Every Wednesday evening, Otto D’Agnolo welcomes a group to his recording studio.
“It’s very easy to get bands interested when you give them some free time in the studio,” he says.
But it’s more than that. D’Agnolo’s project, The Recording Artist, is tailor-made for times of pandemic. With more and more artists working from home and recording in their own basements, D’Agnolo saw an opportunity to give groups a safe space to record while still allowing a live broadcast audience to participate in the process. musical creation.
“I was like, ‘People want to be here and they want to participate, and bands don’t have to work from home, so why not give bands free studio time and then charge fans to watch them. to make a record? and interact with them? ‘ Says D’Agnolo.
Thus, The Recording Artist was born. (In fact, D’Angelo came up with the idea about eight years ago, but he didn’t commit to it. Then COVID-19 made it more viable.)
D’Agnolo has had a long career on both sides of the mic. As we noted in a profile from 2018, he has been a guitarist in several bands and a sound engineer. He is an award-winning producer who has worked with artists like Waylon Jennings, Jordin Sparks, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, and is also a novelist (the title of his book is The music business is on fire, thank goodness.)
Now he has turned his attention to The Recording Artist.
The platform has two levels of membership. The free tier allows members to watch the show live every Wednesday evening; The A&R staff level serves as a way to interact with the show on a deeper level, allowing members to approve the groups presented. Once approved, a group will send three songs for members to choose from, and the most popular song is the song that the audience can see recorded in real time. (The cost for the A&R staff level is $ 7 per month or $ 50 per year.)
The Recording Artist is also the subject of a new Amazon Prime series; the first episode is available now.
Psych-pop group The Psychedelephants recorded their song “Contestant” live with D’Agnolo.
“Going out there and being open to any spontaneous decision-making or something new that you never thought about – it just becomes a process of co-collaboration,” says guitarist and singer Paul Balazs. He adds that the challenge of having a two-hour time limit on the check-in process made the experience more fun.
“It’s one or two takes, it’s two hours of recording, and you have to trust yourself and roll with the punches,” he says.
Most of the artists who have been featured on the platform are in the indie rock and pop genres, but D’Agnolo says he sees a more diverse selection of artists in The Recording Artist’s future.
“Right now the style of music is quite restricted because we want the members to enjoy the music,” he says. “But we are learning that the music is less relevant to our audience and they are more interested in the process.”
Balazs says that D’Agnolo’s educational approach to performing is something new and refreshing in the Phoenix music scene, and that “he’s good at it. I think it’s quite natural for him.
But D’Agnolo isn’t finished yet, and he sees tons of growth in The Recording Artist’s future.
“It can grow and we can take this recording session anywhere in the world,” he says.