WESTOVER — Blues Alley Studios has officially relocated to Westover, and its new space is equipped with everything local, regional or national musicians need to create quality sound.
“Finally, we were able to build from the ground up exactly how we wanted to design it,” said Joshua Swiger, owner of Blues Alley Studios.
Blues Alley Studios has existed in Monongalia County since 1998. The studio first opened in Suncrest before moving to Brookhaven and later to Osage. When an opportunity in Westover arose to build and design exactly what Swiger envisioned his studio to look like, he could not pass it up.
Now located on Dunkard Avenue, the studio includes a control room, large recording space and three isolation rooms. Each element of the recording space, from the thickness of each wall to the shape of each corner, was specifically designed to create the best sound.
Since Blues Alley Studios first opened its doors more than two decades ago, Swiger has worked with everyone from students in WVU’s music industry program and local musicians, to The Walt Disney Co. and well-known artists such as Steve Earle.
Using the years of experience Swiger gained from working in the field, he applied his knowledge of how to mitigate bad frequencies into the design. Swiger said smaller recording studios and home studios exist in the area, but none compare to the new studio’s size and caliber.
Along with knowing how to design a space for the best sound, Swiger also took into consideration the importance of creating a comfortable space for his clientele.
“You want it to be appealing, like someone can walk in and feel like yeah, I can work here,” Swiger said. “I’ve known musicians who have walked into multi-million dollar studios and get very intimidated by it.”
Davin Seamon, a local musician from Bridgeport, said he has had recording sessions in the studio’s previous locations, and is looking forward to trying out the new space. He said north-central West Virginia has no shortage of small or home studios, but Blue Alley Studios is one of the few built to create this level of professional-quality sound.
“All the gear in the world isn’t going to make a difference if the space that it is in isn’t engineered in a specific way to make it sound its best and also have an inviting kind of persona,” Seamon said.
COVID-19 has proven difficult for musicians and sound engineers alike, as concert venues continue to be shuttered. Swiger frequently works in the live entertainment industry, which he said has been non-existent since the start of the pandemic.
Swiger said those working in music have had to learn to adapt. One of those ways is through spending more time in recording studios.
“When musicians can’t play live, they start thinking, well, let’s record some new music, let’s do some projects we have been wanting to do and haven’t been able to do,” Swiger said.
Seamon said the music industry has also been shaped by developments in available technology and audio software through the years. He said the industry has evolved to a point where nearly anyone can make a decent-sounding record from home. However, the atmosphere created when musicians come together in a recording studio is difficult to replicate.
“What still is difficult to pull off in that environment is kind of the magic when you get a bunch of people in a room together and playing together,” Seamon said. “A facility like this really shines in being able to accommodate a group of people all working together at once to make a record.”
Those interested in using the studio or looking for more information can visit the studio’s website at www.bluesalleymusic.com