Two former Groove Tunes clients have made it onto the television vocal competition show “The Voice”. This week Aaron Gibson won his first head-to-head competition. He will now continue working with Miley Cyrus in the weeks to come. Congratulations Aaron!
"Recording Your Music!" A 5-Part Series Of Articles Published On Open Mic Atlanta's Website, Written By Groove Tunes Studios' Owner, Eric Tunison
Recording Your Music!
By Eric Tunison, Owner, Groove Tunes Studios
Part 1: Why Record?
Every performing musician is looking for effective ways to market themselves. If you are actively seeking gigging venues around town, you need a calling card. You have to sell yourself to club owners and show them how great you are. They’re going to want to meet you, but they’re not going to ask you for an on-the-spot live audition. They’re going to ask you for a pre-recorded demo CD. Yep, your best chance to land that gig is to have a killer sounding demo CD ready to give out the instant someone asks for it. And if you’ve recorded your demo at a professional recording studio you’ll have a huge competitive edge over 95% of the competition who bring in amateurish mixes created in their bedrooms. Bottom line, if you’re serious about selling yourself, you will need a professionally recorded demo.
Legacy: If it wasn’t recorded, it never existed!
Even if you don’t plan to gig out there are other reasons why you should record your music. For one, your music and your sound is your legacy. We must all face it, we’re not going to live forever. A recording is a “record” of your talent. It’s a living, tangible, and timeless document of who you were and what you were able to do. Consider if Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix hadn’t recorded their works when they were in their early twenties. Nobody except their family and a few friends would remember them today. What would a would-be-author be if he never bothered to write down his thoughts? What if a visually creative artist never purchased a camera, or a paint brush and easel? Recorded sound is the legacy of all musicians. Without a sound recording your musical existence is only hearsay. It’s as if it never existed. Don’t let the music die with you.
You owe it to yourself!
Recordings that are produced professionally can make you sound amazing, as good as you’ve ever sounded. Your professional recording is something to be proud of, something that you will want to show off and share with loved ones. And if you’re really good, your recordings can lead to financial gain. The only downsides to recording are the time and cost it takes to do it. But compared to all the time and treasure you've expended during your lifetime perfecting your craft and buying your instruments, the additional cost of a professional recording is a very small investment, and one that can reap emotional – if not financial – rewards.
Part 2: Preparing for your session
Selecting a studio that’s right for you.
Now that you’ve decided to have a professional recording made you will need to decide where to go to get it done. Most musicians choose studios located close to their homes. Atlanta residents have a multitude of choices. A search for “Recording Studios” in the greater Atlanta area on www.kudzu.com delivers over 300 hits! You can enter your zip code on this site and then search “by Distance” from your home. Better yet, sort the list “by Rating”, find the highest rated studios close to your home, and go from there. Call a few studios and talk to their owner or chief engineer about your project and try to get a feel for whether you think there’s a fit. Ask what types of music the studio specializes in. The engineer should know and understand your music just as much as he knows and understands how his studio works.
These days 99% of all music is recorded digitally – gone are the days of reel-to-reel analog tape decks. You should ask the studio if they use the digital ProTools HD recording system, the industry standard, so your work will be transferable between studios all over the world. Avoid falling into the trap of asking about costs until after you have met with your prospective engineer and toured the facility in person. Different projects can have different rates. You should have an overall budget in mind but try to remain flexible on pricing as each situation is different. Your engineer should be able to provide an overall cost estimate after you’ve met with him. Be prepared to answer basic questions that your engineer may have to help him estimate the costs, including: What Genre Is Your Music, How Many Songs Will You Be Recording, How Many Band Members Are There, What Instruments Will Be Recorded, Approximately How Many Tracks per Song are Expected, How Many Vocals and Backup Vocals per Song, and Will You Need the Studio to Provide Any Session Musicians? Groove Tunes Studios is one of the studios that many musicians in the greater Atlanta area have come to know and trust. Find out more at www.groovetunes.com or call Eric Tunison at 770-842-5511.
Once you’ve selected your studio and have scheduled a recording date you will need to prepare for your session. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get ready for your big day:
- If possible, record your songs during live gigs or at rehearsals, and then listen to them. Determine whether there are weak spots in the song or performance and fix those before your session date.
