The Music Scene’s Got Me Down: An Interview With Westlake’s Premier Record Producer

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Deep in the heart of Saratoga Springs lies an individual who’s taken independent recording into his own hands. Co-owning and operating Room 8 Studios (named after the “8” on the room’s door), Braden Dose provides a “professional-grade, yet affordable” studio for local bands and artists to record their music. One of the only operational straight-to-analog-tape studios in Utah, Room 8 utilizes accumulated instruments and equipment that the owner’s stumbled upon over the last 15 months since the studio’s opening. “I have 6 regular guitars, a lap slide guitar, 2 basses, a banjo, a piano, a ukulele, drum machine, about 5 or 6 synthesizers, and an arsenal of both modern and vintage microphones- from a 1951 Astatic harmonica mic to the generic Shure SM58. The Astatic is probably my personal favorite. It has some really cool qualities to it and makes your voice sound like an old radio announcer.”

I asked Braden about what the recording process is like. He laughed and stated “a producer never reveals his secrets. It’s all about experience and knowing how to use things and when. When to add effects or not to, when it needs piano and when it needs more guitar tracks. It’s all a matter of practice.”

“When the studio first started it was a room in the basement,” Braden explained. “I had nothing but a single crappy $15 microphone and a 20 year old computer with a free recording software. I listen to some of the stuff I recorded back then and it makes me want to hurl. There’s lo-fidelity music, and there’s garbage. That stuff was garbage. After a while I was starting to record more and more and I thought, ‘wow, I want to do this for a living’ so I sold my cello and bought a bunch of equipment. Nowadays I’m running a fairly high end computer with professional software with a library of songs that I’ve recorded and made money off of.”

Braden’s way of recording is unique. The majority of studios at this tier of operation and of this age record individual tracks (i.e. drums, then bass, then guitar, and so on) at separate times, then put together (mixed) and adjusted to sound as intended (mastered). Braden, on the other hand, fascinated by anything vintage or outdated, follows a pattern that isn’t seen as much nowadays. When something can’t be recorded in a single take, he groups them together, then builds- but it’s all on tape. He records straight onto cassette tape, then transfers it to the computer to adjust anything that can’t be done before or during initial recording. “This adds a warmth and authenticity that digital music can’t ever hope to capture. Digital is just a bunch of ones and zeroes in patterns so that when it’s run through more ones and zeroes it becomes sound. With tapes, and to a greater extent, vinyl (Braden also curates a fairly substantial record collection), it captures everything that’s in that moment at that time. Every throat clearing, every footstep downstairs, everything that you’d hear if you were right there in the room. It sounds genuine.” He of course mixes the majority of these imperfections out in the final product, but often keeps at least some of them to add to the intimacy of the song or album. Braden also keeps all the original tapes from recording sessions for future use or reference.

Another aspect that Braden takes into heavy consideration when promoting his work is the affordability of his high quality recordings. “When I first was looking around for recording studios for my band, it was insane. Everything was $100 an hour, and a single song usually takes about 2 hours to record. No teenager in public high school could afford something like that for a long period of time.” Rather than charging per hour, Braden charges a standard session fee of $30 that covers up to 12 hours of work, plus variously priced equipment and instrument rental fees- anything between $5 and $20. This makes the total very affordable for most high school students, and the additional option to put payments on credit billings adds even more options for pricing. “Generally speaking I get about $40 per session, and we can usually get two to four different songs recorded by the end of the session.”

Braden is available for hire by contacting him through Facebook (Braden Dose), Instagram (bradndos), or text (contact for phone number), in addition to direct face to face communication. Demos and rough drafts of songs can be found on his soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/roomnumber8studios