By Montana Findley, Studio M staff //
Brett and Keith Nolan are brothers in the Chattanooga area who saw a problem with their local music scene and set out on a mission to fix it. The brothers wanted to provide artists with a professional studio to record their music without the costs that most studios have.
“Obviously, to make money in this business you have to charge something, or you’re just losing money in the process,” Brett said. “But some of these guys end up ridiculously overcharging these kids who are inexperienced and don’t know that they’re getting screwed over.”
In 2010 Brett Nolan opened his recording studio, The Soundry, after a friend convinced him to help turn a building he owned into a studio.
“I was honestly concerned with starting a recording studio because these days anyone with a computer, a microphone and a closet can practically record from their own home, so why would they come here?” said Brett.
At first, his concerns seemed to be true as business was slow, but over the next few years, with the help of his brother Keith, the two turned The Soundry into a profitable recording studio.
“Making money was never our first concern really, we just love the craft of making music. I can’t lie: When we started to make a profit from making music it was nice, but we would’ve done it for as long as we could without making a dime,” said Keith.
Their business has continued to thrive while doing this due to the countless other projects that they have going on. As well as the recording studio, the brothers also do audio work for movies.
“We do post-production audio work for everyone from local filmmakers to large-scale mainstream films. Music is our passion, but you have to find other ways to pay the bills with that audio engineering degree,” said Keith.
The brothers continued to do sessions with different country artists and bands in the area, like working on The Iscariots’ first album, before realizing the good that they could be doing for undiscovered artists in Chattanooga.
“We realized that there are several young artists in the Chattanooga area who want to put some music out there who can’t afford studio time at most places, so we’ve really started to just work with these young artists,” said Keith. “We may only be able to give them a half hour or so of our time per session, but it allows them to get in their quickly and get something on tape.”
“Working with these guys is a breeze, it feels like creativity flows so well in the studio when we work with Brett and Keith,” said Ganja James, lead singer of the Iscariots. “I was really impressed with how they started working with young artists as well though, you don’t really see things like that much in the music business,” said James.
They also provide the artists with feedback on their work and try to lead them into the right direction.
“We don’t ever try to send someone in an opposite direction from their idea artistically, but we just try to add some things in their or correct the small mistakes that they come in with,” said Brett. “A lot of our clients are groups and bands who have their act together and are just looking to produce their albums, so it’s equally frustrating and refreshing to work with someone from scratch.”
Montana Findley is a junior in journalism at Middle Tennessee State University.
Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU, allows student journalists to be published statewide and nationwide. It’s made possible through grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.