- Have all the instrumental and vocal parts already worked out, and know your guitar solos!
- Check with the studio in advance about guitar amps or other equipment you may be using.
- Practice to a click track or metronome during pre-production rehearsals! Each musician should practice alone to the click, and then together as a group. Most rock and pop music is recorded one track at a time, one instrument at a time, so know how to play your parts to the click track. Being able to do just this much will save you time and money on your project. You should be able to play all your parts exactly the same way, every time.
- Rehearse more songs than you plan to record. There might be a technical or performance problem with a particular song when you arrive at the studio, so it’s always a good idea to have a backup song or two.
- Change your guitar strings two or three days before the session. It’s best if they are just a few days old and not so new that they are still stretching out.
- Prepare lead sheets for the songs you plan to record. Lead sheets are helpful to the engineer and musicians and they make your sessions go smoother. Lead sheets are typed pages containing all the song lyrics with the chords typed or written above the words where each chord changes. Lead sheets should also notate the number of measures and chords for intros, instrumental solos, and other instrumental portions. The lead sheet is the road map for the recording session.
- Take care of your body before your recording sessions. Eat well, get enough sleep, and keep your ears rested.
Part 3: Your day at the studio
Get off to a good start!
Now that you’ve done your homework as outlined in the previous article, here is your checklist for the day of your session:
- Take to your session whatever snacks or drinks you may want. Vocalists should bring their own tea or throat lozenges. Have some cash on hand in case someone wants to run out to buy food.
- Arrive at the studio on time. The recording studio clock starts at the time of the booking, not when the musicians arrive.
- Do not bring guests to your session. Guests will distract you and the engineer, disrupt and delay the recording process, and they may interfere with your opinion of how the music should sound.
- Bring your own instruments (the portable ones), the ones you are most used to playing. Unfamiliar instruments can cause surprises, and surprises can cause problems.
- Bring your own guitar amp if it has the sound you want. Some studios may have their own studio amps that you can use. (Ask beforehand about them.) Also, most studios record the bass guitar “direct” into their console, so a bass amp is usually not required.
- Bring your own guitar pedals and effects, and extra guitar strings and picks. If your electric guitar uses a battery for an active pickup, bring an extra new battery.
- Bring a guitar tuner. Make sure all guitarists and the bass guitarist use the same tuner during the session. Check tuning often, and between takes.
- The drummer may want to bring parts of his kit (snare, cymbals, kick pedal) but it is not always necessary. Check with your studio beforehand. All drum kit change-outs are usually “on the clock”, so it’s best to keep these to a minimum. The drummer should always bring his own sticks.
- Bring several copies of the lead sheets (!), two for the studio engineers, plus extra copies for the musicians and vocalists. Everyone will want to make their own marks on their own copies.
A recording project is a process consisting of three main steps: recording, editing, and mixing. Mastering is an optional fourth step that we’ll discuss in Part 5. On the day of your recording session your engineer will review the recording plan with you before you start. A typical recording sequence for a full-band song is: Determine the proper tempo and assign that to a click track (engineer does this), record a “guide” rhythm guitar track, record a “guide” vocal track, then record: drums, bass guitar, guitars, other instruments, lead vocal, backup vocals, miscellaneous “fills” and “pads”, and additional percussion. Note: The “guide” tracks are thrown away at the end, or at least not used in the final mix.
If you are planning to record more than one song start with the song that’s the least complicated – the one that’s the easiest to play or sing, and/or the shortest song. Once you have recorded your first song you’ll be more familiar with the process, and the rest of your songs will go more smoothly.
You will be playing and singing your parts several times while the engineer records you. It is common for there to be multiple “takes” of each part. If you make a mistake while recording don’t stop unless the engineer stops you. The engineer can piece together portions of different takes during the editing process. He will be listening to all the takes as they are being performed and recorded, and he will decide if he has enough material to work with. Your engineer should be trained in music and sound reproduction, so be open to his gentle coaching during your sessions.
Keep in mind what the main focus of your music is. If it’s the vocals, plan to spend more time on them. If it’s the lead guitar, plan to spend time perfecting them, etc.
