Noise Together is a new recording studio located in Saint Francis, five minutes from General Mitchell Airport and 10 minutes from downtown Milwaukee. Designed to amplify production quality and flexibility, the facility is custom built to accommodate complete audio and video projects with sand-filled soundproofing and 20-foot ceilings. It is owned and operated by a team of three: Marketing Director Matt Musil, Production Supervisor Eliot Hess and Commercial Director Phil Hoge.
Hess was the first to be involved in the design of the studio.
“I used to help run a collective of artists known as the Crawford Collective and we did shows there,” he explained. “We had graphic designers, illustrators, musicians and other types of artists who all had studios. The fire department came in and did a routine inspection, and it turned out the building wasn’t coded, so we had to get out of there. Our landlord had another property just down the street and it was this shell of a recording studio…it was amazing but needed a lot of work. I knew Matt and Phil from having been on a project with them, and with their expertise, it made sense to bring us all together.
Hoge added: “I had joined the collective for the last six months there before we got the boot. The space hadn’t been touched in a while and there was a lot of water damage. We discovered that this was once a million dollar rich man’s studio that had sand in the walls, floating concrete floors, floating ceilings…everything was pretty much abandoned and ruined…until until we take over.
The guys spent nearly two years renovating the space to what it is today and cooperatively redid the floors, walls, wiring and equipment layout. Not a single 90 degree angle exists in the installation, including the windows. The concert hall has heavy arched doors for absolute soundproofing so one band can record while another practices. Earplugs are provided at the entrance, as well as a well-stocked commissary and lounge.
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passion for music
“We all have a background in music and a passion for it,” Musil said. “Phil went to audio engineering school, so he has the most experience in that kind of context. But we’ve all learned things, whether it’s taking lessons or playing in bands. We was thinking what to name the place for about two or three months… we had a whole board of names we ended up naming it around the idea that anyone who comes here is welcome and you take control rather than us taking it We want you to be here to create your vision.This place isn’t just accessible to us – let all of Milwaukee have it.
Hoge added, “Matt and I work as lighting engineers for a production company, and this is our passion project. In addition to disc groups, we are trying to do our own version of KEXP style video sessions. We have a vast knowledge of the trickery of projection mapping and ceiling lights that we can trigger for different things, so if you came to be not only recorded but filmed, the play would play with you as it went.
Another notable feature of the studio is the large control room mural, which Hess created himself. He explained, “It took me about two months; I was coming five days a week and it kind of just happened on its own. I mean it’s nine feet by 38 feet so it was super intimidating to even get close to it. I gave myself the color scheme and wanted it to be different everywhere you look because of the shape of the wall. The mural actually changes colors in a dark room. You just have to come see it in person. I’m really happy with how it went; I think all my clothes at that time were painted (laughs).
They operate on a 24-hour work schedule rather than having set times to accommodate performers day and night. They recorded their first band in February and are now officially open for business. They are also zoned for live shows; their launch show was last month and they have another next month.
“It’s just big enough to do this DIY-style punk show,” Hoge said. “The first one went really well and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
To get in touch, visit the Noise Together website.