By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Nov. 5, 2020) Berlin resident Matthew Van Gasbeck worked for a month to create a comfortable audio production studio for local musicians and podcasters, transforming the snug space on Old Ocean City Boulevard with charcoal painted walls, a soothing earth-toned rug and a plush, dark teal sofa.
Cozy Recordings officially opened on Oct. 20 in Unit 106 of the Berlin Professional Center, which formerly housed the Atlantic Business Center.
“I’ve been trying to start a business here for a long time. Actually, like four or five years ago, I wanted to do a food truck. I’ve lived here for six years, but my schedule in my prior life kept me away like 10 months out of the year,” Van Gasbeck said, who has worked as a guitar technician for 12 years. “I’ve always wanted to build a studio, and I’ve been a songwriter for my whole life pretty much, and I just knew that the changes in the music industry, as far as even not being able to play shows, is going to send a lot of creative people back into the bedroom to write and create music.”
Van Gasbeck added that he wants to build a stronger connection to the community. Although he has lived in Berlin for six years with his daughter Willa, 6, and wife, Emily, he was often out of town touring overseas as a guitar technician.
“I kind of saw it as an opportunity to bring my skillset into town, but also utilize all the great musicians that are around here and kind of provide a service that is somewhere between a home studio and Abbey Road,” Van Gasbeck said.
He added that Dana Helmuth from Harvest Guitars visits the studio frequently, and they plan to collaborate on recordings.
Van Gasbeck hopes Cozy Recordings will become “a staple of the community.”
“I really want local bands to feel confident that they can come here and have something that sounds great,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of musicians that are fleeing the cities at the moment. Some of them live nearby, and I’m offering [the studio] to established bands that need a place to come and be creative that is not right in the middle of New York City or L.A.”
According to its website, the multi-track recording studio offers eight channels of Apollo Unison mic preamp emulation from classic Neve, API, SSL and Studer consoles. The new technology brings the audio quality of a multimillion-dollar studio to Berlin.
For the full list of gear at the studio, visit www.cozyrecordings.com/studio.
“As far as studio production, I don’t have a set rate, an hourly rate because each project is a bit different,” Van Gasbeck said. “My goal is to — as a person who has paid for studio services like my whole life — is to eliminate the idea of watching the clock. If you’re in a big studio and you’re paying by the hour, you’re always thinking about time wasted.”
Van Gasbeck aims to quote studio time on a project basis after discussing with artists what they want to accomplish.
“If somebody wants to come in and record a whole band with live drums and everything like that, it might be a little bit more time to do that. But if they want to sit here with me and work on some drums inside the computer, and it will take a lot less time and it will sound just as good,” he said. “There is a lot of new ideas and a lot of new technology out there that makes it very accessible for people to have a great song for not having to book out a giant studio for a month.”
In addition to recording services for musicians and podcasters, Van Gasbeck said the studio offers guitar, bass and drum lessons for beginner and intermediate level musicians.
“We’d like to utilize the afterschool hours and midday for lessons,” he said. “I’ve been doing guitar lessons myself.”
Wilson Sawyer will offer bass lessons, and Sam Goodman will teach how to play the drums.
“My goal is to create a comfortable, safe spot for people to drop their kids off, and it’s actually within three minutes’ walk of some great places,” Van Gasbeck said. “I took lessons in a guitar shop and it was great, but all the parents sat in the car and read a book.”
Van Gasbeck added that during these unprecedented times when most people are staying home, he hopes to offer children a creative outlet at Cozy Recordings.
“It helped me as a child, and I feel like it could help others,” he said.
Instrumental lessons cost $50 per hour and $30 per half hour.
“I do have a coupon code. It’s just COZY20, and it allows 20 percent off of four lessons,” Van Gasbeck said.
Currently, Van Gasbeck has a few students taking lessons as well as bands booked to record in the studio.
Lessons and studio time can be booked online.
“Give me a brief of what you’d like to accomplish, how many songs, and I’ll send you a quote, and we’ll hopefully start working,” Van Gasbeck said about audio production bookings.
For more information, visit www.cozyrecordings.com.