Make the studio a comfortable and relaxing place. Stay loose and have fun! If you wish to drink alcoholic beverages during your session keep the number to a reasonable level (usually just one drink!) Alcohol makes you think you are playing better, but the reality is often different. The recording never lies.
Know when to quit for the day. If you’re tired, it will show in the recording.
Part 4: Editing and Mixing
We’ve Only Just Begun.
Let’s say you’ve been in the studio for a day of recording and you’re packing up your gear. You’ve laid down tracks for guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussion, and/or vocals for your songs. You ask the engineer to play back a rough mix of what you’ve done. You’re proud of your work and you go home exhausted but exhilarated. Congratulations, you have completed the recording portion of the process. But it’s not over yet; the engineer’s work is far from finished. He’ll be spending many more hours refining your tracks and making them special.
The next step in the process is editing. Remember all those “takes” you recorded? Your engineer will be listening carefully to all those takes again and he’ll locate and assemble all the best parts. He will cut, copy, and paste, make timing alignments, edit out unwanted noises, and perform pitch corrections if necessary. This process can be likened to the editing process of movie production, where much of the filmed (recorded) action is left “on the cutting room floor”. In the final song edits, a high percentage of what was recorded is not used, and much of what is used is edited and cleaned up prior to final mixing. The editing process often takes as long as all the time spent on recording, and sometimes more.
Mixing is the next step, and in many cases, the final step in the process. Once the engineer has finished editing all the tracks, getting everything cleaned up and on the beat (thanks to that click track), it’s time to decide how the final two-track stereo mix will sound. The mixing process is where art-meets-science, and it’s an activity that the engineer performs on his own. Starting with perhaps dozens of tracks of recorded and edited material, the engineer’s challenge now is to decide how to blend all these sounds into a pleasant stereo image that flows properly throughout the entire song. The engineer (or producer) decides the relative volume of each track through the entire song, where each instrument will sit across the stereo left-right panorama, how to equalize (EQ) the treble and bass of each track, whether compression or limiting are applied and if so how much, and when to add sonic sweeteners such as delays, reverb, and other special effects. Mixing can take anywhere from two to six hours or more per song, depending on the complexity of the music and the overall project budget. A good engineer will typically work on a mix for a few hours in order to get a decent mix, then leave the project alone for a day, then come back later with fresh ears and take the mix to the next level of perfection. (With the Pro Tools digital recording system all mix settings can be saved and called back up automatically at a later date.) This procedure can be repeated until the engineer feels good about his mixes and is ready to present his creations for you.
Part 5: The final steps
Critiquing and Tweaking.
When your engineer is finished with your mixes he will invite you back to the studio to listen to his creations. This is one of the most exciting parts of the entire process. You will not believe how great you sound! Your engineer will then give you a CD of your mixes to take home to listen to. It’s a good idea to live with your mixes for several days and to listen to them on various playback systems, including your car stereo and home stereo. Listen through good quality headphones if you can as this is an excellent way to hear all the intricacies and detail inside of the mixes. For best quality listening be sure to listen to the mixes on CD players rather than on inferior sounding mp3 devices.
In a few days you will have formed some opinions about the mixes. Make a list of the items that bother you. Typical items might be “I want the vocals a bit louder on the last line of the first chorus”, or, “I want less reverb on the electric guitar”, etc. These sorts of comments are common. Then call your engineer and schedule a day and time for a mix “tweaking” session. While you are physically present at the studio, the engineer will make the changes you are requesting to your satisfaction. Once the tweaking is finished, you will have “final mixes”!
Once the final mixes are done, your work with the recording studio in complete, with one possible exception. You may want to get your songs mastered. Mastering is a process of adding more compression and fine-tuning the equalization (EQ) on the final mix. Mastering does not change the mix; it merely refines the overall sound. If you are just recording a demo and do not expect to market your music for sale then mastering may not be necessary. However, if you do plan to duplicate your songs for wide distribution or sale, or if you ever plan to have your music played on the radio, you should get your songs mastered. Mastering is best performed by a mastering engineer who is separate from and not affiliated with the studio that recorded and mixed your songs. The main benefit of having someone other than your recording engineer perform the mastering is that it allows for a second set of fresh and unbiased ears to listen to and fine tune the overall sound. Mastering is likened to adding polish to a piece of furniture that you have just constructed. It’s a fairly quick and inexpensive process, but it’s a step you wouldn’t skip if you’re thinking about selling your product. The mastering process is highly specialized, so you want somebody who’s been doing it a long time. One of the most reputable mastering engineers in Atlanta is Rodney Mills at Rodney Mills Masterhouse, www.rodneymills.com. Your recording studio engineer will first prepare a data CD of your final mixes, which are used by the mastering engineer to master your songs. The mastering engineer’s deliverable to you will be a “master” audio CD of your music, suitable for duplication.
