It was a sunny, windy Sunday and I was exhausted. I’d been SXSW-ing all over Austin for a week and was ready to curl up with my hound dogs and sleep for a few days. But as bad as I wanted that Pawn Stars marathon from my couch, I wasn’t about to miss out on an opportunity to see the Grand Opening of Orb Recording Studios, Austin’s newest place to produce music that had been visited by Lil’ Wayne, Erykah Badu and Justin Bieber during SXSW.
Orb Recording Studios was founded by a couple of the guys from Blue October – C.B. Hudson (lead guitarist) and Matt Novesky (bassist). Their vision was to capture everything they loved about East and West Coast studios and bring it all to the pretense-free vibe of Austin.
They chose a tucked-away spot just off 290 for the studios, not too far from Oak Hill. From the outside, it looks like a large house that any sizable family could live in. When you walk around inside, the feeling of home stays with you, despite the presence of all the musical equipment you could possibly handle.
The wood floors and giant sound board in Studio A were incredible, not to mention the Steinway Baby Grand just begging to be played. Big, wavy wooden panels hung suspended from 20-foot ceilings overhead, along with an unbelievable glowing Orb that justified the studio’s name.
With intimate performances from Quiet Company, Tori Vasquez, Reed Turner, and Justen Furstenfeld from Blue October in Studio A, this turned out to be the perfect way to wrap up my SXSW 2014. Each artist put their own spin on the space and demonstrated how beautifully-designed the acoustics are.
Between the two studios was a lounging area with couches, a full kitchen, gigantic TV, and a pool table. C.B. and Matt were both nice enough to stop and chat for awhile about their studios coming to life and how happy they were to see others enjoying them.
Though smaller, Studio B held its own with vast equipment options and vintage microphones. I imagine this would be the way to go if you were juggling a lower budget. Not as grand as Studio A and no Steinway, but still plenty of options to get the job done right.
At one point during the opening, we were all called outside for the cutting of the ribbon. During this time, Matt and C.B. both spoke, each getting emotional at times because of the long road it had been and all the hard work that had been done.
“A lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this building and we’re finally a reality,” C.B. said with a relieved smile on his face. “We look forward to contributing to the Austin music community, as well as the national music industry as a whole.”
Matt touched on his love for Austin and the excitement he had for the future here. “I’m proud to be right here in Austin, Texas. I love this city. I truly feel like we’re only getting started with building an amazing music industry beyond being the live music capitol of the world,” Novesky said.
Once the ribbon was cut and hugs were given all around, Justin from Blue October wrapped things up from Studio A with a rare and beautiful solo performance, which included an acapella version of “Bleed Out” and a stripped down, acoustic version of “Hate Me.” See below for his powerful performance of “Fear” from the group’s latest album.
How do you feel about Orb Recording Studios coming to the Austin area?