The Legend Continues..
“Why would I want to own a studio,” Walt Disney responded to the suggestion of his company’s director of recording Tutti Camarata. “I’d rather be a client.” Was this gentle Walt’s way of asking his music man to seek employment elsewhere, or a subtle nudge to encourage entrepreneurship? Tutti presumed the latter, and so it began.It was a perfect little brick structure, once an automotive repair garage. The walls, ceiling, and floor all slanted toward one corner of the cavern where the excess automobile fluids trickled into a drain. Non-parallel surfaces are ideal for acoustic control—and ideal for a studio! Tutti kicked the tires a few times and declared “I’ll take it!” Little did he know that the small step he took in 1958 on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood would soon be joined by the stampede of giants.
Once he got the engine up and running, Sunset Sound’s one studio began cranking out Disney recordings for “Bambi”, “Bedknobs & Broomsticks”, “Mary Poppins”, “101 Dalmations” and dozens of others, many in the then state-of-the-art format: magnificent mono. Fortunately the formats evolved as quickly as the stellar giants revolved in and out of the studio’s doors over the next few years. In short order, it was “Goodbye Goofy, Hello Rock’n’Roll.”
Oh, there were a few sputters along the way, even a backfire or two, but that Studio 1 eventually grew into a three-room complex, driven by a credo of technical and musical excellence without compromise. Sunset Sound geared up from a Model-T, added RPMs of horsepower (including the Sound Factory in 1981), and cruised into the classic collection it is today. No one can yet refer to the company as an Edsel: now with son Paul in the driver’s seat, it’s too busy racing into the future!
Like Sunset Sound, the Sound Factory has its’ roots in the 1960’s, during which time the building on Selma Avenue in Hollywood was home to Moonglow Records and Recording Studio. (Moonglow Records released the Righteous Brothers single, “Little Latin Lupe Lu”). Around 1969, former RCA staff engineer and Warner/Reprise staff producer, David Hassinger decided to go into business for himself and bought the Moonglow Records/Studio building and named his new enterprise, The Sound Factory.
The Sound Factory soon became one of the busiest studios in Hollywood. The demand for studio time was more than the one room could handle, so David opened a second studio in West Hollywood and called it The Sound Factory West. After awhile, David found that operating two studios in different locations to be a little burdensome, and eventually negotiated to buy out the restaurant on the property adjacent to the Selma Avenue location. After a period of complete renovation, the restaurant was converted into a new studio, tech shop, and a proposed disc mastering room. Upon completion, David closed the Sound Factory West and opened studio “B” for business.
For close to a decade, The Sound Factory operated at capacity and was host to many well known artists such as Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Seals & Crofts, Warren Zevon, Little Feat, and many others. From the ranks of its engineering staff emerged a number of prominent engineers / producers, such as Val Garay and Greg Ladanyi to name but a couple. Around 1980, for reasons known only to friends, employees, and industry insiders, the Sound Factory shut its doors, ceased operation, and sat dormant for close to a year.
Enter Paul Camarata and Sunset Sound! During the early 1980’s, when the recording industry was in a slump and the record companies were cutting recording budgets; many record producers began leaving the larger studios and booking overdub time in less expensive commercial and project studios in order to keep their recording costs under control. Looking for a way to stop this exodus and offer their clients more flexibility in their recording budgets, Paul and Tutti Camarata considered either building a new room or buying an existing studio that would serve as a less expensive overdub room.
It was during this time, that it was brought to their attention, that The Sound Factory was for sale. Paul made arrangements to inspect the facility and during his initial walk through, discovered what he believed would be the perfect economical compliment to the rooms at Sunset Sound.
Sunset Sound Clients 1962 - Present
Van Halen, Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Macy Gray, Bee Gees, Doobie Bros., Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Oingo Boingo, Luis Miguel, Rolling Stones, Dave Grusin, Crosby, Stills, Nash, Lee Ritenour, Fourplay, Richard Thompson, Yes, Brian Wilson, Beach Boys, Annette Funicello, Carly Simon, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Bangles, Fishbone, Randy Newman, Sly & Family Stone, “Fabulous Baker Boys”, Vonda Shepard, Tom Petty, “The Firm”, Sheena Easton, Patti Austin, Aaron Neville, “Mary Poppins”, Sam Cooke, The Turtles, “101 Dalmations”, Lovin» Spoonful, Buffalo Springfield, Janis Joplin, Genesis, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, “My Best Friend»s Wedding”, Reel Big Fish, “Dr. Doolittle”, “The Truman Show”, “Tootsie”
Van Halen, Led Zeppelin IV, Sheryl Crow, Smashing Pumpkins, Matthew Sweet, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Celine Dion, Earl Klugh, Alanis Morrisette, Michael Jackson, Toto, Lita Ford, Robert Palmer, “Dick Tracy”, “Dune”, “Days Of Thunder”, “Rocky II & IV”, Ry Cooder, Richard Marx, Aretha Franklin, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Crowded House, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Holliday, Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Manchester, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Rick James, “Major League”, “Great Balls Of Fire”, Michael Feinstein, “Wayne»s World”, “Wayne»s World II”, Alice Cooper (Muscle »73), Leo Sayer, “The Waterboy”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Pleasantville”, Doyle Bramhall, Weezer, “The Prince Of Egypt”, DDT, Poison, Andy Williams
The Surfers, Elliott Smith, Social Distortion, Sugar Ray, Mary Lou Lord, “Midnight In The Garden Of Good & Evil”, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince (Æ81-»87), Dan Fogelberg, Hiroshima, Rancid, k d lang, The Wallflowers, Beck, Mr. Mister, Stevie Nicks, Belinda Carlisle, Kix, Desert Rose Band, Air Supply, Counting Crows, Deborah Harry, Jody Watley, Neil Diamond, Rita Coolidge, Lionel Ritchie, Sam Phillips, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Jones, Van Dyke Parks, Gillian Welch, The Refreshments, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Thisway, Melissa Etheridge