If you’re planning to make several copies of your CD then you will need to find a duplication house such as Discmakers www.discmakers.com. Large, established duplicators like Discmakers are highly dependable. They can also help you create the graphic art design for your CD package. Keep in mind that the more copies you order the cheaper the cost per CD. Send them a copy of your master CD along with any other info you want to appear on the jacket: photos, artist names, song list, lyrics, writer’s and musician’s credits, recording studio and mastering studio credits, and special thanks or acknowledgements. They will assign a project manager to your job who will take good care of you throughout the duplication process clear up until you receive your shipment of boxes filled with all your glorious CDs. Welcome to one of the happiest days of your life!
Congratulations! The journey has ended. You are now a Recording Artist!
Please contact Eric Tunison at 770-842-5511 if you have any questions, or visit the Groove Tunes Studios’ website at www.groovetunes.com for more info about the studio.
Originally published on the Maple Street Post, the newsletter for Maple Street Guitars on September 2013
Well folks, after many years in the guitar business, I must say that it is a rare guitar that truly ‘wows’ me, particularly from the standpoint of aesthetics. As many of our customers know, I always prioritize a guitar’s sound and feel over its looks, as I am principally interested in its performance as an instrument. However, I am also fond of referring to guitars as “functional art,” given that they are the product of great craftsmanship and their ability to inspire us through the beautiful tones they create. That all said, to encounter a tasteful marriage of functional art and visual art is exceedingly rare, and yet a few months ago just such a guitar came into our store! It raised our eyebrows, it lifted our spirits, and we knew instantly that it was definitely something that all of our friends and fellow guitar fans would appreciate.
The “Beatles Guitar,” as it came to be known in our shop, is owned by our customer, Eric Tunison, a life-long recreational guitarist and owner of Groove Tunes Studios in Alpharetta, GA. Eric commissioned the Beatles Guitar for the sole purpose of exhibiting the extraordinary pyrography of Kimmy Bess (http://kimmybessart.weebly.com/index.html). For the most part, Kimmy’s pyrography has been exhibited on guitars of humble origins (i.e., Asian imports), but Eric felt her art deserved to be presented on a distinctive guitar—a piece of functional art—where both the tone and natural appearance of the instrument would compliment the visual art. Unfortunately for Eric, coordinating this project turned out to be an arduous endeavor indeed! For Ms. Bess to do her work, she requested that the guitar body be sent to her unfinished. However, after contacting most of the major guitar companies, it was clear that none were willing to provide Eric with a partially completed guitar. (I suppose any reluctance on the part of the major companies is understandable, given their need to maintain the consistency of their brand.) Even so, Eric was determined to obtain a guitar for the project that would be an appropriate tribute to the Beatles, his favorite band.
Eric was ultimately able to find a builder willing to coordinate with Kimmy Bess by sending the guitar body to her in mid-production. After the artwork was complete, the guitar body was returned to the builder, who then finished the instrument in such a way as to highlight the pyrography—nothing flashy, just beautiful wood and striking imagery. Simply put, the result is stunning! Eric’s new guitar features: a European spruce top, lava-like quilted Sapele back and sides complimented by a beautiful dark edgeburst, an abalone rosette, Brazilian rosewood binding (including the soundhole) and headstock veneer, a Madagascar rosewood fingerboard, and a Honduran mahogany neck with a carve based on Eric’s ’63 Stratocaster. Eric brought his “Beatles Guitar” by our repair shop to have some elements of the playability refined by our resident repairman and luthier, Jeff Henry, a fellow Beatles geek (there are many among us!). After all was said and done, the Beatles Guitar was playing great and ready to channel the Fab Four for many years to come. Thank you Eric for bringing us such a wonderful conversation piece!
by Brandon Crocker / The Sound Board
Local Artists Have A Friend On The North Side
by Brandon Crocker / The Sound Board
What if you're an up and coming musician who wants to go pro? What do you do?
