Recording studio

New Haven freelance musician opened recording studio and started band during COVID


New Haven-based indie rock musician, songwriter and sound engineer Sam Carlson has found a silver lining during COVID-19 quarantine.

When tour plans with his newly released album came to an abrupt halt last April due to the pandemic’s ban on live concerts, Carlson decided to make the most of the situation. He has already hired three musicians to accompany him on stage for the tour, and at the same time, he and a partner have opened a recording studio in downtown New Haven.

“We had booked exit shows, and all of them were gone when COVID happened,” Carlson said in a recent interview. “We had this studio that had just opened and we couldn’t really book anything there. I had a few other songs that I wrote after the album ended, so I was like, ‘Why don’t we just record them in the studio right away. We’ll move on, if we can’t play shows. It’s like keeping the ball in the air.

Carlson’s backing group quickly became his comrades in a new ensemble called The Tines, with Sean Koravo on bass, J Thompson on drums, and Ilya Gitelman on lead guitar, Carlson singing vocals and playing rhythm guitar. Tines’ debut recording, “The Enemy Is Listening,” was recorded during the pandemic at Sans Serif Recording, the newly opened studio, and was released last October as a five-song EP on Free as Birds Records. .

Carlson explained that the recording process “was completely different from how a band normally starts out. Usually, you all get together, create song workshops, and then play shows where you can test the songs out in front of an audience. You can adjust them as you go. It was the complete opposite of that.

The songwriter explained that he first recorded voice and guitar demos and then the other musicians came to the studio individually to add whatever they heard to the songs. “It was the first thought, the best thought. Whatever you think the party should be, do it, ”he said. “And for me, I think it captures an excitement about it, where whatever the first thing that got someone excited was what ended up on record. When I listen to it again, I can hear it more as a listener than as the person who did it, because I haven’t had a chance to overwork it.

Look for The Tines which will be performing at Café Nine on August 28th. The band are now working on a new Sans Serif record in a more conventional way. “Everyone is in the same room at the same time,” he says. “We recorded live, the overdubs are minimal and we all record at the same time in the same room.”

The Tines is one of the many New Haven bands that Carlson works with. He’s booked shows and bartending at Café Nine, worked in marketing and box office at the Fairfield Theater Company, sang and played drums in Ports of Spain, and performed solo as SG Carlson.

When he was part of the alternative country group The Proud Flesh, Carlson explored the idea of ​​opening a studio in New Haven with another member of this group, Patrick Dalton, who is also an experienced sound and recording engineer. .

“We both made a lot of records for local artists. If I couldn’t, Pat was. We thought that if we both opened up a place together, we would probably be able to capture that market, pool our resources and create a good workspace, ”he said.

They signed the lease for the Sans Serif Recording location at 770 Chapel Street on March 1, 2020. “It was probably the least a good time to start a lease anywhere in the last hundred,” lamented Carlson. , but he’s happy with the decision. “It took forever to find a place that was even interested in a recording studio in New Haven. But it’s great to be right in the city center. Our owners are big supporters of the arts.

Carlson is also optimistic about the local music scene of which he is an integral part. “New Haven has a truly incredible entertainment infrastructure that is a testament to the number of quality performers and the number of interested audience members in the city. It wasn’t really hard to find good artists that we wanted to work with and who wanted to work with us, especially since we play in bands and work in venues.

Some of the many New Haven bands recorded on Sans Serif include punk band Killer Kin, rhythm & blues singer STOUT, indie rockers Youth XL, and rapper Ceschi.

Carlson, a Southern Connecticut State University graduate who majored in English literature, also has musical genes. His father, Rob Carlson, is a well-known musician, songwriter, voiceover and sound engineer. The elder Carlson was part of the acclaimed music trio Modern Man and pursues a successful solo career. He also released a new album and his son plays drums on all of the tracks.


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