Interview with Benjamin Patrick of Akron Recording Company
Nestled in Akron’s North Side sits Akron Recording Company (ARC), an analog recording facility that “combines the beauty of analog recording with the industry standard digital recording mediums to create a timeless sound.” The studio was founded as a way for artists and music lovers alike to connect and bond over Akron’s flourishing creative community through audio recording, curated shows, and other social events. The team consists of owner / founder Benjamin Patrick (singer / guitarist of The Dreemers and his solo project, Benny Lava) and cheif engineer Nate Bucher (singer and guitarist for See Creatures). ARC has had quite a busy couple of years including moving to a new location and putting out their second Record Store Day compilation, Where the Hell is Akron Ohio? Vol. 2.
Why don’t we start with a quick introduction and some background into how the studio got its start.
Benjamin Patrick: ARC got its start when my band, The Dreemers, began recording some of our original material. Nate and I worked together and he had mentioned that he was an audio engineer and had a couple tape machines. My band soon recruited Nate to come record us in our rehearsal space. The process went pretty well and we produced an EP together. About a year and a half later we then decided to record a full LP and it was really through this process where Nate & I developed a strong synergy throughout working on the album. We realized we had complimentary skill sets and the proper dynamic to run a business, in addition to the necessary equipment and knowledge to start a recording studio! Once we found our new home, downtown Akron in an old factory building built in 1892, it provided us enough space and freedom to put all of our resources to use!
I know you guys just put out a kick-ass Record Store Day Release, Where the Hell is Akron Ohio? Vol. 2, what was the driving force for putting the compilation together?
Patrick: The driving force for this compilation is the music scene here in Northeast Ohio (NEO)! This has been a vision of mine for almost 5 years now to connect an eclectic group of musicians and represent them through one medium. It all started with a T-Shirt I found almost 20 years ago at a local thrift store, which says “Where the Hell Is Akron, Ohio?”. For some reason, I kept the shirt around, and one day it dawned on me – that’s the perfect title for an Akron based compilation! There’s an awesome scene for art and music here. Since Akron is home to a rich musical heritage, we want to rekindle the kind of community and collaboration that existed during the 70’s/80’s during the “Akron Sound” era.
There’s a lot of talent coming out of Akron’s music scene, how did you guys pick the featured bands for the album?
Patrick: For volume 2 of our compilation we wanted complete control over the sonic landscape, especially in terms of mixing and mastering. We wanted the songs, the fidelity, and the styles to be more cohesive this round, so we decided to only choose bands that have recorded with us in our studio. In choosing the bands to be featured we wanted to represent some of our favorite artists in the area that we have had the pleasure of working with! We want the songs to be diverse in style, but still a curated journey that flows naturally and cohesively.
All the songs featured on the album were either recorded or produced at the studio. Do you have any fun memories / stories from working with one of the featured bands?
Patrick: Each artist we work with brings something fresh and exciting into our studio! You never know what you’re going to get.
There’s a little something for just about everyone on the album as well as being a wonderful introduction to Akron’s music scene. Is there a track / featured band that you’re particularly fond of?
Patrick: We are huge music lovers! So, working with a diverse group of artists is something that is important to us. However, there is a kind of an overarching garage/psych rock theme to the compilation, but we feel the bands Oregon Space Trail of Doom, Mollo Rilla, King Buu, and Roid Rage all have stand out tracks! Another favorite to the compilation is the track, “Stash” by Peachcurls, it’s an incredible hip hop track by an even more talented artist – its catchy, contemporary, and original!
From this compilation alone there seems to be a lot of musical talent coming out of Akron. What’s your favorite part of working in the local music community?
Patrick: Our favorite part of working with the local music community is building new relationships and making new friends as well as discovering talented local bands for us to love! We are in this because it’s our passion— we love the creative and recording processes and we also love the community here in NEO! You’re right, there is so much talent here in NEO and it’s been great connecting with like-minded people, who are invested in the music scene in our city, and helping so many talented artists capture their sound in a way that accurately represents them. Our hopes are to help put Akron & NEO on the map, and help bring attention to the thriving scene here!
I know you guys probably keep pretty busy over at the studio, is there anything coming up that you’re particularly excited about?
Patrick: We are approaching our 1 year anniversary in our new studio! We will be hosting a big bash this summer to celebrate that and also the release of our compilation, which is coming out on vinyl late this summer! Since we pride ourselves on our analog recording specialty, we are very excited to have our work on wax! Otherwise there’s a bunch of albums that we’ve worked on that are due out soon, and we are excited to see what else we can work on this year! Oh, and expect volume 3 of our compilation before too long!