If you're looking for a job, you need a resume.
If you're an aspiring musician, you need a "demo."
Most places won't have live auditions available. Instead, they will want to listen to your music to make sure that you are a right fit for their venue. And whether you have an actual physical demo, or your recordings are on your website, you will need to have your music available the instant someone asks for it. And if you have your demo professionally recorded, you will have a significant advantage over 95 percent of the competition out there.
This is where "Groove Tunes Studios" comes in to play.
Alpharetta's Groove Tunes Studios was founded in 2005 by recording artist and producer Eric Tunison, a music aficionado whose involvement dates back to the '60's.
Back in the day Tunison played lead guitar and sang lead vocals for "The Classics", a British surf-rock band.
THE "ENGINEER" OF RECORDING
Upon graduating from the University of Washington with an engineering degree, Tunison taught himself to play bass guitar, piano and drums. Before long he was filling reels of self-produced songs and was appointed musical director for a musical-comedy group called, "The Twilight Zone Players." He also operated private analog recording studios in Tacoma and Federal Way, Washington, all while managing many engineering projects for large corporations to support his love of music.
In 1991, Tunison moved to Alpharetta were he designed and built his studio, working with the builder to ensure the studio design details were properly implemented.
Fourteen years later, in 2005, "Groove Tunes Studios" was officially born along with its most significant upgrade to date, "Pro Tools." The recording gear at Groove Tunes Studios utilizes the recording industry standard, 192- track, Pro-Tools HD Accel-3 digital recording system. 192 tracks and great sound! Since the studio's inception, the former engineer has helped countless artists record quality demos.
THE BIG SEVEN
For any artist who is going to start recording on their first demo, here are the seven most important tips from Eric on how to be properly prepared before going into a recording session.
- Record your songs during live gigs or at rehearsals, then listen to them. Correct weak spots before your session date.
- Have all the instrumental and vocal parts already worked out, and rehearse your guitar solos!
- Check with the studio in advance about equipment you may be using.
- Practice to a click track or metronome during rehearsals! Most rock and pop music is recorded one track at a time, one instrument at a time, so know how to play your parts to the click track.
- Rehearse more songs than you plan to record. There might be a technical or performance problem with a particular song, so it’s always a good idea to have a backup song or two.
- Prepare lead sheets for the songs you plan to record. Lead sheets will make your sessions go smoother.
- Take care of your body before your recording sessions. Eat well, get enough sleep, and keep your ears rested.
Groove Tunes Studios: Helping Musicians Sound Their Best
"Groove Tunes Studios is a state-of-the-art recording studio located in Alpharetta, owned and operated by Eric Tunison. The studio is equipped with the top-of-the-line Pro Tools HD digital recording system along with high quality microphones and a host of other studio equipment. I visited with Eric last week and had the pleasure of being wowed by his facility. On the day of our interview there was a TV pilot video shoot taking place, but in between cameras rolling I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric for a chat.
Steven Ming: Eric, this place is amazing! How did Groove Tunes get its start and what is your role in all of this?
Eric Tunison: Hey Steve, good to see you. I don’t usually have video cameras in the studio so today is a bit out of the ordinary. As far as the studio goes, you might say it sort of evolved from a life long association with and love for music. My role is I own and operate the business.
SM: So you are the studio owner and the chief engineer. Are you also a musician?
ET: Yep. I’ve been involved with music and sound recording since high school, which was a very long time ago for me! I started out playing lead guitar and singing vocals for a California rock band in the ‘60’s called The Classics. We cut some records in Los Angeles and I caught the recording bug then. When the band dissolved I moved to Seattle to attend college and study engineering. It was while I was in Seattle that I bought a multi-track tape recorder and started learning how to play all the parts of songs I liked, you know, all the guitar parts, bass guitar, keyboards, drums, vocals – you name it. I was able to put all this to good use when I became the musical director for a musical/comedy troupe in Tacoma, Washington, called The Twilight Zone Players. I played and recorded all the musical parts for all the skits and parodies written for these crazy funny people. It was a gas.
