Tony Maserati & Bedrock.LA Teaming Up To Build Modern Day Brill Building

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Bedrock.LA – the popular rehearsal and recording studio facility in Echo Park – has a new Brill Building-style studio complex in the works in L.A.’s K-Town. In an announcement made earlier this week, Bedrock has partnered with Grammy-winning mixer Tony Maserati and a real estate development company called Standard Oil Investment Group to configure about 30,000 square feet of modern music production and business spaces – designed for long-term lease by resident music professionals, and for shorter-term rentals as well.

“The whole thing – from the success of Bedrock’s original location to this new building – has been demand-based,” Bedrock co-founder KamranV tells us. “We’ve found that there are two things people really seem to need: 1) an inexpensive rehearsal room [Bedrock is booked out of 100 such rooms!] and 2) professional writing/production rooms. It can be very expensive to rent out a room at one of the larger commercial studios, and cost-prohibitive to build out your own studio.”

Case in point, Maserati had spent the better part of the last three years looking for new studio digs – space that would not only house his own studio, but studios for Mirrorball Entertainment, the production/publishing company he co-founded with producer Stefan Skarbek (Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen).

“Most of the spaces we were seeing were such large builds, or old builds, that they just didn’t make sense,” Maserati describes. “At one location there was a great mix room for me, but then the tracking room attached to it was basically the size of a basketball court. No matter how we sliced it, we’d be paying rent on space we didn’t need.”

Maybe the only thing inspiring about his search was the realization of an opportunity – if he was having trouble finding space, others were as well. So began Maserati’s journey to find not only the ideal location, but also the ideal room design. This will all culminate with the opening of the new Bedrock complex, which will house Maserati’s first studio “modules” based on designs he developed with studio designer and acoustician, Martin Pilchner.

“Martin and I have been working on these ideas for a few years now,” Maserati notes, “And we’ve been looking around for the right partner, the right space and financing to do it.”

Pictured at the 50,000 sq.ft. building to house the new music studio center are (L-R) renowned producer/engineer Tony Maserati, studio designer Vincent van Haaff, Bedrock.LA co-founder KamranV, Standard Oil’s CEO Marc Bohbot and COO Michael Bitton. Photo by David Goggin

Pictured at the site of the new music complex are (l-r): Tony Maserati, Vincent van Haaff, KamranV, Standard Oil’s CEO Marc Bohbot & COO Michael Bitton. Photo by David Goggin

With Standard Oil’s 50,000 sq. ft. building, Bedrock and Maserati have an opportunity to build out a first-of-its-kind music complex, which will in fact be significantly modular, featuring a combination of the Maserati/Pilchner pre-fab units along with Vincent van Haaff-designed studios, office spaces and lounges.

Mirrorball will have seven identical (19’ x 22’-ish) modules on the building’s ground floor, which will also feature lounge space, coffee bar, and VIP entrance.

“The modules are what I believe to be the next thing for studio design,” Maserati says. “The idea that you’ll be able purchase a module that has a great sound, that’s independent of the building that it’s in, that can be dismantled and moved, or dismantled and sold, has never been done.”

It’s not inexpensive to fabricate one of these modules, but Maserati points out all the gains in value when you consider its predictable acoustic quality and build-time, nevermind the fact that you can take it with you.

“It costs the same as a traditional build,” he allows, “But with a traditional build, you really have no idea whether it’s going to sound good. In this scenario, you can come to Bedrock, work in the room and say ‘I want this’ and when it’s built for you, it will sound exactly the same.”

Meanwhile, downstairs, the Bedrock group expects to build another approximately 15 music production spaces, including space built-out more traditionally to van Haaff’s designs, and at least one large tracking room that can be shared.

One of the floors in the building is currently occupied with fashion designers and artists, and the rest of the building can be similarly appointed for music businesses.

“Mark [Bohbot, CEO of Standard Oil] and I talked about doing this ‘modern Brill Building’ concept,” Maserati explains, “where we get a bunch of people in the building – not only the producer/engineers and writers’ studios, but also space for our audio hardware and software manufacturer partners to demo gear, and office space on the fourth floor for music managers and producer managers, and publishers.”

All this to say…is anyone looking for a room?

“Because we’re early in the construction process, we’ll be able to tailor the rooms to some extent,” says KamranV. “We have a certain threshold of what the rooms are going to be like in the basement, but we already have some folks who want to add more, or expand the configuration, and it costs a lot less to do that during the construction phase than later.”

The icing on the cake here for the tenants is that Bedrock will handle the rental business on all the rooms. So Maserati’s Mirrorball studios – which will be utilized by not only he and Skarbek, but Mirrorball mixer/producers like Jonnie “Most” Davis and Ron Entwistle, artists like LP, Cody Longo and Shiny Toy Guns, and writers like Ariel Levitan and Lucian Piane – will also be available for rent…when they’re available. This, too, factors into the module design.

“The modules will be big enough to house, for example for Stefan Skarbeck – his upright piano, Hammond and Leslie, drum kit, and his recording rig – so he’ll be able to do his writing sessions and pre-production right in that room, and it will sound every bit as good as my room, because it will be identical. And then in the event that Stefan goes out of town, Kamran can book the space out as a writing room, or as a mix room, or a mastering room. Or, anything.”

Maserati – who this week has a #1 hit with Pink “Just Give Me A Reason” and a gainer in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (feat. Pharrell and T.I.) – will take two of the rooms himself. “But I won’t need them 365 days a year,” he says. “We’ll be renters here, essentially. Our team will rent our spaces, and Kamron will manage that rental business, and I will run Mirrorball as my production company.”

Tech-wise, Mirrorball’s rooms will be consistent and streamlined – much like their current DAW-based rooms are configured in North Hollywood: computer, DAC, a nice set of speakers and the hardware essentials. The rooms are already optimized for collaboration, but within Bedrock, they’ll also be optimized for maximum use.

“It’s a great environment when John, one of our writer/producers, can come into my room to play me music, and just bring his laptop in, connect it to my DAC and push play on his session,” he describes. “So I can give him comments, which he can then edit right there on the spot. We can work through ideas right in my room. And because we’re all using similar DACs and speaker setups, we can go between rooms, use each other’s rooms, or have Kamran rent out our rooms.”

Pretty nifty.

From Bedrock’s perspective, Mirrorball are the founding tenants. And they’ll be looking for others – to build out a rich and dynamic environment. A modern day Brill Building.

“The success of Bedrock has had very little to do with us,” KamranV assures. “It’s much more about the community. And we’re looking to do the same thing here, with the recording studios.”

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