Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park recently told the story of how he was first “discovered” which began with the young musician shipping off a mixed cassette tape to an A&R rep who saw enough talent to call Shinoda into his office. The A&R rep asked a young Mike Shinoda, ‘Where did you record the music?’ Shinoda answered, ‘In my room.’ So he asked, ‘Well what kind of studio do you have?’ Shinoda responded, ‘I have a cassette four track.’ Mike Shinoda laughed while he recounted that story, but the truth is most artists trace their roots back to similar makeshift studios.
For many hitting the point in their career when they can afford to hire a professional producer and record in a legitimate studio is a massive milestone. For an elite few who move on to create a reputation and a successful music brand the next level of success grants access to the upper echelon recording studios. Those artists seek out super producers like Wade Martin.
With a history in the music industry that spans over twenty years and began when he was just a teenager, Wade Martin was once a successful performing artist himself opening for bands like Guns N’ Roses. His craft and love of writing music grew with his success but as often is the case with young stars like Justin Bieber the spotlight grew blinding, and eventually Wade decided to walk away from the stage.
The artist traded in his life on the road for something more grounded while staying true to his core passions: writing and recording music. Wade’s success story as a producer is not magical, it has involved hard work, sleepless nights, learning expensive–soul searching–lessons, and blind dedication. His countless hours in the studio have taken time away from his family leaving him guilt-ridden. As a result, Wade is that much more passionate about achieving superior results.
When he wanted to open his first recording studio in Europe, Wade taught himself to build it–he knew his attention to detail would yield a far better outcome then any labor he could hire. One studio’s success led to the building of the next as did one gold record lead to another. Gold records turned platinum and Wade Martin’s reputation began to precede him.
True to his perfectionist form, the super producer found himself mid-2012 yearning for more. His hand built Phoenix recording studio was ranked 7th in the world yet his competitive drive and entrepreneurial spirit created a fire within him to start again. Wade set out to be number one and told not a soul about it. Quite literally under the nose of one of the busiest cities in the world the producer began constructing brick by brick the recording studio of every artist’s dreams in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although I had previously interviewed Katy Cappella, an artist Wade signed to his label JWM Records in 2011, I was still floored when the producer called and offered the first private invitation exclusively to me. Privy to information I cannot disclose as to which music industry executives and artists have already made reservations to view and book WM Studios Las Vegas, the gravity of what I was being offered was not lost on me. I said yes before I was even sure Las Vegas could handle the wave of flurry Life of a Rockstar brings.
After all the details were finally hammered out, with crew in tow we descended the staircase to enter the studio passing a selection of the super producer’s gold and platinum records with The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, and Nas. Wade has a long roster full of clients that includes 50 Cent, DMX, Flavor Flav and Juice.
The door was heavy and it took the full force of my body to swing it open. Worth its’ weight in gold, it was like choosing the correct door on the Price Is Right. Behind it awaited the grand prize, a musician’s holy grail.
Senses on overload, my brain began memorizing every slatted ceiling tile, flat screen monitor (two in the producer’s area, one in the vocal booth, one in the live room), every foot of at your finger tips touch screen technology (10′ in total), every texture, curve, mirrored wall, glass pane and microphone.
I began rapid firing questions at Wade without regard to the disjointed nature. “What do mirrors do for sound? Why does the vocal booth have such a heavy door? If the glass is double paned could the vocal booth be used as a safe room? What if the power goes out? Can we turn down the humidity before it kills my hair? Why is the ceiling like that? Is this a salt stone on the walls? Can I touch all those buttons?”
Bless his patient soul the man answered every question one at a time. “Mirrors make sound bounce around, it’s why people sound better singing in their bathrooms. Yes, the vocal booth could be used as a safe room. The door is a modified bank vault door that seals in the sound and both it as well as the double paned bullet proof glass can withstand an AK 47. We run on our own super clean power grid so it doesn’t matter if the lights go out in Vegas, WM Studios keeps running. The humidity and temperature can be controlled separately in each room of the studio by a thermostat that actually didn’t exist, I had it made and it is the only of its kind in the world. We can set the humidity level however you like. The ceiling enhances sound. The stone is imported and is actually a very dense sand stone which also bounces the sound around. And yes, you can touch all those buttons Nicole.” (Okay, maybe I imagined that last answer.)
Wade personally oversaw that every one of the thousands of nail holes in his new studio was sealed properly for sound proofing during construction. “It’s critical to recording,” he told me as he walked me through the most exclusive technologically advanced boutique recording studio in the world. During the near six months it took to build out the space, Martin ran his fingers over every square inch of the recording studio during every stage of construction and spared no expense installing imported finishes like the sound enhancing Quartzite sand stone from South America that lines the walls.
While all of the premium finishes like the high gloss cherry wood floors look like something that would be photographed in architectural digest, the truth is that they all serve a higher purpose–to create an optimal sound and climate controlled environment which can be purified for allergies at the touch of a button. This being the eighth studio Wade Martin has built, the producer has genius like knowledge of every aspect of building out a studio and if he doesn’t know he researches it. If something he wants doesn’t exist, he engineers it, (e.g. the touch screen technology he implemented in his Phoenix, Arizona studio that made history for being the first console size touch screen interface ever created for a commercial recording studio.)
After my head was done spinning we settled into the producer’s chairs–which I have to admit was quite a powerful feeling–and began listening to and feeling music through speakers that will quite literally blow you away. We spent hours talking about up and coming bands, favorite headphone brands, chatting about the direction of music today, analyzing music videos, and living the REAL life of a rock star.
At the end of the day, this English born producer calls it like he sees it and finds no time for sugar coating the truth. While he admits this sometimes gets him into trouble it has also earned him a pristine reputation in the music industry. You always know just where you stand with Wade Martin and so long as you are sitting in his studio, you are in the utmost of professional hands.
Before my “three hour tour” ended, I was sure to sit in every single chair. After all, I want to be certain that no matter which mega star steps foot into WM Studios to record their next best selling album, I’ve sat where they’re sitting.
WADE MARTIN ON THE WEB
By Nicole Hanratty
Posted March 29, 2013