SM: So I imagine having that sort of musical background helps you work with musicians in the studio.
ET: Most definitely. Having played many of the instruments myself helps me understand where they’re going with their parts and where those parts need to go in the song mix. And because I have an understanding of music theory I can assist with an arrangement if needed, or help a vocalist find a harmony. Being a recording engineer is not all technical stuff, much of it is musical."
Quiet street home to recording studio
Lifelong hobby becomes career
"...Eric Tunison's basement has ceilings taller than most vaulted ceilings in North Fulton luxury homes, but his builder didn't make a mistake. That's the home of Groove Tunes Studios, his recording studio business.
Tunison has been recording music since his parents bought him his first tape recorder while he was in high school. Until two years ago, it was a hobby in which he invested as much time and money as many professional studios.
He worked as a project manager, which took him all over the country on different contracts. When a project that kept him in Savannah most days over a two-year period ended, he looked for something to do close to home without all the travel.
That's when it occurred to him, why not finally make his lifelong hobby into a career..."
Catering to serious musicians
Music makers book blocks of recording time
"...Musicians who are serious about recording get down to business at a recording studio – something Eric Tunison encourages with his business model.
Don't ask for hourly rates if you want to tackle this kind of project. Tunison offers block rates that are much cheaper than the rates charged at downtown recording studios. With 50 percent down, the musician essentially books the studio in advance. Even his maximum hourly rates are no worse than the lowest rates at the high-end Atlanta studios. And compared to some of the dungy, ill-equipped basement studios he's seen, Tunison said his rates are very reasonable.
His business model is for clients to pre-purchase at a block rate.
"That tells me they're serious," he said. "I block my time for them and I don't book anyone else. I like it because it makes them commit." .."
Eric Tunison's Groove Tunes
As this special edition of Mix focuses on health and well-being, it's worth noting that sometimes the best way to feel good inside your own skin is to use your musical/technical resources to help others.
Case in point: Eric Tunison is an engineer/producer/project studio owner of Groove Tunes, a facility he designed and built from the ground up to his own high standards when he moved from Seattle to Alpharetta, Ga., in the early '90s. Groove Tunes began as a part-time enterprise — a side interest — but a few years ago, Tunison decided he had made enough cash doing his day-job as a project manager to upgrade his studio from Tascam 8-track analog to Pro Tools 7.3/HD Accel and make the leap to full-time studio owner/operator. His facility also includes a balanced selection of mics from Neumann, Soundelux, Royer, AKG, Sennheiser, Shure and Beyerdynamic; preamps from Focusrite, PreSonus, Groove Tubes and others; a large collection of outboard gear and plug-ins; and JBL LSR 6328P powered main monitors — more than adequate tools to serve the musicians of his small community and beyond.
Since making the change, Tunison has recorded some full-rate clients, such as CNN International writer Gustavo Gonzales, who has been making his first Latin CD at Groove Tunes, but he's also offered discounted rates to younger, local bands and charitable organizations that need studio time. For example, Tunison is affiliated with Music for Charities, where he gives highly discounted studio rates to members who donate portions of their musical downloads to charities of their choice.
“My affiliation with Open Mic Atlanta offers discounted studio rates to Open Mic performers, including some studio time give-aways to winners of Open Mic contests,” Tunison explains. “I have a similar affiliation with Gary Steffins of Gary Goodstuff, a local promoter of youth bands, by giving away studio time to Battle of the Bands contest winners and discounted studio rates to all participants.”
Recently, Tunison collaborated (again, for a fraction of his day rate) with independent artist Deborah Lanham on a CD project for a group called Kidini. “They approached me to produce a child-abduction-prevention safety-awareness album,” Tunison says. “They conduct seminars where they teach courses live to children and their parents — visiting Cub Scout meetings and things like that — and they have these cardboard cutouts they show to the children with cartoon-type characters, but they were feeling like the children needed something to take home to remember the lessons. The idea was to create a CD of original music that would not only make the lesson plans more real for the kids, but would be fun enough so that parents wouldn't mind listening to it.”
