The Zootown Arts Community Center recording studio has, so far, lived a relatively low-key existence. When our downtown location opened in October of 2019, the recording studio was just beginning to take shape. When the excitement and stress of the grand opening settled into a more comfortable and smooth-functioning daily existence, it was finally time to focus on the basement. Plans were in place, equipment was ordered and we’d almost settled on a name. This was March 2020 and you know what happened next.
That being said, there are far worse things to try and get done during the early days of a global pandemic and resulting lockdown. This was, in actuality, quite ideal and pretty much a dream come true for me. I was able to set up and install all of our new equipment, acoustically treat the room and troubleshoot every bit of it to my heart’s content all before grocery stores even had toilet paper in stock again. And then we waited. Gathering a group of people all recycling the same air in an underground creativity bunker for upwards of 10 hours at that time was just not going to happen.
As the initial shock and confusion of pandemic life faded a bit and we all learned more about how to reconvene and create safely, our first ZACC recording session came to life in early August of 2020 with the creation of Backyard by Erin-Szalda Petree (under the nom de rock ESP). We really could not have asked for a more perfect recording project to inaugurate our new space. Erin, while only 19 years old when we started making her album, had been a ZACC Rock Camp instructor for years, performed countless times on the original Northside ZACC basement stage and truly exemplified what a community art center can really offer a young artist with a need to create but not all the resources to do so.
Since early August 2020, the ZACC recording studio has hosted and produced recording sessions for established bands and solo artists such as the Best Westerns, Kaylen Krebsbach and the Foilies (for which our fearless leader Kia graciously lent her vocal talents to), as well as up-and-coming artists like the Pettifoggers and (ZACC Rap Camp alum) A-Mar, and many more (with even more to come).
In addition to those usual suspects one might expect to find in a recording studio, the ZACC recording studio has captured over 50 original songs written and performed entirely by ZACC Rock and Rap Campers, numerous podcasts for SG Long Financial Services and others, radio spots for First Security Bank, ACLU Montana and the Montana Repertory Theatre, sound cues for theatrical productions hosted in the ZACC Show Room and all of the narration for a Montana-produced documentary film.
One of our main goals with the ZACC recording studio was to offer a chance to experience and utilize a professional, versatile, affordable and non-intimidating space for creators of all ages and interests, regardless of previous experience or financial resources. Despite the setbacks, we have accomplished those goals, but would have loved to add “and more” to the end of that sentence. That’s where you come in: The ZACC has the space, you have the vision, and together we create more.
See you soon ...
ZACC Event Technician & Sound Engineer