Some sad news today, I learned that Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin is closing March 1st. Smart was an inspiration to the Studio 11 crew when we were starting out, so many classic records were recorded and mixed there. The hard work and pure love of music made that place great. Butch Vig and Steve Marker built the place from recording broke punk rock bands. For that little studio in Madison would emerge a producer who would record one of the greatest, most influential rock records of all time.
I’ll never forget the first time I recorded vox in the main room, the 251 was set up in the room and sound was pure magic. The airiness in mic was reminiscent of the Garbage records, it was magic. The place had a low key, unassuming vibe to it – you wouldn’t that some of the greatest recordings of the past 20 years were made there.
I had stopped in about a year ago to visit a friend who was tracking upstairs and was reminded that even though its heyday had past – great music was still being produced there. I never knew that Deaf Cab’s Plans record was mixed there, but it was in fact it was mixed on the Trident.
I do not know the exact circumstances of why the studio closed, I know Butch Vig has lived in LA now for many years and everyone knows that most big studios are dying fast. Whatever the case, the legacy of that great studio and its exceptional staff will not be forgetten.