Someone once said that the best way to help yourself if to help others first. It is that ethic that seems to permeate the premises of INDIE SPoT Studios, a new player that is offering creative services and management to those engaged in the arena of independent and original music.
Housed in a former storefront in the South End of Bay City, INDIE SPoT is quickly carving out a niche as a supporter of the local music scene, offering services ranging from recording, mixing and mastering of regional artists, to the promotion of live music events. Mix in video production and editing and a bit of home studio consulting and you have a pretty full palette of creative services all under one roof.
Like many great revolutions, INDIE SPoT has its origins in a basement. Born from the mind of co-owner and company visionary, Paul Vought, the studio can trace its roots back to bedroom studios and to the self-help ethic found among many young local entrepreneurs.
Recently returned from California and working over the summer at camp for kids with special needs, Vought was inspired to take the leap from a planned career in teaching into the independent music business. “What I realized is that someone had to be willing to jump in and give people a chance.” So he entertained his own muse and founded Mitten Bay Music. It was with this vehicle that he began to help local artists and friends get recorded and get organized.
Literally operating out of his basement at this point, Vought quickly realized he “couldn't do it all by myself. I'd used computers my whole life but wasn't really up on fixing them and how the software worked. I needed a partner.”
Enter Charles Conley, technology whiz who has his own roots in musical performance and in the world of video gaming. It's easy to see the chemistry between the two and - like cider and spice - the pair simply works, with Vought concentrating on the business end of things and Conley serving as the chief engineer. They have also assembled a full team of administrative, technical and administrative staff to keep the growing operation on mission.
Technology is clearly an enabler to this enterprise. When you enter the recently purchased building on Broadway St, you will find an array of both new technology and “old school” production tools. On a quick tour highlighted not only by a professional studio set up, which has already been the site for recording and production of several independent releases, but also the home of INDIE SPoT Radio, an online radio station also operated by the group, one cannot help but be impressed.
It is the range of services that Conley likes to highlight. “We feel like we are helping create a local market. There are a lot of great local artists that just need exposure. We'd like to see people make this more than a hobby, where they hope they can get a gig in a bar for $400. We'd like to get them noticed, so they can find a larger following.”
Vought echoes this sentiment: “With the amount of talent in this area, we don't see why this can't develop into something like Austin, TX, with a nationally recognized local music scene.”
There are already big plans for 2013, with the third iteration of the CityFest concert scheduled for this summer and discussions on forming a label. The pair expects to sign their first artist to a development deal in the near future. The production of radio and video advertising is also a distinct possibility.
Their efforts are not going unnoticed, as the studio and their artists have garnered several nominations for this year's Review Music Awards.
Here's wishing them the best of luck as they find a “spot” in the local independent music scene.
You can find out more about INDIE SPoT Studios at www. Indiespotbc.com.