Launched in 2020, Geojam was originally built as a social engagement platform that facilitated unique experiences between artists and fans. Since its inception, artists and creatives such as Mariah Carey, Machine Gun Kelly, and 24kGoldn have used the platform to connect with fans – one lucky fan even flew on a private jet with the latter. Now, Geojam aims to build a creator economy of the future and redirect the flow of incentives into the hands of creators and users, all powered by the platform’s native crypto token, $JAM. With $JAM, the company combines Web3’s concept of decentralised finance with real-world experiences.
To further support artists and creatives, Geojam has opened its studio doors in Acoustical Gardens, telling MusicTech that “the Geojam Studio acts as the one-stop shop for all creators that want to break into creative industries.” We speak with Eli Schiff, Geojam’s business development lead, and Acoustical Gardens owner Luis Sinibaldi to learn more about how the backyard garage transformed into a pro-grade studio, how the team nailed the acoustics of Acoustical Gardens, and how Geojam plans to help up-and-coming creatives.
Hey Eli and Luis! What’s the goal behind Geojam Studio?
Eli: “To support artists we believe in and provide them with an amazing space to easily create art and capture content. The studio provides all types of artists and creators the opportunity to build new portfolios and hobbies to help them break out and get noticed. Our team helps introduce new music skills such as recording, how to play an instrument, vocal lessons, and how to produce a song.”
What types of creators will use the studio?
Eli: “We plan on having all types of creators at the Geojam Studio, including producers, singers, rappers, bands, influencers, creators, athletes, painters, clothing designers and graphic designers.”
Have any noteworthy artists recorded at Geojam Studio lately?
Eli: “Producer Lil Mexico, Olympic skater Zion Wright, musical artists Siimbiie Lakew, influencer Joao Coronel and rock band Lonely Avenue. Every artist that comes into the studio is at different stages of their musical career so what we create with each artist or individual differs in many ways. Whether it is a full turnaround development project or just an artist looking for a space to work, we are here to support creators in any way we can.”
What’s the ultimate goal of the studio moving forward? What will it become?
Eli: “To be a hub for creative talent and support artists in any way shape or form. Whether it’s connecting them with any resource they might need or just a subtle place to make some amazing art, we’re here for them. We have also talked about branching into artist development and helping creators bring their visions to life. The best example of this is how we’ll be helping influencers make transitions into other creative art forms. We will be connecting these creators to our endless amounts of producers, songwriters, singers, vocal coaches, photographers, videographers, and session players. We will be teaching them what they need to learn to be successful in their journey to branching out of social media content into other forms of entertainment.”
Tell us a bit about the space?
Eli: “We partnered with Acoustical Garden to create a space where all artists are open to create and be themselves. It’s a backyard garage turned into a professional recording/production studio. Luis is an absolute blessing. Building the studio from the ground up, he is prepared for it all. The space has a recording room and a control room with surround sound, as well as other speaker options. Sound isolation allows us to be able to work all night without disturbing anyone, too.”
What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio?
Eli: “A pressure-free creative environment where artists can feel confident stepping outside their comfort zone. We keep attendees limited so every creator can express themselves in their own, uninterrupted way. Artists’ comfortability in the studio is our top priority, giving them a space to explore new paths of creativity without judgment.”
What is your favourite piece of gear?
Eli: “It has to be the Antelope Emulation Mic. That mic can emulate the same properties of some of the best vintage mics. The team also loves the Antelope interface system in the studio – by far the most control we’ve had working with an interface.”
Which DAW do you use?
Eli: “Ableton Live 11 for production and Logic Pro X for recording. Producers and artists with their own laptops and computers can easily set up and use the full surround system to edit their music on professional speakers, though.”
What’s been the biggest investment in your studio? Was it worth it?
Luis: “The biggest investment has been the time to get the studio built. It costs a lot to build a facility such as this, but more valuable is the time spent building it, the years learning about audio and what it really takes to put this together. From reading books, watching videos and just meticulously researching equipment and materials.
“Having an architecture background helped but it wasn’t enough for such a specialised space. In the end, and this is based just on the beginning of this venture, it has been extremely worth it. We are beginning to see financial returns on the investment but, more importantly, helping and supporting artists create music is very satisfying and something that’s hard to quantify.”
How do you ensure the acoustics are right in your studio?
Luis: “Having a background in architecture wasn’t enough. I enlisted the help of Philip Newell who has been an acoustical consultant for over 45 and was the technical director of Virgin Record Studios for 10 years. Needless to say, he was instrumental in making sure the acoustics would be superb.
“The space was already there, so we were stuck with the dimensions but lining the walls with acoustical treatment that would absorb the right amount of sound in the necessary frequencies was something he assisted with. We did a lot of testing to ensure our speakers were in the right location for best performance.”
What is your dream piece of gear?
Luis: “We, of course, wanted to purchase as many analogue pieces of hardware as we could but, without a million-dollar budget, we went with the next best thing – hardware emulations from Antelope Audio. And we have some incredibly sounding microphones already, from a Neumann U87i to the lesser-known but equally capable Sanken CU-44X mkII. So there isn’t a piece of equipment per se, other than a bunch of classics. But if I were to wish for something, it would be for a taller and larger space. Something that could be used as a dubbing stage or to record an entire symphony.”
What is your top piece of production advice?
Eli: “Put in the time! It’s the only way to level up in life. Master your craft and never give up. If you follow your heart there is no wrong way to go.”
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
Eli: “Find the right team. We have top-class, knowledgeable, professionals from the industry in the studio every day making a difference. Don’t spend all your money on equipment out the gate. Take your time, research what’s popular and current for most artists coming into your studio, and what producers feel comfortable using. This has been a work in progress. Acoustical Garden was over a year in the making and is now used for all creators.
Learn more about Geojam at geojam.com.
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