NOHO, MANHATTAN / TAMPICO, MEXICO: Troy Germano knows the studio business about as well as it can be known. Born into the Hit Factory family business, and deeply entrenched in this industry his entire life, Germano has the perspective, relationships and depth of experience a very few possess to do a high-end studio business, and do it right. It’s in his DNA.
Now, through his Studio Design Group – the design/build consultancy responsible for Red Bull’s LA recording complex and the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at NYU among others – Troy is building on the Germano legacy with a new facility in Tampico, Mexico. Here, his role will be studio designer and consultant, mentor to the young owner, Jose Reyes, and strategic partner; through a licensing deal with the facility, he is staking his name on the business.
It will be co-branded RG Germano Studios Tampico.
We met up with Germano and Reyes at the AES Convention last weekend, where they were shopping around for gear to equip the new facility, slated to open March 1, 2012.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Germano. “We started doing the design work almost two years ago, and the brand-licensing idea has just come up over the last few months. I think I can mentor Jose, and ultimately help the Latin market. Plus, it’s a good branding exercise for Germano Studios.”
And that name is where the story begins. An early-twenty-something DJ/producer, Reyes knew of Germano from The Hit Factory, and found him and his Studio Design Group online.
Germano’s Studio Design Group portfolio highlights include the famous Hit Factory rooms he designed with his father, Ed Germano, at the studio’s final West 54th Street address, the Hit Factory London and Miami locations, the Red Bull Studios, rooms for ABKCO Records and his current facility – Germano Studios – a popular recording destination with top artists including Lady Gaga, will.i.am and Eric Clapton.
Reyes liked what he saw, and reached out.
“I had a preliminary studio idea, and I sent it to him and that’s where we started,” Reyes offered. As a producer himself, he wanted to build a room that would suit his own productions and be able to host other artists, producers and mixers.
As plans developed, Reyes’ vision for the studio expanded, as did his business relationship with Germano. Beyond the physical design, Reyes saw that he could benefit from Germano’s experience, contacts and overall brand association – that what they could create and launch together would be bigger and better than what he could do more locally in Tampico.
“One of the Top 10 Best Rooms In The World”
Tampico is a port city located about 300 miles from the Texas border on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. RG-Germano Studios sits on the Reyes family property there, some distance behind their newly constructed house like some kind of backyard castle.
Under-construction, the building that will house the studio looks like a grand fortress. The facility will comprise one large studio designed in the vein of The Hit Factory Studio 2, which Germano notes was based on Polar Studios in Stockholm. “It’s a control room with three studios around it separated by glass,” he describes.
The largest tracking room will be 35 x 38 ft. with 18-foot finished ceiling. Space and equipment-wise, Reyes wanted the right balance and variety to be able to get the “broadest market I can – all types of music, from the Mexican pop and Ranchero bands to North and South American acts.”
In its technical facility, too, the studio will reflect the Germano influence – an SSL Duality console as the centerpiece with “a lot of nice outboard gear” and custom Exigy monitors spec’d out by Germano, as he’s done in all the studios he’s designed.
In fact there will be a few Exigy systems. “We’ll have a 5.1 Exigy monitoring system, which opens up a whole market for me with video synching, and movie work,” says Reyes. “And I’m going to have an Exigy system in the live room for playback, with subs, and a system in the reception lobby area, so we can have big parties and events with DJs. Clients will have a real experience here.”
That’s the idea, adds Germano. “When clients are there, they’ll believe they’re in one of the top 10 best rooms in the world. It’ll be that great.”
“And we’ll do a really small staff because I really think that’s the model going forward – just to be extremely efficient. Jose is going to spend some time with me at the studio in New York before going back and getting ready to open.”
Beyond the design cred, and the chance to build another world-class recording facility, Germano sees the venture as a new and exciting business opportunity.
“I think when my artist clients go through Mexico, they’ll appreciate having a place they can go that they know has a kind of UL stamp on it,” says Germano, “Not to mention it will obviously benefit a lot of the local Mexican clientele. This is really the first step in me licensing my name, and doing these kinds of very personalized facilities open to the public in key spots all over the world.”
And with Reyes as the source of a portion of the facility’s work, and immersed in a local music scene that’s currently underserved, it’s not exactly a build-it-and-they-will-come model. “I think it’s a pretty special place in an area that could use a studio,” says Germano. “And Jose is an up-and-coming DJ/producer – he could be the next David Guetta or Tiësto.”
Having this studio at his disposal will certainly not hurt his chances of that at all…