 times, and the band ends up using the first or second take.
Still, says Tom, there’s nothing wrong with someone sitting alone in their room making music, and it’s all over Spotify. It’s just that they get creative, and that matters too.
During a free-wheeling conversation, Tom talked about a new adventure: podcasting around a table with these new microphones.
They’ll get kids to interview their parents and grandparents in an informal setting, Tom said.
“There’s something about this space that’s really, really creative anyway,” Tom said. “The energy here, I don’t know what it is. We’re just trying to provide a place that’s really comfortable and maybe a bit eclectic, but give people somewhere they want to come, and that seems to work really well for us.