Steve and Kayla Rosas have recorded thousands of songs over the years with their Direct Resonance Recording Studio – DRS Studios, for short local musicians – but the one they celebrate on Sunday is their own sweet song of resilience, as they mark the 30th anniversary of their studio. anniversary.
To celebrate, they will host friends and well-wishers from 2-6 p.m. Sunday at The Backyard, while a selection of Waco musicians and songwriters who have worked with them perform live in what Steve considers a live playlist for studio work.
Their three decades of recording in Waco not only covered more than a generation of the Waco music scene, but the revolutionary change in the music industry caused by digitalization, a change that also shaped the business of Rosas, who almost collapsed. came to a halt two years ago when COVID-19 halted shows and group gatherings, putting most of their customers on ice.
“After COVID, I thought we weren’t going to make it,” he said. But with the courage and craftsmanship that made DRS the Little Waco Studio That Could for most of its history, the duo turned to new recording and other work to maintain their home. studio afloat at the time. After two years of shutting down many small recording operations, DRS is still in business and celebrating that fact. “We wanted to gather as many patrons as possible in one place to thank them,” he said. “Just posting something on social media didn’t seem like enough.”
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Sunday’s band lineup is fluid, but audiences can see bluegrass band Dueling Hearts, folk and international music from the Horton Duo, Common Ground rockers, country and pop singer Donna Beckham, indie rock from Tea Aguilar, Jason Fletcher’s Texas Red Dirt country, Towne Adams rock and probably more. Between acts, the Rosas will play some of the music and bands they have recorded.
Part of this eclecticism comes from Rosas’ recording philosophy: finding what makes a local band or musician distinctive, whether it’s sound or songwriting, and using recording to bring it out. . “We don’t want to do cookie-cutter stuff,” he said.
The couple met around 30 years ago when they were recording students in the commercial music program at McLennan Community College. Steve, 55, grew up with the son of Tejano musician Maurice Rosas, whose band Blue Diamonds played in West Texas in the Sweetwater area. Kayla, 53, came from a musical family near Brownwood and played bass in their bluegrass/country band.
After graduating in 1992, they began working together in a small studio then located in the Diamond Point Mall on North Valley Mills Drive. A major client, American Amicable Life Insurance Company, helped them get started by hiring them to record meetings to distribute to the company’s sales agents, Rosas said.
A turning point came two years later when heavy rain damaged the studio. Rather than continue as the studio moved, Amicable sold its investment in the studio to the Rosas, who took it over and moved to their North Waco home.
They slowly grew their business and grew, with Kayla preferring to work with live recording and Steve focusing on studio work. They acquired a mobile recording studio to complement the one at home and amassed an impressive number of clients and jobs in the decades that followed: Common Grounds (for whom Steve plays guitar), Curves International, Baylor SING and Pigskin Revue, Ted Nugent, Minister Slugger, Tonee Calhoun, Heavenly Voices Choir, Chris Low Band, Bridgett Huffhines, Ahmad Washington, Naseem Khozein, Kristen Kelly and the Modern Day Drifters, Shane Howard Band, Quietus Khan; audio for Cartoon Network’s “Surviving Nugent,” “Spirit of the Wild,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and “Squidbillies” television series; school and church concerts; UIL regional competitions; Choirs of Mary Hardin-Baylor University; and dozens of political ads and radio announcements.
Around this time, the Rosas had to keep up with improving technology and software that reduced the space and time needed to record and process audio, even as equipment costs increased. They also found their work and lower rates attracting clients not only from the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin areas, but also from Tyler, College Station, Lubbock and Abilene.
What awaits us? Keep going, Steve said. “We’ll retire when we can’t do this anymore,” he said.