Lanham and Tunison — both multi-instrumentalists — played most of the musical parts themselves (guitars, synths, horns, percussion), though they had some help with the vocals: “Deborah sang all the lead parts, but we also had 30 children from the Christian Youth Theater of Alpharetta — aged anywhere from 5 to 15 — come into the studio to sing backup vocals on four or five of the songs. I have a very large lounge, and some generous parents came to mind the children. I could fit 10 at a time in the studio proper. I fit them all with headphones, stood them all in a row. Deborah would be in the studio with them and she'd mouth the words and hold up cue cards, and it took several takes for the kids to get the hang of it, but I comped the best takes and they sounded pretty decent.
“You just have to do what you can,” Tunison reasons. “Not everybody can afford to record in a recording studio. My rate is very low as compared to the big-time Atlanta studios, but for a lot of people, what I charge is a lot of money. I can't do these things for nothing because this is my livelihood, but at the same time, I understand there are young musicians who just can't afford it. And then, with people who are doing charitable events, I want to give them a deal, too, so they can keep doing something good. All I care about is making enough to keep paying my bills and doing work that the musicians and I can be proud of.”
Musicians can create and relax
By ANDREW B. ADLER
For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/01/07
Groove Tunes Studios
Be prepared to get blown away once the doors are opened to Alpharetta-based Groove Tunes Studios, complete with theater, lounge, control room and recording studio. It's big sound plus big comfort. Inside the lounge area, two sofas are placed parallel to one another, with one elevated slightly higher than the next, allowing recording artists the opportunity to watch a movie or catch a television show on the 106-inch screen. The audio is very distinguishable thanks to two 54-inch speakers. "Musicians can relax here until the studio becomes available," said Eric Tunison, Groove Tunes Studios' owner and founder. He built his recording studio 15 years ago, giving full attention to design, wiring and room dimensions. Musicians both seasoned and novice are eager to spend time blending their creative talents with Tunison's digital recording technology. The group Modern Logic, an up-and-coming '80s rock and roll band, spent hours recording several demo tracks. The band recently played at the Park Bench in Buckhead. Its next appearance is scheduled for Slapshots Sports Bar and Grill in Woodstock on March 10. Deborah Lanham spent months working with Tunison on a double CD set entitled "A Safe Way Home" that centers on children's abduction prevention. The CD contains original children's songs and lessons. Lanham will perform "Aha," a Christian song produced by Tunison, at the Perimeter Church Women's Retreat at Callaway Gardens in early March.
About the owner:
Heavily influenced by The Beatles, Eric Tunison was happy to display one of their recordings, part of his wall-to-wall collection of record albums that represent all musical categories. Tunison was a 15-year-old high school student living with his parents in Whittier, Calif., when The Beatles first appeared upon the music scene. "I was playing rhythm guitar for a band called 'The Classics' at the time," he said. "We were a surf music group that soon transformed into a British-type surf rock band." Before the band broke up and its members became college-bound, a 17-year-old Tunison was the group's lead guitar player and sang lead vocals. He also received his introduction to musical production while "The Classics" were recording their own original music at a Los Angeles-based recording studio. "The songs were never published, but that proved to be the beginning of my recording career," Tunison said. When Groove Tunes Studios' founder moved to Georgia because of a job offer, it was three decades later and 3,000 miles removed from his Washington state digs, where he earned an engineering degree and operated private analog recording studios. "I chose Alpharetta because there are many young, talented musicians living in north Fulton," he said.
Three years after constructing his studio within the framework of his house in Alpharetta, Tunison married his wife Kate. "She makes sure everybody knows that Groove Tunes Studios is located around back," he said. "She doesn't want clients coming through the front door."
What you can purchase:
Large amounts of studio time
Location: Alpharetta, GA 770-842-5511.
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The following is an excerpt from the July, 2006 issue of EQ Magazine, article entitled “Room With a VU” that featured Groove Tunes Studios.
“...Atlanta has numerous recording studios, but few are north of the Chattahoochee River,” says Groove Tunes figurehead Eric Tunison. “North Atlanta musicians had to drive great distances, sometimes into not-so-great parts of town, to record in a professional studio. We saw the need for a top-of-the-line studio in the north end. As a result we created what we feel is the finest and safest recording environment in North Atlanta...”