James Kelley is a musician and an engineer. He's also a madman. And ambitious to the point of delirium. And a fanatic. How else to explain his new music studio, Wire Road Studios, a 5,000-square-foot, multi-room, recording space?
The Wire Road facility celebrated its grand opening Sunday, offering tours and food and valet parking and everything. In the weeks prior to its opening, we received no less than seven phone calls/text messages/emails about the place. This is a place that will eventually register in Houston as the place to record music, we were told. So we went to go see.
Some notes from the tour:
#YourStudioIsSecondRate Wire Road Studios is a purpose-built facility. In this instance, what that means is that it was built specifically to be a music studio, conceived and birthed as such. There was no "let's take this old brothel, staple some foam bits to the wall and call it a studio" nonsense. It is an attractive, state-of-the-art facility. Everything is brand-new and brand-beautiful and brand-expensive. They didn't explicitly say so, but some of the equipment appears to be from the future. They have a rubidium clock, bro. Fa'real, fa'real.
#TheCreepyGuySmell They organized the tour to move groups of people around together. In our group was an extra creepy guy who appeared to really want people to know that he also was in the music recording business. He was tall and thin and had wispy hair and smelled of that cheap, sweet smell that creepy guys always smell like. Why do all smell like that? Is there a Creepy Guy Colognes store in the Galleria that we've missed? That shit can't be a coincidence.
#ShinyShinyThings Clearly, WRS is not dicking around. They were throwing around all sorts of names ("Euphonics DSP Fusion s5 console" and things like that), and ushering folks in all manner of different rooms (recording, control center, video editing, kitchen, patio, etc). One of the easily understandable aspects of construction: What appears to be one big building is actually several small buildings built together. It helps keep sound from moving where it's not supposed to.
There are also eight-foot windows inside the building between each room, so you can see what you need at all times. The whole place is berry cool and overwhelmingly impressive. If Houston couldn't boast an elite recording studio before yesterday, they can now. What makes the whole thing extra incredible: Kelley was recording out of a home studio just a few fingers' worth of years ago. Going from a home built studio to the new Wire Road Studio is like playing Saturday night softball and then getting drafted by the Astros.
Or, rather, it's like playing for the Astros and then getting traded to the Yankees.
#What'sTheWireRoadFamily Among those working the event were #Thurogod, Yves and Free of The Niceguys and Montana of Montana. Together, them and James Kelley and a few more people compose the "Wire Road Family." Nobody could adequately answer what exactly the Wire Road Family is, even though they all had it as their job description on their name tags. Said #Thurogod: "We're just friends." Said Yves: "We're organized crime." It's probably somewhere in between there.
#Musicians While the tour was operating, WRS had arranged to have three separate bands playing so tourists could see how the building functioned. The bands that played were Mantis, Trucker's Choice and Hazy Ray. Kind of hard to find anything wrong with those choices. Expect to see their names a lot.
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#TinyCupcakesAreBetterThanNormalCupcakes Snacks: Vegetable and fruit trays, sandwiches and chips, drinks and cupcakes about the size of a soda top. If you don't think we ate about 14 of those little bitches, you, my friend, are a fool; the cupcake game is tough, son.
Read more about Wire Road Studios on their Web site.