It’s another Monday night at Greyskied Studios, and a band is working out the kinks in a small recording studio, trying to refine a tune to perfection.
It would be nothing unusual for the recording studio, tucked away in a corner of the Mid-Atlantic Corporate Center, where bands come and go all the time, if not for the fact the kid rocking out on bass is 12, one of many teens who pass through the door as part of a partnership with The Laboratory in Deptford.
The studio’s owner, Doug Taylor, hosts the kids’ rehearsals with an eye toward giving them a chance at finding out what performing is all about.
The program tutors young musicians, but is also responsible for bringing kids together as a band. They practice for every Monday for four months with teachers from The Laboratory at Greyskied, and eventually finish off with a performance at The Dobbs in Philadelphia.
It’s a great start, though Taylor laments the lack of options for the young up-and-comers.
“The problem is there are no all-age venues,” said Taylor.
But that doesn’t stop Taylor from nurturing those bands, as he’s done with bands of all ages for the past nine years.
It’s no monster studio, but Taylor has spent those years building and perfecting Greyskied, which hosts two rehearsal spaces and a recording studio—all in an innocuous beige building off Imperial Way. Nearly everything in the studio has his fingerprints on it.
“Everything you didn’t need a license for, I did myself,” said Taylor.
Music has been a lifelong passion for the studio owner—he played in bands starting at age 13, finally setting aside his playing days at age 29 to get into the technical side of music and focus on production.
That led him to establish Greyskied, where he’s put together a digital recording system and can outfit bands with microphones and amplifiers, and even some instruments when needed.
From a rough edit to final cut, Taylor blends sound and takes together to get the perfect mix.
Yet he provides more then just a recording studio and rehearsal rooms for young musicians—he’s also never shy to give his input and advice.
Bands that are use to performing live don’t always understand the intricacies of recording, Taylor said, which is most often the issue with vocalists who are thrown off by hearing their own voice in headphones while singing.
“It’s a different animal,” said Taylor.
Taylor doesn’t stop with recording advice, though—newer bands will call him up and ask for his advice on marketing bands, something Taylor has much experience in his own life.
He even offers graphic design and jacket work for the CDs he records, and even offers help to bands who are trying to get their music on ITunes.
“I wish I had me around when I was 18 or 20,” said Taylor, given there are plenty of unknowns for a new band.
There’s no telling who will walk in the studio’s front door, either, and no telling who will surprise him. Taylor said he’s been stunned at the ability of teens, as with one band that rolled in one night to record—though every band is different, he was particularly impressed with their polish at a young age.
And Taylor’s endeavors don’t stop with the studio—he’s recently launched Light My Event, a lighting and drapery service he conceived after working side gigs at other lighting companies over the years.
“I’m bringing what I know from concert and theater production to weddings,” said Taylor.
After building a successful repertoire with wedding planners and venues, Taylor only sees his new business going up and onward. Yet, with whatever comes his way, Taylor said the studio will be around as long as there are bands who want to record—he could never lose his love of music.