Multi-instrumentalist and producer Chris Ball has transformed what was once a decrepit cannabis grow shed in Greenfield into a state-of-the-art music studio that brings together past and present.
Tucked away behind his suburban home, Ball’s DIY project could pass for your everyday garage from the outside. Upon entering, however, perceptions of the mundane fade. A first glance leads the way as a poster of Marvin Gaye, surrounded by brightly colored walls and other decor, greets you across the room. Further wandering of the discerning eye reveals that space belongs to more than just a hobbyist. Modern recording technology contrasts with musical relics, like the studio’s Hammond organ.
Soon, Ball said, the Fun Room Studio will become a hub to create alongside his many collaborators and a place where new faces will learn under his wing.
Ball, who lived in Northampton before moving to Greenfield in April, built his home studio largely with furniture and equipment from previous studios.
“Most of the gear here was made before I was born,” he said of his new space. “Things got better then, and that old soul stuff…that’s how they made that sound.”
In the mid-2010s, he had rehearsed and recorded with reggae band Loose Caboose in Whately’s Caboose 2 Zion, a studio under a dog boarding house, before eventually being kicked out. Ball then began renting a studio in Holyoke, which became a sanctuary for him during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, I was going there every day to do stuff,” Ball said.
Ball recounted that the experience became unpleasant as messy and careless musicians ruined the state of the space. By the time he got fed up, Ball had gathered enough material to start a new chapter, having also recently purchased a studio rig from a friend moving to Montana.
“He was just selling the whole thing, and I was like, ‘Boom!'” Ball said.
Ball said he was drawn to the Greenfield property both for financial reasons and for his preference for a studio separate from his home. The setup, however, was far from perfect.
“When we moved here it was a really gross workshop where a guy was growing weed in a really gross room,” Ball said. “It was unfinished drywall, a rough ceiling, mold and way too many windows.”
As a good music producer does so well, Ball was determined to make something out of nothing. With the help of friends and family, Ball executed a complete renovation, going so far as to completely cover the walls and floor with new colorful fixtures. He also paid special attention to priming the room for sound insulation, lining the studio with decor and soundproofing material to reduce echo. The pinnacle of Ball’s ingenuity comes in the form of “The Juggernaut”, a makeshift block of padding the size of a doorway that plugs an unused doorway.
Even with all the work he’s done and the studio is now up and running, Ball isn’t quite ready to say the studio is complete.
“It’s never really over,” he said.
Ball’s intention for the foreseeable future of the studio is to keep access “somewhere in the middle” of public and private. Currently, much of his musical focus is spent playing bass for The Mary Jane Jones, an eight-member vintage soul band, and performing at local breweries. On his way to a new chapter where he finally has his own space, Ball’s priority is to focus on himself.
“I kind of want to get into a flow where ‘me’ is the thing,” he said.
More information about Chris Ball and Fun Room Studio can be found at chrisballmusic.com.
Reaching Julian Mendoza
at 413-772-0261 ext. 261 or [email protected]